Best real estate crowdfunding investment platforms of January 2021

Best real estate crowdfunding investment platforms of January 2021

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Real estate investing can sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Real estate crowdfunding platforms make it easier to add commercial properties and other real estate investments to your portfolio at low costs.

Some of the most common investments these platforms offer are real estate investment trusts (REITs), electronic real estate funds, and non-traded REITs. A REIT is a company that owns and operates income-producing real estate assets. Most REITs are available on stock exchanges, but you can only buy non-traded REITs (REITs that don’t trade on stock exchanges) through brokers or financial advisors. Real estate funds are mutual funds that invest in different types of real estate securities provided by real estate companies. 

But account minimums, management fees, and investment options vary for each platform. And while some real estate investing apps serve all investors, regardless of their net worth, others may only accept accredited investors (individuals who’ve got a net worth of at least $1 million).

To help you narrow down your decision, we’ve compiled a list of the top real estate investing apps. Keep reading to find the best fit for you.

Research is an important part of selecting the best real estate crowdfunding investment platforms, and Insider isn’t the only website comparing the best real estate apps. To help guide your decision, we’ve compared our top choices with lists from other publications. 

Why it stands out: Fundrise lets you start investing in real estate with as little as $500, and the app offers two primary investment options: eREITs and electronic real estate funds. The $500 minimum investment grants you access to the company’s Starter Portfolio, which invests your money in a range of US real estate projects. 

Fundrise also offers a higher account level, Core portfolios, with even more features. If you can afford to invest at least $1,000, you’ll be able choose between additional investment strategies and account perks. Core portfolios offer three investment plans — Supplemental Income, Balanced Investing, and Long-term growth. Each plan offers a different mix of investments that are designed to meet various growth and income-focused savings goals.

With a minimum investment of $10,000 to $100,000, you can also take advantage of Fundrise’s advanced and premium account levels. These function as add-ons to the Core plan and allow you to utilize more complex real estate strategies and investments.

What to look out for: Real estate investments are highly illiquid, meaning you won’t be able to readily convert your investment (s) into cash like you would with a stock. Fundrise realizes this. That’s why it has a minimum investment term requirement of five years.

If you can’t afford to let your money sit for at least five years, Fundrise probably isn’t the best option for you.

Why it stands out: Like Fundrise, DiversyFund offers a low $500 account minimum. Similarly, the company manages your real estate investments for you, and it offers its services to both non-accredited and accredited investors (an accredited investor is an individual whose net worth is at least $1 million). But, unlike Fundrise, this investment app costs you absolutely nothing in management fees. This means you’ll pay 0{911ea05452e114f1778c76ca86733b6032c246f8f651bb1f01d12abf04b54efb} for your investments.

DiversyFund solely offers its own Growth REIT which invests in multifamily properties. This means that the robo-advisor owns and manages all of the real estate assets you’ll be investing in. 

What to look out for: You cannot withdraw or cash out your investments until your minimum five-year investment term ends. This is because DiversyFund reinvests the dividends and earnings your investment generates until the real estate asset is sold.

If you’re considering DiversyFund, you should also note that the platform only offers REITs as investments. This means you won’t be able to invest your money in any other investment options or account types.

Why it stands out: Like Fundrise and DiversyFund, Rich Uncles lets you get in the real estate investing game with a minimum deposit of $500. The company offers 42 commercial properties based in 15 states, and you can invest in these through a non-publicly traded REIT (non-traded REITS are investments that aren’t traded on public stock exchanges).

REIT investments at Rich Uncles also give you access to monthly dividend payments. This is because Rich Uncles’ REIT collects rent from tenants, which the company in turn gives to shareholders in the form of monthly dividends (dividends are earnings that a company distributes to its shareholders).

As for management fees, you’ll pay roughly 3{911ea05452e114f1778c76ca86733b6032c246f8f651bb1f01d12abf04b54efb} per year.

What to look out for: Though Rich Uncles doesn’t have an accredited investor requirement, the company still imposes income requirements for some of its funds. In most cases, you can only invest through Rich Uncles if you’ve got a net worth and annual income of at least $70,000.

Why it stands out: RealtyMogul makes real estate investing accessible to everyone. You can even invest if you aren’t an accredited investor, but you’ll need a minimum of $5,000 to begin. And as for your investment options, RealtyMogul lets you purchase stake in commercial real estate through three ways: REITs, single properties, or 1031 private placement investments. 

As for cost, single properties (also known as private placements) are only available to accredited investors. For these properties, RealtyMogul requires investment minimums ranging between $15,000 and $50,000. Both accredited and non-accredited investors can purchase the company’s REITs with as little as $5,000. But for 1031 exchange investments, you’ll need between $25,000 and $50 million to get started (a 1031 exchange is a tax loophole that allows you to avoid capital gains taxes when you sell an investment property and reinvest any earnings into a similar property).

The real estate app also offers automated investment management through its auto-invest feature. But this is only available if you invest in one of the company’s REITs (MogulREIT I or MogulREIT II). In addition, you can use funds from your IRA to invest in REITs. 

What to look out for: You’ll need at least $5,000 to invest in REITs, but other investments — such as individual properties and 1031 exchange investments — have minimums ranging from $15,000 to $50 million.

