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Written by Ed Canty, CFP® on April 19, 2021
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Fundrise vs CrowdStreet 2021: Best Crowdfunded Real Estate Platform?

Investing in real estate has changed over recent decades. Now new investment platforms allow you to gain access to private real estate deals throughout the Country. 

In this post, we will review and compare two very popular real estate investing platforms, Fundrise vs CrowdStreet.

Both of these platforms have similar offerings, giving you the opportunity to passively invest in real estate. 

Fundrise vs CrowdStreet: The Basics

Fundrise is the original real estate crowdfunding platform that is open to all investors. With a low minimum investment, you are able to achieve diversification across dozens of different properties. However, the primary tradeoff is that you have little say about the properties you invest in.

CrowdStreet is a more hands-on platform designed for higher net worth investors. Through the platform, you are able to pick and choose individual deals to invest in. However, the minimums and requirements are significantly less within reach for many.

Both platforms were created with the goal of making it easier for investors to get exposure to real estate without the typical headaches that come from owning and managing a property. At the same time, the ways in which they accomplish this goal are significantly different.

CrowdStreet vs Fundrise: Summary

  • Fundrise takes a new approach to a non-traded REIT by being highly accessible to small retail investors.
  • Investors can begin buying REITs of private real estate deals throughout the United States with a $500 minimum investment.
  • CrowdStreet, on the other hand, offers three different investment options with the lowest being a $25,000 minimum investment.
  • Fundrise is not limited to accredited investors.
  • Most CrowdStreet investments require the accredited investor status.
  • Fundrise has a transparent 1% fee while the fees on CrowdStreet vary based on the investment type.
  • CrowdStreet offers three different types of investments while Fundrise only offers portfolio based investing.
FeatureFundriseCrowdstreet
Minimum Investment$500$25,000
Accredited Investors OnlyNoYes
Fees1% + Origination Fees0.5% To 2.5%
LiquidityLowLow
InvestmentsPortfoliosPortfolios, Private Placements
Best ForBeginner And Intermediate InvestorsHigh Net Worth Investors

How Does Fundrise Work?

Fundrise is a crowdfunded real estate investing platform. Similar to real estate investment trusts or partnerships, all the investors pool their money together to purchase real estate assets.

These assets then produce income and/or growth based on the structure of the investment.

Historically, Fundrise has provided investors with solid 8 to 11% returns on their portfolios over time. That being said, it is a longer-term investment with a minimum time horizon of 5 years. While you can sell before then, you'll likely see fairly significant fees for doing so.

Real estate is traditionally a high barrier to entry investment, but crowdfunded platforms allow average retail investors to gain exposure to this asset class. The Fundrise Starter Portfolio has a minimum account balance of $500. You are able to upgrade to one of the advanced plans at any time, so this is a great way to test the platform out.

This platform offers a variety of benefits such as low account minimums and quarterly redemption periods. However, investors should understand the liquidity and time horizon of an investment in the Fundrise platform. We will discuss this in further detail throughout the article.

Crowdfunded Real Estate Free Training

We put together a free 30 minute video training that walks you through the entire process, step by step. This training will help you get up and running in no time at all.

GET THE GUIDE

Real Estate Projects

Fundrise offers plans to invest in different types of real estate such as income-producing rental properties or growth-oriented real estate developments.

The main investment objectives of Fundrise are to generate revenue from income-producing properties as well as buying and selling real estate in thriving markets.

As a Fundrise investor, you can choose whether you want to be in a growth-oriented portfolio or income-oriented portfolio. They also offer a blended portfolio, if you want the best of both worlds!

Fundrise investors receive income from rental payments and proceeds from flips in the form of dividend payments or distributions. They also receive interest payments from debt investments, as this platform offers a blend of debt and equity investments.

In exchange, Fundrise collects a 1% fee as the investment manager. This is the only fee they charge, however you may be subject to an early redemption fee if you do not commit to the full term of the investment.

It is important to understand that Fundrise is a private real estate investment. The Fundrise eREITs and eFunds can only be bought and sold through this platform. They are not publicly traded on a stock exchange like a publicly-traded REIT.

Fundrise Investment Options & Portfolios

Fundrise allows you to choose from dozens of professionally built real estate portfolios based on your risk tolerance and investment preferences.

Some portfolios are geared towards cash flow and others focused on the growth of the underlying assets.

If you invest a minimum of $500, you will be placed in the starter portfolio.

There is a minimum investment of $5,000 if you want to branch out beyond the starter portfolio and begin to customize your investment.

Fundrise investment options include the starter portfolio, the balanced investing portfolio, the growth portfolio, and the income portfolio. Each of these fundrise portfolios have different investment goals.

