by Wendy Ceccherelli

The 2012 JOBS Act opened the door for more entrepreneurs to raise capital through solicitation of private placement investment and crowdfunding. Forbes reported that more than $2.5 billion was raised through crowdfunding in 2015. Crowdfunding is now a significant factor in raising funds for real estate investment. It is estimated that less than one percent of the country’s real estate companies have generated capital through crowdfunding,but it is growing rapidly.

Crowdfunding is based on the idea of peer-to-peer lending, the practice of lending money to unrelated individuals through the marketplace without having to go through a financial intermediary. These funds can be faster and cheaper than through an institutional lender

Returns on real estate investments have been outstanding for investors who could qualify as accredited in the past. Smaller Investors had little or no access to these opportunities, and real estate developers found it hard to finance smaller projects of local interest. Crowdfunding has changed all that, giving developers a new way to connect with a large number of smaller investors, at a lower cost than most other financing.

Fundrise is one crowdfunding portal that has attracted real estate investors through pre-vetted projects that Fundrise funds upfront. Crowdfunding sites are more likely now to pre-fund investments they select. Sponsors can receive capital in as little as two weeks.

Crowdfunding offers a wide variety of investment options, including equity, debt, or preferred equity for the investor. An equity investment is where the investor receives a share of any profits. The goals for financing residential real estate deals may be 20-25% returns.

Debt provides money back with interest payments, and represents 55-60% of all capital that goes into real estate deals. Preferred equity investors are typically paid back before common equity investors, and are entitled to receive a “preferred return.” Investors may earn returns through cash flow,appreciation, or development.

Some of the top players in the real estate crowdfunding scene include:

  • Fundrise
  • Realty Mogul
  • RealtyShares
  • CrowdStreet
  • Ground Floor
  • Patch of Land

If you are interested in investing through a crowdfunding portal be sure to ask the right questions:

  • How extensive is the vetting and due diligence processes?
  • How attractive is the market?
  • Does the return offset the risk?
  • What is the track record of the sponsor?
  • What assumptions are the parties making in the pro forma?

Be sure you understand the regulations as an accredited investor. Read the fine print and do not become emotional about your investment. Make sure the deal makes sense to you. I would love to hear from local real estate investors who may be using crowdfunding to help with their projects. Shoot me an email at HomeLand

Happy Investing!

About the author …

Wendy Ceccherelli is the volunteer membership coordinator for REAPS. She has been a full-time real estate investor since 2006, and is the designated broker /owner of Home Land Seattle. She is also a developer of Van Gogh Studio Lofts, a transit-oriented development at the Rainier Beach Light Rail Station in Seattle. Prior to her career in real estate, she spent twenty-five years as a government arts funder. More information on real estate topics may be found on her blog at

REAPS is the oldest – and largest – Professional Association for the real estate investor this side of the Mississippi.” We provide education and networking resources for real estate investors, those who want to be investors and anyone who provides value to our members. Our goals are to motivate and support our members and guests through education, discussion, legislative action and networking. We host over 40 live events a year around Puget Sound and they are all open to the public. If you’ve never attended one of our meetings, just email our office at and be our guest.

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