All about Real Estate Investment Trusts

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How can you invest in real estate if you don’t have a lot of money?

I’m Barbara Whelehan with the Personal Finance Minute.

Investors who don’t want to hassle with tenants or large unexpected maintenance bills can invest small amounts of money in real estate investment trusts, otherwise known as REITs. A REIT represents the pooled funds of many investors which are used to buy and manage income-producing properties. REITs trade on public exchanges, just like stocks.

An added plus: REITs are required to pay out at least 90 percent of their taxable income as dividends to shareholders.

Individual REITs tend to specialize in properties of the same type, such as malls, apartments, industrial complexes, commercial buildings, healthcare facilities, or even cell phone towers. But you can buy a mix of different REITs through mutual funds or exchange traded funds.

It may be smart to invest maybe 5% to 15% of a portfolio in real estate, but not more. And be careful. Some experts say most REITs are overpriced right now.

For more on this and other personal finance information, visit I’m Barbara Whelehan.