The real estate asset class is a vital component of a well-diversified investment portfolio. Unfortunately, the barrier to entry for many real estate investments is steep, which tends to leave regular investors on the sidelines. Even if you can afford to purchase a residential or commercial investment property, liquidity is an issue, among other inherent risks.
In recent years, crowdfunding real estate apps like Fundrise and Groundfloor have brought real estate investing to the masses by offering expert management and low investment minimums. This article looks at another player in the real estate crowdfunding space: HappyNest.
According to their website, HappyNest makes it possible for (almost) anyone to invest in real estate from anywhere. Does this sound too good to be true? In this HappyNest review, we’ll explore the key features of the HappyNest app, how it works, what customers say, and more.
Table of Contents
- What Is HappyNest?
- HappyNest Features
- High-Quality Commercial Real Estate
- Goal Setting
- User-Friendly Interface
- Long-Term Investment
- Passive Non-Retirement Investing
- Comprehensive Learning Center
- HappyNest $10 Promotion
- Who is HappyNest Best Suited For?
- What Are Customers Saying?
- HappyNest FAQs
- HappyNest Pros and Cons
- HappyNest Alternatives
- HappyNest Review: Final Thoughts
What Is HappyNest?
HappyNest is an investment app that allows U.S. residents to invest in real estate by owning shares in a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).
A REIT is a company that owns and operates income-producing investments – typically commercial properties like shopping malls, apartment buildings, warehouses, self-storage facilities, etc.
There are a lot of publicly traded REITs. Those REITs are configured as trusts, and many can be bought and sold on the stock market. The structure gives investors at all levels access (you don’t need to be an accredited investor) to the real estate asset class without purchasing individual properties or dealing with the hassles of being a landlord.
Similarly, with HappyNest, both accredited and non-accredited investors can own shares in commercial real estate for as little as $10 per month.
You won’t pay any direct monthly or annual fees with HappyNest. Instead, HappyNest pays an Advisor and a Sponsor from the returns on the investments.
Note that HappyNest’s CEO is directly involved with the Advisor and Sponsor companies. The goal after paying expenses from REIT returns is to pay clients returns of up to 6%. Of course, as with all investments, this return isn’t guaranteed.
Let’s take a closer look at some key HappyNest features, which include a goal-setting tool and a comprehensive learning center.
High-Quality Commercial Real Estate
HappyNest focuses on investing in commercial properties that are high-quality single-tenant net leased assets. The company chooses investment opportunities with long-term leases and/or contractual rental fee increases. They focus on leases that rent to essential businesses and are set in irreplaceable locations.
As of this writing, HappyNest’s REIT includes three commercial buildings:
- one that rents to FedE
- one that rents to CVS
- a senior housing community owned by Bonner Carrington.
HappyNest focuses on leasing to tenants that have a long history of business success. The focus on high-quality tenants helps minimize the risk of loss to investors.
You can use the HappyNest app to input how much money you want to save, for what purpose, and your goal timeline. HappyNest will tell you how much money you’ll need to deposit monthly to reach your goal. And it can help you set up auto-investing to ensure you reach that goal. You can cancel auto-investing at any time if you decide you want to return to manual contributions to your investments.
The HappyNest app is intuitive and user-friendly. Via the app, you can view the following information:
- Your investment balance
- Account settings
- Terms on the lease, purchase price of the properties, and more
- Learning center information
Note that HappyNest only offers long-term investments. Although each investment varies in length, you can expect investment terms to run no less than three years. (long term is different for each of us but this is not something you hold for a few months or for a single year)
HappyNest strongly recommends that you leave your investment funds in place for the entirety of the stated investment term. However, they offer an annual redemption opportunity once during the three-year holding period.
See HappyNest’s terms and conditions page or FAQ center for more information about selling your shares either after the investment term or before.
Passive Non-Retirement Investing
HappyNest offers completely passive investing opportunities for both accredited and non-accredited investors. It’s a true “set it and forget it” investment. However, the company doesn’t offer any retirement accounts at this time. There are no IRA options; you can only open a taxable, non-retirement account.
