Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means this blog may earn a commission at no cost to you. We only recommend products or services that we've personally used or vetted. Read More about our policy.

Real estate crowdfunding is an excellent alternative to many of the traditional real estate investing options.

Why?

To start, real estate investing is costly and often takes years to master. 

On the other hand, real estate crowdfunding allows most investors to invest in large real estate projects with as low as $1,000.

If you are eager to invest in real estate without all the hassle that most conventional real estate investing bears, crowdfunding is a great way to start. 

First, let’s cover some of the basics.

What Is Real Estate Crowdfunding?

The emergence of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act signed into law in 2012 helped legalized raising capital online, resulting in what we now know as crowdfunding

Crowdfunding comes in many forms, and real estate crowdfunding is one of them.

Real estate crowdfunding is a method whereby a pool of money is raised online from different individual investors. 

What makes it a game-changer is that it made real estate investing more accessible to every aspiring investor. It exempts its investors from registration requirements and other requirements.

Although real estate crowdfunding is relatively new, it is the future of the real estate market. 

It allows investors to access private-turned-public opportunities and diversify their portfolios.

Where Real Estate Crowdfunding Shines

Ease and accessibility

Investing in real estate crowdfunding is a no-brainer; it’s easy and very accessible mainly because of its online platform availability. 

Unlike conventional real estate investing, crowdfunding lets investors be free from the burden of lengthy requirements. You can also save yourself from the hassle of managing a property and save up costs for realtors and the likes.

Passive, long-term capital gains

Undoubtedly, real estate crowdfunding is here and here to stay. 

The future of real estate has been gaining more audience through virtual platforms, which makes this new method even more convenient. With crowdfunding, you get to have passive, long-term, and even low-maintenance capital gains.

Diversified portfolio

This new method of real estate investing also helps you diversify your portfolio.

With different property investments and projects to choose from, you will also have the freedom to build a diversified portfolio.

Affordable and high returns

Investing in property, traditionally speaking, is costly. 

However, with crowdfunding, investments have become more affordable. Other than that, it also offers competitive returns. 

Transparency

Since real estate crowdfunding is more lenient and accessible than conventional ones, you won’t have to worry about transparency. 

Most real estate crowdfunding companies do their due diligence before onboarding real estate projects. However, you should invest in all crowdfunding projects blindly.

However, real estate crowdfunding offers an extra layer of transparency for real estate investors.

Where Real Estate Crowdfunding Falls Short

Higher risk

Real estate crowdfunding is not a foolproof concept; it is also vulnerable to common risks. 

Like any investment, if you don’t do enough research, you could end up losing money.

Additionally, if a crowdfunding platform or project falls, you’ll end up losing all your capital.

No ownership and control

As an investor in crowdfunding, you’re one investor out of hundreds of others investing in the same project. Unlike traditional real estate investing, you won’t be the owner of your real estate property.

Low liquidity

In real estate crowdfunding, you cannot quickly sell your shares; hence, its low liquidity

Additionally, your investments may have lock-in periods before you’re allowed to sell or transfer shares.

Is Real Estate Crowdfunding A Good Investment?

Real estate crowdfunding is an excellent opportunity for new investors.

However, there are no guaranteed returns in any investment, and it can be a risky investment if you invest with little knowledge.

If you like high-yield investments that can help diversify your portfolio, crowdfunding may be an excellent option for you. 

As with most investments, real estate crowdfunding has its pros and cons. 

How Do I Invest in Real Estate Crowdfunding?

While crowdfunding may seem like an easy investment, you should take many steps before you invest your first dollar.

Since real estate crowdfunding is done through a crowdfunding platform, you must do your due diligence on choosing the best one for your needs.

Here are a few key things you want to look for:

  • Company history (i.e.how long it’s been in business)
  • Company Mission (i.e., about section)
  • Founders
  • The vetting process for projects they onboard in their platform

Essentially, you want to make sure that the company you invest in has low odds of shutting down. Additionally, you want to invest in a company that has good deals. 

It may be appealing to invest with a company with lots of deals, but if they’re bad deals, you’re more likely to lose your money. Plus, in the early stages of your investing career, you’ll only increase your odds at choosing suitable investments if the platform you invest with has a good vetting process. 

