Real estate investing, despite the housing meltdown that occurred a few years back, remains quite popular. In fact, in many respects real estate investing has become more popular over the past few years, as more families are unable to meet the stricter mortgage requirements, or simply aren’t interested in owning a home. These factors drive up the demand for rental properties.
This has made real estate a very popular investment class, particularly for individuals who have chosen the flexibility of a self-directed IRA with a custodian such as Quest Trust Company. But investment real estate generally requires a level of involvement far greater than investments in stocks or bonds. Here are some tips for managing multiple investment properties within your self-directed IRA.
Know When It’s Time to Get Help
Perhaps the most important piece of advice when it comes to investing in real estate is that you should know when it’s time to get professional help. Managing a single piece of investment real estate can be challenging enough, but when your obligations are multiplied by numerous properties – particularly when those properties are not located close to one another or are not to the same investment type (e.g., residential vs. commercial vs. farmland) – they can quickly become overwhelming.
If you currently own investment real estate, take a look at how much time you’re spending in the management of your properties. Then research how much you would have to spend on professional help for those same services. You won’t be able to deduct those costs as you would if those investments were held outside of a tax-preferred account, but you may find that expense to be worth it.
Evaluate Each Property Individually
One element of property management in the context of investing within your self-directed IRA is confirming that a particular property is suitable for your investment portfolio. Just as you periodically evaluate other types of investments (stocks, mutual funds, etc.) to make sure that they’re still a good fit for your goals and needs, you need to do the same thing with each piece of real estate you hold.
Set up a schedule to evaluate each individual piece of property in your portfolio
Ask yourself if it is performing as you had anticipated when you acquired it (or in the time period since your last review). If not, determine whether or not there is anything you can do to improve its performance. If the property is no longer suitable as an investment, then determine whether there’s a sensible way to get that property out of your portfolio.
Have an Exit Strategy
In fact, it’s important to have an exit strategy for each and every property in your portfolio. Understand when it makes sense to no longer hold a particular property, or when it makes sense to have your funds invested in something else.