You start an LLC by filing an "Articles of Organization" and paying a fee to the Secretary of State. For financing you'll also need to create an Operating Agreement which states the rights responsibilities of the LLC owners (if it's just you then it'll be simple). Processing time usually takes a couple weeks.
on "Starting a Business".
LLC lending, Non-Personal Borrowing Entity, or "Entity Vesting" lending, is a tough to find nowadays. Just a few years ago there was a slew of lenders doing it - World Savings, ABConduit, Bank United, and Washington Mutual were the 4 most popular. Bank United is the only one of those 4 still around today, and last I checked they didn't have their entity vesting program anymore. I know of a lender in Washington state that does them still, 65-75% LTV, 30-year fixed rate's in the 6's, they lend all over the western U.S. except for California. I suspect that there could be some lenders in California still permitting it, but it would be similar or lower LTV's. Financing in your personal name could result in just as little as 10% down, but for best terms 25% or more is suggested.
Other than insulating yourself from personal liability (like someone slipping & falling - which you may want to check into liability insurance for), were there other items you were looking to accomplish by buying in an LLC rather than your name? Realize that you are still required to be a personal guarantor, so putting property in an LLC doesn't limit your liability from that debt.