Questions to Ask When Looking for an IRA Custodian for Real Estate

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Today, there is a growing awareness among investors about the different products one can invest in apart from the traditional offerings of stocks and bonds. With a self-directed Individual Retirement Account (IRA), individuals can invest in offerings such as real estate, precious metals, crypto currencies, and other private entities.

A custodian is a company that will hold investments on behalf of your Self-Directed IRA for convenience and security purposes. Finding the best self directed IRA custodian for real estate can prove to be a challenging endeavor.

What does a Self-Directed IRA Custodian do? Why do you need one? How do you choose an IRA Custodian for real estate? This article aims to make the process of finding a Self-Directed IRA Custodian best suited to your requirement.

What is a Self-Directed IRA Custodian?


The Internal Revenue Service requires IRA assets to be held by a custodian. There are specific rules to be followed, and the Custodian is responsible for reporting on the accounts keeping in line with the regulations laid down by the government authorities.

If you are interested in purchasing real estate with your IRA funds, then your Custodian will direct you on the appropriate way to handle such a transaction. The Custodian will not provide you with advice on what to buy. Instead, they will help you with how to buy real estate accurately and safely.

Questions to Ask When Looking for A Self-Directed IRA Custodian


What Is Your Area of Specialization?

IRA Custodians can hold traditional investment products as well as alternative assets. If real estate is a sector you want to invest in, make sure the Custodian can hold real estate assets and experience doing so.

For example, there are IRA Custodians in the market that specifically focus on holding alternative assets. These IRA Custodians might be a good option considering they have specialized experience in the asset class you are interested in.

What is your Experience?

For how many years has your IRA Custodian been in business? What is the value of assets they have held to date? Do they offer insurance? What are the different real estate products they have extensively worked with?

Finding the answers to these questions is vital as it provides you with an insight into the expertise and stability of the IRA Custodian.

How Much Would You Charge For Your Service?

Most IRA Custodians provide two types of fee structure, and you should choose one depending on your requirement. The two fee options are:

  • Number of Assets
  • Total Account Value

With the first option, you will be charged on the number of assets you own. This option might also involve a minimum fee amount. With option two, you will be charged an annual amount depending on your portfolio slab.

You will also have to pay for different transactions, for example, new account creation, purchase of an asset, wire transfers, bank checks, and trust checks, among others. Get a list of all expenses beforehand to avoid any last-minute surprises.

How Quickly Can You Respond For New Assets?

You all know time is money when it comes to business. If you find a real estate product you want to invest in, how soon can the IRA custodian respond to your request? If they claim to be the best self-directed IRA custodian for real estate, their ideal turnaround time should not be more than 24 to 48 hours.

What Real Estate Products Can You Help Me With?

There are different real estate products you can invest in with an IRA:

  • Single Family Homes
  • Apartment Buildings
  • Condominiums
  • Commercial Property
  • Farms
  • Mineral-based Property
  • Unimproved Land

Be specific on the type of property you are interested in and if they have experience in dealing with that class of property.

Do You Have Affiliations With Real Estate Associations?

Affiliations and memberships provide you with an insight into how active a company is in the sector you are interested in, in this case, real estate. These associations lay down the guidelines and best practices to deal with industry-specific problems.

For example, you have the National Real Estate Investors Association, a 501(c) 6 trade association that supports local real estate investor organizations all across the US. Similarly, you have state and city-specific associations like JAXREIA, GOREIA, ORRA, and TBREIA.

The questions mentioned above will get you started on the process of finding the best self-directed IRA custodian for real estate. Enquire about their customer service process, get some online research done, and look for customer reviews. Invest time in educating yourself on Self-Directed IRAs and get started on your investment journey.

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