Unlocking the Potential of Real Estate Investing: 5 Methods for Beginners

The world of real estate investment can be both exciting and intimidating. With many different ways to invest, there’s something for everyone—regardless of experience level or available funds. In this article, we will discuss five popular methods of investing in real estate, including buying rental properties, flipping houses, investing in REITs (real estate investment trusts), utilizing online platforms, and exploring stocks, bonds, and mutual funds related to real estate. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of your options and how to begin investing today.

1. Inveстиng in Rental Properties

For those looking to generate consistent income, becoming a landlord may be an appealing option. This method involves purchasing properties specifically designed as rentals—rather than living in them yourself—and collecting rent from tenants. Of course, it also means dealing with taxes, maintenance, repairs, tenant issues, and associated legal matters. But for many new investors, the rewards outway the potential challenges.

Choosing the Right Property

When selecting the ideal rental property, consider factors such as location, condition, amenities, market demand, and local competition. Savvy investors often target up-and-coming neighborhoods where growth is anticipated or under-served markets with low inventory. Analyze historical data and trends so you can make informed decisions about future growth and revenue potential.

Financing Strategies

New investors may need to think creatively when seeking financing for their first rental properties. Traditional mortgages are one option, but other alternatives include hard money loans, home equity loans, and even partnering with fellow investors to pool funds.

2. Flipping Houses

If you prefer a more hands-on, project-based approach to real estate investing, flipping houses could be right for you. The classic “buy low, sell high” strategy involves purchasing properties in need of renovation, making improvements, and then reselling the homes at a higher price—ideally, as quickly as possible.

Finding Properties to Flip

The first step in house flipping is finding undervalued properties that can be improved upon. Look for distressed or foreclosed homes, auctions, short sales, and other off-market deals. Networking with local real estate agents, lenders, attorneys, and other industry professionals can also help surface great opportunities.

Budgeting and Renovation Planning

When flipping houses, it’s essential to accurately track budgets and timelines. Create a detailed plan of all repairs and upgrades needed, including labor and material costs, permit fees, and staging expenses. Stick to your budget—and adjust when necessary—to ensure a profitable outcome.

3. Investing in REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts)

For those interested in venturing into commercial real estate without having to buy physical properties themselves, REITs offer an appealing alternative. These are companies that own and manage income-producing real estate, such as office buildings, apartment complexes, shopping centers, and hotels. Investors can purchase shares in these companies—just like stocks—gaining exposure to valuable property assets and receiving dividend payments from their holdings.


  1. Equity REITs: Most common, derive income primarily from rents collected on properties they own.
  2. Mortgage REITs: Invest in mortgages and mortgage-backed securities tied to commercial properties; earn income from the interest payments on loans.
  3. Hybrid REITs: Combine aspects of both equity and mortgage REITs, owning properties as well as mortgages or mortgage-backed securities.

4. Online Real Estate Investing Platforms

In recent years, online real estate investing platforms have emerged as popular go-to destinations for investors seeking more convenient and diversified options. Using these platforms, investors can easily research, evaluate, and invest in a variety of properties or projects without ever leaving their computers or smartphones.


Some platforms allow individuals to pool money with others to collectively invest in specific projects—ranging from single-family homes to large-scale commercial developments. These investments typically offer higher potential returns than traditional stocks and bonds but come with increased risk and lower liquidity.


Similar to traditional REITs, eREITs are companies that own and operate income-producing properties. However, rather than investing through stock exchanges, you buy shares directly through an online platform. This allows for potentially lower fees, smaller minimum investment amounts, and simpler tax filing.

5. Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds, and ETFs Related to Real Estate

If you’re interested in real estate investments but don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket—or prefer relying on professional management teams to make decisions—you might consider investing in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) tied to the industry. With these options, you gain exposure to a broad array of property types, regions, and operators instead of relying on individual properties’ performances.

Real Estate Stocks:

These are shares of companies directly involved in various sectors of the real estate market, including development, property management, brokerage services, construction, and more.


Municipal, corporate, or government-issued bonds may be used to fund housing, commercial development projects, or other real estate-related ventures. These fixed-income investments offer relatively stable returns with less risk than stocks.

Mutual Funds & ETFs:

Both options pool investor resources to purchase a diverse collection of real estate assets—ranging from REITs, infrastructure investments, and other real estate-related securities. Look for funds specifically focused on the real estate sector and managed by experienced professionals with solid track records in the space.