Holding Period of real estate: How long must you retain your investment?

Although investments with a certain holding term is not mandatory, it is a smart idea to at least think about the length of time you expect to keep it. For example, if your assets need to be cashed out within one year or two, you  should have a plan that varies considerably from one that is for ten years or longer.

In this post, we will look further at the period of holding, the tax laws you have to know to optimize your income for different kinds of investments.

How long are you planning on holding your real estate investment?

Real estate holdings don’t have an ideal holding period. However, there are guidelines here for some common types of investment.

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REITs – You can actually purchase and re-sell shares of a property investment trust a few minutes later. REITs are extremely liquid and this can be purchased and sold using a mouse click.On the other hand, REITs are, like most other equity investments, particularly useful for long-term holders, since too many variables may have an impact on the share price of a REIT over short periods.   I usually advise that investing in REITs is not a smart idea unless you plan to invest for minimum  5 years.

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Rental properties – In terms of rental investment, there is theoretically no minimum time of holding. It is possible, and in most cases, profitable, to sell rental properties within the next year or two from the purchase, particularly if you are in a hot property market. However, purchasing and selling a rental property quickly is normally not a clever idea, since sales commissions as well as some other closing costs will absorb your profit very dramatically. For example, if you purchase a property having a $200,000 cost base, you will have to sell the property for minimum $214,000 to just break even, taking into account the commissions and a few other closing costs.

Crowdfunded investments: Real estate investment sponsored by  Crowdfunding is unusual in that you will have practically no power regarding your holding time. The majority of transactions have a fixed holding period, normally between three and seven years, but there is no assurance that the money invested will eventually exit during that period. In the most part there is no crowdfunded investment secondary market, so be mindful before you plan to purchase a shareholding interest in one of those investments as they are extremely illiquid, and your money is likely to be lent for a long term.

Tax implications of real estate investment holding periods

When considering real estate investment holding periods, this is a vital thing to always remember. Except they are being held in a tax benefited retirement account such as an IRA, always keep in mind that the manner in which the IRS treats your profits is determined by how long the investment is being held.

To be specific, any profit from an investment that is held for over a year is considered a long term capital gain which receives a beneficial tax treatment. Long-term capital profits are usually taxed around 0%, 15%, or 20%,  according to your income, but a taxpayer will always be paying an amount lower than the primary tax bracket.

Alternatively, the profit from an investment that was held within a short term or less than a year would be considered a short term capital gain and taxed under the ordinary income.

For instance, if you invest $10,000 in a REIT which increased to $15,000 after a year, we would consider you to fall within the 32% marginal tax category which would position you in the 15% capita profit category. You will have to pay a 32% tax rate from the $5,000 gain or $1,600 if you end up selling your investment after a year. If your investment is held for just one day, you will pay a 15% tax rate and a capital profit liability of $750. This is a significant tax benefit that should be remembered if you are investing within a year.

The Million acres bottom line on real estate holding periods

It is obvious that there is no multipurpose directive for holding periods. But generally, real estate investments are more suitable for long term investors. Except you are only after quick profits by flipping and repairing your houses, it is much better to plan a holding period of a couple of years when getting involved with real estate investments.

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