Real estate has often been considered a terrific way to build long-term wealth. Everyone needs a place to live and many businesses need a place to operate. Until recently, investing in real estate has been only for the select few who had significant means. Now, thanks to real estate crowdfunding sites, people with minimal time and financial resources can start investing with as little as $500.
This article shares the best real estate crowdfunding platforms so you can find the right fit for you.
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Best Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites
Crowdfunded real estate has exploded in recent years. Many companies make owning real estate a reality for most, but not all of them will fit your needs.
Before you try to make money in real estate crowdfunding, it’s essential to do your due diligence. Find a platform that works for you and doesn’t overcharge on fees.
Some even offer retirement options, such as Roth IRA accounts.
|Commercial real estate, direct or by fund
|$1,000 - $5,000
|Turnkey single-family rentals
|Institutional commercial real estate
|Student housing & Commercial property REIT
|Patch of Land
|Debt and equity REITs
Fundrise is one of the best real estate crowdfunding services for non-accredited investors. That means anyone can invest through the platform.
You can open an account with either $10, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, or $100,000. For $10, you get access to their Starter Portfolio.
The Starter Portfolio invests in a mix of real estate projects throughout the country. You receive quarterly dividends plus the opportunity for your investment to grow.
If you start with $5,000, you can choose their Core Portfolio. This provides the following investment choices:
- Supplemental income – focusing on dividend income
- Balanced investing – a mix focusing on long-term wealth creation
- Long-term growth – focuses on higher returns over the long-term
Starting with $5,000 also opens up more investment opportunities, including focusing on a certain sector or geographic area.
Fundrise provides a variety of real estate investing options, including:
- Commercial property
- New home construction
According to the Fundrise site, the average annualized return for 2019 was 9.47 percent. This is net of their investment fees of .85 percent, which is competitive within the industry.
Investments are made through electronic real estate investment trusts (eREITs), so you invest in a group of properties.
RealtyMogul is a platform that serves both accredited and non-accredited investors. The site focuses on commercial real estate, which includes any of the following:
- Office buildings
- Retail establishments
- Multi-family residences (must be at least a fourplex to qualify)
You can open an account with RealtyMogul for $1,000, making them a realistic way to have real estate in your portfolio. The platform offers both debt-backed investments and equity possibilities through REITs.
Those REITs are known as The Income REIT and The Apartment Growth REIT. The former focuses on commercial and retail properties, while the latter focuses on apartment buildings.
Here is what you can expect to earn with each REIT through dividends:
- The Income REIT – six percent annual dividend yield
- The Apartment Growth REIT – four and a half percent annual dividend yield, but greater long-term potential
If you invest at least $5,000, RealtyMogul allows you to select individual properties. Below that amount, you choose one of the two REITs. You can also hold these in an IRA.
RealtyMogul fees are just .30 to .50 percent annually. These are lower than other real estate crowdfunding sites.
If you have less than $1,000, HappyNest is an excellent alternative. The platform lets you open an account with just $10 and invest in commercial real estate.
Streitwise is an excellent choice if you’re looking for crowdfunding platforms for non-accredited investors. The site requires a minimum investment of $5,000 and claims ten percent dividend returns.
This platform focuses primarily on retail and commercial buildings for investments. They also have a transparent fee structure, which they say is cheaper than other platforms.
Streitwise charges an ongoing two percent management fee. This comes out before dividend distribution.
If you are looking for long-term investments, Streitwise might be the best option for you. Your money must remain invested for at least five years to receive full redemption value.
You need to hold any investment for at least one year. They offer the option to reinvest dividends.
If you don’t want to tie up your funds, read our guide on the best short-term investments to pursue to identify some suitable choices.
Like other crowdfunding real estate investing platforms, investments are in REITs that distribute dividends quarterly.
Roofstock is a real estate investing marketplace that lets you invest in turnkey rental properties. You only need to put down 20 percent for properties. Their site is free to join and browse.
When you choose to invest, you buy the property outright through the Roofstock platform. These are turnkey properties you buy to rent.
You don’t physically manage the property. The platform handles this. They have properties in over 40 markets.
There are no minimums to open an account with Roofstock and you don’t need to be an accredited investor.
