If you're considering transitioning from active property management to a more passive approach, it's important to explore your options. One effective strategy to defer taxes on your relinquished property is through a 1031 Exchange. However, it's worth noting that the landlord responsibilities for qualifying replacement properties can vary significantly based on how you own the exchanged property.
To achieve tax deferral in a 1031 Exchange, a taxpayer must exchange real property for other "like-kind" real propertyf. There are generally four ownership options to consider that qualify for 1031 Exchange tax deferral while providing limited or no landlord responsibilities and striving to generate income. In this article, we will explore these four passive income ownership options and discuss the pros and cons associated with each.
By understanding these options, you can make an informed decision about the your passive real estate investment strategy.
Passive Income Replacement Property
For 1031 Exchangers seeking passive income, there are various ownership models to choose from. It's important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all model that suits every individual or situation. The ownership model you select should align with your specific goals. Here is a summary of the pros and cons associated with four common ownership options for your 1031 Exchange.
Delaware Statutory Trusts (DSTs):
DSTs have gained popularity for passive real estate investing. They offer portfolio diversification, low minimum investments, and similar benefits to direct property ownership. Through a 1031 Exchange, investing in a DST qualifies as a replacement property, allowing you to defer capital gains on your sale proceeds.
With a DST, investors own fractional interests in properties within the trust, providing diversification. DSTs cater to various types of investors and often enable them to own fractional shares of larger institutional properties that may be unaffordable individually. These properties can include multi-family apartments, net-lease retail properties, self-storage facilities, medical office buildings, industrial properties, student housing, senior housing, or memory care facilities.
In addition to passive income potential, DSTs offer several potential benefits. These include professional property management, limited liability for investors, access to low-cost non-recourse debt, quick closing times (typically 3 to 5 days), and the ability to continue benefiting from annual depreciation write-offs to reduce income tax burden.
Note: It's essential to carefully evaluate DST offerings, consider risks, and consult with qualified professionals before making investment decisions.
Other ownership options and their pros and cons will be covered in the subsequent parts of this guide.
DSTs (Delaware Statutory Trusts)
Landlord Duties: NONE
- Fractional Ownership of Assets: DSTs allow investors to own fractional interests in institutional-grade properties, providing access to high-quality real estate assets.
- Institutional-grade Property: DSTs typically offer properties that are professionally managed and maintained, providing investors with exposure to well-managed and desirable assets.
- Multiple Property Types: DSTs cover a range of property types, including multi-family apartments, net-lease retail, self-storage, medical office, industrial properties, student housing, senior housing, or memory care. This variety allows investors to diversify their holdings within the DST.
- Portfolio Diversification: Investing in DSTs allows for diversification across different properties and markets, potentially reducing the risk associated with concentration in a single property.
- Non-Recourse Debt Matching: DSTs provide access to non-recourse financing, allowing investors to match the debt on the replacement property with their investment, which can enhance cash flow potential.
- Low Investment of $500K: DSTs often have a lower minimum investment requirement compared to directly owning a property, making it accessible to a broader range of investors.
- Must be an Accredited Investor: To invest in a DST, investors must meet specific criteria to qualify as an accredited investor, which typically includes having a high net worth or meeting certain income thresholds.
- Lack of Control & Liquidity: Investors in DSTs have limited decision-making control over the property, as the day-to-day management is typically handled by a professional asset manager. Additionally, DSTs have limited liquidity options compared to direct property ownership.
- Loan Modifications Not Possible: Investors in DSTs do not have the ability to modify or renegotiate the terms of the existing loan on the property, as these decisions are made at the trust level.
- It's important to thoroughly research and consider these factors, along with any specific risks associated with a particular DST offering, before making investment decisions. Consulting with professionals experienced in DST investments can provide further guidance and insights.
The minimum investment for a DST is usually $100,000, allowing for greater accessibility to a broader range of investors. Some investors choose to further diversify their portfolios by investing in multiple DSTs. However, to invest in a DST, you must meet the accredited investor requirements. This typically entails having a net worth of at least $1 million (excluding your primary residence) or an annual income of $200,000 ($300,000 with a spouse or partner) for the previous two years and anticipated for the current year.
One downside of investing in a DST is the loss of control over the asset as a fractional owner. Investment and property management decisions are made by the trustee or investment manager, and individual investors do not have a direct say in those decisions. Additionally, DST investments are relatively illiquid. While there is a secondary market, it's advisable to plan for the investment duration of the trust, which typically ranges from five to ten years.
It's important to carefully evaluate these factors, assess the specific terms and conditions of each DST offering, and consider the potential risks involved before making investment decisions. Consulting with professionals experienced in DST investments can provide valuable insights and guidance.
Triple Net Lease (NNN)
One common challenge of owning rental real estate is the responsibility for various ownership costs, such as property taxes, building insurance, and maintenance. However, with a Triple Net Lease property, the tenant assumes the responsibility for all of these expenses throughout their lease term. If you have an outstanding mortgage on the property, your only expense would be the monthly mortgage payment.
