16 Best Real Estate Investing Apps in 2023
March 25, 2022
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You don’t have to own a private yacht to invest in real estate. The once exclusive club of property investing is now open to everyone through real estate investing apps.
With as little as $1, anyone can diversify into commercial or residential real estate investing. But how can you tell which real estate apps are trustworthy? What are the best real estate investing apps in 2023?
Fortunately, you have plenty of reputable options nowadays — on top of all the other ways to invest in real property.
Ways to Invest in Real Estate
There are many ways to invest in real estate rather than just buying physical property and managing it, although that's an option too. Here are the most popular ways Americans invest in real estate.
Flipping houses requires detailed knowledge of the local housing market, how and where to find the best real estate deals, and connections with quality contractors and real estate agents who can help you flip the house fast to turn a profit.
While financing isn’t strictly required, most investors don’t have $400,000 lying around to buy and renovate a house. So you’ll probably need a plan for a hard money loan as well.
These real estate projects require you to move quickly to minimize carrying costs and preserve your profits. You'll need to understand how to increase a home's value, how to manage contractors, and how to market the house to sell quickly to earn your profits.
Buying and Renting Homes
If you like the thought of becoming a landlord, you can buy rental properties, keep them, and find tenants to live in them. Then, you can manage the properties yourself or hire a property management company to do it for you.
Buying and renting homes requires its own knowledge and skill, from how to find the best real estate deals, how to manage tenants and collect rental income, and maintain a property. In addition, if you invest in properties outside of your local market, you likely need to hire a property management company to manage it, so make sure to include that in your cost projections.
As a landlord myself, I can tell you firsthand that it’s much harder to make money than the average pundit makes it sound. The rule of thumb in the industry, called the 50% Rule, is that around half of each year’s rent goes to non-mortgage expenses.
When you buy shares in a real estate investment trust (REIT), you buy into an investment fund that pools money from many investors. The fund manager uses the money to either buy properties directly (equity REITs) or lend money against real estate (debt or mortgage REITs).
In the US, the SEC requires all publicly-traded REITs to pay out at least 90% of their profits each year in the form of dividends to shareholders. The share price may also go up — or it could go down, just like any other equity traded on stock exchanges.
As with any investment, you can choose to reinvest your dividends or cash them out.
Online Real Estate Investing Apps
Also known as real estate crowdfunding, real estate investing apps help investors invest without directly owning the property.
In some cases, that means owning a fractional share of a property. Other real estate crowdfunding platforms let you invest in pooled loans secured against real property, or put money toward individual property loans.
Why Use a Real Estate Investing App
Using a real estate investing app makes real estate accessible to everyone, not just the wealthy or experienced.
Many apps for real estate investing allow the general public to invest, not just accredited investors. Some make it even easier with low minimum investments, such as $10. The keeps the barrier to entry extremely low.
You don't have to know much about real estate to use them either. You just need to know your risk tolerance, how much you want to invest, and what type of investment strategy you'll use.
Unlike direct real estate investment, it doesn’t take any time or labor to invest through real estate crowdfunding apps. Investing is completely passive, so even the busiest investors can participate.
Finally, real estate crowdfunding platforms make it easy to diversify your investments. With a few dollars, you can spread your money across dozens of properties, all over the country. That includes not just residential properties, but also commercial real estate ranging from office buildings to apartment complexes to parking garages and beyond.
What Makes a Good Real Estate Investing App?
As you research real estate investing apps, you need to know what to look for. Keep an eye out for these characteristics of the best real estate investment apps.
- Low minimum investment
- Clear explanations of each investment's risk
- Clear explanations of all fees, from annual fees to property management fees
- Historical returns, including both cash flow/income yield and share price growth
- The redemption program: how to cash out your investment
- Early redemption fees, should you need to sell your investment within the first few years
- Detailed information about each investment property, fund, or opportunity
- Information on the local real estate market
- Availability for non-accredited investors
How to Make Money With Real Estate Investing
There's always risk in any investment opportunities, including real estate. Whether you're investing in commercial properties, residential properties, a combination, or any other property type, there's always a risk of loss.
