As a trust deed investment company (and private real estate lender), our focus at Sterling is on short-term, collateral-based loan financing for real estate projects (usually commercial). We also facilitate investor participation in these loans. Because many of our investors are IRAs and 401(k)s, we sometimes get inquiries about the possibility of obtaining loan financing for properties being purchased outright by retirement accounts. We don’t actually do that kind of lending, but it comes up often enough that we thought it would be helpful to post some links about it here.
First of all, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. For an IRA to secure a mortgage loan, the lender must be able to provide a non-recourse loan. This means that the loan can be secured only by the subject property, and that no other assets can be attached in the event of non-payment. (If you consider that the borrower in this case would be a qualified account, rather than an individual, it makes sense that this limitation would be necessary.)
A search for non-recourse loan or non-recourse lender or IRA lender should yield a variety of options — there are a suprising number of small banks now adding this specialty. Here are links to a few we know of (no recommendations — we just know that the offer this kind of loan):
American Home Loan Center