Be Quick: Buying Self-Directed Real Estate IRA Properties in a Competitive Market

When legendary baseball player Ted Williams – arguably the greatest hitter who ever lived – became a coach and mentor to younger players, he had two pieces of advice:

  • Watch the ball
  • Be quick!

While Self-Directed Real Estate IRA investors do not have to try to hit a 100-mile-per-hour fastball from Bob Feller, like Williams did, they still have to be quick: Homes are spending 32 fewer days on the market than they did just a few years ago, according to Realtor.com. Buyers are snatching up properties as fast as they come on the market. And Self-Directed Real Estate IRA investors need to swing a very quick bat in order to have a chance to acquire the assets they need to provide their retirement income portfolios down the road.

Here are some expert tips on how to invest in the fastest housing market we can remember.

  • Do not rely on traditional lenders, unless you are pre-approved. The average conventional loan now takes nearly two months to underwrite and process according to EllieMay.com. Self-Directed IRA and Self-Directed Real Estate IRA mortgages tend not to take as long, since they must be non-recourse loans, they are underwritten based on the value of the property, rather than on income, which can be difficult to document.

But conventional mortgage companies and garden-variety banks are not known for speed in processing. Do not wait until you are bidding against multiple qualified buyers before lining up the financing or getting cash on hand.

  • Pay cash. This is the ultimate dealmaker: Cash is and always will be king, when it comes to getting a deal through quickly. If you have the cash to buy a home on the spot, you have the leverage to get a better price. This price advantage translates to a profit advantage down the road for your Self-Directed Real Estate IRA.

It also leads to a lot less wasted time. Every deal that falls through because you are too slow represents a loss in terms of wasted time and effort that you could have spent on a deal that succeeds.

  • Include a check with the offer. Ideally, you can attach the check for the full purchase amount made out to escrow along with the offer. If not, or if you need to attach some strings to the deal, attach a check for a few thousand dollars in “earnest money.”
  • Focus on homes that have been on the market for a while. Many times, the sellers are frustrated. They know they have priced their homes too high – but they probably are not getting too many offers these days. Buyers are flocking to the new listings. You may be able to get a good deal.
  • Do not let it slip you are in a hurry. Sellers can smell desperation and will drive a harder bargain. Make a good, fair offer at a discount from the home’s intrinsic value (you are an investor, not a retail buyer, after all), and be willing to walk away if the seller walks. If they know you are willing to walk, they are more likely to accept a reasonable offer immediately.

Interested in learning more about Self-Directed IRAs?  Contact American IRA, LLC at 866-7500-IRA (472) for a free consultation.  Download our free guides or visit us online at www.AmericanIRA.com.

What investments can be done with a Self-Directed Real Estate IRA?

The much shorter answer to the question “What investments can be done with a Self-Directed Real Estate IRA?” is almost anything. In addition to actual real estate, you can instead purchase other investment vehicles such as tax liens, mortgage notes or real estate options. These investments allow you to profit from real estate without owning the land.

The IRS does not publish a list of permitted investments, but only the short number of fellow investors or people you may not do business with who are called “disqualified persons.” These forbidden people are yourself, your spouse, parents, children, grandchildren and spouses of your children or grandchildren. However, because IRAs are legally independent entities, you may do business with anyone’s Self-Directed IRA. Also, neither you nor any disqualified persons may benefit from the property in any way. This includes staying there, even for one night. A disqualified person cannot stay on the property even if that person pays rent. You also cannot directly buy from or sell any property to a disqualified person nor employ them for any reason such as maintaining or managing the property. Neither you nor any disqualified person can perform any services on this real estate, even if you do it for free. This labor would be seen as benefitting the Self-Directed IRA through an in-kind transaction, so it is forbidden.

However, certain family members such as siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins are not considered to be “disqualified persons.” Therefore, they can invest in, purchase, use, or work on the property held by your Self-Directed Real Estate IRA without any restrictions.