Diversifying your real estate portfolio limits the risk of any one property or market underperforming, but there's never a guarantee. Whether you're investing in new real estate project developers and their building ideas, existing homes, or new rental properties, there's a risk of default, values dropping, and losses occurring.
By buying shares in many properties or loans, you can spread that risk thin. If you plan to invest in properties directly, you should first invest in education — the better your knowledge and skill, the more likely you are to earn a positive return.
16 Best Real Estate Investing Apps
Wondering where to begin?
Here are a few of our favorite real estate investing platforms, including many where we have our own money invested.
It’s our list, so it’s our prerogative to put ourselves first!
Concreit invests money in a pooled fund of loans secured by real estate. You can invest as little as $1 in that fund through our real estate investment app.
Concreit pays dividends weekly payouts, which you can opt to reinvest automatically if you want. You can also set up automatic recurring investments to keep growing your weekly dividend.
With a steady 5.5% annual return on investment, Concreit offers a high income yield compared to ETFs, mutual funds, or savings accounts. Best of all, you can withdraw your money at any time, with no early withdrawal penalty on your principal. Concreit can do this through a combination of owning low-risk, short-term loans that turn over frequently.
That makes Concreit a shorter-term investment than most crowdfunding platforms, with more liquidity.
Fundrise is an online investing platform that allows investors to buy eREITs (real estate investment trusts) with an investment minimum of just $10. They offer funds owning both residential and commercial real estate investments, and both real estate secured debt and equity.
The more you invest, the greater flexibility you have over picking and choosing investments. Accredited investors can invest money in individual properties.
While Fundrise has a long history of transparent and high returns, it is a fundamentally long-term investment. If you sell within five years, they do hit you with a penalty for shares of their eREITs (although not shares of their Interval Fund).
3. Arrived Homes
If you've always dreamed of investing in residential rental properties but didn't have the capital or the desire to be a landlord, Arrived Homes helps you do so. With just $100, you can buy fractional ownership in a real estate property and earn rental income quarterly.
Individual investors can participate, with no requirement to be a qualified investor.
It's as simple as signing up, choosing your investment properties, and earning passive income.
If you’d rather buy an entire rental property directly, check out Roofstock. This real estate platform offers an online marketplace for investment properties, many of them turnkey properties. Some are already rented to paying tenants.
That means you can skip all the headaches and instantly become a landlord by writing a check.
In addition, Roofstock offers a 30-day money-back guarantee: if you change your mind about the property for any reason, Roofstock offers to buy it back if you can’t find another buyer for the same price you paid. They also offer a list of vetted and approved local property managers, so you can sleep at knowing your property is in good hands.
5. Roofstock One
Accredited investors have another option with Roofstock: buying shares in real estate funds.
Specifically, investors can participate in one of two ways. They can buy “Common Stock” in a pooled fund that owns dozens of rental properties across many states. Or they can buy shares in “Tracking Stocks,” small real estate portfolios that own six-to-eight single-family homes apiece.
While Roofstock is a reputable platform in the real estate industry, they don’t make their redemption policy crystal clear. There’s no secondary market for buying or selling shares, and Roofstock doesn’t guarantee that they’ll buy back shares from you either. Only invest if you plan to hold for the long term.
PeerStreet offers real estate debt investing, with loans secured by real property. You get to pick and choose the loans you want to fund, and earn interest accordingly.
PeerStreet pays monthly dividends (interest), and you can view the ratings of each investment yourself to decide if it's a good fit for you. You'll find loans with varying terms, including fixed-income returns for those who have a conservative investment strategy.
The minimum investment is $1,000, and you can diversify your real estate portfolio to offset your risk. Unfortunately, everyday investors can’t participate — only accredited investors are allowed.
If you like the PeerStreet model of investing in individual real estate loans but aren’t an accredited investor, consider Groundfloor as an excellent alternative.
