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1031 Exchange or Real Estate Investment Trust?

Jul 15, 2008
Over the last several years, real estate has been as hot as any other investment. It wasn't until recently that real estate cooled a bit. During this time, we've all heard the stories of the easy money made investing in real estate. When money was easy, and there was no end in sight to the real estate boom, people were flipping houses like crazy. For many of these individuals, the 1031 exchange money could not be any easier. However, the times have changed. The downturn has taught even the most bullish real estate speculators that real estate can also go down in value. More than ever, investing in real estate, takes professional know-how, time, and resources to successfully invest in real estate. So, how does the average person invest in real estate, this day and age?

Well, there is a way, and it's been around for quite some time. It's called a Real Estate Investment Trust, or REIT. A Real Estate Investment Trust is a way for the small investor to invest in big real estate. A Real Estate Investment Trust is an organization that is set up to manage and invest in real estate professionally. You can purchase a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) via the stock exchange in the form of a stock, or privately. Private Real Estate Investment Trusts typically require that certain suitability criteria be met. Also, private REITs are typically longer-term investments, with liquidity considerations. Public Real Estate Investment Trusts can be bought and sold on the stock exchange and are considerably more liquid than their private counterparts.

Investing in a Real Estate Investment Trust can come in many forms. You can purchase a Real Estate Investment Trust that focuses on large-scale commercial real estate, for example. This would allow you to take part in major real estate deals involving 100 plus story buildings, that would otherwise be available to the ultra rich. Some Real Estate Investment Trusts may have their focus in apartment buildings or even new housing construction. The point here is that you can choose your Real Estate Investment Trust sector through one of these REITs. If you want a more professionally managed approach there are a large number of REITs actively managed through the purchase of mutual funds. This can provide for diversification, and individual real estate sectors.

Properly set up Real Estate Investment Trusts are tax-advantaged. This means that they are not taxed at the corporate level. However, they must be set up properly. It is required that REITs invest 75% of their funds in real estate. These requirements are met by income derived from mortgage or rent interest. Essentially, you're relying on other parties for their expertise in the real estate arena. Going at it alone is tougher than ever these days. You have the typical headaches, like qualifying for a 1031 exchange, property taxes, escrow, title insurance, and so on. But, that's really the easy part. When the real estate market only went up, the biggest worry for speculators was how to take advantage of a 1031 exchange and save on capital gains. Now, there's much more to worry about, as real estate not only goes up, but it can certainly come down.

It's important to keep in mind that Real Estate Investment Trusts also come with inherent risks. If real estate values plummet, and you have a large percentage of your assets exposed to Real Estate Investment Trusts you may experience declines, as well. This is where diversification is very important. The standard Real Estate Investment Trust me diversify you within different types of real estate, but you should always practice further diversification. Investing in different asset classes, sectors, and the life will provide you with further diversification. Make sure to work with a qualified investment advisor or do your due diligence when investing in any type of Real Estate Investment Trust.
About the Author
If you would like more information on the ins and outs of the Real Estate Investment Trust you can visit the site for more details. Additionally, you can find more on how the 1031 exchange work as well.
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