All income from the property or expenses to improve and maintain it must also be paid by the Self-Directed IRA, not from your personal funds. Legally, you never see any of this money, as it all remains within the Self-Directed IRA. Although you may not do any business with a disqualified person, your Self-Directed Real Estate IRA can “partner” with them when investing in it. The purpose of partnering is to increase the amount of capital which the Self-Directed IRA has access to. However, when partnering all funds must be kept separate from each partner when buying, selling or using the property in any way. This prohibition also extends to changing the percentage of ownership controlled by any investor, as that is considered a sale or purchase.

Although there are significant tax benefits from using a Self-Directed IRA, there are some taxes which do have to be paid. As they say, nothing is perfect. For example, you may have used financing for the investment in your Self-Directed Real Estate IRA. Such financing is permitted as long as the loans are non-recourse. This type of loan is secured by collateral, such as property. Should you default on the loan, the lender may seize the property, but cannot look to the borrower for any other compensation if the value of security is insufficient to pay the entire loan balance. This protects the rest of your Self-Directed IRA assets from being seized by the lender.

Although you are prohibited from personally benefitting from property held in your Self-Directed Real Estate IRA while you are still of age to deposit into the account, after you retire you can then use the real estate as a home or benefit from it in any way. Also, after you begin making withdrawals from your Self-Directed Real Estate IRA, you can take real estate as an “in kind” distribution instead of cash.

Interested in learning more about Self-Directed IRAs?  Contact American IRA, LLC at 866-7500-IRA (472) for a free consultation.  Or visit us online at www.AmericanIRA.com.

Partnering with your Real Estate Self-Directed IRA

When you have a Real Estate Self-Directed IRA, you may want to take advantage of the benefits which can come when investing with a partner. These can include access to more capital, which allows one to make larger investments with greater profit potential. Despite this, there are also disadvantages to a partnership such as making sure to select the right partner, changes in your future goals and any of the myriad problems that can come when investing with other people.

In order to avoid these potential difficulties with fellow investors, you can consider partnering your Real Estate Self-Directed IRA with family members such as parents, spouses or children who might otherwise be prohibited from doing business with your Self-Directed IRA.  Although they may partner with your Real Estate Self-Directed IRA, after the initial purchase has been made the prohibited individuals can no longer do any business with your IRA. Essentially, they become prohibited people again. This means you cannot change the ownership percentages of these assets once the partnership has been formed.

In addition to these family members, since your Real Estate Self-Directed IRA is a separate legal entity, the perfect, completely trustworthy partner who is guaranteed to have compatible goals is always available – yourself.

Benefits of Partnering with your Self-Directed Real Estate IRA

In addition to greater access to capital from partnering with your Real Estate Self-Directed IRA, there are other advantages. Not only can you purchase more real estate with the larger pool of money, there is also the chance of further enhancing your ability to purchase by possibly qualifying for more leverage.

As well as giving your retirement account the opportunity to make more money, by partnering with your Real Estate Self-Directed IRA yourself you can make additional (although, unfortunately not tax-advantaged) money. The portion of the money which comes from your Real Estate Self-Directed IRA still derives the same tax advantages on its gains as any other investment it makes.

If you partner with family members, more income is made by your loved ones. Even better, if you partner with your family members Real Estate Self-Directed IRA, their income will be tax-advantaged.

Regulations when Partnering with your Real Estate Self-Directed IRA

The are a number of rules when it comes to the operation of your Real Estate Self-Directed IRA. The title for the real estate transaction must state what percentage each of the partners controls. All income and expenses are allocated by the same percentage. All income derived from ownership of the property and its sale must flow in and out of your Real Estate Self-Directed IRA and not your personal funds – unless you are a partner, in which case the percentage you own yourself is directed to your own accounts.

In addition to following the above financial guidelines, there are a number of other rules which apply, even if your Self-Directed IRA owns only a miniscule percentage of the property. Some of them include:

  • Neither you nor any other disqualified person may use the property for your own personal benefit. That can mean only staying there for one night.
  • You cannot rent the house to yourself or any disqualified person.
  • Your Self-Directed IRA cannot contract for goods and services with you, nor with any disqualified persons. For example, you cannot buy a property in the Real Estate Self-Directed IRA and then hire yourself or any other disqualified person to do the landscaping, make repairs or manage the property.

