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Can I Use 401k For Real Estate Investment

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Real Estate Investment With A Solo 401

Can I Use 401k For Real Estate Investment?

It is true you could purchase real estate with the money in your personal bank account. Not only would this give you a more immediate payday, but you would have direct control over what you did with the property.

However, if you used your personal finances to invest in real estate, any gains would be subject to federal and state taxes, therefore reducing your actual profit margin. This is not so for a solo 401. When you use a solo 401 to invest in real estate, your gains are tax-deferred. This gives you a larger fund pool to use for future investment opportunities.

Should You Invest In Real Estate Or A 401 Plan To Fund Early Retirement

Kevin Amolsch is an investor and a private lender who has participated in over 1,700 transactions.


We are told that investing in retirement plans is a good idea, but can that strategy push out your retirement? Although I am a big believer in saving in tax-advantageous accounts and believe most investors should have this as part of their overall plan, here are four things it’s important to understand about 401 plans as compared to real estate investing.

Access To The Money

With most retirement accounts, you must wait to start taking distributions until you reach the age of 59 ½. This restriction can cause a problem for those who want to retire early. Lets say you understand that real estate is a great way to invest for retirement. You start buying rental properties and quickly realize that owning rentals accelerates your retirement. In fact, you realize that you can become financially free, and you begin to focus on creating more passive income than you have expenses. Although you may be able to retire early, your 401 will not help that goal. All the money you have invested and are earning in your retirement account is worthless to you in your early retirement. You might find that you can shave many years off your financial freedom timeline by investing that money into other assets like real estate.

Restrictions On Investments

Ordinary Tax Rates

Is It Better To Invest In 401k Or Buy A House

Purchasing an investment property through a 401k allows you to deduct both taxes and penalties from your income, since the loan cannot be taxed. Consideration should also be given to other tax benefits. In other words, if you purchase a property with a 401k and earn income from that property, you wont pay taxes on it.

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Solo 401 Investment Procedure

Step 1: Open a solo 401 account.

Make sure your solo 401 account name is the only one associated with all purchase-related documents. Using your personal name on any documents related to the purchase is prohibited by the IRS.

Related: How to Use Real Estate to Retire MUCH More Comfortably Than Your 401k Would Allow

Step 2: Transfer funds into the account.

This may seem obvious, but it is important. Contributions can be made through roll overs, transfers from other qualified plans, or through your pre-tax deposit into the account.

Step 3: Decide how you plan to purchase property.

There are three ways you can invest in a piece of real estate with a solo 401.

  • A solo 401 cash purchase in which you use only funds from your account to invest in the property.
  • A tenants-in-common purchase allows you to use both personal and solo 401 cash to invest in a property. This option allows you to partner with individuals considered disqualified persons with other retirement accounts.
  • A non-recourse business loan to purchase, or partially fund, your real estate investment. This option protects your other investments and funds from bankruptcy or default should one of your properties fail.
  • Step 4: Make an offer.

    This is where step one becomes vitalyour solo 401 is the buyer of any real estate you invest in.

    Step 5: Make your deposit.

    As the purchaser, your solo 401 must make the deposit for the property.

    Step 6: Complete the closing process.

    Why Use A Solo 401 To Invest In Real Estate

    Should You Invest Your 401k in Real Estate? How?

    A solo 401 is not the only retirement-planning vehicle you can use to invest in real estate. However, it does offer several features that make it easier and almost completely hassle-free when compared to other options.

    All expenses related to your solo 401 real estate purchases must come from your retirement account. If you use your personal finances, the IRS will consider it an early distribution, resulting in penalties and taxes. This is easy, however, because of the checkbook control you get when you open a bank account in your solo 401s name.

    Related: The Best Retirement Plans for Investors: The Battle Between the Solo and IRA

    Heres a quick rundown of of the benefits of using your self-directed 401 to invest in real estate:

    Recommended Reading: How Do I Rollover My 401k To My New Job

    Flow Of Rent Deposits Question:

    Can my tenants deposit the rent payments into my business bank account and then I will deposit the funds into my solo 401k bank account?


    Since the property is owned by the solo 401k plan, the funds must flow directly to the solo 401k bank account not first to your self-employed business or personal bank account.

    Can I Use 401k For Real Estate Investment February 2015

    Can i use 401k for real estate investment

    Even during the housing crisis, financial experts agreed that real estate was still an excellent long-term investment. As the market is improving, that tenet still holds true. In fact, many people are transferring funds out of other investments and into real estate since interest rates and stock market returns have been so low. Pulling cash out of a 401 is a popular move these days. But is it right for you?

