Tag: property

Understanding IRC Code Section 1033

Understanding IRC Code Section 1033Unfortunately, 2018 has been another year of major disasters due to hurricanes, fires, and floods. As taxpayers turn to the process of restoring property, some may be considering whether a 1033 exchange is more relevant than a 1031 exchange.

This blog entry examines some of the key aspects of the 1033 exchange.

What is an IRC 1033 exchange?

A section 1033 exchange, named for Section 1033 of the Internal Revenue Code, applies when you lose property through a casualty, theft or condemnation and realize gain from the insurance or condemnation proceeds. If your accountant or tax advisor believes you will realize gain from the insurance or condemnation proceeds, you may be able to defer that gain using a 1033 exchange.

Compared to IRC 1031

Internal Revenue Code Section 1031, commonly referred to as a “like-kind exchange,” does not allow a taxpayer to hold or benefit from the proceeds during the exchange period. It also requires the replacement property be identified within 45 days and acquired within 180 days after the closing of the relinquished property. If a taxpayer is deferring gain in a 1033 exchange, he can hold the proceeds until the acquisition of the replacement property and an intermediary is not required.

Replacement property

Another difference between a 1031 and a 1033 exchange is the standard that is used to limit what you can buy as replacement property. In general, the standard is more restrictive under 1033 than the like-kind standard under IRC 1031. Section 1033 provides the replacement property must be “similar or related in service or use” to the property that was lost in the casualty or condemnation. It is important to note the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 eliminated tax-deferred like-kind exchanges of personal property, but allows exchanges of business and investment real estate.

Time period

The time period allowed for the taxpayer to acquire the replacement property is much more liberal than Section 1031 exchanges. The period begins at the earlier of when the taxpayer first discovers the threat or imminence of condemnation proceedings or when the condemnation or other involuntary conversion occurs. The period ends either two or three years after the end of the tax year in which the conversion occurs. The time period is three years for real property held for business or investment and two years for all other property. If the taxpayer has lost property in a federally declared disaster area, Section 1033 gives the taxpayer a two year extension on the replacement period, granting a total of four years in which to replace the lost property.

Taxpayers having lost their property due to casualties or those facing condemnation should consult with their tax advisors to take advantage of the tax deferral afforded under Section 1033 if they wish to replace their lost property.

We’ve got your back

With Simon Filip, the Real Estate Tax Guy, on your side, you can focus on your real estate investments while he and his team take care of your accounting and taxes. Contact him at [email protected] or 201.655.7411 today.

 

Estate Tax Implications for Foreign Investors in US Real Estate

Estate taxes for US persons

An estate of a US citizen or resident alien is subject to an estate tax based upon the value of the worldwide property, owned or subject to certain rights or powers by the decedent on the date of death. The estate tax rate for 2018 is 40% for taxable estates in excess of an $11.18 million exemption, which is adjusted annually for inflation.Estate Tax Implications for Foreign Investors in US Real Estate

A US estate may also deduct from the taxable estate a marital deduction equal to the value of property left to a surviving spouse. The amount of lifetime taxable gifts during the decedent’s life is also included in calculating the gross estate.

Non-resident aliens and their estate taxes

While US citizens and residents are subject to worldwide estate and gift taxation on their gratuitous transfers, non-residents (persons who are neither US citizens nor US domiciliaries) are only subject to the US estate tax on property that is situated, or deemed situated, in the United States.

The gross estate of a Non-Resident Alien (“NRA”) includes all tangible and intangible property situated in the US, in which the decedent has an interest at the time of his death or over which he has certain rights or powers.

The taxable estate of an NRA is taxed at rates up to 40% of the value of estate in excess of a $60,000 exemption. Additionally, the estate of an NRA is generally not allowed a marital deduction unless the surviving spouse is a US citizen.

US property included in an NRA’s estate includes US real property owned or under his control and interests in US partnerships (including those holding positions in real property).

