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Should I Sell My Investment Property Before Retirement?

Deciding “should I sell my investment property before retirement?” is a pivotal moment with lasting financial and lifestyle implications. With 47% of commercial real estate investors considering a sale before retirement, this guide provides an in-depth look at the critical factors: steady rental income versus one-time sales benefits, market timing, and tax considerations. Embark on a clear and straightforward journey to ensure a comfortable retirement, with a focus on the commercial real estate market.

A joyful senior couple, wrapped in a cozy blanket, sitting outdoors and smiling broadly, embodying the happiness of successfully selling their investment property before retirement.

Key Takeaways

  • Strategizing the sale or retention of an investment property is crucial for retirement planning, balancing revenue streams against management responsibilities and lifestyle preferences.
  • Market timing, property prices, interest rates, and tax implications, including capital gains and depreciation recapture, are decisive factors when contemplating the sale of a rental property pre-retirement.
  • Alternative strategies such as hiring a property manager, engaging in a 1031 exchange, or downsizing can provide the benefits of real estate investment without compromising retirement goals or financial planning.

Evaluating Your Retirement Goals and Investment Property’s Role

Investment properties are a significant component of retirement planning. They serve as a steady stream of rental property income, akin to an annuity, or as a lump sum upon deciding to sell commercial real estate. Considering all expenses and vacancy rates, a well-managed property can yield a net income of at least 8% per year. Thus, it provides a financial cushion for those without traditional retirement savings or those considering selling investment property.

However, owning a rental property isn’t entirely passive. It requires active management, which may include property management, costing about 8% to 10% of gross rents if outsourced.

Retirement Readiness: Income vs. Expenses

Maintaining a balance between income and expenses is vital during retirement. Rental property ownership can create a steady rental income stream, which may be more reliable than other investment types. This consistent cash flow can help retirees maintain their lifestyle and cover unforeseen expenses, thus striking a balance between income and expenses in retirement.

The Impact on Your Nest Egg

Your retirement savings can be greatly influenced by commercial real estate. It can serve as a means to:

  • Build equity
  • Generate income, supporting the stability and growth of one’s retirement funds
  • Enhance a diversified retirement portfolio by providing a consistent source of income
  • Offer protection against market fluctuations
  • Diversify retirement assets, thereby safeguarding your nest egg.

Lifestyle Considerations

Your desired retirement lifestyle also influences the decision to retain or sell your investment property. For those seeking a relaxed retirement lifestyle, dealing with tenant hassles as a landlord may not be ideal. Personal life changes, such as becoming a first-time father, may trigger the need to reassess managing commercial property due to added stress.

Considering selling comes with its own set of benefits. It can release extra funds, which can be used to enhance lifestyle through activities like traveling or pursuing hobbies. Moreover, as mobility decreases with age, retirees may find practical benefits in downsizing to easier-to-manage commercial properties.

A hand placing a coin into a glass jar labeled 'RETIREMENT' next to a classic alarm clock, depicting the concept of timing the market for the strategic sale of a commercial asset before retirement.

Timing the Market: When to Let Go of Your Commercial Asset

Selling your commercial real estate should be a strategic decision informed by an understanding of broader economic conditions and the commercial property market cycle. Factors such as interest rates, which are influenced by benchmarks like the 10-year Treasury yields, and the trends in commercial property values in 2023, are critical to consider.

Forecasts for 2024 suggest that:

  • Interest rates may decline, potentially stimulating the commercial real estate market
  • Commercial property values are expected to rise due to sustained demand
  • Decisions by property owners to hold onto assets, motivated by historically low interest rates, contribute to a tight market with higher valuations.

Despite the possibility of interest rate reductions, challenges such as continued demand outstripping supply and the resulting high valuation of commercial properties could influence the timing of asset disposition.

In a period where market growth is expected to plateau, property owners considering a sale may find it advantageous to capitalize on the current market conditions. By selling to a commercial real estate acquisition company, owners can avoid the uncertainty of future market fluctuations and secure a competitive sale price, ensuring a strategic exit from their investment while the market is still favorable.

