Understanding Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs): A Beginner's Guide

May 09, 2023

Have you ever thought about investing in real estate but don't know where to start? Or perhaps you're interested but don't have the capital for such a large investment? This is where Real Estate Investment Trusts, also known as REITs, come into play. This guide will take you through the ins and outs of REITs, making them an accessible investment for beginners.

What are REITs?

REITs are companies that own or finance income-generating real estate. They provide a way for individuals to invest in large-scale, income-producing real estate, a benefit that was previously only available to wealthy individuals and financial institutions.

Types of REITs

There are three primary types of REITs: Equity REITs, Mortgage REITs, and Hybrid REITs. Understanding these types can help you make informed investment decisions. Check out this blog post for a more detailed breakdown of the types of REITs.

How do REITs work?

REITs work by pooling the funds of many investors to buy, manage, and sell real estate properties. The income generated is then distributed among the investors in the form of dividends.

REITs and Dividends

One major benefit of investing in REITs is the dividends. REITs are required by law to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders each year as dividends.

Tax Implications for REITs

Despite the benefits, there are tax implications for REIT dividends. It's essential to understand these implications before investing. Learn more about the tax implications of REITs here.

Why Invest in REITs?

REITs offer a unique investment opportunity. They allow investors to profit from real estate without the need to own, operate, or finance properties themselves.

Benefits of REITs

Investing in REITs can provide a wealth of advantages. Notably, these encompass a steady stream of income via dividends, the opportunity for portfolio diversification, and liquidity, which isn't typically associated with real estate investments. Delve deeper into the advantages of REITs in this comprehensive guide.

Potential Risks of REITs

Despite the advantages, investing in REITs does entail certain risks. Like any investment venture, understanding these potential pitfalls is crucial before committing your hard-earned money. Explore a detailed discussion on the risks associated with REITs here.

How to Invest in REITs

There are two main ways to invest in REITs: Directly purchasing shares or indirectly through mutual funds or ETFs.

Direct Investment

In direct investment, you purchase shares of a REIT just like you would any other publicly traded company. This can be done through a brokerage account. Here is a guide on how to start investing in REITs.

Indirect Investment

Indirect investment involves investing in a mutual fund or ETF that holds a portfolio of REITs. This allows for greater diversification and is often a better option for beginner investors. Here's a comprehensive guide on indirect investments in REITs.

Factors to Consider When Investing in REITs

There are several factors to consider when investing in REITs, such as the REIT's performance history, the types of properties it invests in, and the management team's expertise. Here's what to look for when investing in REITs.


Investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) can be a lucrative opportunity for both novice and experienced investors. With their potential for generating steady income and their ease of access, REITs represent a unique chance to invest in real estate without the need for massive capital outlays or the responsibilities of direct property ownership.


  1. What is a REIT? A REIT, or Real Estate Investment Trust, is a company that owns or finances income-generating real estate. They allow individual investors to earn dividends from real estate investments without having to buy, manage, or finance any properties themselves.

  2. How do I invest in a REIT? You can invest in a REIT by buying shares directly on an open exchange or by investing in a mutual fund that specializes in public real estate.

  3. What are the risks of investing in REITs? As with any investment, there are risks associated with REITs. These include property market fluctuations, interest rate risks, and management risks. It's crucial to research thoroughly before investing.

  4. Are REITs a good investment for beginners? Yes, REITs can be a good investment for beginners due to their accessibility, potential for steady income, and the ability to invest in real estate without the need to directly own, operate or finance properties.

  5. Do REITs pay dividends? Yes, REITs are required by law to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders each year as dividends.

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