When you want to purchase commercial real estate from a business, you might find that an LLC—rather than an individual—owns the property.
Limited liability corporations serve several purposes. They can avoid profit-draining double taxation through pass-through deduction, reduce the number of administrative tasks companies perform, and relieve owners of personal liability.
Unfortunately, starting an LLC makes it harder for real estate investors to discover who owns a property. The company owner might not anticipate this situation, but it happens. As a result, you run into obstacles trying to find out who owns an LLC so you can make an offer on commercial real estate.
Don’t fret. Discovering who owns an LLC might take a few extra steps, but most companies list their owners in places you can browse easily. Before you give up, learn how to find out who owns a property so you can analyze their real estate and decide whether you want to make an offer.
Read the About Section of the Organization’s Website
If you’re lucky, you can find the owner of an LLC by visiting the company’s website and looking at its “About” section. Most LLCs don’t want to hide the identities of their owners. They just want legal protections and tax benefits. With nothing to hide, they might proudly display the name of the corporation’s owner or owners.
Before you bother contacting other organizations, take a few minutes to visit a company’s website to see what you can learn.
Contact Trade Associations
You can also contact trade associations to get information about an LLC’s owner. Some trade associations won’t give you data they consider “private.” Others consider connecting their members to other professionals as part of their jobs.
A trade association might not give you the contact information of the person who owns an LLC, but there’s a good chance that they will give you the company’s contact information and the owner’s name. From there, you just need to call the phone number and ask to speak with the owner. Depending on the LLC’s size, you might find yourself lost in a labyrinth of assistants – or the owner might answer on the first ring.
Some of the largest trade associations for you to contact include:
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- National Association of Home Builders
- American Management Association
- U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- American Hospital Association
- American Small Business Administration
If the LLC doesn’t belong to one of these groups, search the internet for trade associations within the company’s industry.
Search the Secretary of State’s Website
Assuming that you know the company’s state of incorporation, you can visit the Secretary of State’s website to browse LLCs in the area. Most Secretary of State websites have databases you can browse easily. Others will only give you accurate results when you know information like:
- The LLC’s exact name
- The LLC’s listed address
More often than not, the Secretary of State offers a straightforward way to find the information you need.
There are some potential complications, though. First, you might not know the LLC’s state of incorporation. An LLC based in Vermont can own commercial real estate in Florida, California, New York, and other states. Knowing that AcmeX, LLC owns a building in Ohio doesn’t mean you know where the company has filed its incorporation documents.
If you run into this problem, you might want to take a strategic approach to querying every Secretary of State website’s databases in the United States. It might take a long time. Then again, you could get lucky and find the right state quickly.
Second, Secretary of State databases do not have consistent formats or data. The information one state offers could look completely different from data offered by another state. Prepare to do some work, dig deep, and try to avoid frustration.
Use a CRE Database With Updated Information
A comprehensive CRE database that updates its information frequently gives you the easiest way to find out who owns an LLC. The CRE database may even include the official contact information of the LLC and the owner. That makes it much easier for you to approach the property owner with an offer to buy or invest in real estate.
The downside to using CRE databases is that many of them charge high subscription prices. Some of them also have outdated information because they don’t update their files frequently.
Save yourself a lot of time, money, and frustration by reviewing your CRE platform options before you make any commitments. The platform you choose could mean the difference between initiating and closing deals quickly or spending money on useless information that doesn’t get you any closer to finalizing an investment.
ProspectNow Makes It Easier to Find Who Owns an LLC
Before you start comparing CRE platforms, take a few minutes to browse ProspectNow’s features. Many commercial real estate buyers, sellers, and investors choose ProspectNow because our platform gives them accurate information that leads to successful deals.
ProspectNow’s database has listings for more than 40 million commercial properties and apartments. Perhaps more importantly, you can search the database for the owner names and contact information of 15 million LLCs and corporations. Forget about contacting an endless list of organizations and government agencies. ProspectNow gives you the contact info you need to start a positive relationship that leads to a successful real estate deal.
ProspectNow also uses predictive analytics to help you identify which properties are likely to sell in the near future. You can use predictive analytics to focus on likely sellers struggling to make loan payments, keep tenants in their retail centers, or fill their office spaces.
The sooner you contact the owner of an LLC with a failing real estate portfolio, the easier it becomes to purchase the property at a price that helps you generate a profit.
Get started with ProspectNow to get the expansive data you need to make informed, strategic movements in the commercial real estate industry.