Fundrise Core Plans

Within Fundrise Core plans, investors can choose to invest in the Fundrise Starter portfolio, Supplemental income, long term growth, or balanced investing. The minimum is $5,000 to invest in Fundrise Core plans.

Starter Portfolio

The Fundrise Starter Portfolio is for new investors who would like to give Fundrise a shot.

The minimum account requirement is only $500 to begin investing. This portfolio consists of 50% growth and 50% income-oriented holdings.

If you want to upgrade to an advanced plan down the road, it is completely free!

Supplemental Income

Next, we have the Fundrise Supplemental Income Portfolio.

This portfolio holds income-producing real estate.

Investors will earn returns primarily through dividends from cashflow-producing real estate. Dividends are generated through rental and interest payments in proportion to your share of the fund.

Balanced Investing

The Fundrise Balanced Investing Portfolio offers a blend of 50% growth and 50% income-oriented investments.

The balanced investing portfolio invests in a blend of eREITs and eFunds offered by Fundrise. The goal for this portfolio is for a balance of income-generating real estate, as well as real estate that is appreciating in value.

Long Term Growth

Finally, we have the Fundrise Long Term Growth Portfolio.

The goal of this portfolio is to generate returns primarily from asset appreciation.

This portfolio aims to purchase high-growth potential real estate and generate returns mostly from the sale of the underlying properties. This includes buying property and performing renovations in order to sell the asset for a gain later.

Core Plan

The Fundrise Core plan allows you to invest in one of the 3 portfolios listed above, supplemental income, long-term growth, or balanced investing. The minimum investment is $5,000 to get started. Your investment in this plan will be allocated across projects based on the portfolio you choose.

Advanced Plan

The Fundrise advanced plan gives you more flexibility over the allocation you have to specific projects. You still gain access to the core portfolios but you can choose the allocation to specific Fundrise eFunds.

Currently, there are a number of eFunds available for investors. These include the Washington DC eFund, the Los Angeles eFund, and the National eFund. These eFunds are structured as partnerships as opposed to traditional REITs. This allows them to be more flexible in the projects they invest in and how they distribute to investors.

Additionally, you'll gain access to the Plus versions of the 3 core portfolios. These are also structured as eFunds and allow investors the potential for greater upside as well as greater downside than the original core portfolios.

The minimum investment is $10,000 for the Fundrise Advanced plan.

Premium Plan

Currently, the primary perk to Fundrise Premium is the ability to invest in Plus Plans. These allocate a percentage of your portfolio into more advanced strategies that may provide additional tax benefits.

The minimum to get started is $100,000 and you can get investment fees waived if you invite a friend.

Fundrise Technology: eREIT & eFUND

Fundrise leveraged new investment technology when they launched their platform back in 2010.

Each portfolio consists of eREITs and eFunds designed by Fundrise. These investments are set up as real estate investment trusts or partnerships and they are managed by Fundrise.

An eREIT will produce income for your portfolio in the form of dividends.

You will earn dividends from the rent payments of the underlying apartment and commercial leases owned within the eREIT. As well as interest payments from underlying real estate debt investments owned by the REIT.

An eFund is a partnership created by Fundrise to be treated differently for tax reasons and to provide greater investment flexibility.

Partnerships have the advantage of avoiding the double taxation of normal C-Corps. eFunds are structured in a similar way to eREITs where there is a pool of real estate investments split into shares and sold to investors. Where eREITs aim to generate income, eFunds are geared towards growth.

Fundrise Investment Liquidity

Fundrise uses the funds you invest to purchase real estate. For this reason, there is a 60 day waiting period for withdrawing funds.

There are also quarterly redemption periods, however, liquidity is never guaranteed. You may also be subject to early withdrawal penalties if you do not commit to the full investment term.

This is why it is important to understand what you are investing in when you invest with Fundrise. Investors should aim for a long-term investment of at least a 5-year time horizon when investing with Fundrise. This real estate investment is not highly liquid and may not be for everyone!

Fundrise Historical Returns

It is important to remember that past performance does not guarantee future returns. All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. That being said, since inception, the Fundrise returns have been solid, typically ranging from 8 to 11%.

These returns are "net of" or after fees. Here's the return I experienced from my $5,000 Fundrise investment.

Historical performance of the Fundrise crowdfunded real estate investing platform.

Click here to see updated Fundrise returns.

Fundrise Fees

Fundrise charges a fee of 1% per year.

They do not charge any other hidden fees and there is no front load fee with Fundrise.

The returns shown above are the returns after Fundrise collects the 1% fee.

If you cash out early, you may be subject to an early redemption fee. 

