Maximizing Tax Benefits with a Build-to-Suit 1031 Exchange

Build-to-Suit 1031 Exchange: A Game Changer for Investors


A Build-to-Suit 1031 Exchange is a type of 1031 exchange transaction that allows an investor to use the proceeds from the sale of a property (relinquished property) to construct or improve a replacement property to their specifications. This type of exchange provides investors with the flexibility to customize a property to meet their specific business needs or investment objectives.

How It Works

The process begins with the sale of property as in any typical 1031 exchange. The investor sells their existing property and transfers the proceeds to a qualified intermediary (QI), who holds the funds during the exchange process to ensure compliance with 1031 exchange rules. The investor must identify a replacement property within the 45-day identification period allowed by the IRS.   

Once a replacement property is identified, the investor enters into a build-to-suit agreement with a developer or builder. This agreement outlines the construction of a property that meets the investor’s specifications.  The developer or builder constructs the replacement property as per the investor’s requirements. Upon completion of the construction, the replacement property is transferred to the investor, completing the 1031 Exchange. Capital gains taxes on the initial property are deferred, and the investor now owns a custom-built asset.

Benefits of a Build-to-Suit 1031 Exchange

Although the primary benefit of a Build-to-Suit 1031 Exchange is the deferral of capital gains taxes, this type of exchange also provides the freedom to design and build a property that aligns more specifically with business or investment objectives. This could include specifying the location, size, layout, and features to maximize rental income and potential appreciation.  By tailoring the property to meet market demands and tenant needs, investors can potentially command higher rental rates, and business owners can have a building more suited to the needs of its company.


As in any 1031 exchange, the acquisition of the replacement property, including the improvements or construction, must be completed within 180 days of the sale of the original property. Additionally, to qualify for a 1031 exchange, the replacement property must be substantially improved. This means that the property owner must spend at least as much on the construction or improvements as the purchase price of the property. 

This timeline can be a significant constraint, especially for large or complex construction projects, particularly if the construction timelines are extended for unexpected delays such as permitting issues or if financing is required. Securing financing for the construction of the replacement property can be complex. Lenders may have specific requirements and conditions for funding a property under a 1031 exchange, and the property owner must navigate these constraints.

Reverse Exchange

A reverse exchange offers a potential solution to overcome these time constraints. A reverse exchange is a variation of the 1031 exchange that involves the acquisition and construction of the replacement property before the relinquished property is sold. This delayed exchange mechanism may provide greater time flexibility for securing financing, planning and competing construction and overcoming any other unforeseen delays while adhering to the time constraints of a 1031 exchange.  


The Build-to-Suit 1031 Exchange is a valuable strategy for real estate investors looking to defer capital gains taxes while creating a customized and income-generating property. By leveraging this tool, investors can not only optimize their tax liabilities but also tailor their investments to meet their specific financial goals. However, it’s crucial to work with experienced tax and legal professionals to navigate the complexities of this strategy effectively and ensure compliance with IRS regulations.

Maximize Your Real Estate Returns! Discover the benefits of a Build-to-Suit 1031 Exchange to increase revenue and optimize tax savings. Unleash your investment’s full potential.

Voss Real Estate Advisors

November 3, 2023

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