Real Estate is one of the most popular Self-Directed IRA investments due to its high growth potential and stable returns. Many investors have come to it after seeing their market-based portfolios fluctuate due to volatile market forces. Seeking relief from these precipitous changes, they turn to investments such as real estate which offer steadier and more predictable account growth. Additionally, many savvy real estate investors want to apply their business know-how to their IRAs.
The IRS allows individuals to invest in real estate, but retirement investors must be careful not to engage in any Prohibited Transactions. The rules do not dictate WHAT kind of real estate one can purchase, but rather WHO the IRA can transact with. The general rule of thumb is that transacting with third parties is allowed while transacting with close family members and closely held entities – referred to as Disqualified Persons – is not. For real life examples and additional information on Prohibited Transactions, please refer to this article: Prohibited Transactions.
When an IRA purchases real estate, title is held in the name of the custodian for the benefit of the IRA: “Madison Trust Company Custodian FBO [Your Name][Madison Trust Account #]”.
One can obtain financing for an IRA investment; however, the loan must be structured as a non-recourse loan. This means that the loan is backed exclusively by property, and not by an IRA holders’ s personal guarantee. The lender’s sole recourse in the case of default is the real property. One cannot personally guarantee a loan issued to their IRA, as doing so benefits their IRA and constitutes a prohibited transaction. Additionally, the loan must be issued by a non-disqualified entity.