Boosting Real Estate Investments with the 1031 Exchange

A property qualifies for a 1031 exchange only when it satisfies the conditions of classification as real property as defined by the regulations set forth by the state or local governing authority for a jurisdiction within the United States. In order to meet the prerequisites for a 1031 exchange, the properties involved in the swap must have been owned by the taxpayer for a legitimate and eligible purpose.  The 1031 exchange property must be held either for productive use in a trade or business or for investment.

Qualifying Real Property

Residential Rental Properties: Houses, apartments, condominiums, or townhouses that are held for investment purposes and rented out to tenants.

Commercial Properties: Office buildings, retail spaces, warehouses, industrial buildings, and shopping centers.

Vacant Land: Undeveloped land held for investment purposes, which can be exchanged for other types of real estate.

Multi-Family Properties: Buildings with multiple residential units, such as duplexes, triplexes, or apartment complexes.

Agricultural Properties: Farms, ranches, vineyards, or orchards used for agricultural purposes.

Vacation/Second Homes: Under certain circumstances, a vacation or second home may qualify for a 1031 exchange if it meets specific requirements. It must be held for investment or rental purposes, and personal use should be limited.

Leasehold Interests: Long-term leases, such as ground leases, can also qualify for a 1031 exchange if they have a remaining term of at least 30 years.

Intangible Assets Qualifying as Real Property

Only real property qualifies for a 1031 exchange, but some intangible interests are considered real property under Section 1031. Intangible interests that qualify for a 1031 exchange include:

  • fee ownership
  • co-ownership
  • a leasehold
  • an option to acquire real property
  • an easement
  • stock in a cooperative housing corporation
  • certain shares in a mutual ditch, reservoir, or irrigation company

Productive Use Requirement

A property should be used to generate income or contribute to the operation of a legitimate business. This can include rental income, lease payments, or any other form of revenue generation. The property should be used for a legitimate business purpose, which means it should be involved in an active trade or business rather than being held for personal use.  

The taxpayer’s intent and the nature of their involvement with the property can also play a role. If the taxpayer can demonstrate a clear intent to use the property for a trade or business purpose, it may strengthen the case for qualifying for a 1031 exchange.   The level of involvement and effort put into the property’s operation can be considered. Properties that are actively managed, maintained, and operated as part of a business are more likely to meet the productive use requirement.


The 1031 exchange is a powerful tool that can offer significant tax advantages to real estate investors. By allowing for the exchange of various types of assets, from real properties to leasehold interests, investors have the opportunity to defer capital gains taxes and build wealth more efficiently. As with any tax-related strategy, it’s essential to consult with tax professionals and legal advisors before proceeding with a 1031 exchange to ensure compliance with current regulations and maximize the potential benefits.

Looking to maximize your real estate investments through a 1031 exchange? Learn about what properties qualify and the power of this tax advantage in growing your wealth more efficiently. Read More

Got questions? We’re here to guide you with your 1031 exchange. Contact Us today!

Voss Real Estate Advisors

August 16, 2023

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