Table of Contents - Canadian Lawyer in the USA for Real Estate with Lauren Cohen
Dave Debeau [00:00:08] Hey, everyone, Dave Debeau here with another episode of the Property Profits Real Estate podcast today, zooming in all the way from sunny Florida. Is it Sunny?
Lauren Cohen [00:00:21] It's sunny right now. It's sunny and super hot.
Dave Debeau [00:00:24] Super hot Florida. We've got Lauren Cohen. And I'm very excited about our interview today because Lauren is a very impressive person in many ways for us Canadian real estate enthusiasts, if you've ever been interested. In investing south of the border down in the US of A. this is a very good person to know because Lorena's Canadian originally born and raised and I still am, I'm never giving that up. All right. All right. Well, born and raised in Toronto, living down in Florida, she's been doing this for a long time. And here's a cool thing. She is a lawyer down in the States, focuses on real estate stuff primarily. She's also a realtor. So she understands real estate. And more importantly for us, she is a cross border specialist. Now, why is this important? Because the rules and regulations, the way things are done, real estate investing wise down in the states are different than in Canada. And there's a lot more involved legally down there, especially for foreigners to invest properly in Canada. And chances are, if you've taken a stab at this in the past, you've taken any training or anything like this. You've heard about the litigation issues down in the States. You've learned about the having to cover your assets a lot more down in the States. You've heard about double taxation, get whacked by the IRS and then having what little profits end up in Canada, get whacked again by the CIA, all this kind of stuff. And that scares a lot of Canadians away from investing in the states. And quite frankly, you know, there's a lot of mixed information because if I'm preaching to the choir, Laura, I'm sorry I'm taking so much time here, but it's really important because I've seen this over and over again that Canadians going down, taking real estate training from an American guru and then they tell them, here's how you need to get set up corporate wise so they don't follow those instructions, but they don't take into account how that transfers back to Canada. So, yeah, that structure that's set up will work perfectly well for an American citizen, but not for a Canadian citizen investing and stuff in the state. So I'm really looking forward to finding out a little bit more about that, Lauren. So thank you very much for being on the call today.
Lauren Cohen [00:03:01] It's my pleasure, David, and it's actually great to be here. I think we have so many synergies and I've been kind of learning a little bit about your your amazing system and certainly fits in well, because I've been helping clients, not just real estate investors, but helping clients figure out how to raise money for many, many years. And you've created this amazing system to simplify it. It's a complicated process, definitely. And especially when you're going across borders and I think you've hit the nail on the head. Is that just like an American investing in Canada, you can't just be you can't just have a guy or a navigator that's specific to that country that you're investing in. You have to have somebody that understands the laws of the country that you live in as well as the country you're investing in, because there's very different rules and regulations like, for example, ten thirty one exchange. I'm pretty sure it's ten thirty one. So just to briefly state ten thirty one exchanges. Basically when you take a like in client property and you sell it and you transfer the the revenues to another property right away within identified within forty five days and close within 180 days. So Canadians, well Americans and foreign investors have access to this and there's some issues about it through the election. But for now there's unfettered access to this provided that you need the conditions of one exchange. So Canadians would apply for this and receive the the approvals or the the prospect, the process would be approved by the IRS and then would be disqualified in Canada. But there are ways to get around that. There are ways that if you create the right infrastructure and corporate structure, you can, as a Canadian, use your Canadian company to qualify for temporary went. Well, the people here in the US are very I mean, we know most Americans are centered on America. If that were the be all and end all like Toronto. Right. And and they don't look outside. So you're kind of looking, well, this is what works here. But then when you go to the CIA and they're like, oh, sorry. And then they're like all upset because they were advised of X. So these are the important elements and all of those tax issues that are it's truly got to be a holistic crossborder approach that covers everything, not just taxes or investments or financing or where to choose the properties. It's everything all in one. And that's definitely an important feature.
Dave Debeau [00:05:33] So, Lauren, just very, very briefly, tell us, how the heck did you end up in sunny southern Florida? Oh, how did how did you end up down at.
