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Benefits to Real Estate Investors

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What Are the Advantages of a 1031 Exchange?

What Are the Advantages of a 1031 Exchange?

The main benefit of a 1031 Exchange for real estate investors is greater tax efficiency, which translates into more purchasing power and investor flexibility to build wealth. Used correctly, this means higher returns, more cash flow, and even improved estate planning through the power of stepped-up basis transfers.

More Buying Power

In the United States, the Federal government taxes 15-20% on capital gains (depending on your income).

Most state governments take an extra 3-10%. Rates climb as high as 13.3% for California investors (and this rate seems likely to rise in the near future).

Conservatively, that’s 25% to tax collectors and out of your pocket.

Here are the states with the highest gains taxes.

List of the top 20 highest tax states

Remember: RE investors also face depreciation recapture taxes. These are normally 25%.

Since real estate tends to be quite pricey, the taxes due upon sale get very large, very quickly.

That’s a big drag for investors.

Put another way:

You can purchase more — and/or better — real estate with extra capital.

Consider 25% more buying power.

After every deal.

Savvy real estate investors frequently rely on 1031 exchanges.


Larger, more valuable properties generate (on average) higher returns.

After all, that’s what makes them more valuable.


Flexibility of Like-Kind Exchanges

2015 NAR survey revealed that like-kind exchanges give entrepreneurs extra flexibility, particularly when they can readily switch to properties with “better economic use”. 

In other words, a 1031 lets you change:

All without paying taxes.

This means more efficient capital deployment for investment opportunities.

That same NAR survey estimated 40% of all RE deals would not have occurred without a 1031 exchange.

And this makes complete sense.

Think about it:

Why switch to a new opportunity if doing so costs you tens (or hundreds) of thousands in taxes? Again, taxes are often your largest cost of sale.

Key takeaway: Choosing when to face a large tax bill can be a HUGE advantage.

Estate Planning

Here’s a cool thing:

The IRS built a backdoor in the Internal Revenue Code. And investors can use the tax code to side-step capital gains taxes. 


(Not sure if they meant to. But it’s there)

What is it?

Stepped-Up Basis 

It removes taxes on gains for assets inherited by your heirs, including:

  • Real estate
  • Qualified stocks
  • Other capital assets 

Our clients are often very happy to hear this. Particularly if they have kids!

The Tax Foundation explains this tax law:

Essentially, it boils down to one simple question.

Did your heirs inherit your property? 

If yes, no capital gains tax carries over.

This leads to the expression — rather morbid — “Swap ‘til you drop.”

Here’s a simple breakdown of the strategy.

Stepped-Up Basis graphic


Final Thought: 

Talk with us about your broader investment strategy and portfolio diversification. Cover more than the upcoming transaction. What are your long-term plans? We can help you get there.

Learn to Master 1031 Exchanges

Whether you are brand new, or need an advanced strategy, this is your go-to center for Section 1031 Exchanges.