When doing a 1031 exchange, the tax benefits can be substantial, but there are fees and costs to consider.
A 1031 exchange is the deferment of capital gains taxes when an investment property is relinquished and replaced with a like-kind property. This allows a taxpayer to use the funds to purchase a new investment while shifting the tax liability.
The costs involved in a 1031 exchange include fees paid to a Qualified Intermediary (QI) and the costs of doing a real estate transaction(s).
Qualified Intermediary Fees
One of the major costs in a 1031 exchange is the payment to the Qualified Intermediary. A QI is a third party that facilitates the transfer process between the relinquished and replacement properties. They are the titleholder during the exchange process and also have control of the escrow account.
Fees for a QI vary, but generally range from $500 to $1,500. Some charge per exchange, but others might charge separate fees for the relinquished property and the new property. Additional fees would apply if there are multiple properties involved in either side of the transaction.
A QI might also charge more if it is a complex transaction, like a reverse 1031 exchange or an exchange on a new construction project. Fees for these types of transactions can be several times higher and a QI may charge between $3,000 to $8,000; however, there’s no interest income with replacements purchased ahead of selling your old property.
The fee may seem small for the responsibilities an intermediary holds, but depending on the terms of the contract, they may sometimes keep the interest on the money kept in escrow. Depending on the amount, this can add up quickly.
It is also important to remember that you get what you pay for. Choosing a QI just because they have the lowest fees could present challenges that could end up being more costly to the taxpayer in the long run.
Standard Fees of Real Estate Transactions
A 1031 exchange will include at least two, and maybe more, real estate transactions. If there is a QI involved, they pay the expenses for the sale and purchase of the properties from the proceeds of the exchange that are kept in an escrow account set up by the taxpayer.
However, some of these fees are considered taxable, called non-exchange expenses, while some are not taxable, called exchange expenses. Exchange expenses are the costs of directly buying or selling a property, or the cost of acquisition. Non-exchange expenses are operating expenses or loan fees.
Examples of Exchange Expenses:
- Transfer taxes: Rates vary, but generally range between 1% and 3% of the exchange deal’s value.
- Qualified Intermediary fees: $500 to $1,500 or $3,000 to $8,000 for complex transactions.
- Owner’s title insurance premiums: Title costs are usually set at 1% of the sales price. Buyers usually pay title insurance, which is included in the escrow paid before the closing. This is then deducted from the seller’s proceeds.
- Recording fees: The national average for recording fees is under $200, but some states include recording fees with transfer taxes, which could go up into the thousands of dollars.
- Escrow fees: Fees typically range between 1% to 2% of the sale price, depending on the location.
- Finder's fees: Also called a referral fee, this could be from 3% to 35% of the total value of the deal.
- Inspection fees: Costs will depend on size and type of asset.
- Real estate commissions: Fees average between 5% to 6% of the final cost. This is split between the buyer agents and seller agents.
- Legal fees: Attorneys and tax advisors typically charge flat fees, which can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
- Appraisal for purchase contract: This could be $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the size of the property.
Examples of Non-Exchange Expenses:
- Assumption fee: If you assume a mortgage for the property, the assumption fee can’t exceed 1% of the existing loan balance at closing.
- Mortgage insurance: Rates can range from 1% to 2% of the loan amount.
- Lender’s title insurance premiums: This is usually set by the state based upon the policy size, but it’s typically 0.5% of the purchase price.
- Repairs or maintenance
- Homeowners association fees
Also consider that anything paid for out of the exchange funds that is considered a cost of obtaining a new loan is a non-exchange cost, and subject to tax liability. The direct costs of acquiring the property, however, do not generate a taxable event.
Another way to look at it is to think of the transaction as an all-cash transaction. Anything that would not be included in an all-cash scenario, including loan acquisition fees, is subject to taxes if paid with the proceeds from the exchange.
This material is for general information and educational purposes only. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions. Realized does not provide tax or legal advice. This material is not a substitute for seeking the advice of a qualified professional for your individual situation. Costs associated with the transaction may impact investor’s returns and may outweigh the tax benefits. An unfavorable tax ruling may cancel deferral of capital gains and result in immediate tax liabilities.