3 Ways to Invest in Real Estate With Little Money

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Contributor, Benzinga
Updated: July 18, 2022

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You don’t have to be sitting on a pile of cash to start investing in real estate. In fact, just about anyone can start investing in real estate, even with as little as $10. Keep reading to find out how to invest in real estate with little money.  

When most people think about investing in real estate, they think about purchasing a rental property or commercial real estate. While these are great ways to start investing in real estate, they might not be the most feasible options for everybody. 

Luckily, there are several other options available to get started investing in real estate with little money. No matter what your budget is, or how much time you have available to invest into managing your real estate investments, there are opportunities available. 

Invest With as Little as $10

  • Groundfloor
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That’s right, you can start investing in real estate today even if your budget is limited to $10. While you won’t be making an equity investment, you can invest in the debt secured by real property. This is similar to how a mortgage REIT operates

Groundfloor offers a crowdfunding platform where you invest in short-term loans made to real estate investors that are buying and rehabbing properties. Once you join Groundfloor as an investor, you can browse available loans, view details on the properties secured by the loans, and choose which ones you want to invest in. 

Groundfloor uses an algorithm to assign a grade to each loan based on the level of risk. The amount of interest you’ll receive on a loan depends on its risk grade. 

Investors just starting out with a limited budget can set up monthly deposits into their Groundfloor account to grow their investment portfolio over time. And since the loans on the platform are typically only 6 to 12 months, your money isn’t tied up for a long period of time. 

The best part is that Groundfloor is available to non-accredited investors, so virtually anyone can invest. 

Invest With as Little as $100

  • Arrived Homes
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Arrived Homes is a real estate crowdfunding platform that allows investors to purchase shares of rental properties with a minimum investment of only $100. The company handles all of the property management responsibilities while passive investors simply collect a quarterly dividend as the rental property increases in value over time.

Investors earn a return in 3 ways through Arrived Homes. 1 - They receive cash flow from the properties in the form of quarterly dividends. 2 - The properties appreciate in value over time, so they make a profit when their property is later sold. 3 - The amount of equity in the property increases each month as the principal balance on the mortgage is paid down.

Invest With as Little as $500

While most real estate funds are only available to accredited investors and have minimum investments starting at $50,000 to $100,000, CalTier’s latest fund is also available to non-accredited investors and has a minimum investment of only $500.

CalTier Multi-Family Portfolio Fund: The CalTier Portfolio Fund aims to invest in existing class B and C multifamily assets throughout the United States, where population growth is increasing the demand for rental units. The fund is also targeting assets with an identified value-add component, which have the potential to increase rents.

Unlike a publicly-traded REIT, units in the fund increase in value based on the value of the assets under management. If the value of the assets in the fund increases, the value of each investor’s equity increases as well.

CalTier has also made the process extremely simple, to the point that investors can create an account and own shares in a portfolio of cash flowing real estate in minutes.

Learn more about CalTier Realty

Ways to Invest in Real Estate With Little Money

Just as there are multiple types of properties you can invest in, there are also multiple ways to invest. The best way for you to invest depends on the amount of money you have available, the time and energy you can commit to managing your investment, and your level of knowledge. 

Whichever way you choose to invest, there are options for investing in real estate with little money. While buying a physical property with little money can require a lot of time, energy and creativity to make a deal happen, there are also more simple options to invest with pretty much whatever cash you have available. 

1. Buying a property with creative financing

Buying a physical property is what most people think of when it comes to real estate investing. This is when you find a property, buy it, and collect the income it generates. 

There’s no doubt that you’ve seen books, classes, or infomercials on how to buy real estate with little or no money. “No Money Down” is a popular headline used by people trying to sell books and classes, but the reality is that it’s a lot harder to pull off than they lead you to believe. 

However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to buy real estate with little money. There are definitely low down payment options, they just take some effort to locate the deals and some creativity to make them work. 

Some of the ways to buy real estate with a low down payment you can explore are:

Seller financing

Some sellers are willing to finance a portion of the purchase price, and take payments over a period of time instead of taking cash at closing. Depending on the seller, they may even be willing to take a lower down payment in exchange for a higher purchase price or a shorter term on payments. 

Finding a seller that’s willing to offer land contract terms along with a small down payment can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Be persistent in your search and be willing to think creatively about how to make the deal a win-win for both parties. 

Hard money loan

A hard money lender is a private lender that provides short-term loans to real estate investors. Hard money lenders often have less strict lending guidelines than a traditional financial institution, so they are typically more focused on the value of the property than the amount of the down payment or the borrower’s credit score. 

If you can find a value-add investment opportunity priced below market value, you can potentially get into the deal with little money out of pocket as long as it meets the lender’s typical 60% - 70% LTV criteria. The catch is that you have to have a plan to pay the lender back within six - 24 months, since those are the typical hard money loan terms. Most investors either refinance the property or sell it for a profit. 

