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Understanding REITs: A Comprehensive Guide to Real Estate Investment Trusts

Friday, March 15, 2024   /   by Bell Home Team

Understanding REITs: A Comprehensive Guide to Real Estate Investment Trusts

Screenshot 2024-03-15 120339.pngAt BELL Home Team, we believe in empowering our clients with knowledge to make informed decisions in the dynamic world of real estate investment. Today, we delve into an essential aspect of real estate investing: Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

What is a REIT?

A REIT, short for Real Estate Investment Trust, is a company that owns, operates, or finances income-generating real estate across various sectors. From residential apartments to commercial properties like shopping malls, hotels, self-storage facilities, industrial warehouses, healthcare facilities and office buildings, REITs offer investors the opportunity to diversify their portfolios without directly owning physical properties.

Established by Congress in 1960, REITs were designed to enable investors with modest capital to participate in the real estate market without needing substantial sums typically required for direct property investment. It's worth noting that a significant portion of REITs are publicly traded on stock exchanges, offering accessibility and liquidity to investors.

Types of REITs

There are several types of REITs, each specializing in different real estate sectors. Equity REITs primarily own and operate income-producing properties, while Mortgage REITs focus on financing real estate transactions by originating or purchasing mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. Additionally, Hybrid REITs combine elements of both equity and mortgage REITs, offering a blend of property ownership and mortgage lending.

Benefits of Investing in REITs

Investing in REITs offers several advantages. Firstly, they provide investors with exposure to real estate assets without the hassle of property management. REITs also offer liquidity, as they are traded on major stock exchanges like individual stocks, providing investors with an opportunity to buy and sell shares easily. Moreover, REITs typically offer attractive dividend yields, making them appealing for income-oriented investors seeking regular income streams.

Risks to Consider

While REITs offer various benefits, it's essential to understand the risks involved. Like stocks, REITs are subject to market fluctuations, and their share prices can be volatile. Furthermore, economic factors such as interest rates and changes in consumer behavior can impact the performance of REITs. In addition, certain sectors within the real estate market may face specific risks, such as fluctuations in occupancy rates or changes in property values.

How to Invest in REITs

Investing in REITs can be done through various channels. Investors can purchase individual REIT stocks through brokerage accounts, invest in REIT-focused mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or participate in private REIT offerings. It's essential to conduct thorough research and consult with financial advisors to determine the most suitable investment approach based on individual financial goals and risk tolerance.

Among the publicly traded REITs, the following property sectors are represented:

Retail: 26%

Residential: 13%

Office: 12%

Health care facilities: 11%

Lodging and resorts: 7%

Self-storage: 6%

Timber: 5%

Over the past two decades, according to NAREIT, many REIT property sectors have earned double-digit returns:

Self-storage: 16%

Health care: 12%

Office: 11%

Retail: 11%

Residential 11%

Future success of individual REITs is contingent upon several factors, including economic conditions and the internal management practices of each REIT. Furthermore, macroeconomic influences impact different property sectors in diverse ways, further shaping the performance of REIT investments.


Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) offer investors a convenient way to access the real estate market and diversify their investment portfolios. Understanding the different types of REITs, their benefits, and associated risks is crucial for making informed investment decisions. At BELL Home Team, we're committed to providing our clients with the knowledge and support they need to navigate the complexities of real estate investing successfully.

For personalized guidance on real estate investment strategies, don't hesitate to reach out to us. Stay tuned to our blog for more informative articles on real estate trends and investment insights.

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