Groundfloor grades each loan based on risk, with “A” grade loans paying around 6.5% interest, and riskier “F” grade loans paying around 14.5%. I personally like “C” and “D” grade loans, paying between 9.5%-12.5% in annualized interest, as a balance between risk and return. They’re not liquid investments, as you can’t pull your money out, but they’re short-term loans typically lasting 6-12 months.
Unlike other real estate crowdfunding sites, Groundfloor doesn’t earn its revenue by charging investors a management fee, or any other type of fee for that matter. Instead, they earn money by charging their borrowers lender fees and points at closing, while passing along to investors all the interest on the loans.
You can invest as little as $10 toward any given loan, making it easy to start investing and spreading your money across many loans. If the borrower defaults, Groundfloor simply forecloses to recover your money.
Streitwise offers an equity REIT that owns several commercial office parks. The real estate investment platform has paid an annual dividend yield of 8.4% for several years now, but like any investment, it's not guaranteed.
It does require a higher investment of $5,000 to start, an intimidating amount for the everyday investor. But they do allow non-accredited investors to participate, and even allow foreign investors.
I’ve had positive experiences with them overall, and find reassurance in their low loan balances (around 52% of the property values currently).
9. Lex Markets
Lex Markets lets you buy fractional ownership shares in commercial buildings, including an office building in New York City, a parking garage in Portland, Maine, and more.
But what makes Lex Markets unique is its secondary market for buying and selling shares. Lack of liquidity is what scares many novice investors away from these real estate sites and nontraded REITs: unlike public REITs, you can’t necessarily sell shares when you want (or need) to. Lex Markets solves this problem with an online platform that lets investors buy and sell shares directly from each other, after the initial public offering.
You can buy as little as one share in a given property, which typically costs between $200-250.
Yieldstreet goes beyond real estate investment opportunities and includes other alternative investments like art, consumer loans, vehicle loans, commercial loans, cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and more.
Non-accredited investors can buy shares in Yieldstreet’s Prism Fund, which includes that wide range of investment types. You can get started with just $500.
Even better, Yieldstreet doesn’t charge an early redemption fee, although they do limit redemptions to 5% of their total outstanding shares each quarter. That means you aren’t guaranteed to get your money back immediately.
Accredited investors have more flexibility and options for investing. They can buy shares in individual funds that own specific assets such as apartment buildings, art collections, or NFTs.
RealtyMogul offers two REITs that each own a wide range of properties. Nonaccredited investors can buy shares in either REIT.
Their Income REIT offers a higher dividend yield of 6%, with less focus on appreciation. In contrast, their Growth REIT pays a 4.5% annual dividend, but aims for higher appreciation. Both investment portfolios own a mix of residential and commercial properties, including apartment buildings, retail space, and office space.
RealtyMogul requires a higher minimum investment requirement of $5,000. They’ve been around longer than most competitors, and offer excellent transparency in their returns and fees.
DiversyFund takes a different approach, aiming for long-term growth rather than dividend payments. Their growth REITs offer payouts only after a property is sold, so they don’t have a track record showing a past rate of return.
Investors need just $500 to start, and anyone can invest using the platform, not just accredited investors. However, only investors looking for long-term investments should participate, given the long time horizon and lack of dividends. Diversyfund anticipates a five-year cycle for its growth REITs, but hopes to achieve an annual rate of return in the 10-20% range.
HappyNest's goal is to make real estate investing a reality for anyone that wants to try it. You need just $10 as an initial investment, and anyone can invest.
The investment platform offers a single REIT with three commercial properties. HappyNest targets a 6% annual income yield.
They advertise no asset management fee or broker commission, although they have to make money somehow, which means investor fees aren’t as transparent as they could be.
CrowdStreet is one of the largest real estate investing platforms today for institutional-quality deals, but it's only open to accredited investors. The minimum investment is a hefty $25,000, but investors access many types of investments from mixed-use buildings to multifamily properties to office buildings. And with an average internal rate of return (IRR) of 17.7% on fully realized deals, they’ve delivered strong results.
