Susan Keenberg turned me down.
I called her requesting a business lawyer to write up an agreement so that I could loan my mom's corporation money to remodel my apartment. She said, "I can't imagine how this is in your best interest. I can't help you..." but before she hung up, I talked her into an appointment. I figured if she's willing to turn down work for herself in others best interest, she's the kind of lawyer I'm looking for. And I was right... Susan is great.
At that point, Hiro and I had saved $160,000 toward buying a home of our own. Unfortunately, with the Torrance median home price at $700,000, and my inability to get a loan with no credit, it wasn't looking promising. (The irony of our financial system's version of trust is that if you manage your money so you don't need to borrow, there's no way to prove your solvency.) So when my mom was going to use her half of a 1031 transfer to purchase of a triplex in Torrance, Hiro and I had an amazing opportunity... if we could just navigate the legal details. We wanted to give our money to someone else to fix up a place we wouldn't own.
It sounds crazy at first; which is why Susan didn't want the task. But with the right legal documents in place, it's actually a remarkable inversion of the way homes are purchased. It's the "reverse mortgage"! Here's how it works.
Hiro and I make a 50-year loan to the corporation at a nominal interest rate of 3%.
While the loan is outstanding, Hiro and I have a right to first refusal of the apartment.
For me and Hiro, this is an amazing way to put our saved money into fixing up our place, without actually spending our money (it will come back eventually). In effect, we became the bank.
The corporation gets a miraculous upgrade of their property, long-term management and maintenance, and two tenants totally invested in their success.
After hearing all this, Susan was on board, and she worked diligently to draft the legal documents to protect me and Hiro. She also helped my mom with a few of the legal steps required on her side (registering the corporation in CA, for example). Susan is blunt about risks and helped us realize when we were insufficient in thinking through the details. In the end, we spent about $5000 to have Susan draft the necessary agreements. It was absolutely money well spent to secure our housing for the next 50 years through a miracle of reverse-mortgage!
If you're in Torrance and need a business lawyer, Hiro and heartily recommend Susan Keenberg.