Real Estate Investing Platforms:
Real estate investing platforms are online marketplaces where investors can find both commercial and residential properties and either buy the property or buy shares in it.
The platform where you find the properties will usually take care of the physical management of that property, still making it less of a hassle than finding and managing the property on your own. What distinguishes these platforms from the ones we talk about above however is that they are usually only exclusive to accredited investors – those with at least a $250,000 yearly salary and/or $1,000,000 net worth.
Pros of Real Estate Companies vs Regular Real Estate Investing
There are definite advantages to investing through real estate companies as opposed to traditional investment vehicles. Among these are:
- Cost: The buy-in is a lot less onerous when you’re investing with a real estate company. In particular, REITs can be the most cost-effective — you can get in for as little as $500. Compare that to the cost of purchasing a property, getting it into shape and maintaining it, and either serving as a landlord or paying a property management firm for the privilege. You’ll quickly realize that real estate companies are the most budget-friendly way to start investing.
- The barrier of entry: The major barriers are experience and investment capital. When you opt to invest in real estate companies, these 2 factors are not nearly as crucial. Since you’re pooling your money with other investors, your initial outlay is relatively minimal compared to what it costs to purchase a commercial or residential property. Keep in mind that most real estate investors are financed by other individuals, not by banks. If you’re concerned about finding private funding, real estate companies are the way to go.
- Less risk: A good portion of the risk associated with real estate investing has to do with your duties as a landlord plus finding capital; neither of these applies when you invest through a real estate company. The company itself takes on the risk on your behalf, mitigating the danger of losing money.
Cons of Real Estate Companies vs Regular Real Estate Investing
However, there are also a few disadvantages. These include:
- Slow returns: Property may be a solid way to make money, but it isn’t the most rapid one. Often renovations must be done before the property itself sees a profit — and in turn, you see one as well. If you’re looking to realize a profit right away, consider an investment property that’s already tenant-occupied or a REIT; both will provide quick cash flow.
- Accessibility: While new investors can find a home with real estate companies, they won’t be able to do so with all such companies. Many deals are inaccessible unless you have $1 million in assets or at least $200,000 in annual income — and these can be the choice opportunities. This isn’t a deal-breaker but something to know as you start out.
- Risky asset class: While risk is mitigated by the lower amount of investment here, the fact that real estate company deals are backed by just one asset does amp up the risk a bit. If rents plunge, for example, you will feel the sting.
- Lack of liquidity: If you need the money now, you can’t simply sell a building. In fact, if you’re investing through a real estate company, expect to commit to at least 3 years. That means you won’t be accessing tons of cash any time soon.
What Else Should I Know?
Real estate investing is its own animal, regardless of whether you’re doing it through a crowdfunding platform or in a more traditional manner. Regardless of the venue, you have to be prepared to put cash upfront and be comfortable with the fact that this is not a liquid investment.
You’ll be making a commitment — and you won’t immediately be able to pull out your investment monies, so be prepared to stay with a property for at least 3 years. With real estate as with many things, longevity is its own reward.