Inflation can ruin your investment profits in several ways. Negative or declining interest rates, for instance, are one of many consequences of inflation. But there are ways you can protect yourself from inflation and its ravaging effects.
Inflation and Real Estate
Inflation is one of the biggest threats to real estate investors. Inflation equals a general increase in the prices of goods and services in an economy. When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. This causes prices to rise, which means you can’t buy as much for your money as you could before inflation.
It’s also called “cost-push inflation” because businesses have more costs to produce goods and services than to pay for those costs. That makes it harder for them to make a profit, which causes them to raise prices.
Inflation can be good or bad for investors in multifamily properties, depending on your situation. For example, if you’re looking to sell a property in a few years, you may want to consider strategies that protect you from inflation. But if you’re planning on holding onto your investment for decades, then inflation won’t be as much of an issue.
Is Inflation Bad For Real Estate Investors?
The impact of inflation on real estate varies depending on whether you are a buyer or seller. Generally speaking, when inflation increases, so do rents and property values which means that sellers should benefit from higher selling prices while buyers may be hurt by rising mortgage payments (although they will also benefit from lower down payments).
Real estate is considered an inflation hedge because it tends to perform well when inflation rises. The reason is that as prices increase, so do rents — at least in most areas of the country.
Top Five Real Estate Investment Tax Strategies
Since inflation reduces the purchasing power of money, real estate investors need to protect their assets from inflation by using tax strategies. Here are six multifamily tax strategies to help protect your investments from capital gains taxes:
1. Tax-Free Exchanges with Like-Kind Property:
The tax code allows you to exchange your existing property for a like-kind property without paying taxes on the gain from your original property. This is one of the most powerful strategies for protecting yourself from inflation because it allows you to defer taxes on all or part of your capital gains.
For example, if you own an apartment building and want to sell it at a profit, you can exchange it for another building instead of selling it outright. If you exchange at the right time, you could avoid paying taxes altogether.
However, this strategy has limitations:
You must have owned and used the property for at least one year before receiving any tax benefits from an exchange. You can’t make an exchange if there was a significant improvement or customizing made after purchase (like adding an elevator). And finally, if your original property is worth less than $250,000 when making an exchange (or $500,000 if filing jointly with a spouse), then there are no limits on how much gain you can defer or avoid altogether.
2. Tax-Advantaged Investments Accounts
Tax-advantaged investments, such as 401(k)s, IRAs, and Roth IRAs, are a great way to keep more of your hard-earned money. Here are some of the most common types of tax-advantaged investment accounts:
401(k)s: These plans allow employees to contribute pre-tax dollars into their retirement accounts. The contributions are deducted from an employee’s paycheck before taxes are taken. The money then grows tax free until it’s withdrawn during retirement years.
Roth IRAs : Roth IRAs offer many of the same benefits as 401(k)s with one major difference—the contributions are made after taxes have been paid. Because contributions must be made with after-tax dollars, there is no tax deduction when making withdrawals during retirement years. However, any growth in the account from interest and investment gains can be withdrawn tax free at any time during retirement.
3. Hedging Your Portfolio With Options
Options give you the right to buy or sell an asset at a specific price on or before a certain date. You’re betting on whether the underlying asset will increase or decrease in value before it expires. For example, if you’re confident that inflation will rise over the next year, you might purchase put options — which allow you to sell assets at a specified price — as an insurance policy against rising prices. If inflation rises, these options will become valuable because they allow you to sell assets at higher prices than what would otherwise be possible without them. This strategy can also be used with other types of investments, such as stocks and bonds, to protect against losses from deflation instead of from inflation.
4. Accelerated depreciation deductions
Accelerated depreciation deductions allow investors to write off more than what they actually spend on their properties, thus reducing their taxable income. This strategy allows investors to reduce their tax liability and increase their cash flow by writing off more expenses than they actually incur on their properties.
5. Convert to Qualified Leases
If you own a rental property, you may be able to convert your rental income into a qualified leasehold interest and avoid paying taxes on the money received until you sell the building. This strategy works best if you’ve owned the building for over two years and plan to hold onto it for at least five years to qualify for depreciation. You can also use this strategy if you’re interested in moving out of the property management business but want to keep collecting rent checks from tenants long-term.
As multifamily real estate investors, you might think that you need to watch out for the usual income taxes, but taking advantage of some of these strategies can help keep your tax liability lower. In addition, there are some ways that property management companies can use to maximize their profits and protect themselves from inflation.
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