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  1. 25 Investments: Introduction
  2. 25 Investments: American Depository Receipt (ADR)
  3. 25 Investments: Annuity
  4. 25 Investments: Art and Collectibles
  5. 25 Investments: Bonds
  6. 25 Investments: Cash
  7. 25 Investments: Closed-End Investment Fund
  8. 25 Investments: Common Stock
  9. 25 Investments: Convertible Bonds
  10. 25 Investments: Corporate Bond
  11. 25 Investments: Futures Contract
  12. 25 Investments: Life Insurance
  13. 25 Investments: The Money Market
  14. 25 Investments: Mortgage-Backed Securities
  15. 25 Investments: Municipal Bonds
  16. 25 Investments: Mutual Funds
  17. 25 Investments: Options (Stocks)
  18. 25 Investments: Exchange-Traded Funds
  19. 25 Investments: Preferred Stock
  20. 25 Investments: Private Equity
  21. 25 Investments: Real Estate & Property
  22. 25 Investments: Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
  23. 25 Investments: U.S. Treasury Securities
  24. 25 Investments: Unit Investment Trusts (UITs)
  25. 25 Investments: Venture Capital
  26. 25 Investments: Zero-Coupon Securities
  27. 25 Investments: Conclusion

Investing in physical real estate isn’t as straight forward as investing in financial assets trading on exchanges, but has many benefits.  And Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, let investors invest in a publicly-traded real estate company.  Mutual funds specialized in real estate and/or REITs offer broader diversification for a fee.

 

Buying physical properties or buildings is time consuming, requires taking on debt, paying broker commissions, and requires long holding periods.  But there are significant tax benefits (the properties can be depreciated), income-producing opportunities for renting out these assets, and appreciation potential.  They also perform well in high inflation environments.

 

For more liquid opportunities, a single REIT can let an investor gain exposure to the underlying properties this entity holds.  A tax complication could be receipt of a K-1 tax form, which can delay paying taxes from earlier in the year.  But these are stocks with ticker symbols that can be sold and cash received in three days total.  REITs also don’t pay taxes as long as they pay out 90% of income to shareholders. 

 

REITS fall into three main categories:

Equity REITs - Equity REITs invest in and own properties (thus responsible for the equity or value of their real estate assets). Their revenues come principally from their properties' rents.

Mortgage REITs - Mortgage REITs deal in investment and ownership of property mortgages. These REITs loan money for mortgages to owners of real estate, or invest in (purchase) existing mortgages or mortgage-backed securities. Their revenues are generated primarily by the interest they earn on the mortgage loans.

Hybrid REITs - Hybrid REITs combine the investment strategies of equity REITs and mortgage REITs by investing in both properties and mortgages

 

Objectives and Risks

 

Investors seeking income, inflation hedges, and appreciation potential would be well served by buying a rental property or investing in a REIT or real estate fund.

 

There are still significant risks involved in holding physical real estate. Property taxes, maintenance expenses and repair costs are just some of the costs of holding the asset. Furthermore, real estate is considered to be very illiquid - it can sometimes be hard to find a buyer if you need to sell the property quickly.

 

How To Buy or Sell It

 

Real estate is almost exclusively bought through real estate agents or brokers. Their compensation usually is a percentage of the purchase price of the property. Real estate can also be purchased directly from the owner, without the assistance of a third party. REITs trade just as common stocks do.

 

Strengths

 

Income production

Appreciation potential

Inflation protection

 

Weaknesses

 

Illiquidity of physical real estate

Real estate investing requires debt

Tax benefits, but can be complicated

 

Key Considerations

 

Liquidity:  High (for REITs and funds)

Historical Returns:  High

Inflation Protection:  High (among the best out there)


25 Investments: Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
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