The 5 Major Types of Real Estate Investors

When it comes to real estate investing, you have so many options. Maybe you want the thrill of flipping houses for a profit. Or perhaps you’re more interested in the long game of buy-and-hold rental property investing. Either way, choosing the right investment strategy for your needs and risk tolerance is critical.

As an independent landlord looking to build your property portfolio, you owe it to yourself to understand the different types of real estate investors out there. Only then can you decide what path is right for you. In this guide, we’ll explore the pros, cons, and critical considerations for the most common real estate investment types so you can find your perfect match.

In brief, here are the five types of real estate businesses:

  • Residential real estate investors ;
  • Commercial real estate investors ;
  • Real estate investment companies ;
  • Real estate investment trusts ;
  • Real estate crowdfunding.

Residential Real Estate Investors: Focusing on Housing

As a residential real estate investor, you purchase and manage homes, apartments, and other living spaces. This type of real estate investment allows you to provide housing for tenants while building your portfolio.
Here are four major real estate investment options to consider for residential properties:

  • Single-Family Homes: Classic rental properties that attract long-term tenants. You’ll need to handle maintenance, repairs, and possibly renovations to keep the home in good shape for your renters.
  • Multi-Family Units: Think duplexes, triplexes, and small apartment buildings. More tenants mean more rental income but also more responsibilities as a landlord. You’ll likely need a property management software to help oversee the units.
  • Vacation Rentals: For short-term tenants seeking a place to stay while travelling or on holiday. Requires frequent cleaning and turnover but the potential for higher profit margins. You’ll also need to invest in furnishings and amenities to attract guests.
  • House Hacking: This is when you purchase a multi-unit property, live in one unit, and rent out the others. This allows you to get into real estate investing without needing as much capital upfront. You can use the rental income from tenants to help pay your housing costs.

As with any investment, risk is involved, but finding the right property and tenants can make residential real estate advantageous. Software like Rentila provides the resources to help make landlord responsibilities more manageable. And with the help of property investment experts, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful residential real estate investor.

Commercial Real Estate Investors: Investing in Business Properties

As a commercial real estate investor, you focus on properties used for business purposes. This includes office buildings, industrial warehouses, retail centres, and apartment buildings. While more complex, commercial properties often have higher real estate profitability than residential properties.

Let’s look at the four distinct types:

  • Office Buildings: Office buildings are a popular choice for many commercial investors. You can buy some units in an office complex and rent spaces to businesses, professionals, and entrepreneurs. Look for properties in business districts or near significant employers. Make sure the building has amenities like parking, elevators, and high-speed internet that tenants want.
  • Retail Centers: Retail centres or shopping centres can also be a good investment. Look for stable, credit-worthy tenants and a mix of national chains and local shops. Well-located retail space near residential areas or highways will attract customers and demand higher rents.
  • Industrial Warehouses: Many supply chain and logistics businesses need industrial warehouses and distribution centres. You can get started with one building and increase your portfolio with time. Focus on areas near major transportation hubs like ports or railways. Warehouses require loading docks, ample parking for large trucks, and high ceilings. While not glamorous, industrial real estate can provide solid returns.
  • Apartment Buildings: Multi-family apartment buildings are also popular with commercial investors. They provide consistent rental income and the opportunity for rent increases. Look for properties in residential neighbourhoods near public transit and amenities. Ensure the building is well-maintained with desirable features like in-unit laundry, extra storage, recreational facilities, and parking. Reliable property management software is necessary to keep track of all the intricacies of multi-family apartment management.

With the right property and tenants, commercial real estate can provide lucrative returns for savvy investors. You don’t need to start big either, get started with a unit and add more properties once you get your initial investment. But be prepared to put in the work to find, finance and manage these more complex assets. The rewards can be worth it if you’re up for the challenge.

Real Estate Investment Companies: Letting the Pros Handle It

Real estate investment companies, or REICs, are professionals who handle all property investment details for you. If you want to get into real estate but don’t want the hassle of managing properties yourself, REICs are a great option.
Here are three reasons why REICs are a great option:

  • They do the legwork.
  • They enable you to diversify and scale.
  • They offer professional expertise.

They do the legwork

REICs have teams of researchers who analyse the real estate market and find properties with the best investment potential. They handle all the paperwork, negotiations, and transactions to purchase the property. Once the deal is done, the REIC manages the property and tenants to generate income — you get to sit back and collect the profits.

They enable you to diversify and scale

REICs invest in various properties, from residential homes to commercial buildings to raw land. Because they pool money from many investors, they can invest at a much larger scale; an individual investor may be able to buy a single-family home, but an REIC can purchase an entire apartment complex. More extensive properties mean more significant returns.