It is important to note the US does have estate tax treaties with multiple countries including Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, and the UK, amongst others. These treaties may provide estate tax relief to residents of treaty jurisdictions.

Non-citizen spouse

When your spouse is not a US citizen, the unlimited marital deduction is unavailable. This is true regardless of whether or not the decedent is an American citizen. The result is the $11.18 million exemption is unavailable and the entire estate transferred to a non-citizen spouse would be subject to estate tax. With advance planning, the non-citizen spouse estate tax implication can be reduced or eliminated.

Planning to reduce estate taxes

There are several structures that will avoid or minimize the US estate tax of a Non-Resident Alien:

  1. The property can be held in the name of a foreign corporation.
  2. The property can be held in an irrevocable trust or a trust whose assets would not be included in the settlor’s gross estate for US estate tax purposes.
  3. The title can be held in a two-tier structure with the property in the name of an American company (US real property Holding Corporation) whose shares are held by an offshore company.

Although these structures are intended to avoid the US estate tax, the structures may result in the unintended consequence of higher taxes on sale, rental income, and, in some jurisdictions, franchise taxes.

We’ve got your back

If you are a Non-Resident Alien, we can help you plan so that your estate pays no more tax than necessary, while avoiding those unintended consequences. Contact Simon Filip, the Real Estate Tax Guy, at [email protected] or 201.655.7411 today.

How Your 1031 Exchange Can Benefit from a “Zero” Deal

In previous blog posts I’ve discussed benefits of entering into a 1031 exchange. Also known as a like-kind or tax deferred exchange, a 1031 exchange affords significant tax benefits to property owners.

How 1031 exchanges benefit from zero cash flow dealsSpecifically, a 1031 exchange allows a taxpayer to sell an investment property and reinvest in replacement property(ies) while deferring ordinary income, depreciation recapture and/or capital gains taxes. By deferring tax on the transaction, taxpayers will have more cash available for reinvestment.

What is a zero cash flow purchase?

In a zero cash flow or “zero” deal, the net operating income on a net-leased property matches the debt service, and the loan amortization matches the term of the lease. If the property is retained for the full term of the lease, there is no debt at the end of the term.

Many real estate investors purchase zeros to offset taxable income from other investments through losses associated with depreciation deductions and interest expenses. These transactions are not without drawbacks, as taxable income will occur when the annual loan amortization exceeds the annual depreciation.

Benefits of a zero in a like kind exchange

One of the largest benefits of a zero in a like kind exchange is the pay-down or re-advance feature, whereby the buyer can access cash from the exchange without triggering gain recognition. Once the property is acquired and the exchange is completed, the loan provides the owner an option to refinance a portion of the equity. The options are exercised within the existing loan documents, and there is no renegotiation of terms with the lender. The proceeds can then be deployed to cash-flowing assets.

For example, a taxpayer has a property worth $10 million, comprised of $4 million in equity and $6 million in debt. She found a zero property that can be purchased for $10 million, putting down $1 million as equity and assuming $9 million of debt. The buyer applies $4 million in cash to purchase the replacement, covering the equity requirement of the 1031 exchange. Of that, $3 million (excess of the $4 million of equity from the down-leg over $1 million of equity required for purchase of the property) is used to pay down the debt balance. The interim debt balance is $6 million, fulfilling the debt requirement of the buyer’s 1031 exchange. After closing, the debt is re-advanced from $6 million to the original $9 million, with loan proceeds of $3 million going to the buyer. The exchange has been completed, income deferred and the taxpayer has extracted $3 million in non-taxable proceeds.

We’ve got your back

If you’re interested in structuring a 1031 exchange as a zero cash flow purchase, be sure to consult a real estate broker who specializes in these investments. You’ll also want to coordinate the deal with your tax advisor so that you’re following all the 1031 exchange rules. That’s where the tax experts here at KRS can help and ensure that you receive the maximum tax benefits. For more information, contact me at 201.655.7411 or [email protected]

Real Estate Rentals, the Sharing Economy and Taxes

Taxpayers renting out homes or spare rooms should be aware of the tax implications of these rentals.