Property Prices and Market Predictions

Monitoring commercial property values is crucial for investors. In 2023, the median price for commercial properties reached new heights, reflecting a dynamic market with some regions experiencing more volatility. Cities like Austin and San Francisco, previously known for their booming markets, saw significant corrections, influencing the strategic decisions of commercial investors.

The commercial real estate market, however, is showing signs of increased activity with new office and retail spaces entering the market, potentially stabilizing prices. Despite a growing inventory, experts anticipate a cautious approach from investors in 2024, with commercial property prices expected to stabilize rather than continue the rapid growth seen in previous years. These projections are essential for commercial property owners when considering their exit strategies.

Interest Rates and Their Influence on CRE Markets

The decision to sell commercial real estate (CRE) is heavily influenced by interest rates. In 2022, we saw a sharp increase in interest rates, which led to a cooling down of the CRE markets. As of July 5, 2023, the average rate for commercial loans had escalated, leading to a slowdown in transactions and heightened market unpredictability.

A potential decline in interest rates could have the following effects on the CRE markets:

  • Enhance affordability for investors
  • Entice new entrants into the market
  • Ignite a renewed interest in CRE investments
  • Affect the timing and conditions of transactions in the CRE sector.
A person's hand holding a magnifying glass over a calculator displaying the word 'TAX,' with financial balance sheets in the background, highlighting the detailed scrutiny of tax implications when selling commercial real estate before retirement.

Tax Implications of Selling Commercial Real Estate Before Retirement

Before you transition into the well-deserved respite of retirement, it’s crucial to understand the labyrinth of tax implications that accompany the sale of commercial real estate. This section delves into the financial repercussions of such a pivotal decision, exploring capital gains taxes, depreciation recapture, and strategic maneuvers that may influence your tax liability. Understanding these factors is essential for real estate investors looking to optimize their retirement planning and secure their financial future.

  • 0% for individuals with a total taxable income below $40,000 for single filers or $80,000 for married couples filing jointly
  • 15% for individuals with a total taxable income between $40,001 and $441,450 for single filers or between $80,001 and $496,600 for married couples filing jointly
  • 20% for individuals with a total taxable income over $441,451 for single filers or over $496,601 for married couples filing jointly

Additionally, commercial real estate investors must consider depreciation recapture taxes when selling. This tax is the repayment of the depreciation benefits claimed on commercial properties over the years. The IRS mandates that depreciation recapture on real estate is taxed at a maximum rate of 25%, which adds to the overall tax burden from the sale.

Understanding Capital Gains Tax Liability

When selling an investment property before retirement, one must factor in capital gains tax, which applies to the profits made from the sale. Capital gains are the profit made from selling a capital asset like real estate, and they are calculated by subtracting the adjusted basis from the sale price.

Therefore, the amount owed for capital gains tax depends on the seller’s federal taxable income.

Strategies to Offset Capital Gains

There are a number of strategies that can alleviate capital gains tax, ultimately minimizing tax liability. Tax-loss harvesting can be used to offset capital gains on investment properties by selling other assets at a loss during the same tax year. Using a tax-harvesting strategy can reduce or eliminate the taxable gain on the sale of an investment property.

Furthermore, transferring an investment property to a trust before retirement can avoid capital gains tax and depreciation recapture, bypassing the probate process.

Understanding Depreciation Recapture in Commercial Real Estate

When it comes to selling commercial real estate, one of the more complex tax considerations is depreciation recapture. This is the process by which the IRS collects taxes on the depreciation benefits that property owners have claimed throughout the ownership period. Essentially, it serves to tax the amount by which the sale price of the property exceeds its depreciated cost basis.

For commercial real estate, depreciation is typically claimed over a 39-year period using the straight-line method, which assumes an equal amount of depreciation each year. When the property is sold, if the sale price is higher than the property’s adjusted cost basis (the original cost minus accumulated depreciation), the difference attributed to depreciation is taxed as ordinary income, capped at a 25% rate. This can lead to a significant tax liability for the seller.

