Many people know about the primary residence exclusion that allows them to take the first $250,000 in profit ($500,000 if you’re married) tax free after just two years of occupancy. And more and more people are learning about the opportunity to do that repeatedly. But, did you know that you can convert an investment property into your primary residence and take advantage of that tax break? Even if you used a 1031 Exchange into your investment property, it’s still an option.
Converting from Investment to Primary Residence
Here’s the deal on converting investment property into your primary residence:
- If you purchased the investment without a 1031 Exchange, you may change its use at any time. Simply use the property as your primary residence for two of the five years immediately preceding its sale.
- If you purchased the property with a 1031 Exchange, there are some special rules for the conversion and the exclusion is prorated.
Converting after a 1031 Exchange
As you may recall, you cannot use a 1031 Exchange to purchase a property you intend to use for your primary residence. You must use the 1031 to purchase property you intend to use for investment purposes.
However, you can convert a 1031 property into your primary residence after holding it for productive use in business or trade for a period of time. The key is:
- your initial intent to hold it for investment purposes and
- how you demonstrate that intent.
For example, if you 1031 into a property and then move right in, what was your demonstrated intent? To use it as your primary residence. Both your initial stated intent and your actions subsequent to purchase are key.
Special Rules after a 1031 Exchange
If you 1031 into a property and then use it as a rental for the next 24 months and do not use it for personal use more than 2 weeks or 10% of the number of days it is actually rented, then the IRS gives you a safe harbor and will never challenge your initial intent. In between day one and two years, there is a wide range of time for you to decide if you’ve owned it long enough and treated it as investment enough that you can change your intent and move in. An awful lot of folks feel good at anything more than a year. But, individual circumstances could allow a shorter (or longer) investment use period.
When you do convert the property into your primary residence, you will then get the benefit of the primary residence exclusion with some 1031 Exchange specific requirements.To qualify for any of the primary residence exclusion, you must have owned the converted property for no less than five years. In addition, you must have lived in it for two out of the five years prior to sale. And then you get to prorate the amount of gain between the period of “qualified use” (as a primary and tax-free) and “non-qualified use” (as an investment and you would pay tax on this portion). You also have to recapture all depreciation.
The Bottom Line
The conversion of an investment property into a your primary residence is an underutilized option that can be very beneficial. Over time, it can make the capital gains tax on your former investment property dwindle. This give you the opportunity to take all or a portion of your home sale proceeds tax-free.
As always, consult with your accountant to determine the best course of action for your financial situation.
Does it matter if you use a local or national 1031 Exchange Qualified Intermediary (QI)? Wouldn’t it be better to select someone you can meet in person? While some investors derive a sense of comfort from proximity, the closest QI may not be the right QI.
To carry out a 1031 Exchange, your QI must be in place before you sell your investment property. The geographic location of your QI is not a critical factor for either documentation preparation or real estate closings.
But what of your peace of mind? These are your hard-earned investment dollars we’re talking about.
No matter their physical location, your QI should be experienced, accessible and dependable. They should be able to guide you through the exchange process and help your exchange glide smoothly along. They should be responsive to inquiries and timely in their communication.
If you are buying and selling within your home city, a local QI should be familiar with that market. However, a well-versed national 1031 Exchange Qualified Intermediary may be better suited to help you carry out an exchange both locally and from state to state. Regardless, a QI with a significant history of successful exchanges may serve you better than one with the ability to drop by for a cup of coffee.
No matter what your preference, to qualify for a 1031 Exchange you must have your local or national QI in place prior to the sale of your investment property.
For more information visit the www.1031investor.com.
Using a 1031 Exchange to grow your real estate portfolio faster using Uncle Sam’s money is a strategy that has helped millions of investors.
But of all the things you need to know about a 1031 Exchange, the most important thing is that it must be in place BEFORE you sell your investment real estate. The moment you receive your sale proceeds, it’s TOO LATE and you will have to pay the tax. Many investors new to this tax deferral method have discovered this after their sale and paid for it – literally.
The great news is that even if you are closing tomorrow or don’t know when you will close, it is quick and easy to start your exchange. Once you know what title company will be handling the transaction, the exchange can be initiated on your behalf by your Qualified Intermediary (QI).
Initiating your exchange with a QI prior to your sale is a rule that is a critical thing to keep in mind as you continue to learn about 1031 exchanges. I hope you will use the free online resources here at www.the1031investor.com as you explore this option.
Dave Foster was recently featured on The Note Closers Show with Scott Carson. Dave and Scott talked about the great benefits IRC Section 1031 has to offer. It allows investors to sell a property and reinvest proceeds in a new property while deferring capital gain taxes. They discussed some of the ways you can use this process to help you invest in real estate and notes, how it can be used even if you have owner financing and what kinds of investment properties qualify. Anyone can do a 1031 Exchange so long as the process and principles are followed.
They also talked about how to minimize the top five risks in note investing, return on investment vs. return on time, and the role of the borrower filing bankruptcy and how it creates an additional opportunity for a note investor, among other things.
Maximize your real estate investing with your own tax dollars using a 1031 exchange. With this process, you can defer capital gains tax on investment real estate when you reinvest in real estate. It lets you reposition, reallocate or increase your holdings using your own capital gains tax.
Originally, a 1031 exchange was designed to facilitate the movement of large tracts of agricultural land. Essential food growers who were land rich and cash poor benefited. The 1031 exchange allowed them to strategically reallocate their holdings to maximize yields.
Since then, the application of section 1031 was expanded to all real estate held for productive use. This includes real estate held for business, trade or investment purposes. This means it is now available to any such real estate investor wishing to defer paying tax on profits while continuing to invest.
A 1031, or like-kind exchange, gives you the freedom to reinvest all of your money – including your capital gains tax – for your own benefit. This is a powerful tool for any real estate investor looking to accelerate their portfolio growth.
If you’re considering a 1031 exchange it’s important to know if your investment real estate is eligible.
A 1031 exchange gives investors a way to defer paying tax on gain from the sale of investment real estate. This means that primary residences do not qualify for a 1031 exchange. A 1031 exchange is solely for real estate held for productive use in business, trade or for investment.
House flipping is also off limits. Section 1031 states that a property “held primarily for resale” does not qualify. This excludes fix and flips.
The good news is that like-kind, as defined by the IRS statute, allows for any type of investment real estate to be exchanged for any other kind of investment real estate. This means that if you’re selling a rental condo and want to use the proceeds of that sale to purchase a retail building, you are free to do so.
The power of a 1031 to shape your real estate investment portfolio using your own tax dollars is limited only by your creativity and desired outcome.
If you’re willing to incur some tax, you may purchase less than your net sale under IRS Section 1031.
And, you may take cash out without jeopardizing the entirety of your 1031 exchange.
However, if you want to purchase less than what you sold or take some cash out, then the IRS will call that “booty” and tax it as profit. The IRS is willing to leave its tax in the game, but they are expecting you to leave your profit in the game as well. So, there’s no taking your “booty” and buying an island without paying at least some tax.
The IRS considers this taxable because their interpretation is that the first dollar you take out is going to be a dollar of profit.