In the planning stage of becoming a REI

I am currently an Information Technology professional who is preparing to enter the world of REI. I am currently researching, getting as much knowlwedge as I can from a variety of sources, such as this forum, websites, books, conferences, etc. I plan on starting an LLC to begin conducting business early this year. In addition I will be joing the local real estate investment club in my city (Cincinnati). One goal is to donate 10% of my earnings to the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. However, I have a few newbie questions, please forgive me if they are very basic.

  1. If I plan on beginning by placing properties under contract to resale to another investor, how and when would I actually get paid. Basically, what is the step-by-step process of this type of transaction. I understand that me getting paid involves an escrow company, however I don’t really understand what their role is in the proccess or who choses the escrow company.

  2. I understand and agree with forming and LLC and using trusts to protect identity and assets. However, I notice that some investors have an LLC but also on their business cards, they list themselves as the President, CEO, Operator, etc. Doesn’t this then tie them to the company in the event of a future lawsuit?