A 1031 exchange allows Houston real estate investors to sell an investment property and buy a new property without paying capital gains taxes. These exchanges are named after 26 U.S.C. section 1031 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, which governs these transactions.


Although 1031 exchanges can be complex, they can also benefit investors. Are you thinking about selling an investment property in Houston? Here’s what you need to know about 1031 exchanges and how they help you save money on your taxes.


What Is a 1031 Exchange?


As stated above, a 1031 exchange helps investors to defer capital gains taxes on selling an investment property. You must meet the following measures to qualify for a 1031 exchange:

  • The property you hold and wish to sell must be for investment or business purposes (i.e., it can’t be your primary residence).
  • You can exchange the property for another “like-kind” property (more on this below).
  • You must complete the exchange within 180 days of selling the first property.
  • The investor must use a qualified intermediary (QI) to help the exchange. A QI is a neutral third party that holds the proceeds from selling your first property until you’re ready to buy your replacement property.

It’s important to emphasize that you can’t just sell one property and buy another under a 1031 exchange. The I.R.S. requires you to complete a “qualified exchange.” To do this, you must work with a professional and qualified intermediary. This person will hold onto the money from selling your first property until you find a new one. Once you’ve found a suitable replacement property, the intermediary will release the funds to help you purchase it.

What Are Like-Kind Properties?


So, what exactly qualifies as a “like-kind” property? The I.R.S. defines like-kind properties as those “of the same nature or character, even if they differ in grade or quality.” Most investment properties, like rental homes, office buildings, and warehouses, can be traded for each other. 


It’s important to note that a few exceptions exist to the like-kind property rule. The most notable exception is that you can’t exchange properties between countries. If you want to sell your rental property in Houston and use the money to buy a similar property in another country, you cannot do a 1031 exchange.


Another exception is that you can’t exchange properties for personal use. So, if you want to sell an investment property and use the proceeds to purchase a vacation home, you won’t be able to do a 1031 exchange.

What Qualifies as a Like-Kind Property?

You can trade investment properties with each other using the like-kind exchange provision. This includes single-family rental properties, strip malls, warehouses, raw land, and more.


The following types of property do not qualify for like-kind exchange treatment:

  • Personal use property includes your primary residence and any secondary or vacation homes you own.
  • You cannot use the like-kind exchange provision if you own a business and want to trade your inventory for another person’s property.
  • Personal stocks and bonds are capital assets and do not qualify for like-kind exchange treatment. 

When Can I Do a 1031 Exchange?                                    


The I.R.S. imposes strict timelines on exchanging properties. You have 45 days from selling your first property to identify other properties you might want to buy. You have 180 days from selling your first property to buying a replacement one. If you don’t meet either of these deadlines, you won’t be able to do a 1031 exchange.

What Are the Benefits of Doing a 1031 Exchange?     

A 1031 exchange helps investors avoid paying taxes on selling their investment properties. By reinvesting the income into a replacement property, they can defer paying any capital gains taxes until they sell again.


There are many other benefits of doing a 1031 exchange as well, including but not limited to the following:

Flexible Transaction Structure

With a 1031 exchange, you have more flexibility in structuring your transactions. For example, you can buy replacement property similar in size and scope to your investment property. Or you can buy multiple smaller properties with the same value as your investment property.

Increase Buying Power

Delaying capital gain taxes on selling your first property will give you more money to buy your replacement property. By deferring your taxes, you free up more money to put towards an upgraded property than you might not have been able to afford otherwise.

Wealth Building

Investors in Houston thinking about selling should consider a 1031 exchange. This means that you can put off paying taxes on the money you make from selling the property, and you can use that money to buy another property instead.

Disadvantages of a 1031 Exchange


The main disadvantage of doing a 1031 exchange is that it can be complex and time-consuming. You’ll need to work with a qualified intermediary (QI) to facilitate the exchange, which can add to the cost of the transaction. In addition, you’ll need to adhere to the timelines set forth by the I.R.S., or you won’t be able to defer your taxes.


Another potential disadvantage is that you could end up with a property that isn’t as good of an investment as your first property. It is essential to pick qualified replacement properties and talk to a professional before you do a 1031 exchange.


As any investor knows, acquiring and selling investment property can be complicated and time-consuming. Several important considerations include zoning regulations, market trends, and financing options.

The Real Estate Investment Experts in Houston


We have been working in the Houston market for 34 years, giving us an advantage over the competition. We understand the real estate industry very well. This allows us to help our clients through every step of selling or buying an investment property, and we will make sure it is a smooth process.


Residential Leasing & Management is a first-rate option if you want help with buying or selling investment properties in Houston or need efficient and effective property management services for an existing rental property.