1031 Exchange For Commercial Real Estate

Are you looking for a way to invest in the commercial real estate market but don’t know where to start? 1031 exchanges are an attractive option for investors wanting to reinvest profits from one commercial property into another. This method of investing offers tax benefits that can save time, and money, and give you access to greater potential investments than you otherwise would be able to make. Investing in commercial real estate with a 1031 exchange can provide more financial resources and potentially quicker returns on your investment compared with traditional investing methods. Keep reading this blog post to learn why considering a 1031 exchange may be right for your next big move!

A 1031 Exchange is a real estate transaction commonly utilized in commercial real estate investing, which enables investors to defer capital gains taxes resulting from the sale of a profitable investment property, provided that the proceeds are utilized to purchase another property that is considered to be of “like-kind”.

Key Takeaways

  • A 1031 exchange is a real estate transaction that allows investors to defer capital gains taxes from the sale of an investment property, as long as the proceeds are used to purchase another “like-kind” property.
  • Investing in commercial real estate with a 1031 exchange can provide more financial resources and potentially quicker returns on your investment compared with traditional investing methods.
  • 1031 exchanges offer investors significant tax benefits, including the ability to defer taxes on a profitable sale and reinvest capital into more attractive real estate opportunities.
1031 Exchange For Commercial Real Estate

Rules and Requirements for 1031 Exchange for Commercial Real Estate

According to the Internal Revenue Service, any property that is of a similar nature or character as the one being replaced qualifies as like-kind – even if their quality differs. This rule applies when it comes to real estate properties too; regardless of how they have been updated and improved upon, they are still considered like-kind for taxation purposes.

For instance, real estate investors can swap a small apartment building for more extensive projects, office space, or even vacant land. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has put an end to personal and intangible property from being eligible for tax-deferred exchanges; this encompasses machinery, equipment pieces such as artwork, collectibles patents, and intellectual property.

The Act has specifically designed the Opportunity Zones incentive to foster and promote long-term, tax-exempt investments in both rural and urban areas with lower economic standings. All 50 states of America are covered under this provision, including U.S Territories such as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

By performing 1031 exchanges when selling and buying their real estate assets, active investors can effectively defer or even eliminate capital gains taxes. This enables them to maintain higher levels of liquidity while being able to increase the speed at which they expand their portfolios. Careful planning also allows for more meaningful estate planning as well.

Real estate investors face hefty capital gains taxes should they fail to follow IRS’ 1031 Exchange rules. To avoid this, it is imperative that the timeline of a 1031 exchange be strictly adhered to – and with help from a qualified intermediary (QI), even more so.

Let’s take a look at two investors: one who used the 1031 Exchange to reinvest gains as a 20% down payment on their subsequent purchase, and another who applied capital profits in the same way.

To make the math easier, we are working with whole numbers and calculating a 20% total return on one investment property each time it’s held for 5 years. The first purchase was made by putting down 20%, which is then reinvested into the second property, and so forth. This simplifies our calculations while still maintaining accuracy.

After two decades, the projected portfolio value of $1,920,000 when pursuing a 1031 exchange strategy is substantially larger than what you would have if you had paid capital gains tax along the way: only $1,519,590. Unsurprisingly then, more astute real estate investors are turning to this approach every day!

Follow These Three Important 1031 Exchange Rules

To take advantage of the benefits of a 1031 tax-deferred exchange, it is paramount to make sure that you plan ahead and adhere to the three primary rules:

  1. Replacement property should be of equal or greater value to the one being sold
  2. The replacement property must be identified within 45 days
  3. The replacement property must be purchased within 180 days

Greater or equal value replacement property rule

Real estate investors should maximize their 1031 exchange by researching and finding one or more replacement properties that are of equal or greater value to the property being sold. There exist three methods for structuring this process:

  • Choose up to three properties, regardless of their worth.
  • Identify as many properties as you wish, provided that their combined value does not exceed twice the worth of the property being replaced.
  • With no limitations, acquire properties valued at 95% or more of the replaced property to expand your portfolio.

