Pros and Cons of Implementing a 1031 Exchange in Commercial Real State

A 1031 exchange, also known as a “like-kind” exchange, permits you to delay all capital gains taxes provided you reinvest the proceeds in a new property or portfolio of properties of equal or more excellent value and keep the loan amounts the same or higher.

If you make a profit on investment property, you’ll have to pay capital gains taxes at the time of sale. The federal government will apply these charges. The amount will vary depending on your income, but in most circumstances, national capital gains taxes will be in the range of 15% to 20%. Gain may be taxed as income or payment at the state level, depending on where you live.

A 1031 exchange is an exchange of one investment property for another tax-deferred. According to the IRS, investors may sell an investment property and delay capital gains if they reinvest the profits in a new property. However, you must thoroughly understand how 1031 exchanges work to set yourself up for successful and profitable deals.

You may conduct as many 1031 exchanges as you like as long as you keep your properties long enough to avoid triggering dealer status with the IRS – usually, two years is the requirement. In principle, you could keep increasing the equity and value of your portfolio indefinitely by completing a never-ending sequence of postponed exchanges. Keep in mind that each of your 1031 swaps will require the assistance of a Qualified Intermediary (QI).


Aside from the apparent benefits of delaying capital gains taxes, 1031 exchanges are appealing to property owners for various reasons. Here are some significant advantages:

Possibility of Building a Portfolio

“Like-kind” does not always imply “house for house.” It means that the new investment must be in real estate for investment purposes. Except for real estate, all transaction kinds have been removed due to recent tax legislation revisions. As a result, real estate investors benefit. Some of the savviest real estate investors have 1031 swapped a single-family house in a high-appreciating market like California for a portfolio of rental properties in a lower-volatility/more inexpensive state with superior cash flow may provide higher profits over time.

The Opportunity of Resetting Your Depreciation

As a property owner, you can deduct depreciation of your asset to offset deterioration caused by normal wear and tear, age, or other structural obsolescence. The IRS, for example, considers an investment property to be depreciale for 27.5 years. It means that for the next 27.5 years, you can deduct the value of your “improvements” (the worth of the building) divided by 27.5 from your regular taxed income. Depreciation can minimize the amount of income taxes you pay.

On the other hand, cumulative improvement is frequently realized in the value of the land rather than the property. Until there is a transaction, assessors often do not have information on modifications made to the property. So, while structural upgrades may have raised the value of your home, you may only be able to reap the same depreciation benefits as when you first purchased it. Your CPA may choose to reset the depreciable amount of your investment property to a more excellent value in a 1031 delayed exchange, giving you a more considerable tax advantage.

Accumulation of Assets

A 1031 exchange is a powerful strategy for improving money. The number of consecutive exchanges is unrestricted, allowing an investor to swap into larger and larger properties over time. You can leave assets to your heirs with appropriate estate planning. They may obtain a “step-up in basis” of that asset to its current market value, essentially allowing your heirs to sell the item at its fair market value without incurring capital gains taxes.

New Market Exposure

Risk diversification is the most significant advantage of a real estate investment, and 1031 exchanges allow you to take advantage of it. You may utilize a 1031 exchange to get your foot in the door in a market with significant potential development, earning you huge future profits because they can be done anywhere with no limits based on state boundaries. However, keep in mind that although some states compel you to pay state capital gains taxes, others do not.


While 1031 exchanges may be a profitable strategy, there are a few downsides you should be aware of before getting started.

  1. Several Processes, Standards, and Requirements to Adhere

To balance the opposing goals of collecting taxes and rewarding taxpayers for investing back into the economy, the IRS has developed requirements in a 1031 Exchange. If these limits are obeyed to the extent, no income will be recorded at the time of the business property exchange transaction. Failure to strictly adhere to these requirements, on the other hand, might compromise your tax position and result in penalties.

  1. Strict Timeframe

There are several different types of 1031 exchanges, but the most popular one gives you 45 days after the sale of your surrendered property to find a new like-kind property or group of properties to swap for. To close on the replacement property(s), you have 180 days from the time of selling the provided property. So, if you’re not used to working swiftly, a 1031 exchange might not be the most incredible option for you.

  1. Not Tax-Free

It’s vital to emphasize that this is a tax-deferred trade, not a tax-free one. This means that if you sell your replacement property without another exchange, you will be responsible for paying taxes on all capital gains and depreciation recapture that you have postponed via early sales. Although, this may be avoided with appropriate estate planning.

  1. Challenging to Find Similar or Like-kind Properties

You must first decide which property(s) you want to invest the money in before performing a 1031 exchange. However, finding “like-kind” replacement properties that meet the criteria can be difficult, especially given the time limits of 1031 exchanges. Make sure you have the necessary strategy and resources in place. To minimize taxes, you don’t want to rush and wind up with a mediocre home that doesn’t meet your long-term investment goals. Worse, you may be required to pay taxes on the entire gain.

Bottom Line

A competent professional, such as a reputed commercial real estate investment firm, should be consulted before going for a 1031 Exchange. The IRS has a lot of complicated laws and regulations, and it’s easy to get caught up in them.

Finding a qualified specialist to help you in calculating your tax responsibilities of a sale versus an exchange, determining whether an exchange is appropriate for your investment goals and overall strategy, and locating a suitable replacement property is crucial.