Earl Shapiro Hall

Earl Shapiro Hall, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

Gifts of real estate

A gift of real estate to the University of Chicago is a unique way to provide a lasting benefit to education and research. It is also a convenient way for you to enjoy a charitable deduction based on the current fair market value of your property and to reduce the size and complexity of your estate.

Benefits of giving real estate

Federal law has special incentives in place to encourage certain forms of private philanthropy, especially gifts of real estate. Giving real estate can result in significant benefits including:

  • Reduced income and estate taxes
  • Avoidance of capital gains taxes
  • Financial security for loved ones
  • Increased lifetime income
  • Continued use of the contributed property during your life

Because a gift of real estate will usually be sold as soon as practicable after it is gifted, the real estate must be free of debt and must be readily marketable. An added benefit is that in most cases, all aspects of its sale are handled by the University.

Options for giving real estate

Not only can real estate be used to make outright gifts, it can also be used to make future gifts to the University. For example, should you wish to give a remainder interest in a piece of real estate now but still desire to live in or continue to vacation in the property for the rest of your life, you may do so. This is known as a retained life estate. 

On the other hand, if you have a need for current income, you may wish to use a piece of real estate that you no longer wish to use to fund a trust which will provide valuable financial support to you and your family for years to come.

Making a gift of real estate

Gifts of real estate can be extremely satisfying, but they require careful planning. Any gift of real estate must be reviewed and approved through the University’s real estate acceptance procedures, which require a donor to provide detailed and specific information about the property. The Office of Gift Planning will work with you to facilitate this process.


Disclaimer: The information above is intended to assist you in your tax, estate, and charitable planning. It is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Learn more about the information on this website.