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List of Self Directed IRA Custodians

There are only a handful of Self Directed IRA custodians in the US which allow investing in real estate, real estate options, contracts, notes, mortgages and trust deeds. We have worked with many of these IRA custodians. Here is the list and IRA Company reviews.  We do not endorse any of these companies, do your own research and proper due diligence before selecting one.

Self Directed IRA Companies Phone Office Location Comments
IRA Resources, Inc 858 459-1212 La Jolla, CA A Self Directed IRA Custodian, with good service and fast turnaround , they are mostly an IRA Custodian for private placements, but also handle trust deeds and real estate investments, have used them many times. They recently (2018) changed from being an administrator to a custodian and raised their pricing.
Equity Trust 440 323-5491 Elyria, OH Self Directed IRA Custodian, Probably the cheapest if you do more than 10 transactions a year. Flat annual fee, no transaction fees, reportedly fast & good service, Equity Trust also owns Sterling Trust (below).
Polycomp Admin Services 800 952 8800 Roseville, CA A Self Directed IRA Administrator with two CA offices, uses Polycomp Trust Company as its custodian (a South Dakota Trust entity). No personal experience,
Pensco 800 969-4472 San Francisco, CA This is one of the bigger Self Directed IRA custodians with reportedly fast and good service, but not cheap.  Recently partnered with Lincoln Trust in 2012.
Entrust Administration, Inc 800 392-9653 Offices nationwide A Self Directed IRA Administrator with Many Offices, good service, prices have gone up drastically in last few years. They use Provident Trust Group (a Nevada LLC) as their Custodian.
Guidant Financial Group, LLC 888-IRA-XCEL Bellevue, WA An IRA Administrator with a unique checkbook IRA solution, very flexible, but cant justify the price without 500K funded, no personal experience.
IRA Services Trust Company 800 248-8447 San Carlos, CA Self Directed IRA Custodian, with very reasonable fees (a South Dakota Trust Entity). No personal experience
Mountain West IRA 208-377-3311 Boise, ID New Administrator founded in 2006, with offices in ID,UT, WA and FL, have had very limited experience.
Sunwest Trust 505-237-2225 Albuq, NM An IRA Custodian and escrow company with attractive fee schedule.  No personal experience.
Udirect IRA Services   Tustin, CA A small new Administrator in Southern California, no personal experience.
iPlanGroup 855-604-7526 Westlake, OH A small new administrator, no personal experience
Lincoln Trust (previously Fiserv) 800 521-6974 Denver, CO One of the biggest, and reportedly slowest, they began combining forces with Pensco in 2012 for their self directed IRA accounts.
Sterling 800 955-3434 Waco, TX Slow but cheap, always on hold for 15min before I reach a person, now owned by Equity Trust (above).
Trust Administration Services Corp 800 455-9472 Carlsbad, CA Through First Regional Bank, First Regional Bank was closed by the FDIC on January 29, 2010, their SDIRA accounts were transfered to Sterling Trust (above)

Here is a handy excel spreadsheet which attempts to compare pricing schedules of IRA custodians based on the size of your IRA and your trading criteria.

         Self Directed IRA Company Pricing Comparison

Other Comments for Choosing a Self Directed IRA Custodian

  • Look for low fees and quick easy access to cash for purchases. A self directed IRA with a local branch is preferable.
  • The expense will often depend on the amount held in the account as well as number and type of transactions done. Compare fee schedules of the IRA companies. Use the excel spreadsheet (above) to get an estimate of fees for Self Directed IRA custodians listed above.
  • Make sure your self directed IRA custodian handles Real Estate as well as real estate notes, in case you have to foreclose on a note.
  • An IRA custodian which allows real estate options can be handy since options can be very lucrative for buying real estate and lease options an effective technique to selling real estate.
  • buying private stock (aka private placement custodian) with an IRA is also nice. Private placements may be C corps, S corps or LLCs, which you create and fund with your IRA, for investing in business ventures or real estate partnerships.
  • Regarding Checkbook IRA LLCs, there is still some controversy whether it meets the IRS laws and rules, and some IRA companies will not allow it because of this, we recommend you or your tax attorney review the Swanson Decision and other letter rulings before choosing this route.

Also Read This Articles:

     Article: Investing in Real Estate, Notes & Trust Deeds with an IRA

About the Author:

James MacArthur - We buy and sell real estate notes nationwide, and make private & hard money loans in CA (including non-recourse loans on property held in a self directed IRA). Call me if I can help you, or if you have any additions/corrections to this list.

The Hard Money Pros
Private and Hard Money Lenders in California
PO Box 91472, San Diego, CA  92169
Contact: James MacArthur (619) 846-1550

                     ©Copyright 2006 JMAC Funding

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