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How to Create a Real Estate Crowdfunding Account?

ByTheMost

Feb 8, 2024
How to Create a Real Estate Crowdfunding Account?How to Create a Real Estate Crowdfunding Account?

How to Create a Real Estate Crowdfunding Account?

Historically, investing directly in real estate requires a significant amount of capital. Real estate investment trusts (REITs) helped to make real estate more accessible to investors by pooling resources. Crowdfunding has lately arisen as another option for average individuals looking to diversify their real estate portfolio. We’ll show you how to assess your options, discuss your alternatives, and answer your most pressing issues. With an understanding of how to open a real estate crowdfunding account, you may select the appropriate assets to match your objectives and begin investing.

The Takeaways

  • Real estate crowdfunding is a method of raising funds online for real estate projects from a large number of people.
  • Direct investing in real estate can give both diversification and consistent returns.
  • There are numerous real estate crowdfunding sites available, each with its own set of investing conditions and costs.
  • Even with crowdfunding, authorized investors have access to more chances than non-accredited investors.
  • When investing through a real estate crowdfunding platform, it is vital to understand the due diligence conducted on the deals presented.

What You Need to Open a Real Estate Crowdfunding Account

To open a real estate crowdfunding account, you must first give a combination of personal and financial information, just like you would for any other online investment account.

  • Personal Information
  • Financial Information

1. Personal Information

Some platforms allow you to create an account with just an email address and password, but an actual investment account often requires your basic personal information:

  • Email
  • Legal name
  • Physical address
  • Phone number
  • Birth date
  • Government-issued ID number may be required for verification

2. Financial Information

Most platforms will ask you directly whether you are an accredited investor or not, but even those that are open to non-accredited investors will demand the following information:

  • Social Security number (or a tax identification number if utilizing a business structure)
  • Your income and net worth for a Know Your Customer (KYC) survey.

Accredited investors may be required to authenticate their claim through one or more of the following:

  • Investment account statements
  • Tax returns
  • Third-party confirmation from a financial professional like an accountant
  • Proof of financial license
  • A signed affidavit

How to Open a Real Estate Crowdfunding Account

Opening a real estate crowdfunding account is quite simple. However, it is critical to take a few steps back in the process before signing up for the first site that comes up in your search.

1. Understand the Real Estate Crowdfunding Market

Real estate can be a terrific alternative asset for investors, but you need to understand your financial status and risk tolerance before getting involved. Accreditation makes a significant difference in the real estate crowdfunding sector. Accredited investors will have more direct investing opportunities in real estate. Non-accredited investors may have limited access to offers or investing options.

Evaluating your risk tolerance is a more challenging task. Many real estate crowdfunding companies promise “targeted” returns in the double digits, but equity investments can potentially fail. Furthermore, debt investments might become bankrupt, putting the investor’s initial investment and any owing proceeds at risk. While direct real estate investments provide diversification from the stock market, they are subject to many of the same economic sensitivities. Real estate crowdfunding, like any other higher-risk investment, should be done using risk capital rather than the majority of your financial portfolio.

2. Research the Different Platforms

A thorough study of a possible crowdfunding site is essential, given this is a relatively new business with few if any, recessionary cycles. Some platforms are exclusively available to authorized investors, or they have high minimum investment requirements that make them almost unattainable for non-qualified investors.

Some platforms also charge fees to either the sponsor or the investors, so you should understand how the company you’re contemplating makes money. Aside from whether you can afford to invest on the platform or not, the process a platform goes through before listing an investment is critical. You’ll want to know how the platform performs due diligence, what it’s assessing, and how it arranges transactions to safeguard investors.

3. Create an Account

Account setup differs per platform. Some only demand an email address and a password to access the site and view investments, allowing you to complete the setup and funding of an account when something strikes your eye. Other sites need a longer onboarding procedure, which may entail validating accreditation status and establishing a bank account before gaining access.

4. Fund the Account

While the methods vary by site, most will allow transfers from a linked bank account, similar to traditional brokerage accounts. However, in some situations, substantial sums of money may need to be transferred using a different method, such as a wire transfer straight to the sponsor or a corporate organization such as an LLC.

5. Start Investing

While you can start investing as soon as you have a funded account, it is crucial to conduct your research in addition to the platform’s due diligence. If you don’t grasp the important measures used in the research, such as the loan-to-value ratio or free cash flow, start there before investing. Cross-check the platform’s research with other sources, and consider contacting real estate professionals in the area for a second view.