Lauren Cohen [00:05:43] Oh, that story. Well, OK, so originally I was married to a person who was setting up his Toronto company in Florida for his boss, so way back in the 90s feels like literally a lifetime ago I came down here with him and lived here for three years. I didn't like it, but I created some relationships, moved back to Toronto, back home still. And I didn't like the cold because once you've been exposed to this, it's very hard to live with the winter, especially in Toronto, maybe not Vancouver so much. So I came back in 2001 and started a business with my old boss and we started that business right before 9/11. And needless to say, we weren't able to raise capital for the business needs a lot of capital. It was the health care complaints company. But I've been here ever since two thousand one. And the reason that I got into what I'm doing now is I was married again, have a very interesting marriage track record. I got married the second time and went on our honeymoon to Thailand. And on the way back, by the way, he was Canadian, but I met him in the US and on the way back from our honeymoon, he was expeditiously removed, deported and barred from entry to the US. So that's in my book. It's the purpose of my book. And that's actually what pushed me into the immigration world. And I had been writing business plans for many years and started being the specialist on business investment in using a business investment to obtain a visa and then got my real estate license and started tying all the pieces together. So I know that there's a lack of expertize in this area. And my goal is to take away the pain and bring that expertize it's not all through me. But I know I know the people to stay away from. I have enough partners if we don't have them in a particular location, we met them and we get them. And part of the beauty of having that real estate license, as well as a law license and by the way, and still lives in Ontario. So it gives you that comprehensive credibility as well as that comprehensive knowledge base and the ability to look under the hood of things and help people with that holistic approach.
Dave Debeau [00:07:54] So, Lauren, if it's OK with you, let's look at a a sample situation and maybe you can just walk us through thirty thousand foot perspective on how this would look. So let's say we've got somebody from Ontario wants to buy a condo in Sunny, an investment condo in sunny southern Florida. And they want to rent it out. They want to use it as an investment property. What would you recommend or what do you suggest they do it set things up properly from the get go so they're not getting whacked with double taxation and as simple as possible. What does that look like?
Lauren Cohen [00:08:41] So it is at the end of the day, all about the right professionals guiding you. And I don't I don't work alone. So I work with a tax expert both in Canada. I have to tax experts I work with in Canada that are specialists in cross-border don't guide on us stuff, but guide on setting up for cross-border and then US tax people as well. And so what generally I would recommend is you definitely would be using a Canadian entity, not a person, not you personally, but a Canadian entity to make the investments and then to set up a corporation. You set up some type of a corporation in Canada so that you have a shield of protection between you and the company. And also that's going to put you in a much better tax situation, especially when it comes to investing and having access to these opportunities. The US, then we would figure out what state you want to invest in. And there I'm sorry, you said Florida. So that doesn't necessarily mean that you have to have a corporate entity in Florida. But it's easier if you do. We can set it up in Wyoming. That's a great tax haven place. Haven is not the right word, but where we can set you up in Florida, which is not a bad tax place actually to tax taxes here are really favorable. People just don't realize that they care about Delaware and Wyoming and Texas and Nevada. But really and truly, Florida is a great place to set up a company. So they would set up that entity and then make the purchase using a team of experts like the real estate attorney and the realtor and the mortgage people. And we would then figure out, is this going to be one and done or is it is this the first of many? And we would create a strategy. So I have a real estate investor strategic plan that I've created. We're just modifying it to automate it properly. And within that strategic plan, we create this plan for how you want to invest in the US. Is this one and done or is this your first of 20 investments? Do you eventually want to be able to live and work in the US? Do you never want to come to the US? How does that look? Because there are visas available for people that want a visa and then those visas available for people that need a visa. So what's the difference? Wanting a visa is because you may want to live or work in the US. Needing a visa is because you do so much business in the US that you need, that you have the ease of transport back and forth and also so that you can have a Social Security number potentially set up a U.S. bank account without without challenges. And so so it's all about that holistic approach. So if this is your one and done, we make that investment, we get you set up with a management company. And the truth is that what we do is bring all of those aspects to you so you don't really have to think. And at the end of the day, what we're what our goal is for you as the investor is to just collect your rent at the end of each month, OK? And eventually that rent will turn into more and we'll turn into more and then you can buy another property. So most investors, I would say 90 percent of the investors that come my way are not looking for one and done, but are looking for multiple, are looking for multifamily. We're setting up their bids. And then that's a different story because we let's say you do want to live and work here or have the freedom to do that, then we set you up for that, whether it's today or tomorrow, so that you have that flexibility available to you based on your investments.
