Real Estate Investing Sites for Non-Accredited Investors

There’s an adage in real estate… location, location, location.

I live in the DMV – Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia – and it’s an area where real estate is higher than average. It’s challenging to find investment properties and as someone who is neither experienced nor patient, it doesn’t make much sense for me to look to the local area for real estate investment opportunities. The savvier investors snatch them up before I can.

If I want to look outside this area, I’m at a disadvantage because I’m not where I’m not.

If you’re interested in investing and this sounds like a familiar problem, you’ve probably looked to real estate crowdfunding as an alternative. Why not rely on the expertise of others to do the research and you invest smaller amounts in areas that look appealing?

Real estate crowdfunding has become one of the most popular investing mechanisms in the last five or so years. Much like peer to peer lending, real estate crowdfunding as an investment has gotten attention for some of the same reasons.

One big difference (between P2P lending and real estate crowdfunding) is the borrower and the level of research conducted by the crowdfunding site. With real estate crowdfunding, you’re talking extensive due diligence by a top-notch group of individuals. They often fund the deals ahead of getting investors just to facilitate the closing. They need to do their homework or they could be left holding the bag. All an investor pays is a percentage based on assets invested and we receive a return that is comparable to real estate alternatives.

One of the big problems with many of the sites is that you need to be an accredited investor to participate. We have found a few options that offer investments that don’t require you to be an accredited investor. (not sure what that is? click here to skip to that and find out!)

Which real estate crowdfunding companies offer investments for non-accredited investors?

Table of Contents
  1. Fundrise
  2. Arrived
  3. Streitwise
  4. RealtyMogul
  5. REITs
    1. Are You an Accredited Investor?

Fundrise

Fundrise

Fundrise is a passive real estate investment option that has a very low minimum ($500) and is very accessible. Fudnrise offers eREITs, their name for the REITs available only on their platform, which means that they’re available to non-accredited investors.

There are several eREITS but they invest in a mix of commercial assets and loans, collecting cash flow from interest payments, rents, and other profits from the properties. There are no transaction fees for buying into the eREITs but you do pay a 0.85% annual asset management fee.

You can unlock advanced investment strategies that can focus on dividend income or long-term equity growth with a $5,000 investment.

Minimum $10.

See our Fundrise review for a more detailed look at the company and its offerings.

Learn more about Fundrise

Arrived

If you want to buy shares of rental properties (single family homes), then Arrived is the platform aiming to serve that need. Arrived is the property manager and you buy shares of the properties, as you would shares of a fund.

You earn rental income while you own the shares and then join in the gains of any appreciation that occurs during the hold period. The hold period is 5-7 years and there is no secondary market for the shares, so you must hold them for that entire period.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can sign up below or check out our Arrived review.

$100 minimum.

Learn more about Arrived

Streitwise

Streitwise Logo

Streitwise is a non-public REIT that invests in institutional quality commercial properties and has been paying out 10% dividends since inception. They’ve invested in commercial office buildings (you can see some of their investments on the homepage) and they accessible to all level of investors.

$5,000 minimum.

You can see our full review of Streitwise here.

Learn more about Streitwise

RealtyMogul

RealtyMogul

RealtyMogul offers REITs that non-accredited investors can invest in. The Income REIT is an online REIT that offers cash flow and equity appreciation with its investments in a mix of loans, equity and other “real estate related assets.” There is also an Apartment Growth REIT that invests in apartment complexes.

They are open to investing in pretty much everything – “multi-family, office, industrial, self-storage, retail, medical office, and hospitality.” The only obvious omission is single-family homes. You can read our full review of RealtyMogul to learn more.

Minimum $5,000.

Learn more about RealtyMogul

Groundfloor
Groundfloor

Groundfloor has the absolute lowest minimum investment level of all the real estate crowdfunding sites – a mere $10. They claim a return of over 10% (on average) and they score their loans on a grading scale that offers anywhere from 5% to 25%. The loans themselves are short, just 6-12 months, and they say they only approve 5% of the loans they screen.

