How to invest in real estate using an Individual Retirement Account, IRA (Part 3 of 4)
Traditional retirement accounts, like a 401(k) or an IRA, can be powerful when the economy is strong and businesses are experiencing growth. This is due to the stocks and bonds that are typically bought and sold through these typical investment strategies. However, what happens when the economy is not so strong and stocks are struggling? This is when a self-directed IRA can come into play.
A self-directed IRA gives individuals a chance to buy other assets such as gold and even real estate. These accounts charge an annual fee that can reach up to $300 per year. The ability to buy and sell real estate has led to the growth in popularity of these accounts in the past few years.
The real estate decline from the last several years has led to many homes being rented out instead of selling at top prices as the owners had hoped. This is a great environment for investors to come in and make a fair offer on a property and add the home to their portfolio.
Ignorance of Tax Law Can Be Costly
This is not to say that a self-directed IRA is just a large checking account to be used to buy assets. The complexity of these accounts makes any financial mistake quite costly in the form of penalties assessed by the IRS.
A person cannot receive any type of benefit from the account prior to age 59 ½. This sounds vague, and it actually covers quite a bit of territory.
For instance, the owner of the self-directed IRA cannot live in a property owned by the account nor can they receive rent payments from the property. If the rental property is in need of a repair or property tax payment that money must come from the IRA.
Self-directed IRA’s also prevent the use of a mortgage to purchase a home.
Cash is King
Because of these restrictions most transactions that occur through a self-directed IRA are handled with cash. The majority of individuals will have a small number of properties in their portfolio. It is quite common for people to purchase either a duplex or a four-plex in order to maximize the rent payments coming to the account.
This is advantageous in two ways. First, a cash deal makes the whole process much quicker. There is no waiting on a mortgage approval from a lender. The person buying the home can choose the appraiser and title company and make their own decision based on the information provided. Secondly, buyers are in a very strong position when they can offer all-cash payment, right now, to an interested seller. Many sellers are willing to offer a discount for the promise of cash.
This is Part 3 of a 4 Part Series.