September 16, 2015

That modest country cabin nestled down by the lake at your favorite vacation spot has finally been put on the market. It’s a regular fixer-upper, but you know a little love and hard work could transform the property into a beautiful modern getaway for renters year-round.

You plan to use your self-directed IRA to fund the investment so you can enjoy future gains on a tax-deferred basis. You understand this means you (and your family members who count as disqualified persons) will not be able to stay in the lake house; at least not unless you decide to keep the property after you reach the distribution age of your IRA account (for a Traditional and Roth IRA, that’s age 59.5), in addition to paying taxes on the property at distribution.

You contact your self-directed IRA administrator, New Direction IRA, to inform your client representative about your exciting investment opportunity, and to learn more about IRA real estate tax benefits. Although no disqualified people are allowed to be directly involved in the renovation process of the property, you have a friend from college who owns and operates a construction company who you think will be a perfect fit for the job.

In this fast paced market, you need to act soon before you’re outbid. But before you start signing papers, there are specific investment-titling rules that all real estate investors should keep at the forefront of their minds before initiating any transactions. Remaining conscious of the following guidelines will help you avoid common missteps and save yourself a lot of time and money when using your self-directed IRA to invest in real estate.

To start off, your self-directed IRA account must be opened and funded before a transaction can be initiated. You can fund the account with either a transfer, rollover, and/or a contribution. 

Always remember:  you and your IRA are NOT the same thing. Your IRA is a completely separate legal entity from you and your personal finances. By extension, you cannot pay any of the IRA’s expenses, and you cannot sign on behalf of your IRA.

When investing with retirement funds, all paperwork for that investment must reference the IRA as the buyer, not the IRA holder (you) as the buyer. If a form needs a signature, you should write “Read & Approved” in the margins, and then sign next to or beneath this note (also in the margins). You will then upload/email/fax the form to New Direction IRA, who will sign as the buyer or investor of the property. NDIRA also accepts e-signatures from companies like DocuSign and Adobe.

New Direction cannot fund your investment if these guidelines are not followed, and the investment ends up being titled under your personal name and/or social security number. You are a disqualified person, therefore trying to transfer the title of a contract from you to your IRA is a prohibited transaction. Once this mistake occurs, there is no way to change the titling from your name to your IRA, so be diligent in following the proper procedures for IRA investment-titling.

The IRA may partner with another person, entity, or IRA. In partnering, your IRA would own a percentage of the property, and the remaining portion would be owned by someone else. You may partner your IRA with personal funds and/or disqualified persons, but restrictions apply. See NDIRA's website for more details.

When partnering with disqualified persons, the ownership percentage must be kept constant throughout the life of the investment. All expenses and income must be split according to that ownership ratio, and each bill must be paid according to that ratio as well.

Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) applies to profits made as a result of using leverage (loans) to invest in your property. It is your responsibility to calculate, report and pay this tax. However, your CPA or tax preparer may be able to help with the calculation. (Our sister company, IRA Tax Services, can assist as well. Visit for more information on UBIT.)

There are no restrictions on the types of real estate you invest in, where the property is located, or the price and/or market value of the property. In order to have sufficient time for required compliance review and processing, New Direction IRA needs to have all completed paperwork 3 full business days prior to funding.

Although these guidelines are a great introduction into the procedures every investor must follow when investing in real estate with their self-directed IRA, they are far from exhaustive. A complete comprehensive guide to these policies and more details about IRA real estate tax benefits can be found on New Direction IRA’s website. Happy investing!Source:

Written June 25, 2015 by Patricia McCrystal of New Direction IRA

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