Set Your Budget 

Assuming you’re already maxing out your core investments, set an additional budget for real estate crowdfunding. 

For example, if you’re only able to budget an additional $100 per month, anticipated 6-12 months before you invest in a real estate crowdfunding platform. 

Most crowdfunding platforms require a minimum of $500-$1000 to start investing. To avoid going into debt or negatively affecting your saving goals, don’t invest more than what you’re able to budget for real estate crowdfunding. 

Tax Implications

Income

wallet with pile of american paper dollars

If you are thinking of investing in real estate crowdfunding, how do you file your taxes? 

You’ll treat any earned income through your investments like regular income and complete the 1099-INT form when filing your taxes.

Accredited and non-accredited investors are taxed differently. However, it’s more common for new investors to be non-accredited, as you’ll need a net worth of $1 million to qualify.

Check out this tax guide to learn more.

Depreciation

As for most real estate investments, depreciation represents the tax deductions that make up for the refurb cost of a property.

Depreciation is calculated over 27.5 years for residential, single-family, and multi-family properties.  

For real estate crowdfunding, depreciation deductions are done by the holding company and shared with the investor.

All you’d do is input this information on your tax return.

State Taxes

state taxes

At the federal level, real estate crowdfunding partnerships are not taxed. 

However, by the end of every year, the LLCs will issue a K-1 for each partner. In terms of state taxes, it can get a bit complicated.

In most cases, real estate crowdfunding “partners” must file their respective state income tax returns. 

The investors or partners will have to file these in the state where the crowdfunding project is located to avoid double taxation.

How to Evaluate Real Estate Crowdfunding Investments

Evaluate risk

When starting with real estate crowdfunding, g understand the property, and the LLCs involved. It would help to do your due diligence in knowing whether the LLC’s you’ll be partnering with are trustworthy, effective, and transparent. 

You have research to meaningful information regarding the processes, property, and charges inclusive and exclusive of a deal.

In evaluating the risk, you also have to consider the market at the time of investing and whether it will take turns for better or worse. 

Having comprehensive information on the potential yield, long-term plans, and the property itself will help you assess its overall risk factors.

Know Investment Type

As an investor, there are different ways to invest in real estate crowdfunding. 

You can either invest with:

EQUITY

Most property deals are that of equity investments, providing a higher yield than lending-based investments. 

Equity-based investments allow you to have a share of the property’s rental incomes and appreciation values. 

The risk associated with this is also related to the volatility of the property’s value, which in most cases is unlikely to happen.

For equity investments, you don’t have to worry about caps, so it is possible to have a broader earning potential. The lower fees also help you maximize your tax gains.

LENDING

Lending-based or debt investing is the most common investing method for most investors, lasting six months to two years.

This investment allows you to lend money to the property owner and receive a fixed interest from the mortgage loan on top of your invested amount.

Since lending-based investing has fixed rates, it is less risky. 

Understand The Debt Project You’re Taking On

Even when it has fewer risks than equity investments, lending or debt investments could still encounter particular issues. 

Know your rights as a lender, analyze the debt ratio service.

Testing the financial ratios of a specific project before investing in it is necessary for any real estate investment. 

In lending investments, you also have to consider the construction costs, which could reduce your overall investment return. 

Learning about your rights and protection aside from the agreement and security documents ensures your overall safety as a lender. 

As a lender, you don’t just consider the project itself but also the borrower and their intent in assessing a great project. 

Here are some key traits a good borrower should have:

  • Compliant with contractual and borrower obligations;
  • All their agreements are accurately documented;
  • Transparent with the lenders regarding the project details;
  • Pay and files taxes on time;
  • Coordinates well with lenders and contractors;

Know the sponsor

A sponsor in the realm of crowdfunding is an individual or a group of individuals working with your investment.

Sponsors are those who will manage, oversee, and render the project until completion. They are primarily responsible for:

  • Property negotiation
  • Handle, manage, and distribute the returns to the project investors
  • Hiring and coordinating with the Contractor or project developer
  • Determine the best time when exchanging the property and negotiating asset gains
  • Work on the paperwork and due diligence of the property

Sponsors use their investment and real estate management expertise in the deal. They usually invest little on the property but take a more significant portion of the risk (in loans), hence, a more substantial return.

