Delaware Statutory Trust (DST): A More Passive Real Estate Investing Option

Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) - A More Passive Real Estate Investing Option

Tax-deferred exchanges of investment and business-use property have been around in the United States since 1921 and have led to what is commonly known today as 1031 exchanges. A 1031 exchange allows real estate investors who hold business-use or investment property to defer capital gains taxes if another business-use or investment property of equal or greater value is purchased from the sale proceeds. These exchanges have benefitted many real estate investors over the years by freeing up capital by deferring their capital gains taxes and enabling them to invest in either more properties or properties with higher income potential.

However, real estate investing can be rather time-consuming, and not every investor can continue to commit the time it takes to invest in real estate. Additionally, real estate investors can find it difficult to go and view properties they would like to potentially exchange for their current property (or properties), which can potentially increase their risk. These factors have led to the rise in demand for another option for real estate investors to use their 1031 exchange funds more passively while still maintaining their tax deferral status on their exchange funds. This option is called a Delaware Statutory Trust (DST).


A Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) is a vehicle in which real estate investors can participate in 1031 exchanges without being the sole owner or manager of the properties owned through the exchange. Basically, investors can purchase an interest in a DST with their exchange funds. The DST typically has a portfolio of properties with different industry concentrations (office space, student housing, healthcare, etc.). In return, DST investors get a percentage of the income that the DST properties generate, which depends upon the amount of your investment in the DST.


There are several advantages investors can benefit from when choosing to participate in a DST. The following are just a few of several benefits that Delaware Statutory Trust investors can experience:

  1. There are no property management responsibilities that fall on the investors. The DST sponsor handles property management decisions on behalf of the investors, contributing to the more passive nature of a DST investment.
  2. Unlike a Tenants in Common (TIC) structure, obtaining financing for the DST investment portfolio is a much simpler task, as a lender to a TIC would have to approve up to 35 different borrowers. In contrast, a lender would only have to approve one borrower in a DST, the sponsor. This benefit of the DST allows for swift financing and, subsequently, speedy access to funds for the sponsor.
  3. DST investors can enjoy limited personal liability in this investment structure. If a DST were to fail and go into bankruptcy, the most that investors usually will lose is the amount of their investment into the DST. Stipulations limit DST lenders in the trust from going after other assets of the DST investors. Because of this fact, no LLC arrangement is necessary when investing in a DST. Because no LLC is necessary, no annual state filing fees are required, which could affect an investor’s return.

Delaware Statutory Trusts can offer 1031 exchange users a more passive and diversified real estate investing option, all while not sacrificing the tax benefits given to them through the exchange process. If you are interested in identifying DSTs to invest your exchange funds in, contact your financial advisor to see if it is a right fit for you. For more information regarding 1031 exchanges, contact Midland 1031.

MIDLAND TRUST IS NOT A FIDUCIARY: Midland’s role as the custodian of self-directed retirement accounts is non-discretionary and administrative in nature. The account holder or authorized representative must direct all investment transactions and choose the account’s investment(s). Midland has no responsibility or involvement in selecting or evaluating any investment. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as investment, legal, tax, or financial advice or as a guarantee, endorsement, or certification of any investments.