The Real Estate Developer Guide to Creative Real Estate IRA Investing

While many people want to use the power of a self-directed IRA for real estate investing, they often feel they can’t get started because they don’t have enough money in their plan. Thankfully, there are several creative ways to bring your real estate transaction to fruition even when your situation is less than perfect. Even if you are low on funds in your self-directed IRA you can still become a real estate investor. You just need to use some creative real estate investing techniques. While the IRS does have strict rules for self-directed IRA’s, it still allows for considerable flexibility in growing the plan’s assets.

Partner Up Instead of Going Alone

There is nothing to stop you from partnering with someone else when making self-directed IRA real estate investments. While you on your own may not be ready to become a real estate developer, there are many opportunities waiting for your investment. You can go in jointly with other IRA plans, investors, or even invest with companies that in turn invest in real estate. You can even partner with disqualified persons that you otherwise could not perform transactions with. Together you can jointly own property. Creative real estate tactics like partnering with others also gives you the chance to learn from more experienced investors. The rules governing IRAs require that you only pay fees and costs of the investment in proportion with the plan’s percentage of ownership in the property and receive the same percentage of the profits. If you are a 10% owner, your self-directed IRA must pay 10% of the fees and costs and receive only 10% of the profits.

Leveraging the Property

If you find yourself with a cash shortfall and no partners, you IRA could potentially take out a mortgage to increase purchasing power.  The IRS does allow you to leverage plan assets so long as it is not for personal use and the money is used to acquire further investments for your self-directed IRA. The best practice is to get a non-recourse loan, one that uses the property as collateral and keeps the lender from coming after you, your other assets, or the assets of the IRA in case of default. While these loans are more difficult to locate and acquire, for the creative real estate investor, they are still available.  It is important to note additional taxes may apply on the portion of profits derived from using leverage.


Don’t let the idea that you don’t have enough money in your self-directed IRA keep you from starting your path as a real estate developer; you have options. Creative real estate investors can even transfer money from old 401(k) plans as well as employ other strategies such as investing in real estate related notes to grow their portfolios.  Start getting creative! If you’d like to learn more about real estate IRA investing, please contact New Direction Trust Company at 877-742-1270 or