When is the rental of a primary residence or vacation home taxable?

Real Estate Rentals, the Sharing Economy and TaxesThe Internal Revenue Code provides the rental of a property that is also occupied by the owner (“host”) as a residence for less than 15 days during the year is not taxable. The host is considered to use the property as a residence if they use it for personal enjoyment during the tax year for more than the greater of (1) 14 days or (2) 10% of the total days during the year they rent it to others.

The tax rules are more complicated when the vacation home is used by the host for more than 2 weeks and also rented for a substantial part of the year.

For example, a host spent 60 days last year in their ski cabin in Vermont. For the remainder of the year it was rented for 180 days.  The host can deduct 75% (180 days out of 240 days) of the ski cabin’s qualifying rental expenses against the rents collected. It is important to note that if expenses exceed rental income, the loss is not deductible.

Where is income from short-term rentals reported?

Many rental services, such as Airbnb, report the rental payments they send to hosts by filing IRS Form 1099-MISC. The IRS matches these 1099’s to tax returns to verify that rental income was reported.

If the host’s property is rented for more than 14 days per year, the exception noted above will not apply. Instead, the host will have to report and pay income tax on the rental income by filing IRS Schedule E along with the tax return. The host will also be allowed to deduct rental-related expenses, subject to limitations

Do hotel taxes apply to short-term rentals?

Lodging or transient occupancy taxes, which are commonly referred to as hotel taxes will typically apply to rentals of 30 days or less in some areas. Some jurisdictions will impose taxes for rentals that exceeds 30 days, such as Florida which taxes rentals of six months or less. These taxes are separate from any income tax they may be owed on profits from renting the property.

Airbnb will collect the applicable lodging taxes on behalf of its “hosts.” For instance, Airbnb has made an agreement with the Vermont Department of Taxation to collect the Vermont Meals and Rooms Tax on payments for lodging offered by its hosts. However, many other rental listing sites, such as HomeAway, will not collect the taxes for property owners. An internet search or browsing of the listing company’s website will provide their policy on collecting the taxes.

There are services available, such as Avalara’s MyLodgeTax, that assists hosts with filing and remitting their lodging taxes. These services are offered for monthly fees.

We’ve got your back

Ready to become a part of the sharing economy? If you’re considering renting out even part of your home, reach out to KRS so that we can help you stay on top of the tax rules. Contact me at [email protected] or (201) 655-7411.

You can also download my free Tax Tip Sheet for more ways to save taxes when buying or selling a rental property.

Allocating Between Land and Building when Acquiring Rental Real Estate

How purchase value is divided up between land and buildings impacts the depreciation tax benefits you get as a real estate owner. Here’s what you need to know.

Depreciation for residential and commercial properties

Apportioning costs between the land and the building for favorable tax treatmentA tax benefit of real estate investing is the tax shelter provided by depreciation. Depreciation is an IRS acknowledgment that assets deteriorate over time. The IRS provides specific depreciable lives for residential and commercial property of 27.5 and 39 years, respectively.  Unlike other expenses, the depreciation deduction is a paper deduction.  You do not have to spend money to be entitled to an annual deduction.

Allocations favorable to taxpayers

When acquiring real estate, a taxpayer is acquiring non-depreciable land and depreciable improvements (excluding raw land, land leases, etc. for this discussion). In transactions that result in a transfer of depreciable property and non-depreciable property such as land and building purchased for a lump sum, the cost must be apportioned between the land and the building (improvements).

Land can never be depreciated. Since land provides no current tax benefit through depreciation deductions, a higher allocation to building is taxpayer-favorable. This results in the common query of how a taxpayer should allocate the purchase price between land and building. The Tax Court has repeatedly ruled that use of the tax assessor’s value to compute a ratio of the value of the land to the building is an acceptable way to allocate the cost.