Why it stands out: EquityMultiple is best for accredited investors who’ve got at least $10,000 to invest (minimums can also be as high as $20,000). This platform lets you invest in institutional commercial real estate, equity, preferred equity, and senior debt.

EquityMultiple also gives you the choice between the following three investment approaches: Fund Investing, Direct Investing, and Tax-Deferred Investing. Each approach utilizes different investment strategies, time horizons, and minimum investment requirements. For instance, Direct Investing accounts feature a target duration of six months to five years, while Tax-Deferred accounts have a time horizon ranging from five to 10 years.

When it comes to the real estate investments, EquityMultiple offers a range of property types, including: multifamily, office, industrial, storage, car wash, cannabis facilities, retail, mixed-use, opportunity zones, senior living facilities, student housing, and data centers. 

You can also open and invest with self-directed IRAs.

What to look out for: EquityMultiple only accepts accredited investors, so this isn’t a good option if your net worth is less than $1 million. In addition, investment minimums are on the high side, so be prepared to spend between $10,000 and $20,000 to invest in real estate.

Why it stands out: Yieldstreet offers real estate and other alternative investments to accredited investors who have at least $1,000 to invest. You can currently invest in the following alternative asset types with Yieldstreet: real estate, legal finance, marine finance, commercial and consumer finance, and art finance. 

But don’t worry if you aren’t an accredited investor. You can still invest in the Yieldstreet Prism fund. This fund requires a minimum of $5,000, but it lets you invest in multiple alternative asset types. The company’s short-term notes have a $1,000 minimum requirement, and most of its other investments bear a $10,000 minimum (short-term notes are investments that allow investors to earn regular interest payments during the term of the note).

Yieldstreet also has more lenient investment terms compared to some of the other real estate apps in this roundup. You can invest for as short a time as six months or up to five years.

What to look out for: If you’re looking to build your retirement savings, IRAs will cost you between $299 and $399 per year. Account balances between $0 and $99,999 cost $299 per year, while you’ll pay $399 annually for balances between $100,000 and $249,999. If you’ve got $250,000 or more in your account, you’ll also pay $399 per year.

Yieldstreet is also primarily available to accredited investors, or individuals with net worths of at least $1 million. If you’re a non-accredited investor, you can still invest with Yieldstreet, but you’ll only have access to one fund: Yieldstreet’s Prism fund.

Why it stands out: With a $25,000 minimum investment requirement, CrowdStreet specifically serves accredited investors. The platform lets you invest in commercial real estate through three ways: Diversified funds and vehicles, individual deals, and tailored portfolios. 

With CrowdStreet’s diversified funds and vehicles option, you can select a single real estate investment to add to your portfolio. If you’re more of a DIY-minded investor, you can use the individual deals investment option to directly choose your own real estate investment opportunities through the CrowdStreet Marketplace.

And if you’re looking for a bit more guidance with real estate investing, the company’s tailored portfolios investment option builds a customized and professionally managed real estate portfolio for you.

Fees at CrowdStreet generally range from 0.50{911ea05452e114f1778c76ca86733b6032c246f8f651bb1f01d12abf04b54efb} to 2.5{911ea05452e114f1778c76ca86733b6032c246f8f651bb1f01d12abf04b54efb}. 

What to look out for: CrowdStreet is only for accredited investors, and you’ll need at least $25,000 to start investing. The company also typically requires you to buy and hold investments for a minimum of three to five years, so CrowdStreet is best for accredited investors who can park their money for multiple years.

Why trust our recommendations?

Our mission at Personal Finance Insider is to help smart people make the best decisions with their money. We know that “best” is often subjective, so we highlight the clear benefits of a financial product along with any limitations.

We spent hours comparing and contrasting the features and fine print of real estate investing apps so you don’t have to.

How did we choose the best real estate crowdfunding investment platforms?

We reviewed dozens of real estate crowdfunding platforms to determine the best options for low fees, investment types, and account features. To make sure we didn’t miss anything, we also cross referenced our roundup against popular comparison sites like Investopedia and NerdWallet.

What is a real estate crowdfunding investment platform?

Crowdfunding is a strategy whereby certain businesses use the internet and other social media platforms to attract investors. Real estate crowdfunding apps offer that same opportunity to investors who want to invest in commercial real estate or other real estate assets.

The crowdfunding platform pools each investors’ money into whatever real estate investments it offers. For instance, the app might be pooling investors’ money into REITs and or other properties. 

Are real estate investing apps worth it?

That depends on your particular risk tolerance and savings goals. Real estate investments are extremely illiquid, so you won’t be able to convert your money into cash as easily as you could with a stock or exchange-traded investment. Additionally, most real estate investing apps require you to hold your investments for a minimum of five years so that you can earn higher returns. 

But if you’d like to invest in real estate without buying and managing properties yourself, real estate apps make that possible. And most offer automated account management, so you won’t have to worry about reinvesting dividends or calling big shots on your own. 

If you can afford to let your money sit and grow for a few years, real estate investing apps could be a good fit for you. However, you may want to consider stock investing if you’re looking for quicker returns and short-term commitments.

Rickie Houston is a wealth-building reporter at Personal Finance Insider who covers investing, brokerage, and wealth-building products.

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