You also have to remember that these loans usually come with a higher interest rate than what a typical mortgage lender would charge. 

Taking on a partner

A lot of people get into their first real estate investment by partnering with other people. While you may not have the capital available to purchase a property, but are willing to put in the time and energy to manage an investment property, there are other people with the funds available that don’t have the time available to be an active investor. 

There are also other people out there who want to invest in real estate with little money. Multiple investors putting in a little money can add up to enough cash to make a down payment on an investment property. 

Commit to spending time each week networking with real estate investors by finding local real estate investment groups and looking for networking events to attend. If you talk to enough people you’ll eventually find the equity partner you need to close a deal. 

House hacking

There’s a hack for pretty much everything, and real estate investing is no exception. 

You can’t use an FHA loan to buy an investment property. However, you can purchase a two or three-unit residential property as long as you make it your primary residence by living in one of the units. This means you can buy the property with as little as 3.5% down. 

You can then find a tenant for each of the other units and collect rental income. After collecting rent for a year, you can refinance the property and repeat the process. 

Another house hacking method is to either buy a single family house with an extra bedroom, or use an extra bedroom in your current home to rent out on a short-term or long-term basis. As long as the home is your primary residence, you can use an FHA loan to get into the property with a low down payment. 

2. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

A real estate investment trust, or REIT, is a company with multiple investors that pool their money together to invest in real estate. REITs get special tax treatment, so they have to follow specific rules like paying out at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders in the form of dividends. This makes investing in REITs a great way to earn passive income. 

Most REITs invest in a specific type of property, like office, retail, industrial, health care, and residential properties. There are even REITs that specialize in casinos, data centers, and even private prisons. There are even mortgage REITs that invest in debt secured by real estate, and earn their money from the interest received on the mortgage loans. 

You can choose to invest in a publicly traded REIT or a private REIT. However, private REITs typically require a higher minimum investment and are difficult to liquidate. Publicly traded REITs, on the other hand, trade on the stock market like any other publicly-traded company. You can buy a single share and sell it pretty much whenever you want. 

The major benefit to investing in a private REIT is that the future value of your shares is more predictable. The value of your equity in the REIT is closely tied to the equity in the properties the REIT owns. The share price of a publicly traded REIT can be much more volatile since the price often moves with the market more so than the value of the REIT’s assets. 

However, investing in a publicly traded REIT is extremely easy. You can open a brokerage account in a matter of minutes and own your share of a portfolio of institutional grade real estate managed by some of the most qualified people in the industry. 

3. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has quickly grown in popularity since the JOBS Act was signed into law in 2012. Since the act was first introduced, the federal government has made even more changes in regulations making it even easier for real estate investors and developers to raise capital from everyday investors. 

The introduction of real estate crowdfunding has made it possible for an individual investor to earn passive income by participating in a wide range of available real estate investments. There are even crowdfunding investments for investors at just about any level with virtually any budget. You can even use crowdfunding to invest in real estate with as little as $10. 

However, not just anyone can invest in any crowdfunding deal. One of the most popular regulations deal sponsors use for their crowdfunding campaigns is Regulation D Rule 506(c). This rule only allows accredited investors to participate. 

To be considered an accredited investor, you have to meet certain income or net worth requirements or have certain professional qualifications. Most people don’t meet the requirements to have accredited investor status. 

There are still plenty of options for non-accredited investors, though. Regulation A and Regulation CF allow almost anyone to participate in crowdfunding deals that fall within their guidelines. And more and more companies are starting to use these regulations to raise capital. This makes it easy for anyone to invest in real estate with little money.

The important thing to remember with private placement offerings, like crowdfunding, is that the deal sponsors aren’t held to the same disclosure requirements as publicly traded companies. This means you have to do your due diligence before making an investment. 

Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms

Besides the crowdfunding platforms listed above, there are several options worth looking at in our list of best real estate crowdfunding platforms. You can also compare options below.

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  • CityVest
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    Must be accredited investing a minimum of $25,000.

  • Fundrise
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  • First National Realty Partners
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  • CalTier
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  • LEX Markets
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  • Arrived Homes
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  • Realty Mogul
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Why You Should Invest in Real Estate

Real estate has been the greatest wealth builder for centuries, and it’s one of the most reliable investments available today. Perhaps the greatest thing about investing in real estate, is that there are now more options available than ever. While this asset class used to be reserved for the select few, virtually anyone can invest in real estate with little money today.

While the benefits to real estate investing are countless, below are some of the main reasons you should consider this asset class. 

