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Old 10-30-2005, 04:15 PM
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Lightbulb Buy Real Estate Using Individual Retirement Accounts

As the interest in the real estate boom has intensified, financial planners say more of their clients are asking about and actually using funds from their Individual Retirement Accounts to buy real estate.

It's a reflection of the sustained market boom, where people follow hot investing trends, said Anthony LaGiglia, a financial planner at J. J. Burns & Co. in Melville, N.Y. "It's like when Internet stocks were the rage," he said, "and that's where everyone wanted their money to be."

With cable shows such as TLC's "Property Ladder" and A & E's "Flip This House" showcasing the process of buying homes, fixing them up and selling them at a profit, it's no wonder that people are looking for more ways to turn retirement funds into real estate investments.

People with IRAs can access cash, without paying taxes or penalties, to make real estate investments by transferring funds to self-directed plans.

For real estate brokers, the process is pretty much the same as any other real estate transaction except many brokers don't know that it's an option for their clients, say self-directed IRA custodians.

A number of companies such as Pensco Trust Co., Fiserv Inc., Equity Trust Co., and the Entrust Group Inc. offer self-directed IRA plans, which allow people to put money into a variety of investment sectors, including real estate. Like a traditional IRA, taxes are deferred until users begin taking distributions, which they are eligible to do, without penalty, at age 59, as with any other IRA plan.

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