What Can a Self-Directed IRA Invest In?

A Self Directed IRA is a vehicle to invest in alternative assets with tax-advantaged retirement funds. Typically, these types of alternative investments aren’t available at IRA brokerages like Fidelity, Vanguard and Schwab. However, a Self Directed IRA can legally invest in almost anything. In fact, the IRS has only documented what a Self-Directed IRA can’t invest in. These investments fall into two categories: collectibles and life insurance policies.

You can see the entire document of IRS Publications 590-A here.

Pretty much everything else that doesn’t fit into these two categories is fair game. We say “pretty much” because there are some newer investing categories – such as cannabis and CBD oil – that fall into gray areas.

Here is a comprehensive (but not complete) list of what you can invest in with a Self Directed IRA.


Real Estate

  • Commercial
    • Office buildings
    • Retail centers
    • Hotels
    • Shopping centers
    • Hospitals
    • Medical offices
    • Warehouses
    • Parking garages

  • Residential
    • Single family homes
    • Multi-family homes
    • Condos
    • Townhomes
    • Duplexes
    • Apartments
    • Vacation homes
    • Vacation rentals
    • Mobile homes

  • Land
    • Raw land
    • Farmland
    • Timberland
    • Residential plots

  • Foreclosures
  • Fix and Flips
  • Crowdfunding

Private Placements

  • LLCs
  • Private Equity
  • Hedge Funds
  • Private Shares
  • Venture Capital

Tax deeds

Tax liens


  • Hard Money
  • Peer-to-Peer Lending
  • Promissory Note (secured and unsecured) 

Interested to learn if your investment idea will work with a Self Directed IRA?

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