Choosing a Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform

Real estate crowdfunding platforms enable investors to participate in private real estate transactions. It is vital to understand that the terms “fund,” “shares,” and “REIT” refer to publicly traded assets. Still, these are illiquid private assets with a resale market restricted to the platform that lists them.

That is why it is vital to find a platform that puts in the effort to certify good investments and screen out poor ones.

  • Eligibility requirements: Many platforms continue to be strictly for accredited investors, and those that do allow non-accredited investors typically limit their purchases to funds and REITs. Residency status is also important, as many real estate crowdfunding platforms only accept U.S. residents and companies.
  • Minimum investments: Minimum investment levels vary greatly from platform to platform. The range is from $10 to $200,000, so you’ll need to determine whether you have the necessary funds to access a specific platform. There may also be investment ceilings in place, banning users from investing more than a certain percentage of their net worth on the platform.
  • Fees and penalties: Fees for real estate crowdfunding can be unclear. Some platforms charge all fees to the sponsors, but others levy platform and/or management fees on fund investments. Check any fees and the lock-up period guidelines for any penalties associated with early redemptions or exits.
  • Transparency: You’ll want to see a detailed description of how a platform screens sponsor transactions and what procedures are taken to assist investors in the case of a default. Does the platform properly describe how transactions are structured? Is there a standard procedure for handling unanticipated events, such as additional capital calls on a project? If you can’t quickly find this information, it’s probably a bad indicator.
  • Investment selection: The investment choices will appeal to accredited investors more than non-accredited ones. Non-accredited investors are often confined to the platform’s private REITs or funds. For accredited investors, a diverse range of commercial real estate and multi-family properties is standard. Some platforms broaden the scope to encompass industrial real estate, marine assets, storage, and so on.

Compare the Best Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms

Company Fees Minimum Investment Accredited Investors Only? Investment Selection
Fundrise 0.15% and 1.85% $10 (brokerage) or $1,000 (IRA) No Equity, debt, and funds
EquityMultiple 0.50%-1.5% + origination fee $20,000 Yes Equity, debt, and funds
YieldStreet 0.00%-2.00% $10,000 No Equity, debt, and funds arrived
d Homes Long Term Rentals: 3.5% Sourcing Fee, 0.15% AUM. Vacation rentals: 5% Sourcing fee, 5% Gross rents fee, property management fees (third party-pass-through fees): vary $100 No Equity, fund
RealtyMogul Vary per deal; Income REIT caps fees at 4.5%, Apartment Growth REIT caps fees at 4.75% Varies per project, from $5,000 and nonequity ty, debt, and funds
CrowdStreet Vary per investment and are paid to the sponsor typically y $25,000, but varies per investment Yes Debt, equity, funds
DPL Capital 2% (fee rebates for investments greater than $1 million) $200,000 Yes Debt, equity, funds

Alternatives to Real Estate Crowdfunding

Direct investments in real estate through private equity agreements are considered an alternative investment. These are often thought to be more illiquid and consequently riskier than publicly traded investment choices. Crowdfunded real estate is not the only alternative investment option. Here are some other options that provide similar diversification outside of the typical market.

1. Fine Art and Collectibles

Collectibles include fine art, antiques, wine, and other physical properties that have increased in value over time due to scarcity and popularity. To successfully invest in collectibles, you must first grasp the market for various things and then rapidly judge quality and authenticity. Investors in collectibles must arrange for secure storage and insurance for their investments.

2. Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is a virtual currency created using blockchain technology that is not backed by a national government. Instead, these digital currencies are traded in a market powered by cryptocurrency exchanges. Cryptocurrency is arguably on its way to becoming simply another asset class, but it is still considered high-risk and speculative, comparable to real estate crowdfunding. Cryptocurrency investments can be made directly through exchanges, or investors can diversify their exposure by purchasing an exchange-traded fund (ETF).

3. Precious Metals

Alternative investments include precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum. Gold and silver are collectibles, such as coins and jewelry, and they sell for more than their melt prices. Some physical forms, such as bullion bars, trade more closely with the spot price of gold and silver as commodities. Investors can also gain access to precious metals through ETFs, futures, options, and even shares of mining firms that extract them from the ground.

4. Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, like real estate crowdfunding, is a private financial market that operates outside of traditional bank finance. Investors can use the platform to become lenders, making loans to others. Because the borrower may be unable to obtain regular financing, loan interest rates may be higher to account for the increased risk of default. As with real estate crowdfunding, sites such as Prosper and Lending Club play an important role in building the market, albeit the latter has transitioned to institutional investment and has no alternative for its investment option.

