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4 Elements of Real Estate Asset Protection

December 9, 2019

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boxing gloves to show the importance of protection when it comes to real estate

You should. Consider this: the value of your real estate holdings may be significant and can be used to cover damages awarded in a lawsuit. That's something you want to avoid. 

4 Important Elements of Real Estate Asset Protection

  1. Privacy of Ownership

Don't leave a property in your own name. Establish a land trust to hold the title to your property instead. Before a law firm makes a plan to pursue an individual, they usually run an asset check to see what is within reach. This is as simple as searching public records to see what you own. Thus, with your property titled to a properly drafted land trust, your name won't come up in a routine asset search. But, you can still sell, rent or refinance the property as you wish.

  1. Asset & Liability Protection

For real estate asset protection and limiting internal liability, establish a limited liability company or LLC. Make the LLC the beneficiary of the land trust holding the title to your investment property. Use a land trust alone for your personal residence.

  1. Equity Stripping

Set up a separate LLC to mortgage the equity in your investment property as a powerful deterrent to creditors. This is a publicly recorded equity line of credit type of mortgage or deed of trust recorded in the county recorder's office against each property. Doing this strips the equity out of your properties, making it impossible for someone to make a claim on that money.

  1. Estate Planning

Establish a living trust and take the beneficiary entities, such as LLCs, putting them into the living trust. This allows you to specify exactly who or what receives your real estate assets upon death. It can also reduce probate costs and could substantially reduce estate taxes. At this point, you have placed your investment property into land trusts.

As you can see, using the right tools in your quest for real estate asset protection can actually mitigate your liability. You will have placed multiple roadblocks effective against a legal opponent planning to pursue your assets . Of course, before implementing any of these tools, consult your legal or financial counsel.

You won't find any roadblocks if you work with me for any of your real estate needs in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara's upscale communities. Please call me at 805.886.9378 or email me at I'll happily add your property to my exclusive portfolio, find you the perfect investment property, and help you protect your new dream home!

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Client Reviews

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch