The reason I am answering your question really is to prevent
someone else from giving you bad advice.
This is an area I have been researching for many months.
Here's the upshot of this situation - yes, it IS possible to do.
However, it is complicated and costly. And it's hard to find a
adminstrator. But if you do, they will charge you a fortune.
They will charge you to certify the investment. Then they will
charge you a solid annual fee.
But, all that's OK.
Here's the kicker. Putting real estate into your IRA generally
requires a mortgage loan. That causes something like unrelated
business income in an IRA. That means you'll have to do some
convoluted calculations to see what is and isn't taxable.
Anyway, I am still researching the details of all the pros and cons.
I have lots and lots of arguments from tax professionals about all
the problems associated with establishing such accounts.
So, please, search out a tax professional who is familiar with the
concept and knows some good administrators with reasonable fees.
Please understand, the reason I wanted to research this is because,
like you, I thought this would be a much better use of IRA and 401(k)
rollover money than the low-return investment accounts.
As optimistic and aggressive as I am, I am getting convinced this
is more trouble than you can imagine.