As far as putting title in a LLC to avoid your wife from having a vested interest in the property, you better consult an attorney.
Kawain Payne, Realtor
1) Check with a Lawyer. Get sound advice that you know is accurate and correct. Remember Real Estate Agents have Licenses with the State of California to practice Real Estate, not law.
2) California is a Community Property State.
3) LLC financing will be more difficult with lenders because of who will be holding legal vesting/title to the property.
Seek council and get proper legal advice and speak to a few lenders to determine the ease of getting a residential loan without to many hurdles.
Keep in mind that it's extremely difficult to buy a property using an LLC. It's easy to buy a property, then transfer it into an LLC, but it's very difficult to persuade any lender to lend to an LLC.
You might also consider using an Illinois-style land trust in the same way. It's in some ways more secure than an LLC.
What you might be able to do--and, again, this is not legal or accounting advice--is find someone willing to keep their equity intact for a while; they don't need their cash out immediately. The property owner (with your assistance and guidance) creates a land trust. He/she then transfers the property into his/her land trust. That's simple and painless.
Then, you purchase part or all of the land trust. If you don't have the money initially, you can purchase--or receive--say a 10% interest in the trust as a beneficiary. If you were living there, you'd be the resident beneficiary. If you were living there, there'd also be a possessory agreement, similar to a lease. And there'd be a separate agreement specifying under what conditions the property could be brought out of the trust so that you could purchase it. However, that may not be an issue; you can have the same/equivalent rights through control of a land trust that you can with ownership of the actual property.
Feel free to contact me for more information. Or check out the link below.
First thing first first, This is NOT being legal advice you should seek the advice of an attorney's advice to be certain..
Second, i believe it is possible. however, the wife cannot enjoy any of the benefits of it or benefit in any way because at some point, she may be able to later claim that she is entitled to it as part of the marital estate
any property acquired while married can, theoretically, be considered community property.
Courts really frown on this and will, if they have to, try and find ways to include it in the community estate.
Hope this is helpful. As I mentioned an attorney would be your best bet. If you need a reffera to one, just let me know.