Common Disqualifications for Properties in a 1031 Exchange

Non-negotiable Factors in a 1031 Exchange

A 1031 exchange comes with several in-stone requirements that must be met. Here are some key factors:

  1. Equal or Greater Value: The relinquished property must be exchanged for replacement property/properties of equal or greater value.
  1. Calendar Deadlines: Strict deadlines must be followed during the exchange process. These include identifying replacement properties within 45 days and completing the exchange within 180 days.
  1. Involvement of a Qualified Intermediary (QI): All funds and proceeds must be handled by a Qualified Intermediary, who acts as a neutral third party during the exchange.
  1. Property Eligibility: Not all properties qualify for a 1031 exchange. Eligible properties must meet certain criteria to be eligible for tax deferral benefits.

By understanding and adhering to these non-negotiable requirements, investors can navigate the 1031 exchange process successfully and maximize their tax benefits.

The Evolving Landscape of 1031 Exchanges

In the not-so-distant past, various types of personal or intangible properties, such as machinery, equipment, and collectibles, were eligible for 1031 exchanges. Even patents and copyrights could be exchanged.

However, with the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017, many of these assets were disqualified from like-kind exchanges. Today, only "real property held for productive use or investment" qualifies for a 1031 exchange.

But it doesn't end there. Not all real estate falls under the umbrella of qualified like-kind exchange properties. The IRS specifies certain types of real estate that are ineligible for such treatment.

Navigating the Limitations: Real Estate Bought and Held Primarily for Sale

Are you considering venturing into the world of buying and flipping houses? That's an exciting endeavor. However, it's important to note that such properties cannot be included in a 1031 exchange. The IRS categorizes this type of real estate as "stock in trade" or "held primarily for sale."


To determine if a property is held primarily for sale rather than for investment, certain parameters come into play:

  1. The original purpose and intent of purchasing the property.
  2. The extent of improvements made to the property.
  3. The frequency and continuity of sales made.
  4. Your primary occupation or business.
  5. Use of advertising, promotion, or other efforts to find buyers.
  6. Listing the property with brokers.
  7. Duration of the property's hold.

In essence, if your intention was to acquire a property, make improvements, and quickly sell it to another buyer, it does not qualify for a like-kind exchange. Additionally, selling an investment property within 12 months of acquisition can raise concerns with the IRS.

Exploring the Limits: Primary Residence

Wondering if you can include your primary residence—the place you call home most of the time—in a 1031 exchange? The answer is a firm "no." Although your home may appreciate in value, it doesn't fall under the category of real estate held for trade or investment.

There is a potential scenario where your home could qualify for 1031 exchange treatment: if you choose to convert it into a rental property instead of residing in it. However, even in this case, there are strict rules to follow. First, you cannot continue living in the property while renting it out. Second, you must plan to hold the house as a rental property for a minimum of two years to meet the qualifying criteria.

Beyond Borders: Foreign Real Estate

When it comes to a 1031 exchange, you have the flexibility to replace a property within the United States with another property located anywhere else in the country. This includes properties in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, but excludes properties in Puerto Rico.

However, it's important to note that you cannot exchange U.S. property for properties in countries like Canada, Mexico, or any other foreign location outside the United States.

On the other hand, it is possible to exchange foreign real estate held for trade or investment for real property in any country other than the United States. It's crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific rules and regulations of each country regarding purchases, sales, and exchanges.

Before proceeding with an exchange, make sure to understand the deadlines and requirements set by the IRS. Additionally, ensure that both the property you wish to exchange and the property you intend to acquire meet the IRS qualification criteria. Failing to do so can result in unintended consequences during the exchange process.

General Disclosure

Not an offer to buy, nor a solicitation to sell securities. All investing involves risk of loss of some or all principal invested. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Speak to your finance and/or tax professional prior to investing. Any information provided is for informational purposes only.

Securities offered through Emerson Equity LLC Member: FINRA/SIPC. Only available in states where Emerson Equity LLC is registered. Emerson Equity LLC is not affiliated with any other entities identified in this communication.

1031 Risk Disclosure: