What is the Difference Between a REIT and a Real Estate Fund

May 30, 2023
Difference Between a REIT and a Real Estate Fund

Real estate has long been a popular investment choice for individuals seeking stable income and capital appreciation. Traditionally, investing in real estate required substantial capital and active property management.

However, the emergence of real estate investment vehicles like Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and real estate funds has opened up new opportunities for investors to participate in the real estate market passively. 

In this article, we will explore the key Difference Between a REIT and a Real estate Fund. We will shed light on their structures, operations, investment strategies, and tax considerations.


Investing in real estate can provide investors with various benefits, such as steady income, potential tax advantages, and a hedge against inflation. 

REITs and real estate funds serve as vehicles for individuals to gain exposure to real estate assets without directly owning and managing the properties themselves. Although both options involve investing in real estate, there are notable distinctions between them that investors should know before making investment decisions.

Definition of REIT and Real Estate Fund.

Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is a company that owns, operates, or finances commercial real estate.

It allows individual investors to pool their funds to invest in a diversified portfolio of real estate assets. 

REITs are required by law to distribute a significant portion of their earnings as dividends to shareholders, and they enjoy certain tax benefits.

On the other hand, a real estate fund is a collective investment scheme that pools money from various investors to invest in a diversified portfolio of real estate assets.

Real estate funds can take on different legal structures, such as mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or private equity funds. 

These funds provide investors with exposure to the real estate market and generate returns through rental income, property appreciation, or both.

Structure and operations of REITs

REITs must meet specific legal requirements to qualify for favorable tax treatment. In most countries, a REIT must distribute a significant portion of its taxable income to shareholders as dividends, typically around 90%.

This distribution requirement ensures that real estate assets generate income for investors, making REITs an attractive option for those seeking regular income.

Types of REITs

There are several types of REITs, including equity REITs, mortgage REITs, and hybrid REITs. Equity REITs own and operate income-generating properties, such as office buildings, shopping malls, apartments, and industrial facilities. 

Mortgage REITs invest in real estate mortgages, providing financing for real estate transactions and earning income from interest payments.

Hybrid REITs combine elements of both equity and mortgage REITs, diversifying their investment strategies.

The investment strategy of REITs

REITs deploy various investment strategies based on their objectives and market conditions. Some REITs focus on specific property sectors, such as residential, commercial, or industrial. 

Others may concentrate on a particular geographical region or pursue a diversified approach. REIT investment strategy determines the types of real estate assets it acquires and the potential risk and return profiles.

Tax Benefits of REITs

One of the key advantages of investing in REITs is the favorable tax treatment they receive. REITs are generally not subject to corporate income taxes if they distribute the majority of their earnings to shareholders. This pass-through taxation allows investors to enjoy real estate ownership tax advantages without the burden of direct property management.

 Structure and Operations of Real Estate Funds

Real estate funds can have different legal structures depending on the jurisdiction and the type of fund. They can be structured as mutual funds, ETFs, or private equity funds. Each structure has its own regulations and operational requirements.

For example, mutual funds are open-ended investment vehicles that allow investors to buy and sell shares at the net asset value (NAV) of the fund, while private equity funds often have a fixed life cycle and limited redemption options.

Types of Real Estate Funds

Real estate funds can be classified into different categories based on their investment strategies and asset classes. 

Some funds focus on specific property types, such as residential, commercial, or industrial, while others invest in a mix of properties.

Additionally, real estate funds can specialize in development projects, income-generating properties, or distressed assets, offering investors various options aligned with their investment objectives.

Investment Strategy for Real Estate Funds

Real estate funds invest depending on their target market, risk appetite, and investment horizon. Some funds may adopt an active management approach, aiming to add value through property development, renovation, or repositioning. 

Others may take a passive approach by investing in income-generating properties for long-term rental income. Real estate funds provide investors with the opportunity to diversify their portfolios and gain exposure to different real estate markets and strategies.