For example, if a commercial property purchased for $1 million is sold after 10 years for $1.5 million, and $256,410 has been claimed in depreciation, the cost basis would be reduced to $743,590. The sale would result in a gain of $756,410, of which $256,410 would be subject to depreciation recapture at a maximum rate of 25%, equating to a potential tax of $64,102.50 just for the depreciation recapture.

It’s crucial for commercial real estate investors to understand the implications of depreciation recapture when considering the sale of a property, as it can significantly affect the net proceeds of the sale and the overall financial planning for retirement.

Image of a person in a business suit carefully extracting a block from a nearly complete tower in a game of Jenga, symbolizing strategic decision-making, featured in a blog post titled 'Seamless Sales with Point Acquisitions.' This represents the delicate balance and precision in navigating sales strategies in the business world.

Alternative Strategies to Selling

Selling your investment property isn’t the only option. A 1031 exchange is an IRS-recognized approach that allows investors to postpone paying tax on the gains from the sale of an investment property. By using a 1031 exchange, investors can defer both capital gains tax and depreciation recapture tax, which can result in significant tax savings.

Moreover, transitioning to a property manager can make your retirement more relaxed. A property management company brings industry experience, including dealing with tenant disputes, understanding fair housing laws, and knowledge of the rental market.

Transitioning to a Property Manager

Engaging a property manager can provide owners with the following benefits:

  • More free time
  • Reduced stress
  • No need to be on call 24/7 for maintenance issues
  • Quick response to maintenance issues
  • Relationships with multiple vendors to handle repairs efficiently

This way, you can enjoy the benefits of your investment property without the daily hassles of property management.

Exploring a 1031 Exchange

A 1031 exchange is a mechanism that enables real estate investors to postpone capital gains tax payments by reinvesting the proceeds from a sale into another property. The new property must be identified within 45 days of the sale, and the entire transaction must be completed within 180 days.

A delayed exchange, which is common in 1031 exchanges, requires the use of a qualified intermediary to hold the cash after the seller’s property is sold and to purchase the replacement property.

Downsizing to a Smaller Investment

There are numerous advantages to downsizing to a smaller property. It can lead to savings on furnishings and decor as there is less space to fill. Moreover, living in a smaller space can contribute to a happier family life as it encourages members to be more organized and compromise.

Financial Planning with Real Estate Investments

Retirees can substantially increase their wealth through commercial real estate investments by providing potential growth in value and income through rent, which are important factors when incorporating commercial real estate into retirement financial planning.

Real estate crowdfunding platforms, such as Fundrise and CrowdStreet, offer opportunities for investors to diversify property holdings and earn more passive income, which is crucial for financial planning in retirement.

Balancing Real Estate with Other Investments

A diversified retirement portfolio requires a balance between commercial real estate and other investments. Commercial real estate should complement other investments and not be overly dominant to avoid excessive exposure to the property market.

A retirement portfolio should contain a balanced mix of asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and commercial real estate, to reduce the risk associated with market fluctuations.

Future-Proofing Your Investments

To future-proof commercial real estate investments, one must embrace proactive ownership, recognize shifts in the market, and adjust investment and management strategies as needed. CRE investors should focus on sustainability and operational excellence to ensure long-term sustainable income and value from their assets.

Considering long-term trends such as demographic shifts, changes in work environments, and evolving consumer preferences can help align investment strategies with market tailwinds.

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Preparing for the Sale: Practical Steps

Preparation is vital when you’re planning to sell your investment property. You should determine a realistic selling price for your property by evaluating the local market and consulting with commercial real estate professionals. Decluttering and depersonalizing the property can enhance its appeal to potential buyers.

Additionally, obtaining a pre-sale inspection to identify and rectify any issues that could affect the sale or selling price is a wise move.

Appraisal and Valuation

For an impartial estimate of the property’s value, it’s important to engage a professional appraiser, considering location, condition, and market trends. Lenders require an appraisal before underwriting a loan for the prospective buyer, serving as a benchmark for setting the asking price.