Dave Debeau [00:12:06] Very, very cool. So with that, in this second scenario where you're looking to buy multiple properties and thinking, hey, you know what, maybe eventually it'd be nice to. Live in Canada, Lauren Cohen lifestyle, the wintering down in the states and summering back home or what have you. I wish, but
Lauren Cohen [00:12:27] for all of it I would be there. But yes,
Dave Debeau [00:12:30] but how would that would you have multiple corporations in the states for
Lauren Cohen [00:12:35] you might. But what is important is if you are planning to apply for a visa, then all have to be under a holding company, because at the end of the day, that's the one that's going to quote unquote apply for the visa with you as the beneficiary. So generally speaking, when you're applying for a treaty investor treaty, trade or Visa, I'm not sure. I think I shared my book with you, but I'll share the link for my book. A treaty investor is a substantial investment in a non marginal business, and a treaty trader is there to trade back and forth goods and services with your home country. So let's say, for example, decided to do this and you have still you still running your Canadian business and you are renting services or renting you from your Canadian business, then that could be a TV trade. So if you're applying for one of those visas, then you would use that as the baseline to develop your your business and be able to have the freedom of movement again back and forth between the two countries. So it's super important that that you have this in mind, because if you are building multiple properties, you want to make sure that you have that kind of parent company that has the relationship with the Canadian company depending on the visa, and that has ownership or some type of relationship with all of those subsidiary or affiliate companies so that they can show that the parent is the one that's fine because the beneficiary, like Dave Debeau, can't apply for any two. But David Debeau Inc or Corp can apply for the EU to data both as the beneficiary who then gets to work for the company.
Dave Debeau [00:14:16] I think I'm starting to understand why there are so many lawyers in the United States,
Lauren Cohen [00:14:22] so and let me tell you something about that. So there's a lot of us and there's a lot of lawyers in Canada. And one thing that has come to bear very, very much so, especially when I work with very high profile Canadian Canadian visa applicants, is that there's there are a lot of US lawyers or wannabe US lawyers in Canada that are practicing U.S. immigration law and they're giving advice. Again, it's kind of like you mentioned at the beginning, they're giving advice and a little bit of a vacuum. And I've had so many experiences with people that are let's let's say their fee is the same as mine and Canadian dollars. And somebody goes to them because they want to save a few dollars. Great. But then at the end of the day, they're denied. There's a sample of this on my website. A client of mine was denied twice and then approved because I got gotten through the process. And this is what I do because I'm dealing with not just the immigration side of the business and the real estate. And a lot of it's very unfortunate because a lot of people are shopping for price versus value. And when you're a real estate investor, you don't want to shop for price and value in your properties, but always look for value in your team.
Dave Debeau [00:15:39] Yeah, definitely. You go you get what you pay for. That's what you always do the hard way. That's part of the reason for a lot of these gray hairs.
Lauren Cohen [00:15:48] Don't tell me about it. Mine is do they sparkle?
Dave Debeau [00:15:52] Time flies when we're having fun. We'll have to have you back and die a little bit more in depth on this. But in the meantime, if people want to find out more about you, maybe get a copy of your book or reach out to you. What's the best way for them to do that?
Lauren Cohen [00:16:05] So there are many ways I am big on LinkedIn, Dave. It's LinkedIn, backslash and backslash e council. E c o u n c i l i. And see what you can reach me and I'll give you my personal, you know, just because it's easier. Lauren s q you are in queue at Gmail dot com and then I have a new website we've just launched e council global dot com back slash invest in the US and you can see some videos there and some testimonials. E Council, global dot com backslash invest in the US
Dave Debeau [00:16:44] this episode as well.
Lauren Cohen [00:16:45] So OK, great. And I would I'm happy to offer a free exploratory session to anybody that mentions that they've come for you. That's fifteen minutes and I'll tell you what and fifteen minutes I'll laser focus on what you possibly could do. I just did this with a Calgarian this morning. She's like, wow, I didn't think of all that. And it's because I've been doing this for a lot of years. This is what I do day in and day out. And not every Canadian investor is used to dealing with us.
Dave Debeau [00:17:12] And that's that's the big challenge, right? Yeah. It's so different.
Lauren Cohen [00:17:16] It's so different. And thinking that it's not is wrong. Even like the banking system. I remember when I first came here and I was trying to use postdated checks. What is the post day to check that? I know what it is. I'm just thinking of this yesterday. There are a lot more differences than you realize. And that's one of the reasons that Canadians love working with me, is because I am Canadian. So you know that you're in good hands and I'm going to really have your back. And I, I do. I mean, I take my role and my obligation very seriously. I have to say more for Canadians than anybody else just to put your my people
Dave Debeau [00:17:52] on the board. Thank you so much. Appreciate your input and look forward to chatting with you again.
Lauren Cohen [00:17:57] Thank you, Dave. It's been a pleasure.
Dave Debeau [00:17:59] All right. Take care of us, you on the next episode. Well, hey there. Thanks for tuning into the Property Profits podcast. If you like this episode, that's great. Please go ahead and subscribe on iTunes. Give us a good review. That would be awesome. I appreciate that. And if you're looking to attract investors and raise capital for your deals, that may invite you to get a complimentary copy of my newest book right back there. There is the money partner formula. You got a PDF version at Investor Attraction book, dot com again, investor attraction book, dot com ticker.