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Excited happy senior man sitting on a floor with piggy bank undeThose of you who have achieved the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation know what it means to lead by example; CRS agents have been in the business nearly three times longer, have three times the number of annual transactions, and generate three times the amount of gross sales as other agents. When I got to sit down and talk with many of these professionals at the 2016 Annual CRS meeting in Orlando, I realized there’s another way for real estate professionals to position themselves as leaders: by integrating Real Estate IRAs into their marketing strategy. Why not into your own personal retirement savings strategy, as well?

Real Estate IRAs, or Self-Directed IRAs, are gaining in popularity and are a frequent topic at real estate events. They offer the opportunity to diversify one’s portfolio, provide individual investors more control over their investments and allow you to invest in what you know.

Americans have more than $7 trillion invested in their retirement funds. Your database may already hold some of that retirement wealth. Mining your database for clients interested in using Real Estate IRAs to bolster their retirement savings is a great way to grow your business.

Sometimes, not having done a Real Estate IRA transaction can stop an agent from incorporating the strategy to grow their business. Agents want to lead by example, understanding exactly what’s involved before pitching an idea to their clients. In talking to agents, I learned that there’s a misconception that you need to purchase a property with a full-cash offer from the IRA. That’s not true. A small IRA can invest in real estate by partnering with another IRA, using personal funds, or getting a non-recourse loan, for example. As a real estate professional, there are plenty of ways to acquaint yourself with Real Estate IRAs. Once you start exploring, I think you’ll be reassured to find that the process of buying, managing and selling real estate in an IRA is not all that different from ordinary real estate transactions.

It’s never too late for you or your clients to benefit from the Real Estate IRA strategy. Mine your database for clients who might be interested. If you don’t already have an IRA, start contributing to one. Self-employed individuals can open an SEP, SIMPLE or Individual 401(k), which allow for higher contributions than a Traditional or Roth IRA. These accounts allow you to put away a lot more income in a tax-deferred account.

You’re already a leader. Real Estate IRAs offer another way to lead. Your clients will thank you, and you’ll be grateful for the opportunity to invest in what you know for your own retirement.

Jason Craig, president of The Entrust Group, maintains leadership and oversight of all operations for Entrust. With more than 13 years of experience in financial services, Craig joined Entrust in 2007 after several years as an assistant vice president with Greater Bay Bank, where he managed Deposit Operations for the Walnut Creek office (with more than $200 million in deposits).

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