Real estate has become an increasingly popular investment for a growing number of Americans, due in large part to the consistent property appreciation and rental income that it promises.
Many people do not realize that they can invest their retirement in real estate; as a result, they purchase real estate without reaping the tax benefits of a 401k or IRA.
With a self-directed IRA, you can invest your retirement plan in real estate with several significant advantages, enumerated below.
Delayed taxes on investment gains
When you invest in real estate outside of a retirement plan, you owe tax right away on your rental income. When you sell the property for a gain, you’ll also owe taxes on your gain even if you plan on reinvesting that money in other real estate investments. An IRA delays taxes on your real estate income as long as you keep the money in your retirement account. This can help you earn a higher after-tax-return on your real estate portfolio.
Tax-free growth through a Roth IRA
If you invest through a Roth IRA, your investment earnings are tax-free when you take a withdrawal after the age of 59 1/2. By investing in real estate with a Roth IRA, you will not have to pay taxes on your rental income, your capital appreciation, or your gains from selling a property. In exchange, you do not receive a tax deduction for your contributions into the Roth IRA like you would with a Traditional IRA. However, with a large real estate investment the tax-free growth offered on a Roth IRA may be a better incentive than the initial tax savings on a Traditional IRA because gains in a Traditional IRA are taxable when you start to make withdrawals during retirement.
When you invest in real estate, you do not have to pay off the entire purchase at once. You may choose to pay off a portion of the cost and then take out a mortgage for the rest. As such, you can leverage your money through borrowing to earn a higher return. For example, if you put down $100,000 to buy a $250,000 property, your rental income will be coming out of an asset worth $250,000. Even when you take into account the borrowing costs, your return should be higher than if you had just bought an asset worth $100,000– and even better, that higher return is growing tax deferred in your IRA.
Upon purchasing real estate with a mortgage in your IRA, the mortgage can’t be titled in your name; instead it must be titled in the name of your IRA. Furthermore, it must be a non-recourse loan which means the loan is only backed by the value of the real estate that it’s paying for. Therefore, if you default on the loan, the lender is able to seize the property, but your other assets or personal credit score won’t be affected. Thus, while a non-recourse loan may charge a higher interest rate than regular mortgages, it also enables you to better protect your finances.
Protection against inflation and market volatility
The real estate market tends to be more stable than the stock market, as the real estate market lacks the same daily volatility of stocks. As a result, many view investment in real estate as a less stressful and lower-risk opportunity to invest retirement savings. Furthermore, real estate returns historically outpace inflation, allowing your retirement spending power to grow.
When you purchase real estate property, you can rent it out for steady rental income. This rental income can then be used to pay off the mortgage and other expenses on your investment property, meaning you just need to come up with the down payment. Any extra rental income can stay in your IRA, where it will grow tax-deferred, and can be used for future investments. When you retire, you may continue to receive rental income to supplement your other savings.
A chance to pay for your dream retirement home
Do you have a dream retirement home in mind? Then your IRA can help you finance that dream. By purchasing retirement property through an IRA, you can use the property’s rental income to pay off the mortgage, as the IRA tax savings will allow you to do so quickly and effectively. When you’re ready to retire, you can withdraw the property title from your IRA and then move into your new home.
If you wait until you are at least 59 ½ to take the property out of your IRA, you’ll avoid the 10% early withdrawal penalty. In addition, you can’t live on the property while it’s still owned by your IRA, as this can lead to tax problems; however, nothing’s stopping you from driving by and seeing your future home, knowing that it’s steadily being paid off with your rental income.
If you’re going to invest in real estate, why not invest with all the possible tax benefits? By using your IRA benefits to their fullest, you can make real estate a more effective part of your retirement plan.