For example, a taxpayer purchases a property for $1,000,000. The tax assessor’s ratios are 35/65 land to building. Using the tax assessor’s allocation the taxpayer would allocate the purchase price $350,000 and $650,000 to land and building, respectively.

Other acceptable methods used as basis for allocation include a qualified appraisal, insurance coverage on the structure (building), comparable sales of land and site coverage ratio.

Assessor’s allocation vs. taxpayer proposed values

In the recent U.S. Tax Court case, Nielsen v. Commissioner, the court concluded the county assessor’s allocation between land and improvements were more reliable than the taxpayer’s proposed values. Nielsen (the “petitioners”) incorrectly included their entire purchase price as depreciable basis, with no allocation between the improvements and the land.

When the petitioners were challenged they acquiesced and agreed the land should not have been included in their calculation of the depreciable basis. However, the petitioners challenged the accuracy of the Los Angeles County Office of the Assessor’s assessment as being inaccurate and inconsistent. Petitioners relied on alternative methods of valuation, which included the land sales method and the insurance method.  The Tax Court ruled the county assessor’s allocation between land and improvement values was more reliable than the taxpayer’s proposed values.

We’ve got your back

In Nielsen vs. Commissioner, the Tax Court chose the assessor’s allocation over those provided by the taxpayers. However, facts and circumstances may not support the assessor’s allocation in all cases. It is important for a taxpayer to have reliable support and documentation to defend an allocation if it should be challenged.

If you have questions about how to allocate value between land and building, we’re here to help. Contact me at [email protected] or 201.655.7411.

Don’t Be Surprised by a Tax Liability on the Sale of Your Residence

Tax liability on the sale of your residenceRegularly, clients contact me to discuss the tax consequences of selling their primary residence. It seems there is a lot of misinformation floating around that I aim to clarify below.

Rollover proceeds from a sale

It is common for sellers who have been in their homes for quite some time to cite the “old” rollover rule. Before May 7, 1997, taxpayers could avoid paying taxes on profits from the sale of their principal residence by using the proceeds to purchase another home within two years. Sellers over age 55 had the option of a once-in-a-lifetime tax exemption of up to $125,000 of profits.

Home sale gain exclusion

Internal Revenue Code Section 121 replaced the old rollover rule and allowed taxpayers to exclude gains from the disposition of their home if certain requirements are met.

In order to qualify for the gain exclusion, a taxpayer must own and occupy the property as a principal residence for two of the five years immediately preceding the sale. If a taxpayer has more than one home, the gain can only be excluded from the sale of their main home. In cases where there are two homes that are lived in, the main home is generally the one that is lived in the most.

If the requirements are met, taxpayers may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of gain from their income ($500,000 on a joint return) and are not obligated to reinvest the proceeds.

Sale of a multi-family home

I was recently able to provide guidance to married taxpayers who sold their property. This particular property was a side-by-side duplex where the taxpayers occupied one side as their principal residence for approximately 10 years and rented the other. The taxpayer was familiar with the $500,000 exclusion and the gross proceeds were slightly below that amount. During sales negotiations, they were incorrectly advised that the proposed sale of their principal residence with a gain under $500,000 would result in no income taxes owed after the sale. Needless to say, there was an unexpected surprise when I discussed the true income tax consequences with them.

Selling a duplex is conceptually akin to selling two separate properties. The side the taxpayers occupied is afforded the same tax treatment as any other principal residence, which includes the Section 121 gain exclusion up to $500,000 for married taxpayers. However, the investment side of the duplex is subject to capital gains tax and depreciation recapture taxes. In this particular instance, there was approximately $30,000 of combined federal and state income taxes owed as a result of the sale.

