There are a number of reasons for forming LLCs. Some are about protecting assets and keeping them separate. In most states, forming an LLC is relatively easy. You fill out a form, file it with the State (usually the Secretary of State’s office), pay the fee and renew the paperwork and fees every year. It is so simple that you can get an agency to handle it all for you for a nominal fee, including the annual renewal. Many people do not realize the Public Relations scrutiny that may be avoided while using this method.
As an example, in California you can file an LLC for less than $100, but they also have a minimum $800 annual fee separate from the filing and renewal costs.
Okay, so now you know some basic information about forming an LLC, why do you need one for your personal residence?
New websites are popping up that share personal information and details through Google and other search engines. One such website is blockshopper.com, which specifically targets high value and famous individual’s purchases of real property. The information listed includes the price paid for the property and address.
Now, let’s say your business is facing some hard decisions. But you are taking advantage of lower prices and interest rates to purchase a new home or vacation property. If you make the purchase in your name, employees can search to see what you bought and how much you paid. The business and your personal finances are not the same, but that is not going to stop the grumbling or added morale issues at the office when even one person finds the information. You know it won’t stay with just that person!
All of the drama can be avoided quite easily if you have taken that added step of forming an LLC and then buying the property in the name of the LLC. It also may save you big time if there is any PR crisis that happens afterward. You being innocent won’t stop people commenting on your spending habits. Search engines and such websites make your real estate purchases a public matter, and that makes it a public relations one too.
Of course, real estate investment properties should probably be done using an LLC or similar entity for purposes of protecting each investment from liabilities that may arise with other investments.