Comprehensive Learning Center
Another nice feature of HappyNest is its comprehensive learning center. HappyNest is committed to helping clients learn all they can about investing in commercial real estate and about real estate and investing in general.
The “Learn” page shares a host of articles for the benefit of both beginner and experienced investors. Article topics cover a variety of topics such as:
- Articles on REIT investing
- Financial hacks
- Market predictions
- Financial literacy
- Money management
And much more. You can also learn about new HappyNest features on the blog, get investment advice and find other valuable information.
HappyNest $10 Promotion
They have a promotion for new investors, open an account and deposit at least $10, they will give you $10.
Who is HappyNest Best Suited For?
HappyNest is best suited for investors looking to add a little real estate exposure to their portfolio but not interested in what is available through the public markets. This is because the minimum investment amount is low and non-accredited investors can invest through their platform.
However, it’s important to remember that, as with all investments, the risk of loss of initial investment is a possibility, and profits aren’t guaranteed. Also, as mentioned earlier, HappyNest won’t work for you if you seek retirement investments such as IRAs.
What Are Customers Saying?
What are customers saying about HappyNest? As of this writing, there’s not much to find regarding online reviews. HappyNest has a listing on Trustpilot but no score or reviews.
There is also a listing on the BBB website, but no score. The BBB website did say that there was one closed complaint regarding the company, but we couldn’t find any details regarding that complaint.
A lack of reviews is somewhat typical with newer companies. Still, it might be a good idea to keep your eye on Trustpilot and other review sources and occasionally check for updates on HappyNest if you are concerned.
HappyNest doesn’t charge any direct fees, so they make money from investment returns. They pay a portion of returns to the sponsor and advisor, who front some of the HappyNests costs.
Investors can redeem shares early once during the three-year investment period. Note that the one-time early redemption is subject to review by the HappyNest board.
HappyNest uses industry-standard 256-bit encryption. Also, HappyNest never sells your information to third-party companies.
Anyone 18 years or older and a U.S. resident with a Social Security number can invest with HappyNest.
HappyNest Pros and Cons
- Low minimum investment
- Non-accredited investors welcomed
- Zero direct fees
- True passive income source
- Murky management cost numbers
- Long-term investments only
- No premature withdrawals allowed
- Taxable accounts only
HappyNest offers several good features for potential investors. However, it’s important to keep in mind that HappyNest’s REIT is a long-term investment that is not without risk.
What are some HappyNest alternatives you may want to look at before deciding which real estate investment platform is best for you? Here are two that are similar to HappyNest.
Like HappyNest, Fundrise helps accredited and non-accredited investors invest in commercial real estate. Similarly, the minimum investment with Fundrise is $10. Fundrise has been in business since 2012, and as such, it has more offerings in terms of its REIT and other investment selections.
Fundrise boasts attractive returns (between 8% and 12%) and has a 1% annual asset management fee. Note that all Fundrise investments may have different accreditation and minimum balance requirements.
Learn more about investing with Fundrise by checking out our complete Fundrise review.
Groundfloor is an investment company that began in 2013 and specializes in property flips. In a nutshell, Groundfloor lends to property flippers at a high interest rate.
As an investor, you help crowdfund the loans Groundfloor offers to investors. Investing in real estate through crowdfunding helps you have an opportunity to get in on several real estate deals at once if you want to. And because Groundfloor specializes in flips, you won’t tie up your money long-term.
The minimum investment with Groundfloor is $10. You don’t need to be an accredited investor to participate, and average annualized returns are between 6% and 25%, depending on the loan grade you choose to help fund.
Groundfloor doesn’t charge any fees to investors. See our full Groundfloor review for more information.
HappyNest Review: Final Thoughts
HappyNest makes it possible for investors of all income levels the potential to grow their wealth via real estate investing. As with any real estate investment opportunity, there is a risk of losing your initial investment. However, with a low minimum investment threshold of ten dollars, you can dabble in real estate investing without losing your shirt.
Always remember that it’s important to do your research before investing in any product or company, and check out these investing rules before you get started.