CrowdStreet operates as a marketplace, matching you with real estate syndications and private placements. It offers investors full transparency to help you choose the right investments for your portfolio.
On the downside, there’s typically no option to sell your investments early. These commercial property investments average a 2.8 year hold period, so only long-term investors should consider Crowdstreet.
CityVest is another real estate crowdfunding platform for accredited investors. You'll need a minimum investment of $25,000, but you'll get access to institutional real estate investments.
They have a strict vetting process and provide opportunities most retail investors wouldn't have access to on their own.
Looking for asset classes beyond apartment buildings and commercial real estate?
AcreTrader lets you invest in parcels of farmland, and investors can crowdfund their investment to get in on the outstanding returns. You'll need a minimum investment of $15,000 - $25,000 to start though, and AcreTrader only allows accredited investors currently. It’s another long-term investment, typically held for 5-10 years.
The average investor earns 3-4% dividend yields, plus 4-6% annual appreciation on typical properties.
Real Estate Investing Apps FAQ
As you consider investing your hard-earned money in one or more of these real estate opportunities?
Here are a few common questions that can help you decide which is best for you.
Do Real Estate Apps for Investing Really Work?
Yes, but like any investment, crowdfunded real estate apps have their pros and cons. There are always risks with investment opportunities, and you should always try to diversify your portfolio. Investing apps can help make investing easier by lowering the barrier to entry and giving you access to more opportunities than you'd have on your own.
There's no guarantee you'll make money with a real estate investing app. Just because an investment has been reviewed by the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn’t mean it will earn a positive return. But it does help prevent fraud, and the real estate apps outlined above have established a good reputation in the industry.
What Is Good ROI?
A good ROI is subjective and depends on the risk and timeline of the investment.
A 5% return on a stable short-term investment, might seem perfect for one person, while another might prefer an 8-10% return with higher risk and a longer time commitment. As real estate values and prices fluctuate, so do returns on real estate investments. The right ROI for you should be the one you're most comfortable with, and that exceeds the ROI you could earn with other comparable investments.
Some investors prefer to limit their risk and take a lower potential returns, whereas others prefer higher risk and greater ROI.
How Do I Start Investing in Property With Little Money
Most people assume they need a lot of money to invest in property, including fixer-uppers. But when you use a real estate app to invest in real estate, you crowdfund with hundreds of other investors so that you don't need to come up with a large amount of capital.
The key is to find an investment that you feel comfortable with, that you can meet the minimum investment requirement, and that invests in the type of real estate you are interested in. As a general rule, equity real estate investments offer greater growth potential, while debt investments offer higher income returns.
Is Real Estate a Good Investment?
Real estate is typically an investment that hedges against inflation and appreciates in value, with strong tax advantages and cash flow. But no investment comes with a guarantee — like the stock market, real estate can crash too. Aim to diversify and ensure that you protect your real estate assets as much as possible.
Real estate investment apps help break the barriers that real estate investing has historically imposed. Today, anyone can become a real estate investor, whether you own physical real estate or not.
The right app gives you direct access to real estate debt investments, equity investments, or both. Aim to spread your money across many asset types and locations, so you aren’t overexposed to any one market or type of property.
Learn more about how Concreit can help you start investing in real estate with our app.
This information is educational, and is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security which can only be made through official documents such as a private placement memorandum or a prospectus. This information is not a recommendation to buy, hold, or sell an investment or financial product, or take any action. This information is neither individualized nor a research report, and must not serve as the basis for any investment decision. All investments involve risk, including the possible loss of capital. Past performance does not guarantee future results or returns. Neither Concreit nor any of its affiliates provides tax advice or investment recommendations and do not represent in any manner that the outcomes described herein or on the Site will result in any particular investment or tax consequence.Before making decisions with legal, tax, or accounting effects, you should consult appropriate professionals. Information is from sources deemed reliable on the date of publication, but Concreit does not guarantee its accuracy.