Choosing the right sponsor is the first determining factor in the success of an investment. To avoid foreclosure, bankruptcy, or issues along the way, choose a sponsor who is:

  • Experienced and knowledgeable in investments and real estate
  • Reliable, trustworthy, and has a competitive investment background
  • Outstanding reputation in the business and other professional aspects of career
  • Has to experience in the area subject for investment
  • Knows how to manage your investment and grow the fund
  • Good rapport with the investors and contractors altogether

Understand the fees

Depending on the crowdfunding platform you choose, fees are always inevitable. 

Fees could range from an annual 1%-2.5% on your managed investments. Other costs include individual fund fees, management, and advisory fees for the platform. 

Be sure to understand your fees, so there aren't any surprises down the road.

Understand your return on investment

Since the market is volatile and you have no complete control over your investments, it might be hard to understand how many returns you are earning. 

Monitoring your investment’s updated returns or earnings or even reaching out to the solicitors could help you get a better grasp. 

However, you also have to note that there are taxes that will be charged on your returns.

Choose the platform that can provide you with reliable yields, long-term or short-term.

Understand target holding period

The target-holding period refers to when an asset or investment is not subject to redemption or sale. 

It is an estimated period when the investment is expected to appreciate and earn its optimum yield. Frequently these investments could either be big projects or have low liquidity.

In real estate crowdfunding, the target-holding period could last from 6 months-2 years for lending investments. 

For equity investments, this could last from 2 to 10 years or more. Lending-based investing is more liquid than equity hence, the shorter target holding period.

The prolonged period of equity-based investing doesn’t mean you won’t receive any returns during this period.

You could receive quarterly or even monthly payouts depending on your investment’s returns. 

Although equity investments have lower liquidity, they carry higher returns and are a better option for long-term investment plans.

Best Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites

The ever-growing crowdfunding platform has also introduced an ever-growing selection of crowdfunding platforms. 

To help you choose the best real estate crowdfunding platform, I’ve listed some of the best platforms to invest in below.

Fundrise

fundrise homepage

Fundrise is a low-cost real estate crowdfunding platform that is best suited for beginners. 

It has a well-established underwriting process, making investments less risky for you.

Signing up on this platform is user-friendly for beginners. First, fill out your personal information, select an account type and plan, then build and manage your portfolio.

  • Fees: 1%
  • Minimum Investment Requirement: $500
  • Average Annual Returns: 8.76%-12.42%
  • Total Investor Distribution: 9.47%
  • Investment Options: Debt, Preferred Equity, Equity
  • Investor Type Requirements: No accreditation requires

EquityMultiple

equitymultiple homepage

Focused on commercial real estate, EquityMultiple offers professionally managed investments with the required accreditation of its investors. 

Despite its high minimum investment requirement, its 9% average annual return will surely beat the risk that it might encounter along the way.

It also prides itself in its leading underwriting, due diligence, and protection of investor’s interests. It offers solid returns despite its illiquidity and diversifies your portfolio, allowing you to invest from one state to another. 

Based on the name itself, EquityMultiple will surely help multiply your invested equity.

  • Fees: 0.5%-1.5%
  • Minimum Investment Requirement: $5,000-$10,000
  • Average Annual Returns: 9%
  • Total Investor Distribution: 12%
  • Investment Options: Debt, Preferred Equity, Equity
  • Investor Type Requirements: Accreditation required

Crowdstreet

crowdstreet homepage

Another good platform in commercial real estate, Crowdstreet, provides its investors direct access to endless investment possibilities. 

It offers features such as choosing the best possible investment in the market aligned to its preferences. 

Other than this, account creation is also free, making it user-friendly and accessible.

Other than this ease of access service, they also offer trustworthy fund and advisory services. 

  • Fees: 0.5%-2.5%
  • Minimum Investment Requirement: $25,000
  • Average Annual Returns: 11.5%-26.4%
  • Total Investor Distribution: 17.7%
  • Investment Options: Debt, Preferred Equity, Equity, Direct Ownership
  • Investor Type Requirements: Accreditation required

RealtyMogul

realtymogul homepage

RealtyMogul is one of the first real estate crowdfunding platforms. 

