Vacation Property & Second Home 1031 Exchange Guidelines

I’ve had lots of questions lately about 1031 tax deferred exchanges and thought it might be time for an update!  This information is from Bankers Escrow Corp and Mary Lou Schwab.   

Great News! The I.R.S. will not challenge whether a vacation property or second home qualifies for a Section 1031 Exchange if certain specified ownership and use requirements are met.  The I.R.S. released Revenue Procedure 2008-16 providing definite guidelines for a safe harbor 1031 exchange. 

To meet the safe harbor requirements, a taxpayer, during the 24 months prior to the sale or after the purchase of a vacation property or second home must:

  1. Rent the property at fair market rent for a minimum of 14 days during each 12 month period of the 24-month period.
  1. Taxpayer’s personal use of the property cannot exceed the greater of 14 days per year or 10% of the days the property is actually rented during each of the two 12-month periods before or after the 1031 exchange.


Personal use is defined as:

  • Use by the taxpayer or any other person who has an interest in the vacation or second home property, including a tenant-in-common interest.
  • Use by any individual who uses the property under an arrangement which enables the taxpayer to use some other property.  No trading places allowed!
  • Use by any member of the taxpayer’s family unless the vacation property is rented out as a primary residence at a fair market rent.
  • Use by any other individual if rented for less than fair market rent.

Maintenance days do not count as personal use days. If the taxpayer is engaged in repair, upkeep and annual maintenance on a substantially full time basis for any day, a personal day is not claimed.  The taxpayer must be ready to prove that the actual work was done and this can include overseeing a contractor that is providing the work on the property.

In summary, a taxpayer can take a second home or a vacation property and rent it at fair market value for 14 days per year for two years and then exchange out of it. Remember that personal use must be limited during these two years.  Revenue Ruling 2008-16 provides these guidelines for a safe 1031 exchange.  Taxpayers must also satisfy all other requirements for a like-kind exchange. Always check with your tax advisor before engaging in any 1031 exchange transaction.

Mary Lou Schwab is a CPA and a Certified Exchange Specialist.  She oversees the 1031 division at Bankers Escrow Corp. and can be reached at 800-571-6595 or 303-986-4848.

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800. Email - [email protected]. Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  Want to know the value of your Summit County property? Visit  

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