The standards vary by state, although the income and net worth requirements are generally less onerous than those for accredited investors.

What real estate crowdfunding niches you can enter as a platform owner

To effectively brainstorm real estate crowdfunding platform niche ideas, consider commercial and residential real estate as well as related sectors.

Commercial real estate:

  • Office buildings
  • Shopping centers
  • Hotels
  • Medical buildings
  • Multi-family Commercial

Residential real estate:

  • Apartments
  • Luxury houses
  • Terraced houses
  • Multi-family residential
  • Condo

If you want to position your business in a certain niche, you can look at more specific industries such as:

  • Agriculture (warehouses, farms, lands)
  • Industrial real estate (building units, equipment)
  • Education and fitness (schools, gyms)
  • Travelling (vacation homes, cottages, hotels)

You can mix the offerings, invest just in income-producing properties, avoid risky investments in ground-up buildings or land, and do anything else you are experienced with.

Overall, the specialty you choose for your real estate crowdfunding website will be determined by your estimated transaction size, liquidity, risk tolerance, and other considerations.

How Does Real Estate Crowdfunding Work?

Investors pool their funds to purchase equity or debt positions in private real estate projects or enterprises. In exchange for the cash, the deal’s sponsor will either compensate investors from rent income and ultimate sale proceeds, or through regular interest payments if it is a debt investment. Platforms that list opportunities are crucial for assessing and structuring investments.

Is Real Estate Crowdfunding Worth It?

Real estate crowdfunding is a high-risk, high-reward investment. It is also less connected with financial markets, however, it remains susceptible to the economic situations in the areas where the properties are located. Real estate crowdfunding can give investors with above-average returns and portfolio diversification, but it should be done with risk capital rather than as the bulk of an average investor’s portfolio.

What Are the Disadvantages of Real Estate Crowdfunding? 

Real estate crowdfunding investments carry a higher level of risk than traditional private investments. This means that, in addition to the usual risks of total loss, if an investment fails, you may have to deal with liquidity concerns, fraud, and possible platform failure. Investors in private initiatives also lack the guaranteed disclosures that more regulated investments have, making due diligence more challenging.

Finally, real estate crowdfunding projects suffer the same economic challenges as traditional real estate investments. Interest rates can raise the cost of funding, or inflation might drive up construction expenses, causing a project to cost more than expected. This may result in a capital call to existing investors or even equity dilution through a secondary call for investment.

Can You Invest in Real Estate Crowdfunding With a 401(k)?

A standard 401(k) plan from a brokerage or bank is unlikely to allow you to invest in crowdfunded real estate transactions. To invest in this form of alternative asset with your retirement money, you must use a self-directed 401(k). While this is conceivable, it is recommended that you limit your exposure to alternative investments to solely risk capital. Putting all of your retirement funds into crowdfunded real estate is not a good financial idea.

What are the requirements for crowdfunding?

In the United States, all regulated crowdfunding transactions must be completed online via an SEC-registered intermediary, such as a broker-dealer or a funding site. To invest, a potential investor must first open an account with a crowdfunding intermediary, such as a broker-dealer or funding site.

How much to invest in crowdfunding real estate?

The average deal size of real estate crowdfunding projects is a solid indicator of market capacity, which you may analyze and quantify before launching a real estate crowdfunding firm.

The average amount raised for real estate projects ranges from $500,000 to $4 million or more.

Often, crowdsourcing for real estate is required for a specific purpose. In other words, crowdfunding is utilized to fund a portion of a larger project, with overall deal sizes ranging from $1 million to $10 million, $15 million to $50 million, or more. However, crowdsourcing is only a small part of the equation, frequently serving as a seed investment.

How do I get a crowdfunding license?

An applicant seeking to be registered as an ECF operator must be a body corporate constituted under the Companies Act of 1965. The prospective applicant must be able to demonstrate to the SC that they can meet the applicable criteria outlined in the Recognised Market Operator (RMO) Guidelines.

How you can start your crowdfunding?

  1. Doing Market Research. …
  2. Identifying Market Leaders. …
  3. Determining the Monetization Model. …
  4. Choosing a Team. …
  5. Conducting a Discovery Phase. …
  6. Building the MVP. …
  7. Testing the First Version. …
  8. Launching a Crowdfunding Platform and Gathering Feedback From Users.

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