What Self Directed Custodian do you recommend?

27 Replies

Good afternoon! My wife and I are interested in rolling our Roth IRA into a self directed account. We would like to be able to do buy & hold investing as well as note purchasing with this account. What experience do you have with each of the companies? Is there one you prefer? I am looking into Entrust and Equity Trust Company at this point. Any other recommendations?

I use ET for private placement investments and it is insanely slow in both getting the account funded and investment funds directed back out.  IDK if all SDIRAs are all like that but it takes about a month minimum to transfer funds in and then directed back out and this is for simple investments.

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Equity Trust sucks....plus they are involved in a class action lawsuit for contributing to a Ponzi Scheme.

I would recommend Quest IRA out of Texas, IRA Trust Services, or UDirect....

All great companies but I'm a huge fan of Quest as they provide a ton of networking, educational and their fast service!

I am with MidAtlantic and have done several deals.  They can fund a deal / close with 48 hour notice.  If I send instructions to fund a deal on Monday they will close on Wednesday, actually got one done in a little less on one transaction but don't want to brag and set too high of an expectation.

We have funded a comercial loan, funded a flip, bought a rental that we intend to sell to the tents with owner financing, and bought a flip (as opposed to funding someone else).

If you're in DFW, Houston, or Austin areas, Quest IRA has local offices w/ great service along w/ regular networking and educational events. I can recommend them wherever you are, but they're especially hard to beat if they have an office near you.

Ditto on Quest IRA. They have lots of informational seminars on how the owner of the company and his brother have done deals in the past. Also how deals can be done. Lots of great info from their seminars. Most of the classes, seminars, etc are free. They also sponsor a Carribean Cruise, not free.

All of the employees are knowledgeable, friendly and want to help.

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I just signed up with Nuview out of Florida.  One of my private lenders lends out of his account with them and highly recommended them.  I haven't done a transaction with the money yet so can't say for certain.

Wife and me have a small SEP IRAs and not sure if converting it to a Roth (i know there is a tax implication) and moving to a Self Directed IRA would be feasable. Anyone???

@Jorge Zea

You have a couple options. You can convert the SEP IRAs to self directed SEPs by opening new accounts with a self directed custodian. You could instead have a Roth IRA with a self directed custodian and then the amount converted to Roth would be treated as income for tax purposes.

Among the factors to consider when deciding between Roth and non-Roth is how long you will have for your accounts to grow tax free before distribution.

@Jorge Zea

Well, it all depends.  What do you mean by small?  Would you have enough money to invest in alternative assets such as real estate and produce good returns on the capital?

If you are the employer sponsor of the SEP, you would probably want to look at a Solo 401k. With this plan, both you and your wife could move funds into a single plan (not possible with IRA accounts) and after creating the plan and rolling over funds, you could choose to convert the funds to Roth status.

The tax-deferred vs Roth question is somewhat separate from whether a self-directed plan makes sense and would hinge on a whole lot of factors such as your income/tax bracket, how you intend to invest, how old you are, etc.

@Jorge Zea

Also, if you have self employment activity but no employees, you could go for a Solo 401k. Then, you would not have to choose between only a Roth or non-Roth type account (the Solo 401k allows for both). Another benefit is that you and your wife could both possibly participate in the same plan. If you want checkbook control, the setup fees could get pretty expensive for IRA LLCs for each you and your wife, but the Solo 401k allows for a nice alternative. Again, eligibility requirements apply.

 @Blake Elder I currently utilize two self-directed IRA's with two separate custodians. One of the IRA accounts is with Quest IRA out of Houston. As mentioned above, they do a great (fabulous) job with their education component as well as with their networking component, which allows investors on the borrow and lend side to network. For those of you having issues with delay funding, Quest IRA can generally fund within 24 hours, if that is not quick I don't know what is. Their weekly educational trainings are available in person or via the web. Quest IRA is what I refer to as a custodian controlled IRA.

I also utilize IRA Trust Services out of California as my other custodian utilizing a checkbook control IRA. To put it simply, you are setup as a managing member of an LLC. You open up a checkbook account in the name of the LLC at your local (national) bank. The LLC falls under the ownership of the IRA that is serviced by the custodian. The checkbook IRA gives you the managing member full control of the checkbook. Be careful, if you are not disciplined, this may not be the IRA type for you. Get educated on the Do's and Don'ts of self directed IRA's.

Account Closed The level of intimate/personal service you receive at Quest IRA is bar none. From what I have gathered from some of the above comments, Quest certainly runs their custodian controlled IRA's like no other. I am fairly active with my accounts, so I am constantly in contact with Quest and attend their (free) educational/networking events on a weekly basis (priceless). I owe a great portion of my success to them. The setup fee at Quest is $100, then based on the amount of assets you are charged a quarterly fee that scales up from $25. Their fees are available online. Simply google Quest IRA Houston and pull up their general fee schedule. There is a one time transactional fee of $420 when withdrawing funds to purchase assets (i.e. real estate, notes, etc). One fee per asset.

With IRA Trust, there is a one-time $1,600 setup fee to create the LLC and account. This is generally done by a Self Directed IRA consultant. I utilized Brian Eastman of Safeguard Advisors to assist me with the setup. He was quite helpful and patient through the entire process. He has also been there when I've had questions regarding my IRA. There are quarterly fees in the neighborhood of about $35, however since most of the transactions happen at the checkbook level, most fees remain at a minimum. This type of IRA is heavily reliant on the IRA owner, as you control all of fund transactions. No one looking over your shoulder, or an extra set of eyes to assure that you are staying within the federal guidelines and requirements. As mentioned previously, not for everyone.

Hope this helps.