Tax Treatment of Real Estate Funds

Real estate funds’ tax treatment depends on their legal structure and jurisdiction. Mutual funds and ETFs often distribute real estate income to shareholders, who pay taxes on dividends. Private equity funds, on the other hand, may follow different tax structures, such as tax pass-through arrangements or limited liability company (LLC) structures. Investors should consult with tax professionals to understand the tax implications of investing in real estate funds.

Difference Between a REIT and a Real Estate Fund

While REITs and real estate funds share similarities in their objectives of providing investors with exposure to real estate, there are distinct differences between the two investment options.

 Ownership structure

REITs are structured as corporations and issue stock shares to investors. Investors in REITs become shareholders and own the company. Real estate funds, depending on their structure, may issue shares or units to investors, entitling them to a portion of the fund’s assets.

 Investor accessibility

REITs are often traded on major stock exchanges, making them easily accessible to individual investors. 

Investors can buy and sell REIT shares through brokerage accounts, like other publicly traded stocks.

Real estate funds, especially private equity funds, may restrict investor eligibility and liquidity terms. 

They are typically available to accredited investors and may have lock-up periods or limited redemption options.

 Investment strategies

REITs and real estate funds have different investment strategies. REITs generally focus on owning and operating income-generating properties or investing in real estate mortgages. 

Real estate funds, on the other hand, may adopt a broader range of strategies, including property development, distressed asset acquisition, or investing in real estate-related companies. 

Real estate funds offer more flexibility in investment approaches.

 Risk and Return Profiles

REITs and real estate funds have risk and return profiles based on their investment strategies and asset allocation.

REITs, particularly equity REITs, may offer stable dividend income and capital appreciation. 

Real estate funds, especially those with development or opportunistic focus, may carry higher risks but also offer higher returns.

Investors must assess their risk tolerance and investment goals when considering these options.


REITs, being publicly traded, provide investors with liquidity as they can be bought or sold on stock exchanges. 

Investors can easily enter or exit REIT positions. 

Real estate funds, especially private equity funds, often have limited liquidity. 

Investors may have to adhere to specific redemption periods or find buyers on the secondary market to sell their interests.

Tax considerations

REITs and real estate funds have different tax implications for investors. Investors of REITs are required to receive a significant portion of their earnings as dividends, which are taxable. 

Real estate funds may have different tax structures based on their legal form. Investors pay taxes on their share of the fund’s income or gains.

Investors must consult with tax advisors to understand the tax consequences associated with investing in these vehicles.


In conclusion, both REITs and real estate funds provide investors with the opportunity to gain exposure to the real estate market without directly owning and managing properties.

REITs, as publicly traded companies, offer individual investors easy accessibility, stable income, and potential tax advantages. 

Real estate funds, on the other hand, provide investors with a broader range of investment strategies and opportunities for higher returns. However, they come with potentially higher risks and limited liquidity. 

When considering these investment options, investors should carefully assess their investment goals, risk tolerance, and tax implications.

in this article, we learned about the “Difference Between a REIT and a Real Estate Fund”


Q1.Is REITs better than real estate?

A. The comparison between REITs and real estate depends on individual preferences and investment goals. REITs offer liquidity and diversification, while direct real estate ownership provides control and potential tax advantages.

Q2. What is the difference between REIT and real estate crowdfunding?

A. REITs are publicly traded companies that own and manage a portfolio of income-generating properties, while real estate crowdfunding involves pooling funds from multiple investors to invest in specific real estate projects

Q3. what are real estate funds

A. Real estate funds are investment vehicles that pool capital from multiple investors to invest in a diversified portfolio of real estate properties or real estate-related assets, managed by a professional fund manager

Q4. How do REITs and real estate funds work?

A. REITs and real estate funds work by pooling investors’ capital to acquire, manage, and generate income from real estate properties. Investors typically receive dividends or distributions based on the performance of the underlying real estate assets.

Q5. Is REIT safe or not?

A. Investing in REITs carries risks like any other investment. Factors such as market fluctuations, interest rate changes, and property performance can impact their value. It’s important to assess individual REITs and diversify investments for risk mitigation.

Leave a Comment