Pros and Cons of 1031 Exchange for Commercial Real Estate

Advantages of tax deferral and increased purchasing power

One of the major advantages of using a 1031 Exchange for commercial real estate for investment purposes is the tax deferral it provides. Capital gains and depreciation recapture taxes are deferred, which could help avoid the Net Investment Income Tax and Alternative Minimum Tax that could otherwise be applied to other income, allowing those funds to be taxed at lower levels. Besides, due to the time value of deferred gain, the amount exchanged can keep appreciating while still allowing it to be accessed later on down the line.

Likewise, with a 1031 Exchange in place, a larger purchase may take place than would have originally been possible due to increased buying power.

Read this article to learn more about Reducing Taxes on Commercial Real Estate: Strategies & Tips, to ensure you are making the most of your opportunities.

Opportunity To Invest In a Portfolio

There’s an exciting opportunity awaiting you – the chance to invest in a diverse real estate portfolio utilizing a 1031 exchange.

This rather unique investment maneuver lets you trade in your current investment property for a new one of a ‘like-kind’ nature, as long as both assets are located within the United States and neither is your primary residence. The real estate market holds a privileged position as the sole market that allows you to defer capital gains taxes through this exchange, thanks to a tax rule change that wiped out all other similar transactions.

Seize this moment to optimize the market value of your property investments and grow your wealth, while also benefiting from potential tax advantages in the process. With a mixture of professionalism, friendliness, and simplicity, I’ll guide you through every step of the process, making it both enjoyable and fruitful for you.

Potential downsides

There is a Tight Timeline

A 1031 exchange is a great tool to defer taxes on the sale of a property that you’ve owned for some time, but it’s important to recognize its potential downsides. Specifically, there is a tight timeline in which all steps within the exchange must be completed – 45 days to identify replacement properties and no more than 180 days to close on the purchase. If you’re someone who needs a slower-paced approach to making decisions, then a 1031 exchange may not be the best tool for your situation.

Finding Like-Kind Properties Can Be Difficult

In any investment process, potential downsides should always be given due consideration, particularly when it comes to managing property exchanges. One such challenge is the inevitably tight timeline, which necessitates careful planning and execution.

The task of identifying like-kind properties within a 45-day period can prove to be quite difficult, as the desired property must meet your specific needs and demands. To mitigate this issue, it is essential to devise a well-structured plan, complete with backup options, to prepare for any potential bumps in the road.

Eventually, the objective is to avoid a hasty decision, accepting a property that falls short of your expectations or, worse still, missing out on a suitable replacement entirely, incurring an additional tax burden.

How to Complete a 1031 Exchange for Commercial Real Estate

Thinking about deferring your capital gains taxes through a 1031 exchange? It can be tricky to navigate, but working with a knowledgeable tax pro and understanding the regulations set out in IRS Publication 544 will help you make it work. Here are some basics on what goes into making these exchanges successful.

Step 1: Find the house you wish to put on the market.

When it comes to 1031 exchanges, you need a business or investment property in order for the transaction to qualify. Your main residence and vacation homes are unlikely to be possible.

Step 2: Pinpoint the exact property you desire to purchase.

 Make sure that the property you’re selling and buying can do exchange! That means they must be “like-kind” – of similar nature, character, or class. Just note that when it comes to exchanging U.S.-based properties with international ones – they won’t qualify as like-kind exchanges.

Step 3: Select a knowledgeable intermediary who is equipped to assist you with your transaction.

1031 exchanges are a great way to avoid taxes, but they come with an important caveat—you need to ensure that no proceeds from the sale end up in your pocket. The best way you can do this is by working with a qualified intermediary or exchange facilitator who will securely hold any funds during the entire transaction so it doesn’t accidentally slip through! Just remember: It’s essential that you choose carefully and research thoroughly as legal bankruptcy or flaking could cause financial loss while missing key deadlines may lead to paying tax now rather than later.

Step 4: Determine what portion of the profits will be allocated to the acquisition of your new property.