Triple Net Leases typically have longer terms, often ranging from 10 to 15 years, and often include rent escalation clauses. These clauses ensure that your rental income increases each year by a predetermined amount, providing a potential source of steady income growth. Commercial properties, including office buildings, shopping malls, or freestanding buildings operated by banks, restaurants, or major retailers, commonly utilize Triple Net Leases.
The monthly rent from the tenant in a Triple Net Lease arrangement tends to be lower compared to other properties. This is because the tenant assumes the risks and responsibilities associated with property upkeep and expenses. By transferring these obligations to the tenant, the property owner can potentially have a more hands-off approach to property management while still benefiting from a reliable rental income stream.
Triple Net Lease (NNN)
Landlord Duties: LIMITED
- Direct Ownership of Assets: With a Triple Net Lease, the property owner retains direct ownership of the property while transferring most ownership costs and responsibilities to the tenant.
- Often Utilized by DST Sponsors: Triple Net Lease properties are commonly utilized by sponsors of Delaware Statutory Trusts (DSTs) as replacement properties in 1031 Exchanges, providing investors with potential opportunities for passive real estate investment.
- Long-term Lease Agreements: Triple Net Leases typically have longer lease terms, ranging from 10 to 15 years or even longer. This can provide the potential for stability and predictability in rental income for the property owner.
- Built-in Rent Escalation Clauses: Lease agreements often include rent escalation clauses, allowing for predetermined annual rent increases. This can help to protect against inflation and potentially increase rental income over time.
- Tenant Pays all Repair Costs: Under a Triple Net Lease, the tenant is responsible for paying all property expenses, including property taxes, building insurance, and maintenance costs. This reduces the landlord's financial burden associated with property ownership.
- Corporate Tenants are Common: Triple Net Leases are frequently used by corporate tenants, such as banks, restaurants, or major retailers. These tenants tend to have strong credit profiles, providing additional reassurance for landlords.
- Vacancy & Tenant Default Risks: Like any rental property, there is a risk of potential vacancies and tenant defaults, which can impact rental income and require finding new tenants.
- Rent Increases May Lag Markets: Rent escalation clauses may have predefined annual increases that could potentially lag behind market rental rates. This may result in missed opportunities for higher rental income during periods of market growth.
- High Investment Minimums: Triple Net Lease properties often require higher minimum investments compared to other real estate investments, which can limit accessibility for some investors.
A downside of Triple Net Lease properties is that investors remain responsible for property expenses if tenants default or the building is vacant. Cash reserves should be set aside to mitigate this risk. Additionally, full ownership of a Triple Net Lease property often requires a significant investment, tying up a substantial amount of capital in a single property.
Furthermore, in a rental market with increasing demand, long-term lease contracts may result in rental income falling below current market rates. Careful evaluation and consideration of these factors are essential when investing in Triple Net Lease properties.
Tenants-in-Common (TICs) is a structure that allows up to 35 investors to collectively purchase real estate. In a TIC agreement, investors directly source, acquire, and operate the property, often involving institutional-quality properties with professional management. This means that investors can rely on responsible managers who handle day-to-day responsibilities on their behalf.
Investing in TICs provides the flexibility to diversify investments across multiple properties, allowing investors to 1031 Exchange their sale proceeds into different TICs. This diversification can encompass various geographic locations, occupancy types, and asset management strategies. Each investor receives a fractional fee simple interest in the property based on the size of their investment.
TIC investments offer freedom from the daily management of properties and provide an income stream from high-quality institutional assets. Investors also benefit from receiving a proportionate share of net income, tax advantages, and potential appreciation. Investors can hold their interest in a TIC as individuals, joint tenants, or through a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
A limitation of Tenants-in-Common investments is that they are generally not permitted to act as business entities.
Landlord Duties: LIMITED
- Fractional Ownership of Assets: TICs allow investors to have fractional ownership in institutional-grade properties, providing access to high-quality real estate assets.
- Up to 35 Partner Investors: TICs allow for pooling resources with up to 35 partner investors, enabling collective purchasing power and shared responsibilities.
- Institutional-grade Property: TICs typically involve institutional-quality properties with professional management, providing investors with access to well-maintained and desirable assets.
- Portfolio Diversification: Investing in TICs allows for diversification across multiple properties, offering the opportunity to spread investments geographically, across occupancy types, and asset management strategies.
- Non-Recourse Debt Matching: TICs provide access to non-recourse financing, allowing investors to match the debt on the property with their investment, potentially enhancing cash flow potential.
- Earnings Based on Ownership: Investors in TICs receive earnings proportional to their ownership interest, providing a direct correlation between their investment and any income generated by the property.
- Complex Ownership Liquidation: Liquidating or selling a TIC investment can be more complex compared to other forms of real estate ownership, as it involves coordinating the interests of multiple investors. This process can be time-consuming and may require unanimous consent from all co-owners.
- Limited Control of Assets: In a TIC structure, investors have limited control over the day-to-day management and decision-making of the property. While professional managers handle the operations, investors may have limited influence or input on property-related decisions.