    Withdrawing Funds

    A 401 plan is a means for you to take funds out of your paycheck, pre-tax, and put them into a specialized savings account with certain rules and restrictions.* If you do decide to withdraw monies from your 410 in order to take advantage of the current housing market and invest in real estate, there are a few things you should be aware of:

    10% early-withdrawal penalty this is on the full amount you withdraw and applies to most people who withdraw funds before they turn 59 1/2. Income tax payment you will immediately incur a tax liability on the amount you withdraw.

    That said, there are benefits to pulling money out of your retirement fund and using them to invest in real estate. For one, you may be able to avoid paying private mortgage insurance, or PMI, on your new mortgage by withdrawing enough funds to contribute a 20% down payment. We can take a look at your finances to determine if this is a good choice for you.

    Omar Khamisa

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    Vesting Of All Documents

    Also,the real estate agent/title company will ask for the 7-page solo 401k Trust Agreement. The Trust Agreement lists the name of the trustee.

    Now that your self-directed 401k has been successfully invested in real estate, it is important to also understand the ongoing requirements. All ongoing property expenses must be paid from the solo 401k bank or brokerage account. Never pay expenses with personal funds as the solo 401k prohibited transactions disallow it. Make sure the self-directed solo 401k maintains enough liquid cash to cover ongoing property expenses. Just like expenses are paid using solo 401k funds, the rental income and proceeds from the sale of the property must flow directly back to the solo 401k plan.

    How To Use Your 401k To Buy Real Estate

    Can I Use My 401K For Real Estate Investing?

    You can certainly buy your 401k to buy rental real estate. I know this, because Ive done it before! While I cant give you advice on whether or not this is the right choice for you, its definitely an option to consider. Please note that there is a difference between withdrawing and taking a loan from your account. When you withdraw from your retirement, the IRS will slam you with a large fee. However, if you are able to take a loan, you can pay it back through your payroll. This can be a great option because youre essentially borrowing money from yourself and then paying back the interest to yourself!

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    Borrowing From Your Solo 401

    Unlike a bank loan, borrowing from your self-directed 401 does not require a credit check. You can borrow up to $50,000 or half of your balancewhichever is lower. In other words, if you have $75,000 in your account, you can borrow up to $37,500 if you have $150,000, the loan is capped at $50,000.

    Just like with any other loan, you must repay it. You have 5 years to pay back your loan. After that, the remaining balance of the loan is deemed to be a taxable distribution by the IRS.

    If you are on a regular pay cycle, you can choose to make blended payments that consist of the principal and interest owed, as dictated by an amortization table. If you do not receive a regular paycheck, you must make a payment every 90 days.

    You can borrow up to 50% of your solo 401 to finance real estate investments. The smart investor can use this feature to multiply funds.

    You Can But It’s Usually Not A Good Idea

    Marcus Reeves is a writer, publisher, and journalist whose business and pop culture writings have appeared in several prominent publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He is an adjunct instructor of writing at New York University.

    If you’re short on cash for a down payment, and you happen to have a retirement plan at work, you might be wondering if you can use a 401 to buy a house. The short answer is yesyou can withdraw from your 401 for a house. However, a 401 withdrawal for a home purchase is generally not the best move, given there is an opportunity cost in doing so. Here’s a look at tapping your 401 for homeownership, along with some better alternatives. .

    Read Also: How To Use Your 401k In Retirement

    Withdraw From Your Ira

    Even though your IRA is still retirement savings, there may be advantages to choosing this investment vehicle over your 401k. In particular, if your Roth IRA plan allows for hardship withdrawals, you’re allowed to withdraw any amount. However, even if hardship withdrawals are not allowed under your plan, as long as you’re a first-time homebuyer, you can withdraw up to $10,000 tax-free to go toward your down payment.

    On the other hand, if you have a traditional IRA, you also have the option of taking out up to $10,000 to go toward your down payment. You won’t be required to pay any early withdrawal penalties on this money, but it will be taxed as income. If you take out a distribution larger than $10,000, you will pay a penalty and regular income tax on that amount.

    Can I Use A 401k For Real Estate Investment

    Use Your 401k/IRA Assets to Purchase Commercial Real Estate

    If youre self-employed or a small business owner with a solo 401 or Roth 401 or if youve retired or changed jobs and have assets in an employer-sponsored 401, real estate investment is an attractive option for long-term growth potential.

    Your employer wont allow you to directly invest your 401 unless its an option in the plan, but there are ways for you to rollover or transfer your assets from an employer-dependent 401 account into a solo or Roth 401, if eligible, for real estate investment.

    Also Check: What Is The Safest Investment For My 401k

    Why You Shouldn’t Use Your 401 To Buy A House

    Even if it’s doable, tapping your retirement account for a house is problematic, no matter how you proceed. You diminish your retirement savingsnot only in terms of the immediate drop in the balance but in its future potential for growth.