The platform may seem like an odd addition to our list, but they also allow you to buy shares in real estate. These will look similar to REITs you’ll find with other services. However, they are non-public.
Fees are cheaper than you’d typically pay a realtor to locate a property for you. Roofstock charges an account set up fee of .50 percent to open an account.
The Roofstock platform is relatively simple to use and lets you locate properties based on numerous factors, such as locations, schools, and rent.
If you’re not happy with your property, Roofstock offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
EquityMultiple is a newer crowdfunding real estate investment marketplace that is only for accredited investors. Investors can open an account with as little as $5,000. The site offers both debt and equity investments.
This site sets itself apart by approving a small number of loan requests, just ten percent according to their website. This helps ensure a lower level of defaults for investors. Properties can include anything from hotels to self-storage facilities.
The platform charges .50 percent in administrative fees plus ten percent of all profits. Investments range between one and ten years.
You can expect to earn as much as 17 percent, according to their site.
Groundfloor is another great option to help you invest in real estate when you don’t have a lot of money to get started. You can begin investing with just $10 and there’s no yearly fee to manage your account.
With Groundfloor you are the investor, offering money to others wanting to update their properties. Their interest payment on the loan is your income and can be anywhere between six and fourteen percent.
Groundfloor vets investment opportunities, but there’s still a risk you could lose your money if the borrower defaults on the loan.
FarmTogether is for accredited investors. Where FarmTogether sets itself apart is they invest solely in farmland. Others on our list focus on commercial or residential real estate.
Like traditional real estate investments, investing in U.S. farmland has usually not been available to most people. Cost or lack of knowledge of the market has held many potential investors back.
FarmTogether, like other crowdfunded real estate services, alleviates that by allowing investors to take part in fractional share farmland investing.
Through FarmTogether, you invest in shares of entities that hold farmland. Investors gain returns through cash distributions and land appreciation. Distributions happen quarterly or annually, depending on the particular investment.
On average, farmland has a return of just over nine percent, making it a worthwhile investment for people looking for additional diversification opportunities.
The platform does all necessary due diligence on properties, then makes them available for investing. The Farmland site also has an education center for those seeking to learn more about investing in farms.
You need $10,000 to open an account with FarmTogether, though they are actively looking for ways to make their investments accessible to more individuals.
8. Rich Uncles
Rich Uncles is perhaps the best option for real estate crowdfunding for non-accredited investors if you look strictly at account minimums.
While most platforms require $500 or $1,000 to start, you can begin investing with as little as $5 with Rich Uncles.
Rich Uncles offers two REITs, including:
- Student Housing REIT
- Commercial Property REIT
The Student Housing REIT requires $5 to start. It focuses on housing local to Division 1 college campuses. The housing must have at least 150 beds and have at least a 90 percent occupancy rate.
This REIT is a newer offering by Rich Uncles and offers a six percent annual dividend, paid monthly.
The Commercial Property REIT has a higher minimum requirement of $500. This is their original investment option and focuses on retail buildings for investments.
Rich Uncles does not charge fees to buy investments. They charge when you sell a holding. Those fees are:
- Owned less than a year – three percent administrative fee
- One – two years – two percent administrative fee
- Two – three years – one percent administrative fee
- Owned more than three years – no administrative fee
When buying commercial properties, Rich Uncles only does so with 50 percent equity, therefore reducing risk. The one drawback to Rich Uncles is you’re only able to invest in the Commercial Property REIT if you live in 24 states.
If you live outside that region, a sites like Fundrise would be a better option for you.
9. Patch of Land
Patch of Land is one of the legacy platforms for crowdfunded real estate investing. While the site does have a low minimum requirement of $5,000, they only allow accredited investors.
The Patch of Land platform works similar to PeerStreet since they’re a lending marketplace. Investors lend money to real estate developers wanting to improve and rehab residential and commercial properties.
Loans mature in one to three years. Patch of Land takes between one and two percent of investors’ distributions.
You can expect to earn up to 12 percent on one-year loans, according to their site. This is among the best rates and returns you can find.
AlphaFlow only accepts accredited investors. The platform also has a larger minimum investment, coming in at $10,000. Investments range from one to four years.
