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Finding Upside in Real Estate’s Downturn

By Ben Steverman - 2011-09-27T18:19:45Z

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Real Estate for Retirement

Tax-deferred individual retirement accounts, or IRAs, are commonly used to hold bonds and stocks. They can also hold real estate if certain conditions are met. Adam Bergman, a tax attorney at IRA Financial Group who helps investors set up self-directed IRAs, estimates clients have put $430 million of retirement money into real estate in the past year. Properties are owned through limited liability companies, which in turn are owned by the IRA. While still in tax-deferred accounts, properties can't be used for personal purposes and must be renovated and managed by third parties. "There are guidelines you have to follow but they're simple," says Rick Rogers Sr., who has bought four foreclosed houses with IRA funds.

Photograph by Jin Lee/Bloomberg News