By taking advantage of the like-kind exchange option, you don’t have to immediately reinvest all your sale proceeds in a new property to avoid capital gains tax. Keeping some of them now may come with taxes due, but you get the peace of mind that comes from deferring most (if not all) of those vexing capital gains!

Step 5: Monitor your schedule closely for any upcoming events or activities.

If you want to avoid the taxation of your property sale gains, then time is of the essence. You’ll have 45 days from your property’s sale date to identify any potential replacement properties and 180 days (or before tax return filing) to actually purchase one. Put that pen into action and make sure those deadlines get met.

Step 6: Exercise vigilance when handling finances.

Always bear in mind, the main purpose of a 1031 exchange is for you to escape taxation of taxable gain on proceeds from the sale. Consequently, if you obtain control of cash or any other profits prior to the completion of the deal, it could void your agreement and make all gains taxable promptly.

Step 7: Tell the IRS about your transaction

When you submit your tax return, be sure to include IRS Form 8824 in order to give a full accounting of the properties involved, timelines associated with them, people who had dealings with them, and any money that was exchanged.

1031 Exchange For Commercial Real Estate FAQs

What is a qualified intermediary and why is one needed for a 1031 exchange?

To complete a 1031 exchange, an individual must enlist the help of a Qualified Intermediary (QI). This is someone who will hold onto any proceeds from the relinquished property and use it to purchase their replacement property. According to IRS regulations, these funds are not allowed direct contact with the person utilizing a taxable 1031 exchange.

What are the potential downsides of using a 1031 exchange for commercial real estate?

One major downside to a 1031 exchange is that it could cause the investor to become “trapped” in their commercial real estate investments. That’s because they don’t have access to the cash proceeds from the sale of their first property, and must use those funds to buy replacement property.

How can a commercial real estate investor successfully complete a 1031 exchange?

Successfully completing a 1031 exchange for commercial real estate requires knowledgeable and experienced professionals, including an attorney and a real estate agent. Each one of these individuals can provide guidance on the legalities and financial implications associated with this type of transaction.

Can a 1031 exchange be used for properties located in different states?

Yes, commercial real estate investors can complete a 1031 exchange for properties located in different states. However, they must be aware of the varied laws and rules that apply to each state’s tax code as well as any other applicable laws that could impact their transaction.

Are there any exceptions to the rules and requirements of a 1031 exchange?

There is one exemption to this rule: the “200% rule”. If you are struggling to decide among three properties, then you may select more options. The only condition of a 1031 exchange, in this case, is that the cumulative value of your additional choices must not exceed 200% of the original property’s worth that has been sold.

How can a commercial real estate investor determine if a 1031 exchange is the right choice for their situation?

Consult a commercial real estate professional to help you understand if a 1031 exchange is the right choice for you. They can explain all the rules and regulations associated with this type of transaction, as well as provide insight into any potential tax implications that could arise from it.

What is a 1031 boot?

So when you do a 1031 exchange, anything left over from the sale that you don’t put towards a new property is the boot. Let’s say you sell a property for $500,000 but only reinvest $425,000, that $75,000 left over is your boot. The thing is, the whole point of doing a 1031 exchange is to defer capital gains tax. But if you end up with a boot, you’ll basically have to pay taxes on that leftover amount. In this case, you’d be taxed on the $75,000 since you didn’t use it towards another investment property.


After researching the advantages and disadvantages of a 1031 exchange for commercial real estate, it is important to take into consideration all aspects of a fair market before making your decision.

The upsides are clear – tax deferral, increased purchasing power, and diversification benefits. It might be right for you as an investor if your return on investment is expected to be long-term. On the other hand, its tight timeline requirements may not make it easy to move from one property to another in a tight market. Out of all these considerations, the most important conclusion is that you should do your due diligence when selecting an exchange service provider and think about what’s best for your individual financial situation.

It’s also important to make sure you select a professional to help guide you through this process and provide advice along the way. If you are interested in learning more about 1031 exchanges for commercial real estate or would like to explore if a 1031 Exchange may be beneficial for you, please call or schedule a free consultation today! I’d be happy to help.

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