Understanding Like-Kind Exchanges in Real Estate Investment

As a real estate investor, you’re likely familiar with various strategies to maximize returns and minimize taxes. One such strategy is the like-kind exchange, also known as a 1031 exchange which is named after Section 1031 of the IRS Code. In this short piece, we’re going to examine what like-kind exchanges in real estate actually look like and how you might want to take advantage of them.

Photo of a small house with stacks of coins growing - Understanding Like-Kind Exchanges in Real Estate Investment
Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat

Whether you’re taking your first step on the property ladder or are a seasoned real estate investor, you need to understand how the like-kind exchange works. This tool can be a game-changer in real estate investing, offering significant tax advantages. But what are they? How do they work? Let’s dive in.

What is a Like-Kind Exchange?

A like-kind exchange allows the investor to defer capital gains taxes when selling an investment property, provided they reinvest the gains into another property of “like-kind.” This doesn’t mean the properties have to be identical; rather, they must both be used for business or investment purposes​​​​.

Key Steps in a 1031 Exchange

  1. Identify the Property to Sell: Begin by deciding which of your investment properties you wish to exchange.
  2. Find a Replacement Property: After selling your initial property, identify one or more replacement properties within 45 days.
  3. Use a Qualified Intermediary: The process requires a qualified intermediary to hold the proceeds from the sale until they are reinvested in the new property.

Important Rules to Consider

  • Timeframe: You must identify the replacement property within 45 days and complete the purchase within 180 days of selling the original property.
  • Property Type: Only real property is eligible for a 1031 exchange. Additionally, properties used in the U.S. cannot be exchanged for properties used outside of the U.S., and vice versa.
  • Purpose of the Property: Both the property sold and the property acquired must be held for investment or used in a trade or business​​.

Benefits of a Like-Kind Exchange

  • Tax Deferral: The primary benefit is the deferral of capital gains taxes, which allows more capital to be reinvested.
  • Portfolio Diversification: It’s an opportunity to diversify your portfolio without the immediate tax burden.
  • Estate Planning: 1031 exchanges can be part of strategic estate planning, passing on appreciated property while deferring taxes.


Before investing in real estate, it’s really important to perform your due diligence. You don’t want to be caught unaware.

For savvy investors, like-kind exchanges in real estate investment offer a strategic way to grow their portfolio while deferring taxes. Understanding the rules and working with knowledgeable professionals is key to successfully navigating this complex yet beneficial process. If you have further questions, please contact me or I can recommend a great, local real estate attorney who can explain the particulars to you in person.

Tre Pryor, Realtor

Tre Pryor is the leading real estate expert in the city of Louisville. He is a multi-million dollar producer and consistently ranks in the top 1% of Louisville Realtors for homes sold. Tre Pryor has the highest possible rating—5.0 stars on Google—by his clients and is routinely interviewed by the local NBC news. Tre Pryor is a member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame.