Selling Real Estate Within Your SDIRA? Consider These 7 Factors

 |  General Self-Directed IRAs

By J.P. Dahdah, Founder & CEO

Real estate is a key investment category for Self-Directed IRAs (SDIRAs).

In last month’s VantagePoint article, we covered the key steps SDIRA investors should consider before making a real estate investment using a non-recourse loan. Today, let’s look at the other side of the equation – when an investor is looking to sell debt-financed property within an SDIRA.

Here are 7 key factors to consider before selling any leveraged real estate holdings.

  1. Unrelated Deb Financed Income Tax (UDFI)

One of the primary concerns when selling debt-financed real estate property within an SDIRA is the potential for triggering Unrelated Debt Financed Income Tax (UDFI). UDFI tax may apply if your IRA holds a debt-financed property and generates rental income, capital gains, or other income from the sale.

If your SDIRA is subject to the UDFI tax, it is responsible for reporting and paying the applicable tax using IRS Tax Form 990-T. It’s crucial to understand the UDFI rules and consult with a tax professional to determine the tax implications of your specific situation.

  1. Financing Arrangements

When you sell a debt-financed property within your SDIRA, you must consider the terms of your financing arrangement. The non-recourse loan used to purchase the property will need to be paid off before you can distribute any proceeds to your IRA.

Ensure you have a clear understanding of the terms and conditions of the loan, including any prepayment penalties, to avoid unexpected costs.

  1. Valuation and Appraisal

To determine the selling price of your real estate investment, you’ll need a current and accurate appraisal of the property. Keep in mind that the appraisal should be conducted by a qualified appraiser to satisfy IRS requirements. Accurate valuation is essential for calculating your IRA’s gains or losses. It’s also necessary for compliance with IRS regulations.

  1. Timing and Holding Period

The timing of your sale can also impact the tax consequences. The IRS may impose higher tax rates if you sell the property before meeting certain holding period requirements.

Generally, you should hold the property for at least 12 months to qualify for long-term capital gains tax rates. However, it’s essential to review IRS guidelines and consult with a tax advisor for specific holding period requirements.

It is important to understand that the Government defines an IRA as a “trust.”  Therefore, trust tax rates and guidelines are utilized to calculate any tax due by your Self-Directed IRA, not “individual” tax rates and guidelines.

  1. Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

If you are required to take mandatory distributions from your SDIRA (age 73 in 2024), you must consider how the sale of your debt-financed property affects your RMDs. The proceeds from the sale may increase your Self-Directed IRA’s account balance, which, in turn, can impact your RMD calculation for the year.

  1. Transaction Costs

Selling a property within your Self-Directed IRA involves transaction costs, including real estate agent commissions, legal fees, and potential repair or maintenance expenses. Be sure to budget for these costs when planning your sale to ensure that you don’t deplete your SDIRA’s funds unnecessarily.

  1. Reinvestment Strategy

Once you’ve sold debt-financed property, you’ll need a clear plan for reinvesting the proceeds within your SDIRA. Carefully consider your investment goals, risk tolerance, and asset allocation strategy. This is an opportunity to diversify your retirement portfolio further or explore new investment opportunities.

Selling a debt-financed real estate property within a Self-Directed IRA can be a complex process, with potential financial and tax implications. It’s crucial to approach the sale with careful planning, consultation with tax professionals, and a thorough understanding of IRS regulations.

By considering factors like UDFI, financing arrangements, valuation, timing, RMDs, transaction costs, and reinvestment strategy, you can navigate the sale process more effectively and make informed decisions that align with your long-term financial goals and SDIRA investment strategy.