The Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid in a 1031 Exchange

The path to a successful 1031 exchange can be fraught with potential missteps. Some of the most common mistakes include missing the 45-day identification window or the 180-day exchange period, mishandling the exchange funds, and failing to acquire a like-kind property. These mistakes can not only jeopardize the tax-deferred status of the exchange but also potentially lead to penalties and missed investment opportunities.

The Consequences of Mistakes

The consequences of making mistakes in a 1031 exchange can be significant. Investors may face unexpected tax liabilities which can impact their cash flow and overall investment strategy. Additionally, they may miss out on potential investment opportunities, stunting the growth of their portfolio.

Avoiding Mistakes in 1031 Exchanges

The good news is that most mistakes in 1031 exchanges can be avoided with proper planning and guidance. Here are the top 10 to avoid:

  1. Missing Deadlines: Ensure you meet the 45-day identification window and the 180-day exchange period.
  2. Improper Handling of Funds: Never touch the proceeds from the sale. Use a qualified intermediary to hold the funds.
  3. Failing to Acquire Like-Kind Property: The replacement property must be of like-kind to the relinquished property.
  4. Ignoring Debt Replacement Rules: If you release equity from your property, it must be replaced with new equity or debt to avoid tax liability.
  5. Not Planning for Backup Properties: Have multiple potential replacement properties in case the first choice falls through.
  6. Ignoring “Held for Investment” Requirement: Both the relinquished and replacement properties must be held for investment or used in a trade or business.
  7. Failing to Use a Qualified Intermediary: A qualified intermediary ensures the exchange meets IRS requirements.
  8. Overlooking Boot: Be aware of “boot,” or non-like-kind property received in an exchange, which is taxable.
  9. Ignoring Title Holding Rules: The taxpayer who sells the relinquished property must be the same taxpayer who buys the replacement property.
  10. Not Conducting Due Diligence: Always perform due diligence on the replacement property.


While a 1031 exchange can be complex, avoiding common mistakes can help ensure a successful and profitable transaction. With careful planning, a clear understanding of IRS rules, and the guidance of experienced professionals, you can navigate your 1031 exchange confidently and effectively. At WealthBuilder 1031, we’re committed to helping you avoid these pitfalls and make the most of your 1031 exchange. If you have further questions or need assistance starting the process, contact us at (888) 508-1901.

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It is easy to get started on your exchange. You can either call our office directly at 888-508-1901, or you can fill out our Start Your Exchange form.
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