It now has a diverse investment choice and supports both accredited and non-accredited investors, making it popular. 

It also ventures not just in commercial real estate but even in flipping, project ground-up constructions, housing, etc.

Besides this, RealtyMogul has a solid and trustworthy track record. Being in the market for long enough has also helped them establish trust and existing fund flows that can help them generate continuous yields.

  • Fees: 1%-1.25%
  • Minimum Investment Requirement: $5,000
  • Average Annual Returns: 9.75%
  • Total Investor Distribution:
  • Investment Options: Debt, Preferred Equity, Equity, Direct Ownership
  • Investor Type Requirements: No accreditation required

Patch of Land

patch of land homepage

Similar to its competitors, Patch of Land caters to pre-funded real estate deals. 

They require a low minimum investment requirement but have a higher average annual return than most. Its niche includes both commercial and residential real estate.

If you are into lending or debt investment platforms, Patch of Land is a smart choice. 

  • Fees: 0-3%
  • Minimum Investment Requirement: $1,000
  • Average Annual Returns: 10.65%
  • Total Investor Distribution: 12%
  • Investment Options: Debt
  • Investor Type Requirements: Accreditation required

Real Crowd

real crowd homepage

A champion for adjusted risk and return management, real crowd, boasts its platform with experts helping you manage, diversify, and maximize your investments. 

Like all of the real estate crowdfunding platforms on the list, it is trustworthy and does its due diligence.

Although it doesn’t allow for non-accredited investors, Real Crowd is a superb choice, and it is highly recommended for experienced investors themselves.

  • Fees: none
  • Minimum Investment Requirement: $5,000
  • Average Annual Returns: 11%-15%
  • Total Investor Distribution: 
  • Investment Options: Debt, Equity
  • Investor Type Requirements: Accreditation required

Is Real estate Crowdfunding for Beginners?

Real estate crowdfunding, like most investments, is not for beginners. It requires research, and a minimum amount of investment is involved. 

No matter how big or small the investment amount is, crowdfunding is promising, yet some research is still required.

Real estate crowdfunding has a lot to offer and will surely be popular for years to come. 

While crowdfunding sites offer solid transparency, directly engaging with the business owner is also a plus. 

Having an in-depth understanding of the benefits a crowdfunding platform provides is the first step towards investing in real estate crowdfunding.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Alternatives

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) and Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are two great alternatives to real estate crowdfunding. These alternatives require less money to start and typically have lower risk since their diversified investment.

REIT is an investment that has an income-generating fund and pays its required dividends through rental incomes and property appreciation.

On the one hand, ETFs give investors the freedom to diversify a portfolio. It also allows them to manage potential risks and returns by tracking assets, commodities, indexes, among many others.

Individual Stocks

Investing in stocks is also an alternative for advanced investors.

Individual stocks aren’t more complex than ETFs but are riskier since they aren’t diversified. 

For example, if you invest in Nike stock, your initial investment can grow or dwindle depending on the company’s performance.

It’s recommended you diversify your portfolio with index funds or ETFs that diversify your portfolio investing in multiple companies.

Traditional real estate

Traditional real estate is still an excellent long-term investment and, for most, still preferred by experienced real estate investors. 

Besides having complete control over your investments, traditional real estate is a long-term passive income strategy that you can even pass down to future generations. 

If you have the patience to save up money and educate yourself on the different real estate investment strategies, this alternative is for you.

Real Estate Crowdfunding May Be Your Next Investment Strategy

Real estate crowdfunding is an excellent investment if it makes sense to add to your investment portfolio.

Despite some of the risks, you can still earn substantial returns on your investments with real estate crowdfunding if you take the time to educate yourself.

Before you dive into real estate crowdfunding, get to know the platform you’re planning to invest with—Research the company’s history, the company founders, and the types of deals available. 

In the end, the more you know, the less risk you’ll carry. 

So, is real estate crowdfunding worth adding to your investment portfolio mix?

Only you have the answer.

Author

Founded Financially Well Off back in 2018 with the intent of making finance relatable. Quality content. Quality Advice. For people looking to be financially well off.

Write A Comment