They offer professional expertise

The people who work at REICs are real estate experts. They know how to find diamonds in the rough, negotiate the best deals, maximise rental income, and increase a property’s value over time through renovations and development. With an REIC handling your investment, you benefit from their knowledge and experience in the field.


REICs provide an easy, hands-free way to invest in real estate. They have a proven track record of finding profitable properties and generating solid returns for investors. If you want to diversify your investment portfolio with real estate in a simple, low-maintenance way, REICs are the perfect solution.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs): Investing in Real Estate Stocks

As an independent landlord, real estate investment trusts or REITs offer a more hands-off way to invest in property. REITs are companies that own and operate real estate and allow individual investors to buy shares of their business. Instead of directly purchasing and managing properties, you invest in REITs specialising in apartments, office buildings, hotels, or retail space.

Several characteristics of real estate investment trusts make them a top choice for investors looking to get into property. For example, REITs are required to pay out a minimum of 90% of their taxable income to shareholders as dividends each year. As a shareholder, you earn income from the monthly or quarterly dividends and any appreciation in the REIT’s share price.

REITs also provide instant diversification since they invest in many properties and geographical locations. Your investment is spread out, reducing risk.
Some popular residential REITs in the UK include:

  • British Land Company ;
  • Land Securities Group ;
  • Grainger plc.

For commercial real estate in the UK, options include:

  • Hammerson plc ;
  • SEGRO plc ;
  • Derwent London plc.

There are also REITs for storage units, data centres, infrastructure, and more.
To invest in UK-based REITs, you can purchase shares through brokerage accounts such as Hargreaves Lansdown or Interactive Investor. Compare different REITs to find ones that align with your investment objectives. Look at their property types, locations, dividends, fees, and past performance. Start with a small initial investment; then, you can add more over time as you become comfortable.

Real Estate Crowdfunding: Pooling Money Together

Crowdfunding has become one of the most popular real estate investment options. As an independent landlord, real estate crowdfunding could be an easy way for you to invest in more properties without needing as much capital upfront.

How Does Real Estate Crowdfunding Work?

Real estate crowdfunding platforms allow many investors to contribute money used to purchase rental property. You invest a smaller amount of money to get equity in the property. The platform handles things like research, purchasing, and property management. They aim to find properties that generate good investor returns through rent payments and appreciation.
As an investor, you can invest in residential or commercial properties; you also get to pick the properties you want to invest in based on your investment goals. Many platforms have low minimum investments, so you can start with as little as £500. Your money is pooled together with other investors to purchase the property.

Benefits for Independent Landlords

Real estate crowdfunding offers several benefits for independent landlords and small investors, including the following:

  • Diversification: You can invest in multiple properties with less capital. This spreads out your risk.
  • Passive Income: The platform handles the day-to-day property management. You earn income through rent payments and property appreciation without the hassle.
  • Professional Expertise: The platforms research and analyse properties for good investment opportunities. They have experience purchasing and managing rental property.
  • Networking: You can connect with other real estate investors, share knowledge, or team up on deals.
  • Liquidity: Many platforms allow you to sell your shares to other investors if you want to exit an investment. So your money isn’t tied up long-term.

Real estate crowdfunding is an easy, low-cost way for independent landlords and small investors to enter the market. And with a software like Rentila, you’ll be building your rental property portfolio in no time!

Types of Real Estate Investors: FAQs

What types of investors are in real estate?

There are five major types of investors in the real estate market, including the following:

  • Residential Real Estate Investors: Focus on single-family homes and multi-family units.
  • Commercial Real Estate Investors: Target office buildings, retail centres, and apartment complexes.
  • Real Estate Investment Companies (REICs): Pool funds from multiple investors to invest in real estate projects.
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs): Allow investors to buy shares in companies that own and operate income-generating properties.
  • Real Estate Crowdfunding: Allows investors to pool money together to purchase properties.

Each type of investor has strategies and considerations when investing in real estate. So, do your due diligence to choose the most suitable one.

What is the most profitable type of real estate investment?

The most profitable type of real estate investment can vary depending on location, market conditions, and individual preferences. However, some potentially profitable options include rental properties and off-market development.

The 5 Major Types of Real Estate Investors: Things to remember

This guide has outlined five major types of real estate investors and how they differ from one another. The key is finding what works for your financial situation, risk tolerance, and goals. Maybe you want the thrill of flipping houses for big profits. Or perhaps the stability of the buy-and-hold approach is more appealing to you. Either way, the opportunities are out there if you do your homework.

Talk to others who have invested in real estate successfully, check out online resources, and consider working with property investment experts to help guide you. Whatever path you choose, ensure you go in with realistic expectations, patience, and the motivation to build wealth over the long run. And you’ll definitely need our free property management software to streamline your portfolio management tasks, so try it out.


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