You must always obey the rules which ensure individuals who might be considered prohibited from doing business with your Real Estate Self-Directed IRA remain eligible and avoid significant tax penalties.

Interested in learning more about Self-Directed IRAs?  Contact American IRA, LLC at 866-7500-IRA (472) for a free consultation.  Or visit us online at www.AmericanIRA.com.

Self-Directed Real Estate IRA Update – Criminal Background Checks and the Law

If you are a Self-Directed Real Estate IRA investor, it is not just tax laws governing retirement accounts you must worry about. There is a whole set of landlord-tenant laws you need to be aware of as well – and they can vary by jurisdiction.

For example, most Real Estate IRA investors have taken for granted that they will be able to run criminal background checks on applicants and screen out people with criminal histories. After all, these tenants pose a potential risk to neighbors, roommates and even potentially to the landlord.

That is not universally the case. For example, the city of Seattle made it illegal last year for property owners to decline to rent to applicants because of a criminal history. They made it a crime for landlords to even run a criminal background check.

The law, which the City Council passed unanimously last August, prohibits landlords from refusing to lease housing to individuals on the basis of their criminal history, except where the tenant is on a sexual offenders’ registry for a conviction received as an adult, and the landlord is able to provide a legitimate business reason for the discrimination.

The law also prohibits landlords from even asking about prior criminal records or creating blanket policies against renting to those with criminal histories or instructing their property managers and agents to turn down their applications. Advertisements with discriminatory language are also prohibited. Fines range from $10,000 for a first offense up to $55,000 for repeat offenders

This month, a group of small landlords affiliated with the Rental Housing Association of Washington is filing suit against the City of Seattle, arguing that the Fair Chance Housing Ordinance is unconstitutional. The RHA represents the interests of Real Estate IRA investors and those who own rental real estate directly, outside of retirement accounts. The Pacific Legal Foundation is providing legal representation.

The argument is that the ordinance is a violation of landlord free speech and due process rights. The Association also claims that the City Council.

The City states that they believe the ordinance in question is not unconstitutional and will defend it in court.

Until the Association prevails in the suit, the ban on discriminating against convicted criminals remains in force.

It is not just a Seattle issue: In 2016, the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development began sending warning shots against landlords: ““A policy or practice that denies housing to anyone with a prior arrest or any kind of criminal conviction cannot be justified,” wrote HUD general counsel Helen Kanovsky for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The current HUD Administration seems to be friendlier to landlords, small businesses and investors.

It is a good idea for Self-Directed IRA investors to stay in close touch with an experienced landlord-tenant law attorney licensed in all states in which you own rental properties. Do not get blindsided by a law or ordinance you did not know about. Understand the law at the federal, state and municipal levels. And maintain adequate landlord insurance to protect you against problems.

For more information on Self-Directed IRAs, call us today at 866-7500-IRA (472). Or visit us at www.AmericanIRA.com and download our guide to Real Estate IRA investing.

The 5 Best Suburbs in the SouthEast for Self-Directed Real Estate IRA Owners to Retire To

Real Estate IRA investors and property owners looking to relocate after retirement know the south has some of the best towns in the county to live.  Many Self-Directed IRA owners are interested in keeping their investments close to their retirement destination.

Real Estate IRA owners are looking for homes at a reasonable price, relative to rental yields, stable or improving employment prospects, and the ability to get into a new property without having to commit $1 million or more into an overheated housing market.

Additionally, it is nice to have favorable landlord-tenant laws and a decent state tax environment. State and local income and property taxes can really eat into Real Estate IRA profits if you are not careful.

And lastly, since many of our clients are here in the southeastern United States, we’re also always looking for great spots that are close to family – especially grandchildren.