    For example, if you have $20,000 in your account and take out $10,000 for a home, that remaining $10,000 could potentially grow to $54,000 in 25 years with a 7% annualized return. But if you leave $20,000 in your 401 instead of using it for a home purchase, that $20,000 could grow to $108,000 in 25 years, earning the same 7% return.

    Note that a Roth 401 allows you to withdraw the money you’ve contributed at any time tax- and penalty-free.

    Borrow Against Your 401k

    Take the time to research loan regulations. You may be able to borrow up to half of your 401ks value, up to $50,000.

    However, its important to note that if youre using funds outside of your 401k to make your purchase, you will lose those tax advantages. Another crucial thing: if you borrow against your 401k, the money must be repaid by the deadline.

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    Withdrawing From Your 401k

    Before you start investing in a 401k, its important to understand how these accounts work when it comes to withdrawing from them. For one, anything that you withdraw from a 401k before you reach 59.5 years old will result in a tax penalty of 10 percent, which can make for a substantial reduction in your overall savings. You can make a standard 401k withdrawal if you are no longer an employee for the employer that sponsors your 401k plan and are at least 59.5 years old.

    If you have invested money into a standard 401k, you will be required to pay income tax whenever you eventually withdraw your money. However, there will be no penalty applied to the withdrawal since youre over the age of 59.5. After you reach the age of 72, you will need to take out the required minimum distributions from your 401k every year. The amount that you withdraw is based on an IRS formula that dictates the amount by the age you are at the time of the withdrawal. While you can always withdraw all of the money from your 401k account in one withdrawal, this can lead to a significant tax bill that you might want to avoid. If youre still working in the same workplace, there are some plans that allow you to delay the required minimum distributions until the year that you retire.

    Hardship Withdrawals

    Being able to withdraw money from your 401k account without incurring a penalty in the event of one of these emergencies occurring should give you peace of mind about investing in a 401k.

    Funding Your Solo 401

    How To Use Your 401k To Invest In Real Estate

    You cannot rollover your assets into a solo 401 from a current employer. You must be retired, have left the employer, or be eligible under IRS guidelines. You have several options when it comes to funding your solo 401:

    • In-kind transfer: Non-cash assets are moved from the employer-backed 401 account to a solo account and not taxable.
    • Cash transfer: Cash assets are moved from the employer 401 to the individual account. Partial or full investment may be processed and not taxable.
    • In-kind direct rollover: Assets from an IRA are transferred to a solo 401 account, and theres no need for the liquidation of assets. This action must be reported for tax reasons and is not subject to tax withholding.
    • 60-day cash rollover: This is the quickest way to fund your solo 401 from an IRA, but you have a 60-day period to deposit the check to avoid taxes and a 10% penalty for early distribution.
    • Annual cash contribution: This is an option for self-employed individuals. Your solo 401 can be funded with annual cash contributions by your business tax return date. However, keep in mind that cash contributions have an annual limit. This number depends on your age and salary.

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    Option : 401 Withdrawals

    Not all plan providers allow 401 loans. If they don’tor if you need more than the $50,000 loan maxthen you have to go with an outright withdrawal from the account. You are likely to incur a 10% penalty on the amount you withdraw unless you meet very stringent rules for an exemption. Even then, you will still owe income taxes on the amount of the withdrawal.

    You’re only limited to the amount necessary to satisfy your financial need, and the withdrawn money does not have to be repaid. You can, of course, start replenishing the 401 coffers with new contributions deducted from your paycheck.

    Is It A Good Idea To Use Your 401k To Buy A House

    Before we jump into how to invest your 401k in real estate, letâs answer one important question. Itâs possible to use 401k money in real estate investing, but is it actually a good idea to do so? Here are the pros and cons to consider:

    Advantages of Investing Your 401k in Real Estate

    When mortgage interest rates rise, a 401k loan can provide cost-effective access to money. With interest rates just above the prime rate on most 401k loans, this can be an affordable option to cover a large down payment on an investment property. And while weâre on the subject of interest, hereâs another benefit of borrowing from your 401k for a down payment: as you pay back your 401k loan, youâre repaying yourself with interest which is going back into your 401k account.

    Finally, another reason why you might want to invest your 401k in real estate is the tax exemption that comes with 401k loans. When you borrow from your 401k, there are no tax consequences and no tax-related fees. For example, when you withdraw from an IRA to put a down payment on an investment property, youâll have to pay income taxes on the distribution. However, because the money you borrow from your 401k is a loan, you donât need to pay income taxes on it. As a matter of fact, it doesnât count as income at all.

    Disadvantages of Investing Your 401k in Real Estate

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