Essential Documents for a Successful 1031 Exchange


Selling real estate through a 1031 exchange can be a savvy financial move, allowing you to defer capital gains taxes and reinvest in like-kind properties. However, navigating the complex rules and requirements of a 1031 exchange can be challenging. One critical aspect of a successful exchange is having the right documentation in place. 

What is Needed?

Qualified Intermediary (QI) Agreement

A Qualified Intermediary (QI) is a neutral third party that facilitates the 1031 exchange process. To initiate a 1031 exchange, you’ll need to sign an agreement with a QI, formally designating them to handle the sale proceeds. This agreement should outline the QI’s responsibilities, fees, and the timeline for the exchange.

Sale Contract

The sale contract is a crucial document that should explicitly state your intent to complete a 1031 exchange. It should also include a provision allowing for the assignment of the contract to the QI. This contract serves as evidence of your intent to exchange rather than outright sell.

Identification of Replacement Property

One of the strictest rules in a 1031 exchange is the 45-day identification period. Within 45 days of selling your property, you must identify potential replacement properties in writing. Documentation of this identification, such as a letter or form, is essential. Be thorough and specific when identifying properties to avoid complications later in the process.

Exchange Agreement

An exchange agreement is a contract between you, the taxpayer, and the QI. It should outline the roles and responsibilities of each party and the terms and conditions of the exchange. This document will govern the entire exchange process.

Closing Documents

All documents related to the sale of your relinquished property, including the settlement statement (HUD-1 or closing statement), need to be provided to the QI. These documents prove the sale of your old property and the amount of money involved in the exchange.

Title and Escrow Instructions

Your QI will work closely with the title and escrow company to ensure a seamless exchange. Providing clear instructions and documentation regarding your 1031 exchange to these entities is crucial. The QI may also request additional documents, such as a copy of the title commitment.

1031 Exchange Affidavit

An affidavit is often required as part of the exchange process. It confirms your intent to exchange and your understanding of the 1031 exchange rules. This document is typically prepared and provided by the QI.

IRS and State Tax Forms

There are specific IRS forms that need to be filed when completing a 1031 exchange. The most common is Form 8824, which reports the exchange to the IRS.  Specific states have their own reporting requirements that also must be completed. Accurate and timely filing of these forms is essential to ensure compliance with tax regulations.

Record Keeping

Keep copies of all documents related to your 1031 exchange for at least seven years. This includes all correspondence, agreements, identification letters, and financial records. Having a well-organized record-keeping system can help you navigate potential IRS inquiries and audits.


A 1031 exchange can be a powerful tool for real estate investors looking to defer capital gains taxes and grow their portfolios. However, the success of the exchange hinges on meticulous documentation and compliance with IRS regulations. Partnering with a Qualified Intermediary and staying organized throughout the process is essential.

Remember that tax laws and regulations can change, so it’s crucial to consult with a tax advisor or attorney who specializes in 1031 exchanges to ensure you’re up to date and following the latest guidelines. With the right documentation and expert guidance, you can navigate the complexities of a 1031 exchange and make the most of your real estate investments.

Voss Real Estate Advisors

October 23, 2023

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