The editors of USA Today recently published a useful guide to the top ten suburbs for retirees, primarily using the following criteria:

  • Modest cost of living
  • Median home prices
  • Property tax rates

A number of towns here in the Southeast made the cut:

  • Bermuda Run, North Carolina

This charming town in Davie County is one of the most promising suburbs of Winston-Salem. The town was incorporated in 1999 as one of only three gated communities in the state to be designated an official municipality. It recently annexed the nearby Kinderton Village community.

Property taxes are very low at $1,666 per year, on average, based on a median home price of $167,450. Meanwhile, the population is quite affluent, with a mean household income of $108,558. So, there is lots of room for house prices to grow.

  • Plantation, Florida

This bustling Broward County suburb just west of Fort Lauderdale is an easy commute from downtown – just down Broward Boulevard. It is home to a lot of city employees and has homes available at a variety of price points.

Homes in this area are on the pricy side: The median home last year listed for $329,250, with property taxes adding an average of $4,122 to the annual cost of ownership. Incomes are relatively low, here, too, relative to house prices, with a mean household income of $79,797.

Florida has some benefits that could reflect well with investors.  The lack of a state income tax means you can enjoy more of the rental income your properties produce.  Florida is also very friendly to investors, from a bankruptcy protection perspective. This is important for Self-Directed IRA investors, as real estate can generate liability if you are not careful – though assets within Real Estate IRAs are not generally considered personal assets at risk in the event of bankruptcy.

  • Fairfield Harbour, North Carolina

Fairfield Harbour, in Craven County, is a resort community near New Bern in beautiful coastal North Carolina. Among the chief attractions: The beautiful Fairfield Park golf course. Like Bermuda Run, it is a gated community. The median list price for Fairfield Harbour is $189,900 – well within the reach of the area’s mean household income of $65,903. Property tax is quite low at $1,343.

Fairfield Harbour and the nearby town of New Bern are two of the best kept secrets in America when it comes to affordable coastal living.

  • Sunset Beach, North Carolina

This upscale Brunswick County community sports median home listing prices of $324,900, making it one of the pricier areas in North Carolina. The town consists of two mainland neighborhoods and a barrier island, which has about 1,200 homes. The area is home to three golf courses – Oyster Bay, Sandpiper Bay and Sea Trail resort – and the developments around these courses represent the bulk of the residential real estate.

The mean household income in Sunset Beach is $70,992, which means many families are stretching to afford the homes they have now – especially more recent buyers.

Annual taxes of $1,348 make it among the lowest-tax communities on the list.  This is a plus for Real Estate IRA investors looking to relocate.

  • Timber Pines, Florida

This small community in Hernando County, Florida offers some of the best freshwater fishing in the country. The closest major cities are Tampa to the south, and Ocala, to the northeast. It is a popular destination for retirees, including many Real Estate IRA investors attracted by the year-round mild climate and the lack of state income taxes on rental income.

The median house price is quite modest for Florida, at $159,900, within easy reach for the average household in the area, which logs an income of $56,974 per year.

For more information on Self-Directed Real Estate IRAs, or to schedule a no-obligation consultation, visit our website at www.AmericanIRA.com. Or call us today at 866-7500-IRA (472).

We look forward to serving you.

Self-Directed IRA Investors – Get A Proof of Funds Letter

In today’s smoking hot real estate market, buyers need to move fast. To have the best chance of securing the winning bid and successfully acquiring the asset, Self-Directed IRA investors, like everyone else, need to be fully prepared going into a transaction.  This is particularly important in the hotter, more competitive markets, where sellers are entertaining multiple bids from competing buyers.

Sellers do not want to waste time working with unqualified buyers with barriers to close.  They will quickly weed out weak buyers who cannot even come up with down payment funds.

