What is a Reverse 1031 Exchange?

What is a Reverse 1031 Exchange?

A Reverse 1031 Exchange, also known as a Reverse Starker Exchange, is a type of tax-deferred exchange under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code that allows an investor to defer capital gains taxes on the sale of an investment property. Unlike a traditional 1031 Exchange, where the investor must sell their existing property before acquiring a replacement property, a Reverse 1031 Exchange involves acquiring the replacement property first and then selling the existing property.

Here are some key features of a Reverse 1031 Exchange:

Property Acquisition: The investor purchases the replacement property before selling their current property. This is often done to ensure they do not lose out on acquiring a desirable property that is available on the market.

Qualified Intermediary (QI): A Qualified Intermediary (QI) must be involved in the process to facilitate the exchange and ensure compliance with IRS rules. The QI temporarily holds title to the new property through an Exchange Accommodation Titleholder (EAT).


  • The investor has 45 days from the acquisition of the replacement property to identify the property they intend to sell.
  • The sale of the existing property must be completed within 180 days of the acquisition of the replacement property.

Identification Rules: The same identification rules that apply to a traditional 1031 Exchange apply here. The investor can identify up to three properties regardless of their value or any number of properties as long as their combined value does not exceed 200% of the value of the replacement property.

Benefits: A Reverse 1031 Exchange allows investors to secure a desirable replacement property without the pressure of selling their existing property first. It can be particularly useful in a competitive real estate market.

Challenges: This type of exchange is more complex and typically more expensive than a traditional 1031 Exchange due to the need for a QI and the holding of title by an EAT. The investor must have the financial capacity to acquire the replacement property before selling their existing property.

Compliance: Strict compliance with IRS rules is required to make sure the tax deferral benefits are realized. Any misstep can result in the exchange being disqualified and the investor being liable for capital gains taxes.

Overall, a Reverse 1031 Exchange is a strategic tool for real estate investors looking to defer capital gains taxes while securing new investment properties, but it requires careful planning and execution.

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