Tax Advantages

Real estate offers an array of tax advantages that aren’t available with other types of investments. The current tax laws allow investors to keep more of the income they earn through their property investment. This is done through deductions and capital gains tax deferral strategies. Some of these tax benefits include:

  • Depreciation. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows you to deduct the purchase price of the improved property over the course of either 27.5 years or 39 years, depending on the type of property. So each year you have a significant write-off for a non-cash expense. 
  • Interest expense: If you purchase physical real estate with a mortgage, the interest paid each month can be written off. Since interest payments make up a significant portion of your loan payment during the first few years, it can be a significant deduction.
  • 1031 exchanges: You get taxed on profits you make when you sell an asset for more than you purchase it for. This is called a capital gain, and you have to pay capital gains tax on that. However, with real estate, you can defer those capital gains if you use the proceeds of the sale to purchase another property.

Cash Flow

Investment properties that produce rental income from a tenant can provide you with extra income each month. The money that’s left over from rent payments after covering your expenses is called cash flow. This is money that will continue to come in each month while you own real estate. 

Appreciation

While property values fluctuate as the real estate market goes through cycles, over time real estate values have always increased. This means that a property you purchase today is most likely going to be worth more in 10 years. 

When it comes to multifamily real estate and commercial real estate, you can often force the property to appreciate in value. Instead of waiting on the real estate market to improve, you can increase the value of the property by increasing its income. Since investment properties are typically valued based on the income they provide to a real estate investor, you can increase the value simply by increasing rents. 

Keep in mind that you will most likely have to make improvements to the property in order to raise rents without losing tenants. However, this is a very popular strategy for real estate investors that understand value-add opportunities. 

Security

One of the greatest advantages of real estate is the security that it provides. When you buy stock in a publicly traded company, you always have the risk of that company going under and losing its value. Real estate, on the other hand, is a tangible asset that will never dissolve. There’s also a limited supply of it since they can’t simply make more. This provides a level of security unlike any other type of investment available. 

Types of Real Estate You Can Invest In

There are multiple types of properties you can invest in. The type of real estate you should invest in depends on the amount of capital you have available and your level of knowledge. While there are dozens of specific property types, they’re mainly broken down into two categories; commercial and residential. 

Residential Real Estate

A residential property is real estate that people live in. The advantage to this type of property is that there will always be a demand for it. No matter what, people will always need a place to live. The downside to residential properties is that there’s a lot of it. As supply for residential homes becomes limited in an area, more can be built quickly. This limits the amount of rent you can charge, and thus the return you’ll earn on your investment. 

On the other hand, it’s more accessible to more investors. Compared to commercial real estate, residential properties are typically less expensive to buy and easier to finance. 

One thing to note is that apartment buildings with five or more units are typically considered commercial real estate. Even though the use is considered residential, the properties are bought for commercial purpose. The common types of residential properties are:

  • Single family homes
  • Duplexes
  • Three - four unit multifamily

Commercial Real Estate

Commercial real estate is property that is used for business. With the exception of multifamily, your tenants in commercial properties will be businesses. 

One of the benefits to commercial real estate is that lease terms are typically longer than with residential properties. Some commercial leases can be for 10 - 20 years. This can mean more stability in your rental income as long as the tenants stay in business. 

Another major benefit is the limited supply. Local zoning laws require commercial properties to be located in certain areas. This prevents a shopping mall or factory from being built in the middle of a residential neighborhood. This means that as supply becomes limited, there are fewer options for places to build new commercial properties. When the demand increases in an area, it’s much easier to charge higher lease rates.

One of the more significant drawbacks to commercial real estate is that commercial tenants can sometimes be harder to find. Since a lot of commercial properties are built for a specific purpose, it often takes a while to find another business to replace a lost tenant. 

There is a wide range of commercial property types, but the most common are: 

  • Retail
  • Office
  • Industrial
  • 5+ unit multifamily
  • Health care
  • Hospitality
  • Self-storage
  • Farm land
  • Vacant land
  • Specialty real estate

Deciding How to Invest in Real Estate With Little Month

As you can see, there are multiple options to invest in real estate with little money. Now it's up to you to decide which option is best for you. You should first consider how much money you currently have available to invest. You also want to consider how long you can commit to leaving that money tied up. Remember, the goal of real estate investing is building wealth over the long-term.

Also keep in mind that you don't have to choose just one method and stick with it forever. You can grow your investments over time with one of the crowdfunding platforms we discussed, and later use that money to purchase your own property. Or you might find that crowdfunding is the best option for you for the long-term, and continue growing your investments in these platforms.

Whichever method you choose, the most important thing you can do is get started. Whether you have $10, $500 or $1,000 to invest today, the best thing you can do is simply get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions & Answers

Q
How can I invest in real estate with only $10?
A

Groundfloor offers a crowdfunding platform where you invest in short-term loans made to real estate investors that are buying and rehabbing properties.

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.