Disclaimer: This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation (at no cost to you) when you click on links to those products. Read our Disclaimer Policy for more information.
For most people, investing in commercial real estate is out of reach. You either have to be an accredited investor, or you need to start your own company and buy your own property. Either way, you need to have a large amount of money.
DiversyFund aims to change that. Through DiversyFund, anyone can now invest in a real estate investment trust (REIT).
As long as you have $500 – and you’re willing to hand it over for five years – you too can own part of their business.
This is a new company founded in 2018, but its early returns have beat the market average. Let’s take a closer look at this unique opportunity and see if investing in real estate can help you reach your financial goals.
DiversyFund is a crowdfunding platform for a non-traded REIT. “Non-traded” simply means it’s not available to purchase on any other platforms.
However, by allowing investments through their own separate platform, the real estate investment trust (REIT) can accept private investments from non-accredited investors – the vast majority of people.
DiversyFund accepts investments from anyone, with a minimum investment of only $500. And unlike some similar services, there are no management fees. When your investment earns money, you get to keep all of that money.
The core of DiversyFund’s business is multi-family apartment buildings. These are mid-rise buildings with at least 100 units in areas where real estate value is going up.
They purchase older buildings, renovate them, and increase the rent to match the new amenities. This adds value for investors and allows the REIT to continue developing new properties.
To further fund new development, the DiversyFund REIT sells off existing properties after five years. This has the added benefit of reducing exposure to long-term maintenance costs.
And because they focus on a single niche, they’re experts at what they do.
DiversyFund offers everyday investors the opportunity to invest in commercial real estate. This is the way many of the 1% make their living, and now it’s available to the average person.
And while some similar funds exist, the competitors all charge management fees; DiverseyFund does not.
DiversyFund offers investors numerous features and benefits. Here are a few absolutely worth addressing and largely the reason this platform has attracted a legion of fans.
Normally, you’d need to have tens of thousands of dollars available to even think about investing in a commercial property. Now, all you need is $500.
Most investment funds charge a management fee, which comes out of the investor’s cut of any profit. DiversyFund pays for their own expenses, and investors receive profits before the fund itself collects a dime.
Normally, you need to be an accredited investor. This requires you to earn at least $200,000 a year and to have a minimum net worth of $1 million.
This puts commercial real estate out of reach for most people. On the other hand, anyone can invest in DiversyFund.
DiversyFund is a straightforward investment. You buy into the REIT, and you profit – or not – as they do. There are no extra fees or hidden charges.
DiversyFund is open about what properties they own and which properties they are currently renovating.
You can literally go to their website and see addresses and photographs of the properties you’re investing in.
On most crowdfunding platforms, the platform itself has nothing to do with what you’re investing in. For example, if you’re on Kickstarter, Kickstarter is just a platform.
It doesn’t own any of the startups on the site. With DiversyFund, the platform itself is intimately associated with your investment.
There’s no disconnect between the people handling your money and the people operating the apartments.
So, how does DiversyFund decide which properties to invest in? To begin with, they look for three main criteria:
The important thing to remember is that commercial real estate is valued differently than residential real estate. In the suburbs, your property value is based on supply and demand.
The more in-demand your property is, the more it’s going to be worth. On the other hand, commercial property value is entirely based on how much rent you can collect.
A good investment, then, is a building where you expect rent to go up in the future. If you can make strategic improvements – for example, new fixtures or additional units – you can increase the rent by enough to earn a significant return.
To open a DiversyFund account, you need to be a U.S. resident aged 18 or older. As long as you’re of age and have a Social Security number, you can sign up. You can do this easily through the company’s website.
When you create an account, you’ll first need to answer some basic personal information like your name and phone number.
You can do this directly or sign up using Facebook or LinkedIn and import most of the data. You’ll also need to enter your Social Security number.
That’s all there is to it. Now you can link your DiversyFund account to your checking account and start investing. Investments can be made in increments of $500, and you can add more money at any time.
Dividends are automatically reinvested in your account as long as the investment is active. After the five-year investment period, you can either take your money or reinvest it in the next round.
DiversyFunddoes not charge any fees to its investors. They’re able to do this because they fully control all aspects of the operation.