One thing buyers love to see is a proof-of-funds letter. For most people, this is simply a verification letter from their bank they have enough cash on hand – or access to a ready line of credit – to make the necessary down payment on the property. This is especially valuable if you have not been pre-approved for a mortgage.  It is not uncommon for sellers to request the letter as part of the offer to purchase.  As such, you may need to secure a proof of funds letter from American IRA early in the process.  Ideally, having one on hand even when previewing properties is a good faith component for sellers.  If you have a pre-approval letter from the lender, if any, it is nice to be able to provide that as well.  If you are doing an all cash purchase, in or out of a Real Estate IRA, have a proof-of-funds letter is even more important!

The proof of funds letter should contain your name (or if you are using an Self-Directed IRA, the name of your IRA account), the financial institution’s name and contact information, and language similar to this:

We confirm that John Doe, owner of the John Doe Self-Directed IRA, has available funds in the sum of $_______ as of [date]. If you desire further verification of those funds, please feel free to contact us at [phone number].

Sincerely,

[Authorized financial institution representative]

In the private end buyer market, conventional mortgages could require 10-20 percent down.  They can be as low as 3.5 percent for FHA and zero down for VA loans.  In the Real Estate IRA world, down payments of 35 to 50 percent of the price of the asset are not uncommon. Add in 3-5 percent for miscellaneous closing costs and fees.

To lock the home down in a purchase contract, you may need to secure a proof of funds letter from American IRA, LLC early in the process.

Tips: Consolidate assets within your Real Estate IRA into a single cash or money market account before you go home shopping. Money in stocks or mutual funds usually will not count as funds on hand, because the assets are so volatile, and you cannot write a check on these assets. We can liquidate them for you and move them into a cash account, of course, and then send you a check, but it adds another day or two to the process, and as mentioned earlier in the article, timing is key.

Remember, if you are buying a property for your Real Estate IRA, every dime must come from within that Self-Directed IRA account. You cannot contribute any of your own personal money from outside of your Self-Directed IRA to acquire IRA assets.

For more information about Real Estate IRAs, or to arrange a no-obligation consultation, or if you are a client and need a proof-of-funds letter for a pending real estate transaction, call American IRA today at 866-7500-IRA (472), or visit us online at www.AmericanIRA.com.

We look forward to serving you.

Summer is Hot for Self-Directed Real Estate IRA Investors

Real estate is hot, and Zillow Research is projecting that it is going to get even hotter. That is terrific news for Real Estate IRA enthusiasts, who stand to benefit from several favorable trends as we roll into the peak home buying season of 2018.

First, homes are selling like hotcakes nationwide. 2017 saw the shortest time-on-market for the typical U.S. home on record. The average home sold in just 81 days last year – faster than even the crazy days of 2006-2007, just before the mortgage bubble collapse.

The high demand was not just for homes in San Francisco, Seattle and Miami. Homes sold faster in 2017 than in 2016 in nearly all the country’s 35 biggest metro markets.

July was last year’s hottest home sales month, when the average home closed just 71 days after its listing. But even that is misleading: The closing process is routinely 4 to 6 weeks long, especially for deals involving mortgages. So homes are actually coming off the market and under contract pending financing much faster than that – frequently in 30 days or even less.

On top of the lighting fast sales, the tight supply relative to demand is forcing buyers to bid against each other just to get in a home. One out of four homes sold in 2017 actually sold above their list prices.

The fastest-selling market in the U.S. was San Jose, home of the famed Silicon Valley, where buyers snapped up homes in an average of just 41 days. New York was the slowest market, with sales closing an average of 134 days after listing.

Here in the Southeast, Self-Directed IRA investments in real estate have been hopping.  Many of our clients have had great success with their accounts, the Atlanta metro market averaged 71 days. June was Atlanta’s fastest selling month when the average home closed in 63 days. Charlotte averaged 67 days, Tampa averaged 81 days, Austin averaged 61 days, Orlando averaged 86 and Baltimore averaged 94.

What lessons can we glean for Self-Directed IRAs with real estate investors?

According to Zillow’s market research, summer is the time to list homes for sale. People want to move when children are out of school, and summer is the traditional time for businesses to transfer employees for that reason.  You want to have the sale wrapped up by the time the kids go back to school in September.

