Investing in Real Estate Notes with Your IRA:
A Smart Wealth-Building Strategy

by Peter Rizzo

Life Settlements in a Retirement Account? Think Again.

And a Podcast with Noah Miller from Royal Palm Funding

When it comes to retirement planning, many individuals think of traditional investments such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. However, there are alternative investment options that can provide diversification and potentially higher returns.

One such option is investing in real estate notes with your Individual Retirement Account (IRA). In this article, we’ll explore what real estate notes are, how you can invest in them using your IRA, and the potential benefits and considerations of this investment strategy.

What Are Real Estate Notes?

Real estate notes, also known as mortgage notes or promissory notes, are legal documents that represent a borrower’s promise to repay a debt. When someone takes out a mortgage to buy a property, they sign a promissory note, which outlines the terms of the loan, including the interest rate, repayment schedule, and other key details. These notes can be bought and sold, creating opportunities for investors.

Investing in Real Estate Notes with Your IRA

Investing in real estate notes with your IRA involves using a self-directed IRA (SDIRA) to purchase these notes. Unlike traditional IRAs, which typically limit your investment options to stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, SDIRAs allow you to invest in a wide range of alternative assets, including real estate notes.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started:

Establish a Self-Directed IRA: If you don’t already have an SDIRA, you’ll need to open one with a reputable custodian that specializes in alternative investments. Ensure you choose a custodian experienced in handling real estate note transactions.

Fund Your SDIRA: Transfer or rollover funds from your existing IRA or 401(k) into your new SDIRA account. Make sure you have enough capital to start investing in real estate notes.

Identify Suitable Notes: Research and select real estate notes that align with your investment goals and risk tolerance. You can purchase first mortgages, second mortgages, or even non-performing notes, depending on your strategy.

Perform Due Diligence: Conduct thorough due diligence on the notes you’re interested in. This includes assessing the borrower’s creditworthiness, the property’s value, and the terms of the note.

Make the Investment: With a Checkbook IRA – You make the Investment yourself

Benefits of Investing in Real Estate Notes with Your IRA

Diversification: Real estate notes provide diversification from traditional investment assets like stocks and bonds, reducing your portfolio’s overall risk.

Passive Income: Investing in real estate notes can generate a steady stream of passive income in the form of interest payments from borrowers.

Potential for High Returns: Depending on the terms of the note and the performance of the underlying property, real estate notes can offer competitive returns, sometimes higher than what traditional investments provide.

Tax Advantages: When you use your IRA to invest in real estate notes, you can potentially enjoy tax benefits, such as tax-deferred or tax-free growth, depending on the type of IRA you have.

Considerations and Risks

Due Diligence is Crucial: Proper due diligence is essential to mitigate risks. Thoroughly assess the quality of the note, the borrower’s creditworthiness, and the property’s condition and location.

Illiquidity: Real estate notes can be illiquid investments, meaning they may not be easy to sell quickly if needed.

Regulatory Compliance: Ensure you comply with IRS regulations regarding SDIRAs, as there are rules and restrictions you must follow to maintain your tax-advantaged status.

Professional Guidance: Consider seeking advice from financial professionals, including tax experts and real estate note experts, to make informed investment decisions.


Investing in real estate notes with your IRA can be a smart strategy for diversifying your retirement portfolio and potentially achieving attractive returns. However, it’s not without its risks and complexities. Before diving into this investment avenue, be sure to do your homework, consult with experts, and carefully assess your risk tolerance and financial goals. Done right, real estate notes can be a valuable addition to your retirement wealth-building strategy.

For more on this topic, here is the podcast explaining their process.


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