HOW TO INVEST IN REIT: Guide & Reasons to Invest

how to invest in reit
Tampa bay times

Individuals can invest in portfolios of real estate assets through real estate investment trusts, or REITs, in the same way, they can invest in portfolios of other securities through mutual funds and comparable instruments. If you want to invest in real estate through REITs, here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started. We will all about REIT and its stocks, how to invest in one, either in Canada or India, and why not to invest in REIT. Let’s get started!

What is a REIT?

A real estate investment trust (REIT) is a firm that owns, operates or funds real estate. Real estate investment trusts create long-term investments by purchasing mortgages or loans used to fund real estate or by owning and leasing tangible real estate. They want to offer their shareholders a consistent stream of dividend income as well as modest share price appreciation.

The emphasis on dividend income stems from REITs’ preferential tax treatment: REITs pay no corporate tax as long as they distribute at least 90% of their taxable profits to investors.

This does not imply you are exempt from paying taxes. REIT distributions are taxed at regular income rates; most other stock dividends are taxed at a lower, preferential rate. If the REIT’s assets are sold and the REIT makes capital gains, you may wind up owing taxes on more than simply dividends.

How REITs work

A real estate investment trust (REIT) is a fancy word for a tax-advantaged entity that invests in real estate. REITs are obligated to pay out 90 percent of their taxable revenue as dividends in exchange for not paying corporate tax, therefore their payments are often substantially higher than those of conventional firms.

REITs are required by law to invest at least 75% of their assets in real estate and receive at least 75% of their gross revenue from rentals or mortgage interest on real estate. These REITs create money in two ways: by investing in and managing property, and by financing real estate mortgages. REITs are classified into two types based on this distinction:

  • Equity REITs – These REITs directly own an interest in the real asset and manage it, collecting rents on a regular basis and maintaining the property like a traditional landlord would.
  • Mortgage REITs – These REITs own mortgages on real estate and collect interest or other payments on the property’s financing.

REITs, like most homeowners, borrow a large sum of money to purchase their properties. However, the continuous cash flows from rent or other payments allow them to borrow large sums relatively comfortably. This borrowing enables them to earn more money than they would otherwise.

REITs are active in almost every real estate sector, including:

  • Single-family dwellings
  • Apartment complexes
  • Retail
  • Warehouses
  • Computer data centers
  • Medical structures
  • Malls
  • Hotels
  • Cellular towers

These are some of the most common, however, REITs can own practically any form of real estate. They do, however, tend to concentrate on specific industries, preferring to focus on one or two areas since executives can use their extensive knowledge and professional connections to help the REIT perform better. Furthermore, investors place a higher value on concentrated enterprises than on diversified ones.

Types of REITs

REITs are classified into three types based on their investment holdings: equity, mortgage, and hybrid REITs. Each group is further subdivided into three sorts based on how the investment can be obtained: publicly-traded REITs, publicly non-traded REITs, and private REITs.

Each REIT type has unique characteristics and hazards, so it’s critical to understand what’s under the hood before investing.

REIT Types by Investment Holdings

#1. Equity REITs

Equity REITs function similarly to landlords, handling all of the management chores that come with owning a property. They own the underlying real estate, collect rent, maintain it, and reinvest in it.

#2. Mortgage REITs

Mortgage REITs (also known as mREITs) do not own the underlying property, unlike equity REITs. Instead, they possess debt securities secured by real estate. For example, if a household obtains a mortgage for a home, this sort of REIT may purchase the mortgage from the original lender and collect monthly payments over time, creating money through interest income. Meanwhile, someone else — in this case, the family — owns and operates the property.

#3. Hybrid REITs

Hybrid REITs are a hybrid of equity and mortgage REITs. These companies own and run real estate properties, as well as commercial property mortgages. To understand the REIT’s core emphasis, see the prospectus.

REIT Types by Trading Status

#1. Publicly traded REITs

As the name implies, publicly traded REITs are traded on an exchange alongside stocks and ETFs and can be purchased with a standard brokerage account. REITs that are publicly listed have higher governance standards and are more transparent. They also have the most liquid shares, which means that investors may easily acquire and sell the REIT’s stock – considerably faster, for example, than investing in and selling a retail property themselves. For these reasons, many investors only purchase and sell publicly traded REITs.

#2. Public non-traded REITs

These REITs are registered with the SEC but not traded on a stock exchange. Instead, they can be purchased from an online real estate broker that participates in public non-traded offerings, such as Fundraise. These REITs are particularly illiquid because they are not publicly traded, often for periods of eight years or more.

#3. Private REITs

These REITs are not just unlisted, making them difficult to evaluate and trade, but they are also generally excluded from SEC registration: As a result, private REITs have fewer transparency requirements, which may make evaluating their performance more difficult. These restrictions make these REITs less appealing to many investors, and they come with added risks.

Pros of REITs

Aside from their good track record of profitability, investors favor REITs for a variety of reasons:

  • High dividend yields, come from the legal need to pay out income and are backed by steady cash flows from rental property.
  • Because REITs are less connected with the overall market, they are driven by different reasons than most stocks, and they can provide diversification benefits.
  • There are no management headaches, so you can sleep better knowing you don’t have to fix a broken air conditioner at 3 a.m. or deal with shouting renters.
  • Property diversification means that, unlike many individual landlords, a REIT is generally invested in dozens or even hundreds of buildings, so its profitability is not dependent on a few assets.

