Both DiversyFund and Fundrise are real estate crowdfunding platforms that provide everyday investors with lower financial barriers to enter the real estate market and earn money through income-generating properties. However, the setup and functionality of each platform are a bit different. Learn more and decide which platform is right for your needs with our DiversyFund vs Fundrise guide.
What is DiversyFund?
DiversyFund is a financial technology company that offers a platform for real estate investing. They provide opportunities to invest in a diversified portfolio of commercial and residential properties. DiversyFund aims to make real estate investing accessible to a wider audience by eliminating high fees and minimum investment requirements typically associated with traditional real estate investments. They use a real estate crowdfunding model, allowing investors to pool their funds together to invest in different real estate projects. DiversyFund also manages the properties on behalf of investors, handling all aspects of the investment process for an annual 2% asset management fee.
What is Fundrise?
Fundrise is an online real estate investment platform that allows individuals to invest in commercial real estate properties. Similar to DiversyFund, it operates as a crowdfunding platform, pooling together funds from multiple investors to invest in a diversified portfolio of properties. Investors can choose from different investment plans and property types, such as residential, commercial, or mixed-use properties. Fundrise aims to make real estate investing more accessible to a broader range of investors by offering lower minimum investment amounts and providing transparency and regular updates on the performance of the investments.
Comparing DiversyFund vs. Fundrise
For many years, nonaccredited investors lamented that they were largely frozen out of the world of institutional-quality real estate offerings. That’s because historically, the real estate investment trusts (REITs) and mutual funds that had the access and the capital to fund institutional-quality investments were only open to accredited investors. However, the rise of online real estate investing platforms like Fundrise and DiversyFund has broken the barrier separating institutional offerings from nonaccredited investors.
Suddenly, nonaccredited investors have multiple options about where they can invest in high-end real estate offerings. Both Fundrise and DiversyFund have a stated mission of making real estate investing easier, more democratic and more user-friendly. This begs the question: Which one should you choose? DiversyFund vs Fundrise? Benzinga took a peek under the hood to see which platform may be best for you.
Availability, Diversity of Offerings and Investment Minimums
One of the first and most important metrics of comparing two online investing platforms (DiversyFund vs Fundrise) that claim to make investing more democratic is assessing how available they are to everyday investors. It sounds like a basic concept but believe it or not, some platforms say that’s their mission but only have one offering available to nonaccredited investors.
When it comes to basic availability, both Diversyfund and Fundrise have offerings available to nonaccredited investors. With that said, there is a stark difference when it comes to the diversity of offerings.
DiversyFund offers investors one option: the Value Add Growth REIT III. This is a private REIT with 13 assets, most of which fall under the value-add investment strategy, which involves targeting underperforming assets and then increasing their value through renovations and rent increases. On the plus side, investors can buy into this fund for a minimum of $500, which entitles them to a proportional share of equity in the fund’s assets.
Once the assets in the fund stabilize themselves and begin generating revenue, investors should (in a perfect world at least) receive owner distributions based on the value of their original investment. Then when the fund liquidates an asset, any profits generated resulting from property appreciations are also split between the owners. DiversyFund also has an auto-invest function where your dividend and revenue is automatically reinvested into the fund. This is fine as long as the fund is making money, but it can be a problem when it isn’t.
Fundrise, by contrast, has a much wider diversity of offerings, although they are not all available to nonaccredited investors. The Fundrise platform is much more oriented to allowing investors to tailor their own investment strategy through different Fundrise offerings. When you sign up for Fundrise, it has a questionnaire that asks you basic questions such as how much you have to invest, whether you are accredited and what your risk tolerance is.
Based on your responses, Fundrise then groups you into one of the following five investment categories and minimums:
- Starter: $10 investment minimum. You read that right. A minimum this low is almost unheard of in real estate investing, although it opens you up to the least amount of investment offerings.
- Basic: A $1,000 investment minimum that allows you to take advantage of a few more offerings and also make investments with your individual retirement account (IRA).
- Core: $5,000 investment minimum. This is where you can really begin customizing your investment options. There are several real estate investment trusts (REITs) to choose from, including equity REITs, hybrid REITs and a number of different strategies like growth, value-add, opportunistic, core and core-plus for non-accredited investors
- Advanced: $10,000 minimum. This allows investors access to more in-depth investment offerings that offer higher revenue potential and the added risk that comes with that type of investing.
- Premium: $100,000 minimum. This is basically the Fundrise equivalent of private banking on the platform. Investors in this accredited investor-only category will get access to special offerings
Based on Fundrise’s diversity of offerings, and the fact that nonaccredited investors can choose from a multitude of different investment strategies for only $5,000, Fundrise is a clear winner here. Yes, DiversyFund deserves kudos for having a REIT with a $500 minimum, and while its REIT’s value-add strategy is certainly capable of delivering solid earnings, it’s something of a risky proposition.
That’s especially true for first-time investors, who might be better served to get their feet wet with a less risky core or core-plus REIT option from Fundrise. If you were looking for upside, one of Fundrise’s hybrid REITs with a mix of value-add assets and debt securities would also be a solid option. The main point here is that Fundrise has a much bigger menu for nonaccredited investors to choose from. It’s also nice that investors can build their way up to the advanced or premium category offerings. There is nothing of the sort available through DiversyFund.
Ease of Use
Both Fundrise and DiversyFund were put together by experienced web design teams, and that is evident in how easy it is to use both platforms. The signup process for both platforms is simple and they also both feature an easy-to-understand investor dashboard. This dashboard summarizes your entire investment with the platform, including your original investment amount, the current value of your investment and the payment schedule of your dividends.