Under current law, taxpayers can sell their principal residence and exclude $250,000 of taxable gain ($500,000 for those married filing jointly). The requirements to reinvest the proceeds or to roll them into a new property have been inapplicable for some time. Taxpayers are free to use the proceeds from the sale in any manner without tainting the exclusion.

We’ve got your back

If you have additional questions about the income tax consequences of a residential sale, especially when a portion of the property has been rented out, we’re here to help. Contact me at [email protected] or 201.655.7411.

You can also download my free Tax Tip Sheet for more ways to save taxes when buying or selling a residential property.

What Is an UPREIT ?

Real Estate Investment Trust basics

An Umbrella Partnership Real Estate Investment Trust (UPREIT) can provide tax deferral benefits to commercial property owners

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) are comparable to mutual funds for real estate investors.

REITs provide an opportunity to invest in large-scale properties and real estate portfolios in the same manner mutual funds offer diversification and professional management to investors in stocks and bonds. REIT investments are touted for diversified income streams and long-term capital appreciation.

Many REITs are traded on major stock exchanges, but there are non-listed public and private REITs as well. REITs are generally segregated into two core categories: Equity REITs and Mortgage REITs. While Equity REITs generate income through rental income streams and sales of the real estate portfolios, Mortgage REITs invest in mortgages or mortgage backed securities tied to commercial and/or residential properties.

Similar to sector-focused mutual funds, REITs have been created to invest in specific real estate asset classes. Some REIT offerings targeting specific asset classes include student housing, nursing homes, storage centers and hospitals.

REIT shareholders receive dividend distributions

Shareholders receive their share of REIT income via dividend distributions. REIT dividend distributions are allocated among ordinary income, capital gains and return of capital, each with a different tax consequence to the recipient.

Most dividends issued by REITs are taxed as ordinary dividends, which are subject to ordinary income tax rates (up to a maximum rate of 39.6%, plus a separate 3.8% surtax on net investment income). However, REIT dividends can qualify for lower rates under certain circumstances, such as in the case of capital gain distributions (20% maximum tax rate plus the 3.8 % surtax on net investment income). Additionally, the capital gains rate applies to a sale of REIT stock (20% capital gains rate plus 3.8% surtax).

What is an UPREIT?

An Umbrella Partnership Real Estate Investment Trust (UPREIT) provides tax deferral benefits to commercial property owners who contribute their real property into a tiered ownership structure that includes an operating partnership and the REIT, which is the other partner of the operating partnership. In exchange for the real property contributed to the UPREIT, the investor receives units in the operating partnership.

When the UPREIT structure is used, the owner contributes property to the partnership in exchange for limited partnership units and a “put” option. Generally, this contribution is a nontaxable transfer.

The owners of limited-partnership units can exercise their put option and convert their units into REIT shares or cash at the REIT’s option. This is generally a taxable event to the unit holder.

Tax deferral opportunities

When a taxpayer sells depreciable real property in a taxable transaction the gain is subject to capital gains tax (currently a maximum of 20%) and depreciation recapture tax (25%). The capital gain tax and depreciation recapture remain deferred as long as the UPREIT holds the property and the investor holds the operating partnership units. The advantage of this structure is that it provides commercial property owners, who might have significant capital gain tax liabilities on the sale of appreciated property, an alternative exit strategy.

It is common for taxpayers to negotiate some sort of standstill agreement where the REIT agrees not to sell the property in a taxable disposition for some period of time, usually five to ten years. If the REIT sell the property in a taxable disposition, it triggers taxable gain to the taxpayer.

The taxable gain is generally deferred when the real estate is transferred to the UPREIT. Generally, the tax deferral lasts until the partnership sells the property in a taxable transaction. However, a taxable event is triggered if the taxpayer converts the operating partnership units to REIT shares or cash.

We’ve got your back

If you have questions about UPREITs or their tax implications, we’re here to help. Contact Simon Filip at [email protected] or 201.655.7411.