Best Real Estate Platforms

PlatformMinimumLink
Groundfloor real estate investing platform$10View Investments
Fundrise real estate investing platform$500View Investments
Streitwise real estate investing platform$1,000View Investments
Realty Mogul real estate crowdfunding site$5,000View Investments

Fundrise Pros

  • The minimum to start investing with the Starter Portfolio is $500.
  • Returns so far have ranged from 8 to 11% after fees.
  • Fundrise has a transparent fee of 1% per year.
  • This investment allows you to earn compound interest, with the option of automatically reinvesting quarterly dividends using a drip (Dividend Reinvestment Plan).
  • Fundrise does not have a minimum net worth or income requirement like most private investment funds do (you DON'T need to be an accredited investor.)
  • Fundrise supports retirement accounts.
  • Quarterly redemption periods eliminate the temptation for panic selling.
  • Investors can invest in a mix of single-family real estate projects and larger commercial projects.

Fundrise Cons

  • Fundrise cannot guarantee liquidity. During a downturn, liquidity may not be available as many investors will rush to sell and buyers may be few and far between.
  • Distributions (dividends) are not guaranteed.
  • Distributions (dividends) are taxed as ordinary income rather than capital gains.
  • The platform has a limited track record and not a long investment history.

Fundrise: The Bottom Line

Fundrise may be a great platform for passive investors who are looking to gain access to private real estate markets.

You can get updated information on the real estate projects you invest in. Fundrise sends newsletters and project updates on a consistent basis.

These non-traded REITs cannot be sold as easily as a publicly-traded REIT.

In addition, you can automate your dividend reinvestment plan, allowing compound interest to build up in your account.

In most cases, Fundrise is best for investors with a minimum 5 year time horizon. Real estate is not a highly liquid investment and inexperienced investors need to take this into consideration.

While Fundrise does offer a 90-day satisfaction guarantee, you should not invest if you have a short-term investing mentality.

CrowdStreet offers an array of investment options for accredited investors with large sums of money to delpoy

What Is CrowdStreet?

CrowdStreet is an online commercial real estate investment platform that launched in 2014.

This platform differs from Fundrise because there are a number of different ways you can invest with them. These include:

  1. Investing directly into individual real estate deals.
  2. Contributing to an investment portfolio of 30 to 50 properties.
  3. Fully managed investments based on your goals and objectives.

CrowdStreet is one of the many crowdfunded real estate investing platforms we have come across that allows investors to pick and choose individual projects to invest in.

This platform also focuses solely on commercial real estate, meaning there is no residential real estate in the mix. On their site, they claim to review around 400 potential investment opportunities each month. Of those reviewed, less than 5% are accepted.

CrowdStreet is only for accredited investors as none of the current offerings are open to non-accredited investors.

What Is An Accredited Investor?

In order to become an accredited investor, you have three options: meeting the net worth rule, meeting the income rule, or meeting the financial knowledge rule.

The net worth rule states that if your net worth is greater than $1 million without including your personal residence, then you will qualify as an accredited investor.

In order to meet the income rule, you must have an income of over $200,000 if single or a combined income of $300,000 if married.

To qualify under the financial knowledge rule, you must pass a regulated financial exam like the Series 65 or Series 7. These exams are typically taken by stockbrokers and financial advisors, however, anyone can study for these exams and take them to become an accredited investor.

Without meeting one of these 3 rules, you'll be unable to invest in the majority of offerings that CrowdStreet has to offer.

Minimum Investment

The minimum investment is different based on which method you go with, as they offer a few different investment options.

For the direct investing approach, a $25,000 or $50,000 minimum is common.

The fully managed portfolio option, on the other hand, has a minimum investment of $250,000.

This makes CrowdStreet out of reach for many new investors. It is clear that they are aiming for higher net worth, accredited status clients.

CrowdStreet Investment Options

Direct Investing

Through direct investing, you pick and choose properties to invest in.

This is ideal for the active investor with a sizable amount of capital to deploy. CrowdStreet offers research tools for investors and is very transparent.

This differs from Fundrise where investors are only able to invest in eREITS or eFunds. For investors looking to be more involved with their investments, this is an attractive feature.

Currently, most deals available on CrowdStreet have a minimum investment of $25,000.

Managed Investing

Then, there is managed investing. CrowdStreet experts will build you a personalized real estate investment portfolio and invest in deals on your behalf.

Managed investing is best for wealthy individuals looking to park a significant amount of money in real estate and have confidence that their investment is in good hands. An offering like this can be a particularly effective way to diversify a significant portfolio without needing to invest a significant amount of time into researching individual investments.

This service is reserved for high net worth investors, as the minimum to invest is $250,000.

CrowdStreet Returns

With the direct investing approach, each project has a targeted investor IRR or internal rate of return.

