A Self-Directed IRA LLC, or Real Estate IRA, is a powerful tool for investing in real estate with your IRA funds.

  • Invest in Real Estate… a real asset, not just paper
  • Enjoy full administrative control over your IRA’s real estate investments with checkbook control
  • Grow your tax-sheltered retirement savings with both cash flow and appreciation
  • Protect yourself and your IRA from lawsuits with protection granted by your real estate IRA LLC

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I’m very happy I can use my IRA to take advantage of these Real Estate opportunities. — Gary J., Kent, Washington

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If you are a real estate investor, you know that the ability to jump on an opportunity quickly is key to landing the best deals. Because of this need to be nimble, it is widely acknowledged that a self-directed IRA LLC offering checkbook control is a superior vehicle for investing in real estate with IRA funds.

Because the IRA LLC is such a great tool for investing in real estate, it is often referred to simply as a “Real Estate IRA”.

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The Checkbook Control Advantage

With a Checkbook IRA LLC, you have full administrative control over investment decisions and the issuance of funds from the account. When it comes to investing in real estate, the IRA LLC format provides several advantages:

  • You can act immediately on opportunities – execute a contract… sign a check… done!
  • No processing delays or per-transaction fees for expense and income transactions. You can simply pay the property taxes or a landscaper, or deposit the monthly rent without 3rd party involvement.
  • Asset protection. The LLC protects your IRA and you personally from lawsuits

Invest in all Kinds of Real Estate

A self-directed IRA can invest in real estate in many forms, including:


  • Single family rentals
  • Multi-family and apartment properties
  • Short term vacation rentals
  • Commercial or office space
  • Real estate development
  • Flipping properties
  • Mobile homes & parks
  • Agricultural, ranching, and timber properties
  • Raw land
  • Foreign real estate
  • Real estate secured mortgages
  • Tax liens & deeds

The Real Estate Advantage

As an investment asset class, real estate performs differently than most conventional financial products. The stability and potential for regular income provided by real estate are a big reason this type of investing is popular with retirement savers seeking true diversification.

  • A real asset, not just paper
  • Real estate values tend to be much more stable over time than equities
  • Real estate can produce both appreciation and cash flow, providing multiple paths to growth
  • Real estate markets are typically easier to understand and master than financial markets

Answers to Your Questions

YES…In 1974, Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). making IRA, 401(k) and other retirement plans possible. Only two types of investments are excluded under ERISA and IRS Codes: Life Insurance Contracts and Collectibles (art, jewelry, etc.). Everything else is fair game. IRS Code Sec. 401 IRC 408(a) (3)

An IRA may invest in most any kind of real estate, including single family rental properties, apartments, commercial properties, land or other agricultural properties, etc.

No.  There are no taxes associated with moving to a self-directed IRA.  A self-directed IRA is still an IRA, just with a different business model for investing and more choices of asset classes.

No.  An IRA is a tax-sheltered vehicle for investing for retirement savings only.  All investments must be made at arm’s length and exclusively for the benefit of the IRA.  You or close family may not live in a home owned by your IRA or rent a property from your IRA.  Refer to the IRS Rules page for more details on maintaining arm’s length status.

Yes.  An IRA may use debt-financing such as a mortgage to acquire investment property.  This means you can take advantage of the principals of leverage and generate a higher cash-on-cash return for each IRA dollar deployed.  Any mortgage must be non-recourse, meaning no personal guarantee from you.  Not all lenders offer such mortgages where the property is the only security, but there are a handful who do.  Visit our Non-Recourse Mortgages page to learn more about this strategy.

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