Home Improvement and Staging

The appeal of your commercial property can be greatly improved through renovations and staging. Some ways to improve the look of your property include:

  • Modernizing the facade with a contemporary design to enhance curb appeal
  • Upgrading to energy-efficient windows and lighting systems for long-term cost savings
  • Installing high-quality flooring materials that withstand heavy foot traffic
  • Revamping common areas with sleek furniture and amenities for a premium look
  • Implementing smart building technology for efficient property management
  • Landscaping improvements to create an inviting outdoor space for tenants and visitors
  • Enhancing signage visibility to attract and retain businesses
  • Remodeling office spaces with flexible layouts to accommodate various tenant needs
  • Upgrading security systems for increased safety and peace of mind
  • Retrofitting with eco-friendly materials and systems to appeal to environmentally conscious tenants

These improvements can impact buyer interest and make your property appear well-maintained and modern.

Considering a Quick and Easy Acquisition Company

When contemplating the sale of commercial real estate, it’s worthwhile to consider a streamlined approach offered by acquisition companies. Point Acquisitions stands out as an excellent option for property owners looking for a hassle-free sales process.

We specialize in providing competitive offers, leveraging our extensive market knowledge and efficient transaction procedures. This ensures that sellers can quickly divest their properties without the complexities typically associated with the commercial real estate market.

Our commitment to straightforward dealings and swift closings makes Point Acquisitions a go-to for those seeking to sell their CRE promptly and at a fair price.


In conclusion, deciding to sell your investment property before retirement involves a number of considerations. Each aspect plays a key role, from evaluating your retirement goals to understanding the market conditions and tax implications.

Alternative strategies like a 1031 exchange or hiring a property manager can also be viable options. Ultimately, the decision should align with your financial goals, lifestyle preferences, and market conditions.

A professional and diverse group of people in a conference room raising their hands, possibly to ask questions about 'Selling My Investment Property Prior to Retirement'. The focused individuals, varying in age and ethnicity, appear eager to engage in the discussion, symbolizing a seminar setting where complex pre-retirement real estate decisions are being explored.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you sell your commercial property before retiring?

Selling your CRE before retiring can provide financial security and fill out your retirement savings, particularly if the property has increased in value or you have paid your mortgage. However, the decision should take into account the value of your property and your age at the time of selling.

What is the 1 rule for investment property?

When investing in property, remember the 1% rule: ensure that the rental income is at least 1% of the purchase price, helping to gauge potential profitability.

What are the benefits of holding onto my investment property during retirement?

Holding onto your investment property during retirement can offer a reliable income source, serve as a financial buffer if you have limited retirement savings, and help expand your retirement funds over time.

What are the tax implications of selling my investment property before retirement?

Selling your investment property before retirement could result in a substantial capital gains tax liability and potential depreciation recapture, requiring repayment of past tax benefits. Be sure to consider these implications carefully before making a decision.

Why choose Point Acquisitions to sell commercial real estate?

Point Acquisitions streamlines the selling process with quick, efficient transactions, competitive offers, and no brokerage fees, making it a hassle-free and cost-effective option for property owners.

About The Author

Jesse Shemesh

With a wealth of experience in nurturing diverse commercial real estate investment portfolios across multiple markets, I actively engage in the development and execution of deals spanning all asset classes. My expertise lies in collaborating with strategic partners, including corporate real estate professionals, fund managers, developers, and investors, to source, identify, and entitle opportunities. At Point Acquisitions, we take pride in our unique, proprietary platform that specializes in property acquisitions, generating a steady stream of organic deal flow that sets us apart from the competition. As a seasoned professional in the real estate industry, I am dedicated to creating lasting partnerships and delivering exceptional results for all stakeholders.


Please note that Point Acquisitions is not a tax expert or tax advisor. The information on our blogs and pages is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, or accounting advice. Any information provided does not constitute professional advice or create an attorney-client or any other professional relationship. We recommend that you consult with your tax advisor or seek professional advice before making any decisions based on the information provided on our blogs and pages. Point Acquisitions is not responsible for any actions taken based on the information provided on our blogs and pages.

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