Many self-directed IRA investors have purchased real estate and for good reasons. Real estate is a tangible asset that most people have had experience with, either through purchasing their own home or working as a real estate professional. Real estate is also an asset which rarely loses its entire value, unlike some investments which have that potential downside. While real estate is a very accessible asset, investors do need to be mindful of the various strategies when it comes to investing with their retirement funds. Knowing these strategies can help you achieve your retirement goals.
IRAs can invest in many types of real estate, from commercial office buildings to single-family residences to farm land. Deciding what type of real estate you want to invest in is the first step to forming your real estate strategy. Your personal expertise, along with your ultimate goal for your IRA-owned real estate can help you make this determination. For example, an account holder with experience in owning rental property wants to retire in Hawaii. This investor may decide to use their IRA to purchase and rent out a single-family home in Hawaii with the goal of taking the property as a distribution upon reaching retirement age.
After deciding what type of real estate to purchase, the account holder will need to decide how to fund the purchase. The most straightforward method of purchasing property is for the IRA to pay for the property outright, however if the account does not have the full purchase price there are options. The IRA can decide to partner with another IRA, with the IRA holder personally, with another person, or with an entity such as an LLC. If a partnership is not an attractive strategy for you, your IRA can apply for a non-recourse loan to fund the purchase. These loans are not personally guaranteed and, as such, often have higher interest rates and require a larger down payment than loans that have a personal guarantee. A real estate purchase can also be made through investing in an entity. This strategy usually sees multiple IRAs and/or other investors buying into an entity which then purchases a property.
Another strategy involves how the property will generate returns for the IRA. The real estate may be rented out with the IRA collecting monthly rental income, or the property may simply be left to appreciate in value. While the real estate is in the account, the IRA holder and their disqualified persons cannot personally use or perform any improvements on the property.
Once you reach age 59.5, you are able to take distributions from your IRA without the 10% penalty. This milestone presents the opportunity to strategize how the real estate will be distributed from your account. One option allows the account holder to distribute the entire property in-kind by retitling the deed from the IRA to the account holder personally. At this point, you are free to use the real estate as a primary residence or vacation home, or you can choose instead to continue renting the property and personally collect the rental income. If the property was purchased with a Roth IRA, you will be able to make a qualified distribution of the property without having to pay taxes on that distribution.
You may elect instead to take cash distributions out of the IRA. If the property is rented it can be left in the IRA and the account holder may instead distribute the rental income as needed. Another option is to sell the property and take the cash proceeds of the sale as a distribution.
Self-directed IRA real estate investing is becoming more and more popular. While real estate is an asset that many account holders are familiar with, knowing and understanding the many strategies associated with this investment can help you make the most of your retirement.