Buying real estate is about more than just finding a place to call home. Investing in real estate has become increasingly popular over the last 50 years and has become a common investment vehicle.
Although the real estate market has plenty of opportunities for making big gains, buying and owning real estate is a lot more complicated than investing in stocks and bonds. In this article, we'll go beyond buying a home and introduce you to real estate as an investment.
PART 4 of 5: REITs
Real estate has been around since our cave-dwelling ancestors started chasing strangers out of their space, so it's not surprising that Wall Street has found a way to turn real estate into a publicly-traded instrument.
A real estate investment trust (REIT) is created when a corporation (or trust) uses investors' money to purchase and operate income properties. REITs are bought and sold on the major exchanges, just like any other stock. A corporation must pay out 90% of its taxable profits in the form of dividends, to keep its status as an REIT. By doing this, REITs avoid paying corporate income tax, whereas a regular company would be taxed its profits and then have to decide whether or not to distribute its after-tax profits as dividends.
Much like regular dividend-paying stocks, REITs are a solid investment for stock market investors that want regular income. In comparison to the aforementioned types of real estate investment, REITs allow investors into non-residential investments such as malls or office buildings and are highly liquid. In other words, you won't need a realtor to help you cash out your investment.