In the case of both sites, linking your bank account and/or making the transfer of funds to process investments is also very straightforward. If you have any trouble doing it, these platforms offer a highly trained and very patient customer service team that can walk you through the process. Additionally, both Fundrise and DiversyFund have excellent Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages you can use as a resource. This is a dead heat.
Making an apples-to-apples comparison of historical performance is somewhat difficult because Fundrise features so many offerings while DiversyFund features only one. As such, each Fundrise offering has its own risk profile and return rating. Across all client accounts, Fundrise has consistently produced positive returns for its investors. Fundrise has made nearly $200 million worth of distributions to investors since the platform’s debut in 2014.
On the DiversyFund side, this is also a private REIT so historical performance data is hard to find. However, the value-add focus of the Diversyfund REIT does have an elevated risk level. It would appear as if its investors are currently experiencing the downside of that risk in the current economy. Recently, some DiversyFund investors were very displeased to discover the platform has ceased paying dividends on the first fund.
Making matters worse, they actually took back two months of dividends from investors who were participating in the mandatory dividend reinvestment program. To be fair, there is always the risk of loss with investment so this can happen with any offering, but clawing back dividends from equity already paid out is bound to leave a bad taste in the mouth of any investor. It’s hard not to knock DiversyFund for this. So, when it comes to historical performance, the nod goes to Fundrise.
This is always an area of concern for investors. After all, if the platform isn’t clear about how it works, how you get paid and what the risks are, it’s not much good to investors. Both platforms do a pretty solid job of advising investors about the functionality and risks involved with their offerings. However, as noted above, the recent dividend pullback executed by DiversyFund on its first fund offering came as quite a surprise to its investors.
Although the provision allowing it was almost certainly included in the prospectus, the general consensus is that DiversyFund investors were not given adequate notice before it happened. They basically woke up one day and found that the dividends that were supposed to be reinvested had basically been reappropriated by the general partner.
To date, there are no such reports of that happening with Fundrise offerings. That’s why the win here goes to Fundrise again. That should not however be taken as a guarantee that a Fundrise offering may underperform and result in losses for investors.
Investor fees are always an unpleasant subject, but they are almost unavoidable. The simple truth is that most investment platforms couldn’t handle their administrative and accounting functions without passing at least some of that cost on to their investors.
In the case of DiversyFund, its REIT has an acquisition fee that ranges between 1% and 4% of the total asset value and a 1% finance fee added to the balance of any loan amount. Its REIT has a 7% internal rate of return (IRR). When that number is exceeded, the platform will take a percentage of the profits. It also caps annual operating platform expenses at 10% of investor equity.
Fundrise’s fee structure is also a little more straightforward. It charges an annual advisory fee of 0.15% of your total investment. This covers the cost of managing your account through accounting, compliance and reporting. There are no additional fees for participating in its dividend reinvestment program and its IRA has a $125 annual fee you can have waived with a minimum $3,000 investment. This structure is clean, clear and easy to explain, which makes Fundrise a winner in this category as well.
The long-term nature of real estate investing makes it a sensible addition to most individual retirement accounts. DiversyFund has a pretty simple setup that allows investors to connect their IRA to the platform and invest, assuming the custodian allows it. Many of Fundrise’s offerings are eligible for IRA contributions as well, and the rollover process is equally simple. However, Fundrise’s diversity of offerings in terms of both strategy and geography gives it the win.
Fundrise is a Clear Winner
Although both Fundrise and DiversyFund offer investors cost-effective options to make real estate investments and own equity in institutional-quality assets, there is one clear winner here: Fundrise. The DiversyFund REIT certainly has a nice mix of value-add assets with upside potential. However, the risk associated with that strategy means investors must take some pause before investing. Perhaps they will come to a point in the future where they offer more funds with different strategies.
In the meantime, Fundrise’s multiple investment categories and diversity of offerings make it a more viable option for most investors. This is especially true when it comes to investors who would like to pick and choose their own strategy and build a customized portfolio through a single platform. Add that to its investor-friendly fee structure and it is definitely the preferred platform in this head-to-head competition. That makes Fundrise the winner in the DiversyFund vs Fundrise contest.
DiversyFund and Fundrise vs. Competitors
DiversyFund and Fundrise aren’t the only real estate investing platforms you have access to. Explore a few of the platforms’ competitors below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you really make money with Fundrise?
Yes, it’s possible to earn returns on your investment through Fundrise’s property investment opportunities. If you’re more concerned with income than appreciation, you might want to select Fundrise’s income-generation portfolio when signing up for your account. However, as with all market-related investments, profits are not guaranteed.
Who is best: DiversyFund or Fundrise?
In a DiversyFund vs Fundrise contest, Benzinga believes Fundrise is the winner.
Can you build a custom portfolio on Fundrise?
Yes, you can build a custom portfolio on Fundrise.
Accelerate Your Wealth
Arrived Homes allows retail investors to buy shares of individual rental properties for as little as $100. Arrived Homes acquires properties in some of the fastest-growing rental markets in the country, then sells shares to individual investors who simply collect passive income while waiting for the property to appreciate in value over 5 to 7 years. When the time is right, Arrived Homes sells the property so investors can cash in on the equity they've gained over time. Offerings are available to non-accredited investors. Sign up for an account on Arrived Homes to browse available properties and add real estate to your portfolio today.