The higher the demand, the more bids you can consider in a short amount of time. To maximize Real Estate IRA profits, bunch your bids to drive buyer competition. The time to do that is when the market (and the weather is hottest.)

Conversely, the time for your Self-Directed IRA to buy real estate is in the fall or winter.  Buyers are less competitive, and you may be able to snag a bargain for your Self-Directed Real Estate IRA investment portfolio.

You can get concessions in many markets. Another Zillow report found 76 percent of sellers had to give something up in the negotiation process.  Price, of course, was the most common.

For more information about Real Estate IRAs, or to schedule a no-obligation consultation on how you can take more direct control of your retirement finances and benefit from direct real estate ownership within an Self-Directed IRA or other retirement account, contact us today at 866-7500-IRA (472).  Or visit our extensive library of articles and blog posts and other educational materials at www.AmericanIRA.com.

We look forward to working with you.

Real Estate IRAs: Because You May Live Longer Than You Think!

The good news is longevity is way up! The bad news is longevity is way up!  Due to the increase in longevity, Real Estate IRAs are the way to go!

Well, as bad news goes, we have heard worse. It is great that people are living longer. However, longer lifespans present a problem when it comes to retirement planning: Any given nest egg must last a lot longer than it used to.  It must also generate a reliable stream of income the whole time, without fail.

People are underestimating the problem: A recent study of British senior citizens found that people in their 50s and 60s are grossly underestimating the likelihood that they will live to age 75, 85 and beyond.

The report, from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, found that people in their 50s and 60s tend to underestimate their chances of survival to age 75 by around 20 percentage points and to 85 by around five to 10 percentage points. Meanwhile, those who have reached their 80s become overly optimistic about the chances that they will see 95.

The result is a significant gap between the assets required to generate a retirement income for that long and the probable need itself.

“As individuals are given more responsibility for saving for their retirement, and more freedom over how they use those savings in their later years, it is a concern that many are systematically misjudging their longevity,” said IFS research economist David Sturrock. “When people underestimate their chances of surviving through their 50s, 60s and 70s, they may save less during working life, and spend more in the earlier years of retirement than is appropriate, given their actual survival chances.

The Value of Real Estate IRAs

At American IRA, we believe Real Estate IRAs should be part of any significant retirement portfolio: real estate is a proven long-term income generator, which also provides the potential for capital gains, and the prospect of increasing rental income as a hedge against inflation.

Leverage and Real Estate IRAs

Real Estate IRAs also have the advantage of ready access to leverage.  This greatly increases the cash-on-cash return for Real Estate IRA investors as compared to more Traditional IRA asset classes, which are typically unleveraged.

Lenders know that real estate is a relatively stable source of wealth and makes excellent collateral for loans. It is therefore much easier to get financing for real estate than for other forms of investment. While you cannot sign a personal guarantee or pledge non-real estate assets as collateral for a loan to buy property within your Real Estate IRA, there are several lenders eager to help you finance Real Estate IRA properties. You just have to do your borrowing on a non-recourse basis.

This means the loan must be secured entirely by the property in your Real Estate IRA. The lender can have no claim or recourse against you, personally, nor any assets held both inside and outside the Self-Directed IRA.

We often see lenders willing to finance about 65 percent of the purchase price of the real estate investment, though they frequently have tighter requirements for condominiums or properties in historically volatile real estate markets, such as Florida.

You should be aware of the impact of unrelated debt-financed income tax, however, which may result in a current tax liability for gains attributable to borrowed money, rather than your own contributions to your retirement fund.

Real estate is also frequently a much better asset to pass on to heirs than a closely-held small business or other more esoteric investment; as homes are usually easier to sell than businesses.  Real estate investments could also be managed easier than a small business held within a Real Estate IRA, for example.

