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Crowdfunding is popping up all over the web. And now with sites like RealtyShares, crowdfunding has come to real estate investing. In fact, RealtyShares has been referred to as the Lending Club of real estate.

What is http://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/realestate.asp RealtyShares? RealtyShares is an online investment platform that specializes in real estate investments. It brings together investors, borrowers and sponsors, and allows the entire transaction to take place through the website.

Unlike larger online real estate investment platforms, RealtyShares focuses on business smaller investments, including single-family house flips, rather than exclusively on large apartment buildings and commercial investments.

In 2014 RealtyShares investments covered $300 million in real estate property value via more than 200 properties across dozens of cities in 17 different states.

One of the characteristics that makes RealtyShares different from real estate investment trusts (REITs) and other real estate investments is that you have a choice to invest in groups of properties, or to invest in a single very specific property.

How Does RealtyShares Work?

RealtyShares reviews investment opportunities to make sure they meet the threshold criteria for the platform. If it does, the investment is listed on the site and will http://newlaunch.propertynewssingapore.com/botanique-bartley-d19/ include everything from general information about the deal to legal documents that specify risk factors connected with the transaction.

Investors can purchase anything from a small piece of a larger investment, to an entire investment. The site dashboard tracks the earnings history of the investment, and also provides year-end investor tax information.

Investors can choose to fund either equity investments or real estate loans. Investments can be in commercial property. The platform will even allow you to introduce an investment of your choice, to be funded through the website.

There is a simple five-step process in order to invest on RealtyShares:

Sign up for the platformBrowse real estate investmentsView and finalize your investmentsWait for the funding goal to be met for the investment (100% funding)Manage your real estate investments online

Certain preferred equity investments invest in debt obligations of RealtyShares subsidiaries, known as payment dependent notes. These notes are tied to the performance of the underlying loans. In order to limit counter-party risk to investors, RealtyShares maintains a third-party trustee in these transactions.

Return on investment. Equity investors typically receive distributions on a quarterly basis, while debt investments payout monthly. Distributions are transferred directly into your linked bank account, and with equity investments, investors will also participate in any net appreciation upon the sale of property.

Benefits of Investing Through RealtyShares

RealtyShares offers real estate investors an opportunity to create a portfolio of real estate investments, rather than to have all of their capital tied up in a very small number of investments. Investors can choose from a variety of deals to participate in, either by funding loans or private equity positions. This gives investors an opportunity to participate in larger investments that may have only been available to very large investors.

Investors can choose to diversify their holdings on the platform in different types of properties and investment positions, as well as to diversify geographically.

The investments are also passive in nature, very similar to financial assets, in that the investor does not have to get involved in the day-to-day management of property.

The service is proving to be a benefit to both investors and real estate concerns that need capital.

This gap has been left by banks that now crowdfunding platforms, like RealtyShares, are able to fill, said Nav Athwal, CEO of RealtyShares. They are able to provide quicker, more efficient capital that helps meet the needs of these investors who are looking for speed of execution and the ability to be flexible with their terms as well as with the underwriting http://www.themlsonline.com/seattle-real-estate/ standards. Banks just arent meeting that need.

Features and Pricing

RealtyShares does the investigative legwork. The site reviews each opportunity and then does a background check on the principal executives of the sponsoring real estate company or borrower. They also review proforma financial statements, title reports and property inspections, as well as comparable sales data and other necessary information.

The results of their investigation are available to you on the platform or can be sent via by email. In this way, risk factors about the each investment are known up front. RealtyShares does all of the investigative work for you.

If for any reason the investment does not go to closing, any funds that youve invested in the transaction will be fully returned to.

Pricing. There are no fees for registering on RealtyShares, and once registered you may browse investment listings freely. For equity investments, RealtyShares charges a 1% annual fee to manage the investment. They may also charge an over-raise fee to cover initial legal fees related to the investment and other specific expenses.

For debt investments RealtyShares is compensated by taking a servicing fee that is represented by the spread between the interest rate charged to the borrower and the net interest being paid to the investors.

Security. RealtyShares uses SSL with 128-bit encryption, comparable to that used by banks. The platform is also regularly reviewed the by third-party security firms to ensure that security standards are being maintained. In addition, the platform does not store your banking information on their servers, and you will be automatically logged out after 15 minutes of inactivity.

If you are investing in debt securities, funds will be deposited into an FDIC insured account (up to $250,000) with Wells Fargo, N.A. Equity and preferred equity investments are deposited in a tri-party escrow account involving both the broker-dealer partner and a third-party bank.

Clearing agency. RealtyShares uses North Capital Private Securities Corporation to provide execution services in connection with equity and preferred equity investments. North Capital also provides compliance and regulatory oversight for RealtyShares. North Capital is a registered broker dealer and a member of both FINRA and SIPC.

Keeping you informed. RealtyShares provides periodic updates on equity and preferred equity investments, typically on a quarterly basis. However, additional updates will be issued when significant information becomes available. Information is available online and by email sent directly to you.

Tax reporting. The platform will also provide you with the necessary tax documents (IRS Scehdule K-1 and/or 1099-INT) related your investments, prior to April 15th.

Holding period. Each investment you make through RealtyShares has a holding period that can be anywhere from under six months to more than five years, though it is entirely possible that they will extend beyond the original production.

Minimum initial investment. The general minimum for any single investment is $5,000, but there are some investments that may be available for as little as $1,000.

realtyshares how it works

ProsThe platform supports small real estate investing, such as the purchase and flip of an individual single family house. You can even add your own investment choices to the platform.Allows an investor to diversify into real estate, and even to diversify within the sector itself without having to get their hands dirty.Investments offer certain tax advantages. For example, otherwise taxable income on real estate investments can be reduced by depreciation, mortgage interest expense, and other expenses related to the property. ConsInvestor requirement. You must be either an institution or an accredited investor in order to invest through RealtyShares. To be an accredited investor, you must have earned income that exceeds $200,000 (or $300,000 together with a spouse) in each of the two previous years, and a reasonable expectation of the same for the current year. Alternatively, you must have a net worth of over $1 million, either alone or together with a spouse, excluding the value of your primary residence.No direct IRA provision. RealtyShares has no IRA accounts at this time, though the company does invite you to contact them if you want to invest in the platform through an account with another custodian.You must be a US resident. The service is currently not available to non-US investors, due to tax and legal issues.Capital calls. If an investment turns out to require more capital than has been committed to upfront, the manager of the project company can request additional capital contributions from investors. There are some limiting factors in this regard, but it is a potential outcome to be aware of.Investment returns are not guaranteed. The returns may not be as generous as originally expected, and the possibility of loss of principal is real.Investments are not liquid. There is no secondary market to sell your positions on, you'll have to hold them until they pay out completely.Multi-state income tax consequences. You may be required to file an income tax return in each state in which you have a real estate investment through RealtyShares. Because of the complexity involved in real estate investing, particularly in combination crowdfunding, you will almost certainly need to hire an accountant to prepare your income taxes.Summary

Being able to diversify into real estate for a crowdfunding platform particularly one that permits small real estate investments is an excellent reason to use the services of a site like RealtyShares. Fees are low, and the site provides all of the technical information you need.

There are various pluses and minuses with the service, but RealtyShares would work better if it didnt have the requirement for accredited investors. Crowdfunding generally democratizes investing, making it available to even the smallest investors. The accredited investor requirement limits the platform to use by high income and high net worth individuals.

Well give RealtyShares a rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 stars, with the accredited investor requirement being the biggest negative.

Posted Oct 23, 2015 at 8:17am



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