Title closers deal with settlement statements day in and day out, but there are additional precautions required when the closing involves a 1031 exchange. There are three essential items that title closers need to be cognizant of so the 1031 exchange goes off without a hitch – taxes, security deposits, and rent prorations. In this article, we’ll discuss how title closers should handle each of these items on the settlement statement to avoid any issues with a 1031 exchange. Our primary goal when the seller of a property is doing a 1031 exchange, is to roll all of the net-sales proceeds over into the 1031 escrow account so that they can be re-invested into like-kind replacement property. Not all transactional costs and fees should be paid for from the sale proceeds on the closing statement.
The seller of the relinquished property needs to pay the real estate taxes owed for the time period that they owned the property during the year. When there’s no 1031 exchange involved, the seller typically pays these taxes out of their sale proceeds on the closing statement. But when the seller is conducting a 1031 exchange, we need to keep these payments separate from the sales proceeds. In an ideal world, the seller would pay their prorated real estate taxes in out-of-pocket cash at the closing. This can avoid a big headache later on in the exchange.
If the closing involves a property that has been or is currently being rented out to tenants, we also have to be careful about security deposits. The seller of the property should be holding all security deposits for their tenants in a bank account separate from their operating account. If that’s the case, then the seller can simply take the money out of that separate account and pay the security deposits over to the buyer at the time of closing. However, if the seller has been keeping these deposits in their general operating account and the seller is feeling cash-poor, things get more complicated. If this is the case, it’s time to talk to a 1031 professional to determine the best way to proceed so you don’t jeopardize the exchange. Ideally, the seller will come up with the money to transfer the security deposits over to the buyer out-of-pocket rather than dipping into the sales proceeds (which could diminish the value of the 1031 exchange).
At closing, the seller should also pay the buyer the portion of the rents they have collected for the month. Since the seller has likely already collected the rents for the month and deposited them into their operating account, it’s best to have the seller wire this money out of their operating account and pay it out of pocket at closing to the buyer. This is the preferred way to handle rents, as opposed to dipping into the sales proceeds (which could diminish the value of the 1031 exchange).
The Big Picture
The big picture when closing a 1031 property is that you want to move all of the equity (the net proceeds) over to the qualified intermediary. If you’re ever in doubt, it’s always best practice to have the seller pay closing expenses out of pocket at closing.
- 1031 Hotline: If you have questions about 1031 exchanges and title closings, feel free to call me at 612-643-1031.
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