These are some of the most significant advantages of investing in REITs over both equities and direct investment in rental property.

Why Not to Invest in REITs

There are also reasons not to invest in REITs, and investors should pay special attention to the following issues while investing in REITs:

  • The high debt burden, is typical in the business because REITs, like regular homeowners, finance a property with substantial leverage. Investors must be confident that the company can manage its debt while still paying its dividend.
  • According to Eric Rothman, portfolio manager at CenterSquare Investment Management in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, rising interest rates may hurt REIT equities in the short run as investors sell them based on the prevalent belief that rising rates indicate falling REITs. But, he claims, this hasn’t always cost them throughout a protracted bull market.
  • Dividends may be unsustainable, which should be avoided if investing in individual REITs. If a REIT reduces its dividend, its stock price will decline or may have already dropped in anticipation of a reduction.
  • High real estate prices, can help inflate the value of a REIT, but those values may eventually fall, hurting the price of the REIT.
  • Non-traded REITs and private REITs, don’t have the same high governance standards as publicly traded REITs.

How to Invest in REITs in India?

REITs are publicly traded on stock exchanges, and investors can purchase units using a Demat account. Investors can also look at IPOs to capitalize on fresh REIT launches. You can utilize the following channels:

#1. Investing Through Stock Exchanges

REITs, like ETFs, are listed and traded on stock markets. Thus, as long as an investor has a Demat Account, purchasing REIT units is simple. The price of a REIT unit might fluctuate depending on demand on stock exchanges. The performance of the REIT also has an impact on prices. In India, there are currently three REIT options: Embassy Office Parks REIT, Mindspace Business Park REIT, and Brookfield India Real Estate Trust.

#2. Investing Through Mutual Funds

In India, very few domestic mutual funds engage in REITs, and real estate exposure is very low. Mutual funds can also be used to invest in REITs. Investors in India seeking exposure to overseas real estate can participate in the Kotak Overseas REIT Fund of Fund, which primarily invests in International REITs.

#3. Investing Through IPOs

Investors can keep an eye out for REIT IPOs and invest in them when they become available. This necessitates extensive investigation and comprehension of all REIT risk elements. Because the Indian REIT sector is still developing and there are just a few REIT options available, investors must wait for the next IPO.

How Do You Make Money on a REIT?

REIT dividends are frequently substantially larger than the average S&P 500 stock since REITs are mandated by the IRS to pay out 90% of their taxable profits to shareholders. The compounding of these high-yield dividends is one of the finest methods to generate passive income from REITs.

Can You Lose Money on a REIT?

There is always the chance of loss with any investment. Publicly listed REITs are particularly vulnerable to losing value as interest rates rise, causing investment capital to flow into bonds.

Are REITs Safe During a Recession?

During an economic downturn, investing in certain types of REITs, such as those that invest in hotel buildings, is not a good idea. Investing in other forms of real estates, such as healthcare or retail, is an excellent method to protect against a recession. They have lengthier lease structures and, as a result, are less cyclical.

How do I Start Investing in REITs?

Opening a brokerage account, which normally takes only a few minutes, is the simplest way to get started. Then, just like any other stock, you’ll be able to purchase and sell publicly traded REITs. Because REITs generate such substantial dividends, it may be advantageous to put them in a tax-advantaged account such as an IRA to avoid paying taxes on distributions.

If you don’t want to trade individual REIT stocks, it may make more sense to just purchase an ETF or mutual fund that vets and invests in a variety of REITs on your behalf. You benefit from quick diversification and reduced risk. These funds are available through many brokerages, and investing in them involves less homework than investigating individual REITs for investment.

Is REIT a Good Investment?

Investing in REITs is a wonderful method to diversify your portfolio beyond standard stocks and bonds, and they can be appealing due to their high dividend yields and long-term capital appreciation.

How Much Money do you Need to Invest in REITs?

Although anyone can invest, public non-traded REITs typically have a $1,000 to $2,500 minimum investment requirement.

Can I Invest $1,000 in a REIT?

Yes. Most REITs can be purchased for less than $1,000.

How Can I Make $1000 a Month in Passive Income? 

How to Earn an Extra $1,000 Per Month:

  • Purchase US Treasuries
  • You Can Rent Out Your Yard
  • Rent Your Vehicle
  • Real Estate for Rent
  • Create an E-Book
  • Become a Partner

What is the 90% Rule for REIT?

To qualify as a REIT, a corporation must have the majority of its assets and income related to real estate investment and must pay at least 90% of its taxable income to shareholders in the form of dividends on an annual basis.

Are REITs Riskier than Stocks?

REITs outpaced stocks over 20- to 50-year time periods, as well as in the most recent full year of data (2021). The majority of REITs are less volatile than the S&P 500, with some being only half as volatile as the market as a whole.

What are the Downsides of REITs?

If the premise is the sector’s year-to-date performance (+10.52%), the response is most likely. Rising interest rates hurt real estate investment trusts (REITs) last year. However, if you want to go into the real estate industry, you should carefully consider your options.

Why Not to Invest in REITs?

REITs are not without risk. They may have very fluctuating returns, are susceptible to interest rate swings, have income tax consequences, are not liquid, and fees can reduce total returns.


REITs make it simple for new investors to get into the real estate market. Dividends, in addition to their other advantages, provide liquidity to an investor’s portfolio. Investors seeking real estate exposure should look into various investment vehicles, particularly IPOs.


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