- High Investment Minimums: TIC investments often require a significant minimum investment, typically starting at $1 million or higher. This higher investment threshold may limit accessibility for some investors.
A limitation of TICs is that investors cannot file TIC tax returns, conduct business through a common name, borrow money, or enter into contractual agreements as a TIC entity. Additionally, TICs typically offer a right of first refusal if an investor decides to sell their ownership interest. However, if a suitable buyer is not found, the investor is generally free to sell to any interested party. It's important to note that selling to an undesirable co-owner could potentially have a negative impact on the investment.
Private REITs, like their publicly traded counterparts, are investment vehicles that pool investor funds to acquire a portfolio of real estate properties. However, unlike publicly traded REITs, private REITs are not subject to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration and are not publicly traded.
Private REITs often focus on specific geographical areas or types of real estate, such as hotels, apartments, or senior care living. While they lack the liquidity of publicly traded REITs, private REITs can offer investors a diversified real estate portfolio, access to professional management, and the opportunity to invest in assets that may otherwise be out of their financial reach.
It's important to note that private REITs are not subject to the same disclosure requirements as publicly traded stocks or public non-listed REITs. Investors should carefully consider the risks and perform due diligence before investing in private REITs, as the lack of public scrutiny and liquidity can introduce additional considerations.
Consulting with professionals experienced in real estate investments and private REITs can provide valuable guidance and help investors make informed decisions based on their investment objectives and risk tolerance.
Landlord Duties: NONE
- Fractional Ownership of Assets: Private REITs allow investors to have fractional ownership in institutional-grade real estate properties, providing access to high-quality assets.
- Institutional-grade Property: Private REITs typically invest in institutional-quality properties, which are professionally managed and maintained.
- Higher Dividend Yield vs. REITs: Private REITs may offer higher dividend yields compared to publicly traded REITs, potentially providing attractive income opportunities for investors.
- Portfolio Diversification: Investing in private REITs allows for diversification across multiple properties and property types, reducing risk through spreading investments.
- Lower Investment Minimums: Private REITs often have lower investment minimums compared to other real estate investments, making them more accessible to a broader range of investors.
- Limited SEC Requirements: Private REITs are exempt from SEC registration and the associated disclosure requirements, providing more flexibility and potentially reduced regulatory burdens.
- Must be an Accredited Investor: To invest in private REITs, investors must meet accredited investor requirements, which typically include having a high net worth or meeting certain income thresholds.
- Lack of Control & Liquidity: Investors in private REITs have limited control over property management decisions, and liquidity options may be limited compared to publicly traded REITs.
- Dividends Taxed as Income: Dividends received from private REITs are generally taxed as ordinary income, which may impact the overall tax liability for investors.
Private REITs are known for offering higher dividend yields compared to public REITs. They also have lower compliance costs since they are exempt from SEC reporting requirements. However, due to regulations, private REITs can only be sold to accredited investors and qualified institutional buyers.
The lack of public trading also means that private REITs are less liquid. Minimum investment amounts typically start at around $25,000.
It's important to note that investing in a REIT, whether private or public, differs from other real estate investments. Investors do not benefit from tax advantages like depreciation and loss carry-forwards that are typically associated with direct real estate investing.
Additionally, to qualify as a REIT, the entity must distribute at least 90% of its taxable income to investors. These distributions are considered ordinary income, which is usually subject to higher tax rates. As a result, many investors choose to invest in REITs through tax-deferred accounts, such as an IRA, to mitigate the tax impact.
As a real estate investor considering a 1031 Exchange, there are important factors to consider when selecting your reinvestment options. These factors include your desired level of involvement in property management, the taxation of your income, and your preference for fractional or sole ownership. Making informed decisions regarding these aspects can be challenging without proper guidance. It is recommended to seek professional guidance to navigate these considerations effectively and strive to ensure the best outcome for your investment.
When considering investing in private REITs, thorough due diligence and consultation with professionals experienced in real estate investments and tax planning are crucial to make informed decisions aligned with investment goals and tax strategies.
Not an offer to buy, nor a solicitation to sell securities. All investing involves risk of loss of some or all principal invested. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Speak to your finance and/or tax professional prior to investing. Any information provided is for informational purposes only.
Securities offered through Emerson Equity LLC Member: FINRA/SIPC. Only available in states where Emerson Equity LLC is registered. Emerson Equity LLC is not affiliated with any other entities identified in this communication.
1031 Risk Disclosure:
- There’s no guarantee any strategy will be successful or achieve investment objectives;
- All real estate investments have the potential to lose value during the life of the investments;
- The income stream and depreciation schedule for any investment property may affect the property owner’s income bracket and/or tax status. An unfavorable tax ruling may cancel deferral of capital gains and result in immediate tax liabilities;
- All financed real estate investments have potential for foreclosure;
- These 1031 exchanges are offered through private placement offerings and are illiquid securities. There is no secondary market for these investments.
- If a property unexpectedly loses tenants or sustains substantial damage, there is potential for suspension of cash flow distributions;
- Costs associated with the transaction may impact investors’ returns and may outweigh the tax benefits