Do You Hold Real Estate in a C Corporation?

Here’s why you should think twice about using a C corporation for rental real estate property.

Do you hold real estate in a C corporation?
In practice I have encountered legacy entities that were set up before the rise in popularity of S Corporations or the general acceptance of Limited Liability Companies. Occasionally, there is still the investor who was advised to purchase or is contemplating purchasing, rental real estate in a C Corporation. Utilizing a C Corporation as an entity choice could prove costly.

Real estate and double taxation

A C corporation is not a pass-through entity. Corporate taxable income is initially taxed at the entity level. If the corporation distributes its earnings to shareholders as a dividend, the recipient of the dividend must include it in his or her individual income tax return, where it is again subject to tax.

Individuals invest in real estate for its current income (cash flow) and future value (appreciation). If real estate appreciates in value while owned inside a C corporation and the asset is sold by the corporation, the gain will be taxed at the corporate level at corporate income tax rates. If the C corporation then makes distributions to its shareholders as a dividend, the recipients must include the dividends, where it will be subject to a second level of tax.

Getting real estate out of C corporations

Property owners may hold real estate inside a C corporation because they desire liability projection. It is also possible the entity was inherited from a family member and it already held title to the real estate. The limited liability protection can be offered by the use of S Corporations and Limited Liability Companies (“LLC”), which provide the liability protection of a corporation without the double taxation.

There are options available to address real estate owned by a C Corporation that include:

  1. Distributing the property in kind to the shareholders.
  2. Selling the real estate to the shareholder or an unrelated party
  3. Converting the C Corporation into an S Corporation.

Distributing appreciated real estate to shareholders

A corporation that transfers a real estate deed to one or more shareholders has made a “deemed sale” that is taxable to both the corporation and the shareholders (assuming a non-liquidating transaction). At the corporate level, the distribution is treated as a sale to the shareholders at fair market value. Corporate gain is calculated as the excess of fair market over the corporation’s basis in the real estate. The shareholders that receive the property will be taxed on the full amount of the distribution. If the corporation has current or accumulated earnings and profits, the distribution is treated as a dividend.

Selling appreciated real estate

The sale of the real estate is a taxable event to the corporation. Unlike a “deemed sale” mentioned above, an actual sale generates cash for the corporation to pay the resulting tax. If the proceeds from the sale are not distributed to the shareholders, there will be no tax to the shareholders (along with no cash).

Converting a C corporation into an S corporation

Shareholders can convert a C corporation into a subchapter S Corporation. Unlike the first two options, this can completely avoid double taxation. However, there are potentially costly tax issues that should be addressed including:

  • Built-in gains (“BIG”) tax – if an S Corporation that was formerly a C Corporation sells appreciated real estate, the entity may still pay C Corporation taxes on the appreciation.
  • Excess passive investment income – S Corporations that were formerly C Corporations with passive investment income (which includes rents) in excess of 25% of their gross receipts are assessed a corporate tax at the highest corporate rate.

I will discuss converting from C Corporation to an S Corporation in a later blog post.

If you currently own rental real estate through a C Corporation, you should contact your tax adviser to determine what, if any, action should be taken. More than likely, you will at least need to set up a plan to minimize negative tax implications.

Will President Trump Benefit or Distress Real Estate?

What will Trump's impact be on the real estate industry?The presidential campaigning has finally ceased and the transition to the Trump presidency has begun. Many questions are being asked in real estate circles, but mostly, how will President Trump’s policies impact real estate in this country?

Here are my thoughts.

Immigration

Throughout the presidential campaign, Trump was firm about deporting immigrants. It is quite common that immigrants who come to this country find work in the construction industry.  A large immigrant deportation effort would put pressure on the number of skilled workers available in the real estate industry, especially in residential real estate.

A labor shortage in the construction industry will force builders to compete for skilled workers with higher wages. Those costs would most likely be passed on to buyers in the form of higher new home prices.