This platform offers both debt and equity REITs, with all being in residential real estate. They take your investment and place your cash in up to 100 properties. Then, they actively manage your investment from there.
Think of it as the real estate equivalent to an actively managed mutual fund.
The site claims a return possibility of up to nine percent. You can withdraw earnings or reinvest them to increase return potential.
AlphaFlow charges one percent in fees, which is competitive within the market.
CrowdStreet is a terrific option for people who want to invest in commercial real estate.
There’s no charge to open a CrowdStreet account and peruse investment opportunities. CrowdStreet is currently only open to accredited investors
You may be asked to fill out a certification and provide proof of your income or net worth to substantiate your status as an accredited investor.
CrowdStreet carefully vets the sponsors of real estate offerings on their platform to ensure they meet certain criteria before adding listings to the Marketplace.
Each investment opportunity requires a minimum of $25,000 to start investing. Some may require at least $100,000 to start.
CrowdStreet charges a below average management fee of 0.50 to 1.00 percent, allowing more of your money to work for you.
Why Crowdfunded Real Estate?
Traditionally, the real estate investing market requires significant sums of money or the ability to manage properties.
Crowdfunding lowers that barrier of entry so you can invest small amounts and not deal with physically managing a property. Real estate crowdfunding platforms allow you to pool investments with others to finance buying a property or properties.
Crowdfunded real estate gives you the ability to invest in real estate with little money. All companies operate differently, but some let you start investing with as little as $500 or $1,000.
This makes real estate crowdfunding a terrific alternative to the stock market for wealth creation.
Accredited Investors vs. Non-Accredited Investors
Not every real estate crowdfunding site will work for all investors. Investors fall into two categories, accredited and non-accredited.
You must meet one of the following requirements to qualify as an accredited investor:
- Have a net worth of at least $1 million
- Earn at least $200,000 per year
If you don’t meet one of those requirements, you are a non-accredited investor. There’s nothing wrong with that classification, but not all platforms accept non-accredited investors.
One other factor to consider with crowdfunded real estate is many funds are illiquid. This provides the benefit of increased dividends. However, they’re not liquid and returns are taxable.
Various platforms offer the ability to invest in an eREIT. Think of this as a basket of properties.
REITs were the only way to invest in real estate for many years. They’re publicly traded and you can invest in them today. eREITs, on the other hand, are usually privately held and available through crowdfunding sites.
Investing in crowdfunded real estate is like any other investment. There are risks involved, and you can lose money. On the positive side, real estate is one of the best passive income ideas to pursue.
Here are a few must-follow tips whenever you’re considering real estate investments:
Diversification is key. Real estate is a terrific way to diversify your portfolio. Just like you diversify stock market holdings, you want to consider the same with real estate.
This includes considering both commercial and residential properties, as well as debt and equity holdings.
Do your own research. Investing requires research. Do your due diligence to ensure a property fits your risk profile and needs. Platforms provide offering circulars for each property, which are your best place to start for research.
Don’t overlook retirement. Many real estate crowdfunding sites allow you to invest through a self-directed IRA. This can be an effective way to shield dividend income from taxes, plus it adds valuable diversification.
Consider investing in multiple platforms. Each platform is different. You may want to invest in multiple platforms to add necessary diversification and access various properties.
Benefits of Crowdfunding
Thanks to technology, it’s possible to invest in crowdfunded real estate. This presents several benefits, including:
- Passive income
- Growing long-term wealth
- Helping those who may need a property
- No need to physically manage properties
- Low barrier to entry to invest
- Potential tax benefits
- Transparency from the property management
Additionally, in certain instances, real estate is one of the better recession-proof industries to consider when investing during an economic downturn.
Each situation is different, but many of the options above provide solid opportunities for most people. Keep in mind that most opportunities are illiquid investments, but that’s the case with real estate investing as a whole and not strictly an issue with crowdfunding platforms.
Investing in real estate has often been something only available to those with means. That is no longer the case with the growth of crowdfunding real estate sites. You can invest at virtually any income level, allowing you to create long-term wealth.
Illiquidity aside, real estate provides an opportunity for building wealth without a lot of upfront time or financial investment.
Do you currently invest in real estate? Other than investing, how else are you growing your wealth?
I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.