Of the 11 projects available when we did our research, the targeted investor IRR ranged from 12% to 22% based on a number of different factors.

According to the CrowdStreet homepage, since launching in 2014 they have listed close to 500 different offerings on their site.

Of those offerings, 45 have been fully completed and money has been returned to investors. The average IRR on these projects has been 18.2%, with over $197 million paid back in returns to investors so far.

Click here to see updated CrowdStreet returns.

CrowdStreet Fees

The fees for individual projects range based on the project. CrowdStreet does not charge these investors any fees, however most of the deal sponsors will include some costs.

For the CrowdStreet funds, the fee ranges from 0.5 to 2.5%.

These fees go towards administrative costs, platform costs, and acquisition costs.

CrowdStreet Pros

  • Historical returns have been very solid.
  • CrowdStreet allows investors to invest directly alongside a sponsor rather than using an alternative investment vehicle.
  • You can invest directly in a single property rather than investing in a basket full of multiple properties.
  • A number of options are available to investors.
  • CrowdStreet provides access to real estate investments that would be otherwise extremely difficult to find.

CrowdStreet Cons

  • The minimum investment of $25,000 to $250,000 is quite high.
  • CrowdStreet does not offer a secondary market where you can liquidate your investment, meaning you are locked in for the entire investment duration.
  • Most of the investments are for accredited investors only.
  • Investors are limited to investing in commercial real estate projects.

Fundrise vs CrowdStreet: The Bottom Line

Fundrise and CrowdStreet offer similar, but very different crowdfunded real estate platforms.

Both platforms allow you to invest in commercial real estate using the convenience of online platforms. They both offer portfolio or fund based investing, but the minimum investment required is significantly higher for CrowdStreet.

CrowdStreet provides an attractive offering for the high net worth investor who wishes to be more hands-on in their investing and diversify into commercial real estate. Fundrise on the other hand is ideal for smaller investors or those wishing to diversify into a fund and don't have interest in individually selecting projects.

Minimum Investment

The Fundrise starter portfolio has a $500 minimum while most of the CrowdStreet funds have a $25,000 minimum investment.

Another important difference is the accredited investor requirement. All but 1 of the CrowdStreet investments require you to be an accredited investor, while all of the investment offerings from Fundrise are open to non-accredited investors.

It is clear that CrowdStreet is going after an entirely different market of investors. The Crowdstreet platform aims at higher net worth investors. While Fundrise is looking to work with your average everyday investor who has a few thousand dollars to invest.

Investments

CrowdStreet is unique because you can decide which properties you'd like to invest in and put your entire investment into that one property.

Fundrise, on the other hand, will only let you invest in their assortment of portfolios (Beginner, Long Term Growth, Income, etc). For that reason, in most cases CrowdStreet is better for active, high net worth investors.

Retirement

Both Fundrise and CrowdStreet allow you to invest retirement dollars on their platforms. However, both platforms structure this arrangement in a different way.

On CrowdStreet, you're able to use funds from an existing self-directed IRA to invest on the platform. This is a special type of IRA that you will need to have set up and will typically cost at least a couple hundred dollars to do so.

With Fundrise, you're able to set up an IRA on the platform and don't need to have an existing self-directed IRA. There is a $125 fee to set this account up.

The advantage of investing IRA dollars is that you're able to take advantage of tax deferral and potentially avoid taxation entirely if you leave your investments to grow until retirement.

Security

While not something investors are always concerned with, knowing that your information and data is secure is something that shouldn't be overlooked on crowdfunding platforms.

Fundrise's security protocols involve offering 2-factor authentication for investors, and ensuring that all connections to the platform are encrypted using "https" with TLS (transport layer security). These help to minimize the likelihood of your login info being stolen or your account being compromised.

CrowdStreet's approach to security is also extensive. They go as far as limiting access to client personal information to specific employees in order to avoid your information getting into the wrong hands. Their website also uses industry-standard encryption and protection techniques to keep your data safe.

Fees

In some instances, the fees may be lower for CrowdStreet but not in all cases. That is because the fees for the funds range from 0.5% to 2.5%. Fundrise charges a flat 1% fee for annual investment management.

Overall, we believe Fundrise offers a more appealing platform and one that is more accessible to the average investor. CrowdStreet may be a good option for those higher net worth investors who have the capital to meet the minimum investment and would like to concentrate their real estate portfolio.

Keep Reading

fundrise vs crowdstreet
Article written by Ed Canty, CFP®
Ed is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. At his day job, Ed helps clients plan for retirement, manage their investments, and navigate their tax situation. In his free time, Ed enjoys golfing, traveling, fishing, and wrenching on his old car.

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