The Best Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites in 2020
The JOBS Act continues to have an ENORMOUS impact on expanding the number of investments available to investors, thanks to making it legal to crowdsource funding for equity and debt investments. This has been readily apparent in the field of real estate investing, where successful real estate crowdfunding platforms have been enjoying success online with investors. Because investors can conduct due diligence through the platforms, invest by pressing a button and track the results of their deals online, real estate crowdfunding companies have enjoyed immense success over the past few years.
For me personally, as someone who spent 10 years living in NYC, real estate crowdfunding made it possible to allocate a portion of my investment portfolio in real estate deals in a way that isn’t possible when you live in an expensive urban environment. I simply didn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in local deals but desperately wanted exposure to leveraged real estate deals where I could reasonably expect to see double digit returns.
For example, in 2018 I purchased a small piece of a 235,661 square foot Class B suburban office building located on a 12-acre plot. It had a stable government tenant (the Department of Social & Health Services) that occuppied most of the space but the building needed some renovation work to spruce up the 1984 interior. Once the renovations were complete, the team planned to achieve 100% occupancy of the property and eventually sell it to investors looking for stable cashflow.
Average Joe investors simply didn’t have access to those types of investment opportunities until the JOBS Act made that and many other similar opportunities available on a widespread basis.
And it’s not just commercial office space that is available. Real estate crowdfunding platforms offer everything from fix-and-flip homes to multi-family apartment buildings to self-storage and car wash facilities. If it involves real esate, you can invest in it.
Best of all, the real estate crowdfunding platforms make it much easier to perform due diligence, since you can review the project sponsor and their past performance online, as well as the particular details of the deal.
The problem is that there have been dozens of companies that have entered and exited the real estate crowdfunding space over the past few years as they fight among each other for dominance in the market (RIP RealtyShares). So how do you find the top real estate crowdfunding sites? It’s pretty difficult actually.
I’ve been following the real estate crowdfunding space since it started in 2012. In addition to performing due diligence on the individual deals, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with the founding teams of many of the platforms. I have either invested (or would invest) on all of the sites mentioned on this page and regularly review their offerings to identify investments that fit with my investment philosophy, asset allocation and desired risk profile.
If you scroll up and review my list, you can see my personal thoughts on each crowdfunding site. Where possible, I try to relate my own personal experience with the site as an investor and to explain where I think each crowdfunding marketplace sits relative to each other. As the market grows in complexity, it’s helpful to understand which platforms are specialists in which deals.
Typically, when reviewing deals available on the real estate crowdfunding platforms I look for the following qualities:
- Quality of sponsors (by far the BIGGEST variable)
- Reputation among industry veterans
- Reputation of platform founders (I get excited when I see a lawyer on the founding team)
- My own personal experience on the real estate crowdfunding site as an investor
If you have any experience with private equity, you know that there’s an enormous world of private investment opportunities not available to the public. The JOBS Act continues to expand the investments available to the broader public and I’m excited to see where that takes us.