Grow Your IRA: Invest in Real Estate
If you have recently taken a look at the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and other publications, you already probably know how companies are choosing real estate over stocks, and for good reason. In many markets real estate has been in an all-time low that has, in fact, dragged on for almost 30 years. This means that if you invest in real estate now, you’re likely to get a better return down the road.
The question here is, why is the stock market still the top choice for many Americans looking to grow their IRAs and 401s?
The honest answer is: they don’t know any better.
Our team at NOCO Invest would like to help you make informed decisions on growing your retirement fund. But before we dive into the granular details, we’d like to leave a reminder that we’re not financial advisors. This guide is for informational purposes only, and by no means should it be meant to function as financial, legal, or tax advice. It’s always still best to consult your professional advisors when making financial decisions.
Self-Directed IRA for Real Estate
Self-Directed IRA has been around for a while. It came about as people realized that IRAs aren’t earning as much as they want it to, sometimes even causing them to lose money. With this realization, people started looking into ways to earn better returns with the same IRA.
Enter “self-directed IRA”.
Self-directed IRA is a retirement account with the same tax benefits as any normal IRA. Only, it offers more flexibility in terms of what you choose your IRA to be invested in.
On top of normal options for investing your IRA such as stocks, some of your other options include:
- Real estate (e.g. income generating rental property, rehab, commercial property)
- Real estate options
- Promissory Notes secured by mortgages (e.g. private lending)
- Limited partnerships
- Sub-C corporations
- Tax lien certificates
- Some types of precious metals
Self-directed IRA allows you to use your IRA to buy investment real estate or be a private lender in the real estate industry.
Are There Restrictions?
Definitely. There are restrictions that guide what you can and can’t do with the real estate if you choose to buy and hold.
Prohibited SDRI transactions are generally defined as the improper use of IRA assets by the owner (in this case, you), or by your beneficiary, or any other party who may be identified as a “disqualified person.”
There are too many definite examples of prohibited transactions to be put in a single list, but general principles exist. For example, you cannot use your IRA to buy assets or stocks from a disqualified person, lend or borrow from a disqualified person, or buy stocks in a corporation with a disqualified person controlling the interest.
The IRS defines a “disqualified person” as an individual who may have control over assets, investments, disbursements, and receipts –people who may have the ability to influence investment decisions. This may include your spouse, account fiduciaries, lineal descendants, and the spouses of lineal descendants
Often, the “custodian” of the SDIRA has a say on what they believe you can and should invest in.
Self-Directed IRA Custodians
The US Government came up with the SDIRA provision to allow investors more flexibility and control over their investments while still getting tax benefits. At the same, custodians exist to prevent people from setting up SDIRAs and simply doing whatever they want with it.
The custodian can be a bank, trust company, credit union, or any entity licensed and regulated by the IRS as a “non-bank custodian.” For many, it is the same entity their IRA is with. Custodians function as a middleman for when you’re about to make an investment.
SDIRA custodians usually have set guidelines on what you can invest in and a timeline for when you can make your money work for you after they have approved the investment. Each of these entities has its own set of regulations. Some are more lenient and may let you have a checkbook so you can issue SDIRA checks for your investments. Some charge relatively higher fees in exchange for a bit more flexibility.
The right custodian is key. And as your SDIRA company also serves as your custodian, it pays to do your homework before deciding on one.
What To Ask A Self-Directed IRA Company
As has been mentioned earlier, it’s important to choose the right SDIRA company. Here are some questions you’d want to ask your SDIRA before you work with them:
- What are your fees? Fees can vary significantly. Some companies charge you an annual fee based on your account’s value while some may charge large setup fees. Look for quotes that you can compare. The idea is, after you have invested in real estate, to be able to make up for the fees through higher returns.
- What’s your approval process for investments? Some companies take at least 30 days to fund an investment after they receive it for approval. Some SDIRAs give you “true checkbook control,” so you can write checks from your IRA account. This allows you immediate to your IRA funds and, consequently, to close deals quickly. Checkbook control is relatively more expensive to set up than usual IRA account. But checkbook control may require less time to set up, as usual IRA accounts usually go through the custodian approval processes — which can sometimes get lengthy.
- Do you have investment restrictions? Find out of the company has restrictions on what you may invest in. SDIRAs with larger and more traditional companies may put restrictions on what your account may invest in. In addition, not all companies allow investing in real estate.
- Can my retirement account “roll over” into an SDIRA? Not all retirement accounts can be rolled over into an SDIRA. But most IRAs, and even some 401(k)s can be.
- How long does it take you to get an account up and running? It may take weeks or even over a month for some companies to complete your account setup and ready for investment. If you intend to use your IRA to invest in real estate, work on having it rolled over into a SDIRA account the soonest time possible. You don’t have to wait until you find a good real estate deal before having your account rolled over. Getting started today allows you to have funds at the ready when you need them.
Get Off the Sidelines: Make Your Money Work for You
A self-directed IRA may be a great option if you’re looking to allocate part of your retirement fund in investment options you ‘re familiar with and can take full control, rather than in the unpredictable stock market. If you’re looking to take the SDIRA path, take some time to learn about its pros and cons.
If you’re interested in working with us as an investor, call NOCO Invest anytime at (970) 325-3265. You may also reach out to our team through our contact form. Leave us your questions and we’ll reach out to you the soonest time possible.
We offer an impressive selection of discount investment properties in Fort Collins and the surrounding areas, and we’ve worked with investors like you who purchased a property and kept them as rentals. We also encourage qualified investors looking to explore private lending to connect with us, so we can talk about our process working with private lenders as well.
NOCO Invest is here as a resource for you, so please don’t hesitate to connect with us anytime.