That said, they still need to pay for their operations. This comes in the form of fees charged directly to the REIT.
DiversyFund is operating on a five-year schedule. Their business launched in 2018, so the current round of investment will last until 2023.
That’s assuming the company doesn’t exercise their option to extend the investment for a further two years until 2025. Earnings will be paid only at that time.
At that point, you’ll have the option to either keep your money or reinvest it in another round.
When investors are paid, they will receive their principal and 100% of profits up to 7%. From 7 to 12%, profits are paid out at a 65/35 ratio – 65% for investors and 35% for DiversyFund. From 12% on up, profits are split 50/50.
Whether or not an investment is “good” is a subjective question. To be sure, some investments are objectively bad – just ask anyone who gave their money to Bernie Madoff. But most investments, including DiversyFund, are a mixed bag.
On the plus side, the $500 minimum payment is low enough that anyone can afford it. You also don’t have to risk a huge chunk of money to invest in real estate.
Another benefit is that DiversyFund is involved with the entire business process, so they have more incentive than most to provide value to their investors.
At the same time, your money is locked in for five years at a minimum. If you’re looking for a way to get a return on your rainy-day fund, this is a poor choice.
Fundrise is different from DiversyFund in that it funds a wider variety of projects. These include not just renovations but existing rental units as well as new construction.
As an individual investor, you can choose which ones to fund and invest in up to 80 projects simultaneously.
Not only that, but Fundrise has a minimum investment of only $10 and offers a 90-day money-back guarantee.
That said, like most platforms of this type, it charges a management fee for each transaction. This cuts into your profit, especially if you make a lot of transactions.
>> Learn More: Full Fundrise Review
CrowdStreet is a P2P marketplace for real estate investors to find projects who are looking for sponsors. Like Fundrise, it provides a wide array of options, so you’re not locked into just one type of project.
You can even build your own diversified portfolio. You can also invest in more than just multi-family apartment buildings. You can invest in office, retail, hospitality, and even industrial space.
The downside of CrowdStreet is that you need to be an accredited investor to participate. This puts it out of reach for the majority of people. They also charge a management fee.
RealityMogul is a mixed-purpose platform for investing in REITs as well as individual properties. Only accredited investors can invest in individual properties, while anyone can invest in its REITs.
Like the last two services we looked at, it charges a management fee. These fees include a 1.25% asset management fee, a 3% operating expense fee, and a 2% sale fee. You also need to make a minimum investment of $5,000.
>> Learn More: Full RealtyMogul Review
DiverseyFundis a good choice for nonaccredited investors to get into the commercial real estate game.
While its options are limited to multi-family apartment buildings, it nonetheless provides an opportunity that would otherwise be unavailable to many people.
It has a low minimum investment, which further increases its accessibility, and it manages its own properties, so the platform and REIT both have skin in the game.
That said, there are a few reasons you might want to invest elsewhere. For one thing, your shares are locked in for five years.
If the REIT were publicly traded, you could just sell your shares to another person if you want to get out.
But since this is a private platform, there’s no way to sell off early, even if you badly need your money for an emergency.
Another reason to be careful is that real estate is an inherently risky investment. If you’re not prepared to risk your money, you should be wary of investing it.
Fundamentally, DiversyFundis a real estate business. This business makes money by purchasing buildings, renovating them, and collecting the increased rent.
When you invest in the fund, you’re investing in the company. As long as the company is making money, you’re making money.
Yes, DiversyFund is a legitimate company. They are registered with the FCC.
Yes. DiversyFund can lose value if the value of its properties goes down. But the same is true for any investment, including stocks.
Any time there are rewards to be had, there will also be attendant risks.
It depends. Fundrise gives you more flexibility and opportunity for diversification. If you want to take a more active role in managing your investments, it’s a better choice.
That said, Fundrise charges a management fee, while DiversyFund does not.
DiversyFund represents an excellent opportunity for ordinary people to invest in commercial real estate.
If you have money to spare, you can potentially earn a much higher return than you would by investing in a market fund.
That said, no investment is totally safe, and you’re buying into a young company with a short track record. Your money is also locked in for five years, regardless of how it’s performing.
But if you’re willing to tolerate the risks, the potential rewards could be worth the while.