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How to Use a 1031 Exchange to Increase Profits in REITs

Real estate investment has long been a popular strategy for building wealth. One way to invest in real estate is through Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), which offer diversified portfolios and steady income streams. One of the best ways to increase your profits in this sector is by leveraging the power of a 1031 Exchange. In this article, we will explore the benefits of a 1031 Exchange, how it applies to REITs, and the steps you need to take to make the most of this tax-deferral strategy.

What is a 1031 Exchange?

A 1031 Exchange, also known as a like-kind exchange, allows real estate investors to defer capital gains taxes on the sale of a property by reinvesting the proceeds into a new, like-kind property. This tax-deferral strategy can lead to significant savings and allow investors to build their real estate portfolios more rapidly.

How 1031 Exchanges Apply to REITs

While a 1031 Exchange is typically used for direct real estate investments, it can also be applied to certain types of REITs. This is possible through the use of UPREITs (Umbrella Partnership Real Estate Investment Trusts) and DownREITs, which are structured to facilitate tax-deferred exchanges.

An UPREIT allows property owners to exchange their property for operating partnership units (OP units) in the UPREIT. These units are equivalent to shares in the REIT and can be later converted into REIT shares. This transaction allows the property owner to defer capital gains taxes while gaining exposure to a diversified real estate portfolio.

A DownREIT operates similarly, allowing property owners to contribute their property in exchange for a limited partnership interest in a new or existing REIT subsidiary. This structure also allows for tax deferral and diversified real estate exposure.

Steps to Leverage a 1031 Exchange in REITs

  1. Determine if your property is eligible: To qualify for a 1031 Exchange, your property must be held for investment or business purposes. It cannot be your primary residence or a property that you plan to flip in the short term.
  2. Identify a suitable UPREIT or DownREIT: Research and identify a suitable REIT with an UPREIT or DownREIT structure that aligns with your investment goals.
  3. Consult with a tax advisor and real estate attorney: Before proceeding with a 1031 Exchange, consult with a tax advisor and real estate attorney to ensure you understand the tax implications and legal requirements.
  4. Engage a qualified intermediary (QI): A QI is an essential part of the 1031 Exchange process. They will help you navigate the exchange process and ensure that you adhere to all necessary guidelines.
  5. Identify replacement properties: Within 45 days of selling your property, you must identify one or more replacement properties that meet the requirements of a like-kind exchange. In the case of an UPREIT or DownREIT, this will involve identifying the REIT shares or partnership interests you wish to acquire.
  6. Complete the exchange: Within 180 days of selling your property, you must complete the acquisition of the replacement property or properties. This will involve transferring your property to the UPREIT or DownREIT and receiving OP units or limited partnership interests in return.


A 1031 Exchange can be an effective way to increase your profits in Real Estate Investment Trusts, offering tax deferral and the opportunity to diversify your real estate portfolio. By leveraging the benefits of UPREITs and DownREITs, investors can defer capital gains taxes and reinvest the proceeds into a broader range of properties. This strategy enables the growth of your real estate investments while minimizing tax liabilities.

However, it is essential to remember that a 1031 Exchange is a complex process with strict deadlines and requirements. To ensure a smooth transaction, work closely with a qualified intermediary, tax advisor, and real estate attorney. This team of professionals will help you navigate the complexities of the exchange process, allowing you to reap the maximum benefits of this powerful tax-deferral strategy.

In conclusion, a 1031 Exchange can be an invaluable tool for investors looking to increase profits in Real Estate Investment Trusts. With proper planning and execution, this strategy can help you build a more diversified and profitable real estate portfolio, while deferring capital gains taxes and maximizing your investment potential.


1031 Investment Advisor

Nate oversees the daily operations, business development, and strategy for 1031 Exchange Place. He became interested in real estate from a young age due to his father's influence. After earning his real estate license at 18, Nate worked in the 1031 industry, focusing on business development through a unique white-labeling model. Following a religious mission in Taiwan, he continued in the industry until the 2008/2009 real estate crash. During the downturn, Nate pursued entrepreneurship and marketing, working with startups and outdoor companies. As the 1031 market recovered, he returned to work with his father, aiming to provide a more personalized experience for clients. Nate is passionate about outdoor activities and spends his free time with his wife and four sons, enjoying fly fishing, skiing, backpacking, rock climbing, and riding dirt bikes.