Diverse Avenues: 7 Innovative Ways to Invest in Real Estate Beyond Rental Properties


Real estate investment has long been considered a lucrative avenue for wealth creation. While owning rental properties is a common approach, there are alternative strategies that offer investors diverse opportunities without the challenges of property ownership. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore seven innovative ways to invest in real estate without buying and managing physical properties.

1 – Invest in REITs:

One of the most accessible ways to dip your toes into real estate investment is through Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). These companies own and operate real estate, allowing investors to buy shares and own a portion of the portfolio. Compared to the hefty down payment required for rental properties, investing in REITs allows for entry with as little as $10-100.

REITs come in various forms, specializing in different real estate asset classes such as multifamily housing, industrial spaces, office buildings, and retail properties. For those seeking broad exposure, real estate index funds like VGSIX (Vanguard’s Real Estate Index Fund) offer a diversified portfolio mirroring the overall real estate market.

2 – Real Estate Crowdfunding:

The advent of crowdfunding platforms, fueled by the JOBS Act of 2012, has democratized real estate investing. Fundrise and DiversyFund are two platforms that cater to unaccredited investors, allowing them to invest in real estate with as little as $500. Investors’ funds are pooled to acquire and manage properties, and profits are distributed through dividends and equity growth.

Each platform has its unique approach, with Fundrise offering customizable portfolios based on risk tolerance, while DiversyFund focuses on value-added multifamily housing. Both platforms have demonstrated impressive annualized returns, allowing investors to diversify their portfolios.

3 – Hard Money Lending:

Becoming a hard money lender is a distinctive approach to real estate investment that involves lending money to property investors, often engaged in house flipping or significant renovations. These short-term loans are secured by the property, offering lenders the potential for attractive returns.

Platforms like Groundfloor enable online participation in hard money lending, allowing investors to contribute as little as $10 to a loan and earn interest. While the returns may not match direct relationships with property flippers, the reduced risk associated with collateralized loans makes it an appealing option for risk-averse investors.

4 – Become a “Money Partner”:

For individuals lacking the financial capacity to invest independently, becoming a “money partner” presents an alternative. In this arrangement, investors contribute capital, while the other party manages the property and its operations. Unlike traditional lending, money partners become equity partners, sharing profits upon the property’s sale or renovation completion.

Structures for these partnerships vary, and trust is paramount. Preferably reviewed by an attorney, clear terms should be established to protect each party’s interests. While the potential returns depend on the specific arrangement, this approach allows those with limited capital to participate in real estate profits.

5 – Wholesaling:

Wholesaling is an active method of real estate investment that involves identifying and securing good property deals and then selling the contract to another investor for a fee. While not a passive strategy, wholesaling allows individuals to generate profits without owning the property.

Success in wholesaling often relies on finding distressed properties or motivated sellers. While it requires significant effort, it can be a stepping stone for investors looking to accumulate capital for future real estate endeavors.

6 – Get a Real Estate License:

Obtaining a real estate license can be a strategic move for those interested in real estate investment. Beyond potential savings on transaction expenses, having a license opens doors to additional income streams. Part-time real estate agents can assist friends, family, or referrals in buying or selling homes, earning commissions.

While some may argue against the profitability of part-time real estate endeavors, our experience suggests otherwise. The flexibility of working nights and weekends makes it a viable option for those with day jobs.

7 – Provide a Freelance Real Estate Service:

For individuals intrigued by the real estate industry but not ready to make property investments, offering freelance services to real estate agents or investors can be a viable option. A range of services, from transaction coordination to bookkeeping and marketing, can cater to the unique needs of the real estate niche.

Freelancers can find opportunities to earn by assisting in the closing process, maintaining financial records, or managing marketing and social media campaigns for real estate professionals. Leveraging existing skills, individuals can generate income while gaining insights into the intricacies of the real estate market.


Real estate investment offers a myriad of opportunities beyond traditional property ownership. Whether through REITs, crowdfunding, lending, or freelancing, investors can participate in the wealth-generating potential of real estate without the hassles associated with direct property management. Aspiring real estate investors can diversify their portfolios by exploring these innovative avenues and potentially achieve financial success in this dynamic market.