Owning rental properties can be a great opportunity for individuals who have do-it-yourself (DIY) renovation skills and the patience to manage tenants. However, this strategy does require substantial capital to finance upfront maintenance costs and to cover vacant months.
Real Estate Investment Groups (REIGs)
Real estate investment groups (REIGs) are ideal for people who want to own rental real estate without the hassles of running it. Investing in REIGs requires a capital cushion and access to financing.
A single investor can own one or multiple units of self-contained living space, but the company operating the investment group collectively manages all of the units, handling maintenance, advertising vacancies, and interviewing tenants. In exchange for conducting these management tasks, the company takes a percentage of the monthly rent.
REIGs are like small mutual funds that invest in rental properties.5 In a typical real estate investment group, a company buys or builds a set of apartment blocks or condos, then allows investors to purchase them through the company, thereby joining the group.
A standard real estate investment group lease is in the investor’s name, and all of the units pool a portion of the rent to guard against occasional vacancies. To this end, you’ll receive some income even if your unit is empty. As long as the vacancy rate for the pooled units doesn’t spike too high, there should be enough to cover costs.
House flipping is for people with significant experience in real estate valuation, marketing, and renovation. House flipping requires capital and the ability to do, or oversee, repairs as needed. This is the proverbial “wild side” of real estate investing. Just as day trading is different from buy-and-hold investors, real estate flippers are distinct from buy-and-rent landlords. Case in point—real estate flippers often look to profitably sell the undervalued properties they buy in less than six months.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
A real estate investment trust (REIT) is best for investors who want portfolio exposure to real estate without a traditional real estate transaction. A REIT is created when a corporation (or trust) uses investors’ money to purchase and operate income properties. REITs are bought and sold on the major exchanges, like any other stock.
Online Real Estate Platforms
Real estate investing platforms are for those who want to join others in investing in a bigger commercial or residential deal. The investment is made via online real estate platforms, which are also known as real estate crowdfunding. This still requires investing capital, although less than what’s required to purchase properties outright.
Online platforms connect investors who are looking to finance projects with real estate developers. In some cases, you can diversify your investments with not much money.