It feels very much like a peer to peer lending site except you have the underlying real estate as collateral on the loan. The other sites feel more like investments, since the total loan value is much bigger and the terms are longer, these feel shorter like the P2P space.

Minimum $10. Check out our review of Groundfloor to get more details.

Download the Groundfloor Mobile App

REITs

These are not technically real estate crowdfunding sites… but they get you what you are looking for in those sites – diversified real estate investment. Non-accredited investors have always been allowed to buy REITs. The rules behind REITs, and what is required for them to maintain that status, is that they own and operate real estate and distributed 90%+ of their taxable income as dividends to shareholders.

However, owning a REIT may not be what you’re looking for what you want to invest in real estate crowdfunding sites. Many of the publicly traded REITs invest heavily in commercial property. Very few are in the business of owning a large portfolio of single-family homes, for example.

One of the best Vanguard funds is the Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ). It has an expense ratio of just 0.12% and it holds a lot of property companies, like Simon Property Group (malls) and Public Storage (storage). Their number one holding is the Vanguard Real Estate II Index Fund Institutional Plus Shares, which is itself a mutual fund that holds a variety of REITs.

Are You an Accredited Investor?

Most real estate crowdfunding sites require that you be an accredited investor (Rule 501 of Regulation D).

To be accredited, you must:

  • Have made $200,000 in annual income ($300,000 for joint investors) for the last two years with the expectation that you’ll earn the same or more this year, or,
  • Have a net worth over $1,000,000, individually or jointly, excluding their primary residence.

The requirement exists because the SEC wants to make sure that the folks who are investing in unregistered securities can afford to lose it. These deals are often called private placements and they don’t need to register with the SEC, so they don’t provide as much information as you’d expect from, say, a publicly-traded company. The accredited investor requirement assumes that someone who is accredited can do due diligence on their own.

For some investors, that bar might be too high. Or perhaps it’s the timing of it. You need that level of income for three years (two in the past plus the current year), perhaps that’s not possible. Either way, if you want to invest in real estate crowdfunded sites and you can’t an accredited investor, there are options.

The SEC adopted rules in 2015 that permitted companies to offer and sell securities through crowdfunding. It’s called Regulation Crowdfunding and you’re allowed to invest subject to certain investment limits. The rules also limit how much the issue can raise using the crowdfunding exemption ($20 million per 12 month period for Tier I or $50 million for Tier II). The limits are pretty restrictive so many crowdfunding platforms haven’t yet adopted it, but its time may be coming.

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Empower Personal Dashboard, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Crystal Hawkins
6 years ago

Hi Jim,
If you were to join a real estate crowd- fund, which option above would you go with?

6 years ago

Jim,
I’m currently looking at a real estate crowdfunding company InvestaCrowd which is Singapore based. A friend of mine mentioned this to me when I was in Singapore last November. Have you looked at investing in Asia (Singapore and Hongkong)? Would like to hear your thoughts.

6 years ago

I’m interested to see how all of this plays out. Crowdfunded RE feels like the Wild West right now – everyone chasing money to get to a sustainable scale. I’m not ready to jump in myself, but I really do like that these options fill in some of the continuum between doing nothing in residential RE (my plan right now) and owning units directly. Thanks for the overview – bookmarking for when I’m ready to dive in.

I think a lot of people are just too optimistic about real estate investing. To think that it will always generate 7-8% without any down years is unrealistic. Everything has boom and bust cycles.

Ally
6 years ago

Great post Jim! I’m not quite ready for RE crowdfunding bit yet, and was firmly on the traditional real estate/rental income investing path. Compared to index or dividend investing, rental income returns generally outweigh in terms of risks and returns (assuming well researched property, good market, monthly rent of at least 1% of the purchase price, moderate property appreciation). With those assumptions – you can generally yield ~6% a year on rental real estate (assuming half of your monthly rents go to pay the expenses). Other benefits include tax efficiency. Cons include a large upfront investment. But lately have been… Read more »

alawode adetayo
4 years ago

how can i invest in this type of investment,though I do not live in America.

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