Q: I am buying my first investment house in the U.S. I also own an apartment in London that is a rental property. I am thinking about taking out a mortgage on that property.
I am familiar with UK tax rules, but not U.S. rules. I need to find someone who can advise me, who is very smart and can think through an unusual situation with me.
They don’t need to know about UK tax at all (I can take care of that end), but they do need to know a lot about rental properties and mortgage tax deductibility here in the U.S.
Do you have any recommendations for me? Thank you in advance for any help.
A: The policy of this column is to not recommend individuals and companies, because it’s difficult to stay on top of so many different professionals. But, I can give you a few suggestions on how to find the right person to assist you in this endeavor.
First, choose someone local. So, if you’re in Boston, you’ll want to find someone who really knows the specifics of Massachusetts law as well as the IRS rules and regulations. If you’re in Seattle, you’d want to find someone there.
Next, ask your friends and colleagues for help in finding a good real estate attorney and a good tax person. Referrals are a terrific way to find the right person to assist you. Just be sure to ask them only for referrals to people with whom they had a great experience — you’d be surprised how many people will pass on names of folks with whom they have had just a so-so or even perfectly awful relationship.
Finally, do your due diligence. Make sure the state commission that regulates attorneys and tax professionals in your state doesn’t have any complaints against this individual. Talk to some of their other clients. Make sure they’ve had a good experience.
When you sit down with the lawyer or tax person, ask a lot of questions. Be sure you get your questions answered in a way that makes sense to you. And don’t confuse quality with price. You don’t have to go with the most expensive professional, but you probably shouldn’t use the cheapest one you find either.