LLC Formation in Atlanta GA

8 Replies

Hello ATL BP Community! I’m looking to establish my LLC in preparation for a future career in real estate development. I’m interested primarily in investment, specifically commercial property Intown. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good lawyer to set up my business? I was considering using CSC Services. They can establish the LLC and provide a local registered agent (for a yr) for around $600 total. However, I was concerned about the company itself not being local, as well as being charged ad hoc for additional services, like getting an EIN. I also don’t know if they’ll hold legal responsibility for any filing errors (like an attorney would). Any help / recommendations would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks so much. - Tracie

@Tracie Cabler, 

I recommend that you contact your local real estate investors association for recommendations. www.GAREIA.com is a good place to find companies that establish LLCs and obtain EINs. Send me a private message for recommendations. 

Regards, 

Bill Hampton 

I would start at the Georgia Secretary of State’s website. You are able to fill out the paperwork for both an EIN and LLC yourself.

I was able to do everything myself via Secretary of State website. Thereafter, I obtained EIN from IRS website. however, read the forum to choose right classification for your entity, such as S Corp, C Corp or Partnership. My LLC is classified as partnership. Most real estate investors have it setup as partnership that requires 1065 or K-1 filing at year end. All in all it cost me just about $100. You can also buy corporation kit online for about $65 to $80 that includes seal etc. I couldn't justify $500 to $700 for this process.
I live in ATL and have always registered my own LLCs and S-Corps, and applied for FEIN online. There is no need to pay an attorney to do something you can easily do yourself; however, I only suggest doing this if you are the sole owner or your "partner" is your spouse. If there are any outside partners or stock holders, you need to have a professional attorney draw up the appropriate contracts clearly stipulating buy-out agreements, grounds for termination of any agreements or contracts, distribution of profits, etc.

Hi @Tracie Cabler

I would do it myself as the process is pretty straightforward

Step 1: Navigate to https://ecorp.sos.ga.gov/

Step 2: Select online services 

Step 3: Select create or register business

Step 4: Follow the prompts on the online form 

Step 5: Make a payment 

Step 6: Apply for EIN https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-se...

For Operating Agreement depending on the number of individuals and complication you can hire a professional to draw up the contract.

Cost Range: $100 - $300 (same day)

Hope the above helps!

Azeez K., Real Estate Agent in GA (#360027)

Wow! I didn’t realize so many people created their own LLCs. I read this book, “The RE Investors Guide to Corporations, LCCs, and Asset Protection Entities” by Richard T. Williamson, and it had recommended that an attorney set one up.... definitely have some more research to do. Thanks so much everyone for the recommendations. It’s been greatly appreciated. If anyone else has anything to add to the thread, I’m constantly checking.

Thanks again!

Hi folks, I'm a buy and hold guy, a few rentals being self managed. Have an S corp multi member LLC formed to be our Property Management entity, a multimember LLC as a pass through that is the owning / controling entity for our rentals that are all in trusts that I've gotten pretty good at writing, editing the new warrantee deed etc and having a local attorney file for around $50 each (just the filling fee plus a bit). I'm also a leader/mentor in my local REIA.

I've worked with trial attorneys, done deeper than most study into the quest to use LLCs to isolate risk...  Comments:

- the commonly formed single member LLC even if created by an attorney who's main benefits are: gives you a correctly written operating agreement AND importantly the registered agent being an attorney. Most don't realize that to a plaintif's attorney the defendant's LLC (you) being self created and you being the registered agent means amateur and the LLC will be blown up with no effort at all. Then there's the generic operating agreement lacking many of the important clauses that you need.

- The multi-member LLC, you and your wife (etc) where each are 50/50, not some weak sham of 99%/1% attempt at charging order protection (you've lost the suit and what you have to pay is called a charging order) protection is best in a 50/50 multimember where the sued member (the property manager) is protected by the other voting member voting NO don't pay that charging order. YOu need a propertly written operating agreement, you not co-mingle funds between the business checkiing acount and personal purposes (ever buy something for yourself with the business account;;;; poof that LLC is now easy to blow up). No annual minutes, signed and filed? Poof! Many other ways your LLC is not worth much, or as much as you think.

What's the solution?  Well #1 you need to be in a group of locals who are experienced.  As Bill above mentions the experienced folks are in REIAs, face to face, google groups of sharing contractors etc.

Use an attorney to form your LLCs. Lately I'm now using Legal Shield for $145 per LLC, the REIA I'm a member has a discounted cost. At this price its foolish to roll your own. Just my view.

Consider the costs to have a well known attorney as the registered agent as just another one time insurance policy payment. Most don't realize that the operating agreement doc is the "heart" of the LLC and a generic doc is almost useless re liability protection and the many other functions of running an LLC (a business).

Admittedly the multi member LLC needs a partnership IRS return per year. But this filing is simpler than you might think. I use turbo-tax.

=== after saying all that...

For new folks forming an LLC is the last thing you need to be working on. Build your rental portfolio first. I had around 15 rentals or so in our personal names some with mortgages (which won't let you close into an LLC) before I moved all into trusts and beneficial interests being the pass through multi member LLC. Why didn't I worry? Because:

- #1 have good liability insurance.  $1M liability per house is good.  American Family offers $2M standard.  Cost is about the same.

- #2 liability protection is:  fix the house safe!   Screen for nice / sane tenants.  IE rough area rentals, nutty / crazy tenants are the largest source of possible suits.  Buy nicer houses, screen for good tenants!

- #3 Be a good guy, nice landlord to your tenants.  Folks don't sue folks they like.  Genuine accidents that need coverage, now you have good insurance.  Trial attorneys 99.9999% stop at the limits of insurance because that is easiest.  

So much of this LLC for liability protection is both a mirage (doesn't really work that effectively if suied) and a guru pitch to be paid for some training. BUT I agree that entities for proper IRS tax regs is a real issue and great reasons to use S corps and multi member pass throughs to have rental houses show up on K-1's instead of Schedule E's (higher audit risk down on your 1040 / sched E's vs keeping rentals up in the partnership return....)

Best of luck.

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