Real Estate IRAs and Diversification

Real Estate IRAs can also help protect owners against stock market risk: The more different asset classes you have making up your retirement portfolio, the less affected you could be by unexpected declines in any one asset class. We believe Self-Directed IRAs, including Real Estate IRAs, can help investors achieve meaningful diversification across a variety of asset classes that are difficult to access using conventional off-the-shelf retirement products available from Wall Street investment firms.

The combination of steady rental income streams, access to financing and leverage, potential capital gains and the possibility of keeping up with inflation make Real Estate IRAs an excellent addition to many of our clients’ retirement portfolios.

To learn more about Self-Directed IRAs and Real Estate IRAs, call American IRA at 866-7500-IRA (472), or visit www.AmericanIRA.com.

Real Estate IRAs Provide Real Diversification Against Struggling Stock Market

It has been a rough few months for most investors. But, owners of Real Estate IRAs have been doing pretty well.

The last week of March the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 1400 points to reach a low for the year. The Dow fell 5.7 points and the S&P 500 fell 5.9 percent – the worst week for stocks in two years. The Nasdaq fell 6.5 percent that week. The S&P 500 is now 0.68 percent underwater for the year to date. The Dow is now 11.2 percent off its high.

Sure, that is not the end of the world – it is also up by more than 12 percent over the previous 12 months. Stocks have been exceptionally volatile lately. The U.S. stock market is also trading at over 27 times earnings which have been looking favorable. There is ample good news already figured into the stock market. One big earnings miss, or a disappointing jobs report could bring the whole thing down by a significant amount.

“The market has been priced for perfection … and that leaves the market vulnerable to surprises. In this case, it’s trade,” according to Baird analyst Bruce Bittles.

Stock Vulnerability Is Global

U.S. markets were not the only losers. Stocks lost money around the world – this time on fears of a potential trade war between the U.S. and China, sparked by talk of tariffs in Washington. China helped send shares plummeting by slapping retaliatory tariffs on more than 148 U.S. products, including steel pipes, pork, almonds and California wine.

In the above markets, diversifying into international stocks did not shelter investors from the pain.

Real Estate IRAs Outperforming

The investors who chose to diversify into Real Estate IRAs experienced a better outcome:  U.S. house prices jumped 7.3 percent in January compared to the same times last year, according to data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Prices were up more than 10 percent in the Mountain region. Prices had jumped 0.8 percent from December to January – the biggest monthly increase since February of 2017.

Real estate has been delivering a solid annual return – on an unleveraged basis – while still showing much less downside volatility. Over the past 12 months, all regions in the U.S. were up, with the weakest regional market – the West South-Central region (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana) increasing by 5.1 percent. Home prices in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico saw double-digit increases.

The Potential Benefits of Leverage in Real Estate IRAs

Real estate investors are doing much better than even those numbers suggest. First, real estate is commonly leveraged. So, an investor in Colorado with a typical real estate portfolio gain of 10 percent for the gain but holding just 50 percent equity is getting close to 20 percent, minus costs of carry.

Furthermore, he or she is collecting rental income the whole time. In this case, the landlord can collect two rents for the price of one, thanks to leverage.

Leverage increases risks, in a down market, it can make things very dicey for the borrower. At the present, however, most real estate investors have been doing much better than stock market investors, with less stress (assuming good tenants)!

The last few months have been excellent for Real Estate IRA investors. The strategy has been working as intended: Real Estate IRAs provide meaningful diversification to portfolios otherwise heavy with stocks. They are delivering solid price appreciation. They are generating current rental income, so investors get paid to wait. And the income they generate has been steadily increasing. Rents have been rising in nearly 9 out of 10 cities, according to data from RentCafe, helping protect income-oriented investors against inflation.

Own Real Estate IRAs

We suggest nearly every American with significant retirement savings or investable assets consider including real estate, including Real Estate IRAs, in their portfolio.

Holding real estate in a Real Estate IRA, Solo 401(K) or SEP IRA can help shelter increasing income from taxes and generate free cash flow on a tax advantaged basis.

