This morning I ran across Gene Balk’s article in the Seattle Times, “Your new neighbor in the house next door might just be an LLC” (http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/your-new-neighbor-in-the-house-next-door-might-just-be-an-llc/). The piece comments on a surge in the number of King County, Washington homes that are owned by limited liability companies (LLCs). According to Balk, since 2002, the number of LLCs listed as owners of residential homes has more than tripled and foreign investors have shown keen interest in Seattle. Balk notes that limited liability companies are often created to hold real estate investments.
Particularly interesting is the mapping of LLC-owned residences in King County that is included in the article. There are probably twenty to thirty of them just within a mile of the property-crazed neighborhood in which I have been the victim of a real estate mobbing for more than thirty months.
Balk quotes John Hempelmann of Cairncross & Hepelmann with a real estate practice: “People were buying homes left and right and flipping them… Obviously it dropped off dramatically during the Great Recession, but it’s back on again.” According to Balk, LLC ownership of homes in King County increased by 800 in the last year.
A quick check of some nearby homes in my own neighborhood did not reveal LLCs although Balk’s map indicates some are in the area. Some of those associated with the mobbing house to the south formed corporations before the south mobbing house owner acquired the south house, which was within a couple of months of when the north mobbing house changed hands. The attorney chum of the south mobbing house owner, the skanky attorney who has participated in the mobbing harassment and represented the nasty neighborhood watch lady and his buddy in court seems to have done the legal work for at least one of the corporations. The franchise family girlfriend of the south mobbing house owner was also involved in the formation of a corporation with her own family in the same years after the Great Recession. According to King County records available to me, the mobbing houses are held by two single men and not by LLCs.
While the Balk article states that foreign investors prefer the LLC because it shields them not only from liability from debt but from the IRS, such transactions require cash. If a cash transaction is not desirable, favorable terms are more likely to be had by private individuals who might seek to dwell in their “investment homes” as they remodel, rebuild, and wait for values to increase before flipping them.
The FBI offers an information page on the real estate schemes they investigate at https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime/mortgage-fraud.