Understanding the 10% Holdback Rule

Investing in real estate through a Self-Directed Individual Retirement Account (SDIRA) or Solo 401(k) plan can be a lucrative strategy for building retirement wealth. However, it’s crucial for investors to understand the specific rules and regulations governing these accounts.  This is especially true when it comes to covering expenses associated with IRA-owned real estate.

One important consideration for investors is the 10% holdback requirement when purchasing physical real estate within an SDIRA or Solo 401(k). This rule stipulates that 10% of the property’s purchase price must be held back within the account to cover future expenses related to the property’s maintenance, taxes, repairs, and other operational costs.

Avoids Prohibited Transactions

It’s essential to note that all expenses related to the property must be paid directly from the SDIRA or Solo 401(k) account. Personal payments for real estate expenses can trigger a Prohibited Transaction. As a result, the IRA could face severe tax penalties and jeopardize the tax-advantaged status of the account.

Moreover, the purpose of the 10% holdback is not to restrict withdrawals or prevent the payment of vendor bills associated with the property. Instead, it serves as a safeguard to ensure that investors have sufficient funds within the account to maintain the property’s functionality and address any unforeseen expenses that may arise.

From the perspective of account custodians and administrators, the 10% holdback requirement raises important questions about how the account holder intends to manage and sustain the property over time. By setting aside reserve funds, investors demonstrate their ability to uphold their responsibilities as property owners within the confines of their retirement accounts.

However, it’s important to clarify that the 10% holdback rule does not apply to all types of investments within an SDIRA or Solo 401(k). For instance, investing in a business entity that purchases real estate or extending a loan secured by real estate may not trigger the holdback requirement.

Understanding The Need for a Holdback

Understanding the nuances of these rules and regulations is essential for investors seeking to leverage IRA-owned real estate as part of their retirement investment strategy. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

1. Compliance is Key: Adhering to IRS regulations and guidelines regarding IRA-owned real estate transactions is paramount. Investors should work closely with qualified professionals, such as tax advisors and legal experts, to ensure compliance with all relevant rules and regulations.

2. Documentation and Record-Keeping: Maintaining detailed records of all transactions, expenses, and correspondence related to IRA-owned real estate is essential. Accurate record-keeping can help investors demonstrate compliance in the event of an IRS audit or inquiry.

3. Proactive Property Management: Investing in real estate within an IRA requires proactive property management to ensure that the asset remains viable and profitable over time. This includes budgeting for ongoing expenses, conducting regular inspections, and addressing maintenance issues promptly.

4. Seek Professional Guidance: Given the complexity of IRA-owned real estate transactions, investors should seek guidance from professionals with expertise in self-directed retirement accounts and real estate investing. Working with experienced custodians, administrators, and advisors can help investors navigate potential pitfalls and maximize the benefits of their investments.


In conclusion, the 10% holdback rule is a critical consideration for investors looking to purchase physical real estate within their SDIRA or Solo 401(k) accounts. By understanding and adhering to this requirement, investors can help ensure the long-term success and viability of their IRA-owned real estate investments while maintaining compliance with IRS regulations. uDirect is here to answer all your SDIRA questions. Please reach out to us at info@uDirectIRA.com. Get started with your own account. Click HERE.