Investing in a Real Estate IRA is very easy: Call American IRA, LLC today at 866-7500-IRA (472). You may also download our exclusive guide to Real Estate IRA investing here.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Self-Directed IRA Administrators vs. Custodians

More and more people are coming to understand the power behind Self-Directed IRA strategies.  Further, they are embracing the wisdom of diverse and unconventional asset classes while liberating their retirement portfolios from the narrow outlooks frequently characterizing the big Wall Street investment firms.

As such, with that knowledge comes the increased openings of Self-Directed IRA accounts.  Many of these new investors are not yet clear on the role of custodians and third-party administrators in the Self-Directed IRA industry – and the important distinctions between the two.

Let’s take a closer look.

IRA rules prohibit investors from taking personal, direct possession of assets within their Self-Directed IRAs. Yes, you can own the house down the block within your Self-Directed IRA, but you cannot personally reside there. What is more, you cannot keep the gold coins your IRA owns in a safe in your living room.  To use a more traditional example, it is no different than not being able to personally hold your stock certificates residing in a Schwab IRA account.

Custodians hold your Self-Directed IRA assets on your behalf.  Administrators process the paperwork on behalf of the custodian.  American IRA is an administrator and New Vision Trust Company, a South Dakota chartered Trust Company, holds the assets.  New Vision Trust Company and American IRA, LLC are an integrated financial company providing both custodial and administrative oversight for your Self-Directed IRA transactions.

A custodian handles transactions and holds Self-Directed IRAs and other retirement assets on your IRA’s behalf. The IRS has stringent requirements for Self-Directed IRA custodians. These businesses are subject to regular inspections and audits by federal regulators. They can hold titles, cash, investments and other types of property on investors’ IRAs’ behalf, and handle a lot of transactions.

If you own gold or other precious metals, or physical assets within an Self-Directed IRA, chances are there will be a custodian in the mix, holding the gold or other assets in a secure, insured facility somewhere – or at least physically holding certificates.

An IRA third party administrator, such as American IRA, LLC, has a more tapered scope of engagement. Administrators are the account record-keepers responsible for generating statements and documents. We do not hold assets directly, but work with New Vision Trust Company, a South Dakota chartered Trust Company on your behalf.  New Vision Trust Company and American IRA, LLC are an integrated financial company providing custodial and administrative oversight for your IRA transactions.  We simplify the process, document your transactions, generate statements and 1099s, and work with your advisors to help you stay in compliance with IRS rules and regulations.

We do not advise on the suitability or non-suitability of any particular investment for your individual portfolio. That is up to you and your own financial advisors. We focus on quickly and accurately executing and recording the transaction on your behalf, in accordance with IRS regulations.

Moving down the Self-Directed IRA industry hierarchy, there are other professionals and salespeople known in the industry as “promoters” and “facilitators.”

These individuals do not handle transactions and do not hold assets on your behalf, but they support the Self-Directed IRA process in other ways.

One type of promoter might be a real estate agent who focuses on helping investors find properties for their Real Estate IRAs, and who becomes very knowledgeable in that niche. Others are financial advisors, RIAs, IARs, accountants and attorneys who also promote the Self-Directed IRA approach and help facilitate your Self-Directed IRA strategy.

For example, an attorney may help create entities within your Self-Directed IRA such as C corporations and LLCs which may help insulate other properties and IRA assets against the claims of creditors.

Every Self-Directed IRA investor needs a custodian or administrator affiliated with one or more custodians to create and maintain a functional Self-Directed IRA account. Few are totally go-it-alone beyond that. Most investors require a knowledgeable and experienced, multi-disciplinary team of professionals to get the most out of their self-directed retirement accounts.

Fortunately, getting started in Self-Directed IRA investing is very easy, and our team of professionals at American IRA, LLC is available to help you throughout the process.

To learn more about our services as one of the leading Self-Directed IRA administrators in the country, or to set up an account and get started investing, call us today at 866-7500-IRA (472), or visit us at www.AmericanIRA.com.

You can also read more on this subject at our blog, here.

Do not delay! Give us a call today! We look forward to working with you!