Mortgage Interest Deductions

Trump’s tax plan effectively limits the mortgage interest deduction, without eliminating it entirely. This is accomplished by increasing the standard deduction from $6,300 to $15,000.

Under the current system, for example, a homeowner paying mortgage interest of $10,000 would itemize the deduction and receive a greater tax benefit, because their interest deduction would be greater than the standard $6,300 exemption.

Under Trump’s potential changes, however, there would be no need to itemize the $10,000 mortgage interest, as the proposed standard deduction is already greater. Americans therefore may be less incentivized to buy homes as their taxes would not be significantly different than if they had rented.

Real Estate Agents and Brokers

If housing prices soar due to a lack of skilled labor force and the value of a mortgage interest deduction is diminished, residential real estate brokers and agents may find transactions and commissions drying up. A decrease in real estate activity will affect the bottom line for brokers and agents alike.

Commercial Real Estate

I would be doing a disservice to the real estate ‘mogul’ without mentioning the potential impact on commercial real estate.

There is a potential for a pullback on new construction for commercial projects, large residential and mixed-use developments. If the capital markets experience a shock – which could be interest rates, inflation, or regulation – the difficulty of obtaining construction financing coupled with a muddy economic outlook may push some developers to abandon plans for new projects.

What are your thoughts on the Trump presidency and how it will impact the real estate industry?

Trending Now: Real Estate Crowdfunding

Ever hear of real estate crowdfunding? If not, maybe you should take a look.

crowdfunding for real estateIn my practice as an accountant and trusted advisor I often receive inquiries from clients and their advisors because real estate is an important element of a diversified portfolio. Until recently, opportunities to invest in real estate were limited to acquiring a rental property directly, participating in a real estate investment group, flipping properties or a joining a real estate investment trust (REIT).

Investing through a real estate investment group was limited to accredited investors – those who have a net worth of $1 million or earn at least $200,000 a year. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Title III of the JOBS Act opened the doors to non-accredited investors, who were previously unable to participate in this new asset class.

As a result of the JOBS Act, crowdfunding platforms have become available which offer options for investing in real estate. In these platforms investors can join others to invest in a rental property – either commercial or residential.

An Entry Point to Real Estate

Private real estate deals have historically been the domain of high net-worth investors who possessed the right connections to gain access to a particular property. Real estate crowdfunding provides an entry point into the real estate market, enabling investors of all ages, risk profiles and wealth levels to acquire real estate investment.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Benefits

Larger geographical scope. Investing in real estate in the past relied upon developing networks of personal and industry connections in your local area. The real estate crowdfunding platforms are opening up access to deals outside of personal contacts and local areas. A potential investor can now browse deals from all over the country.

Lower entry point. Historically, investing in real estate required writing a large check to become part of a deal. Typically, a real estate operator would want to syndicate deals with minimum investments of $100,000 or more to keep the process simple. However, through the technology in these crowdfunding platforms and the JOBS Act, investors are able to invest with a minimum of $1,000, depending on the platform. This allows real estate investors to spread their funds over multiple projects at any one time. From a risk perspective, this is less risk than investing larger amounts in fewer projects.

Drawbacks of Crowdfunding

You don’t really own real estate. Investing in crowdfunded real estate does not actually make you an owner of real estate. Rather, you become a member of a Limited Liability Company that holds title to real property. Ownership in the LLC is considered personal property rather than real property and the rights to share in income and distributions are governed by the Operating Agreement.

Less liquidity. Investing in crowdfunded real estate is different that investing in real estate stock. When you invest in a REIT, you invest in a company that owns and operations various real estate investments. REITs offer liquidity, whereas they can be sold on the stock market, while crowdfunded real estate you are locked in until an exit event such as the sale of the property.

If you are considering investing in real estate every investor should consider how to participate. Along with that decision the tax consequences of the different options should be considered in the analysis.