What is a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)

What is a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)

At Schwartz Law Firm, we understand the complexities and potential advantages of investing in a real estate investment trust (REIT). Our dedicated team of experienced attorneys is here to provide you with in-depth insights and legal guidance related to REITs.

What Is a Real Estate Investment Trust?

REITs, or real estate investment trusts, are companies that own, operate, or finance income-generating real estate. Modeled after mutual funds, real estate investment trusts provide individual investors with an opportunity to invest in large-scale, income-producing real estate. Investors can purchase shares of a real estate investment trust on major stock exchanges, gaining a portion of the income produced through real estate investment without actually having to buy, manage, or finance any properties themselves.

Types of REITs

There are three primary types of REITs:

Equity REITs

The most common type, these real estate investment trusts own and manage income-producing real estate properties. Investors earn income from the rents collected on these properties.

Mortgage REITs (mREITs)

Mortgage real estate investment trusts provide financing for income-producing real estate by purchasing or originating mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. They earn income from the interest on these investments.

Hybrid REITs

Hybrid real estate investment trusts combine the strategies of equity and mortgage REIT types. They both own and operate properties and invest in mortgages.

What Are Non-Traded REITs?

Non-traded real estate investment trusts are investment vehicles that allow individuals to invest in income-generating real estate properties. Unlike publicly traded real estate investment trusts that are bought and sold on major securities exchanges, non-traded REITs do not trade on a national securities exchange. This means they are illiquid, often for periods of 7-10 years after the initial investment is made. While they can offer potential benefits like diversification, income from dividends, and potential for capital appreciation, non-traded real estate investment trusts also carry specific risks.

Due to their lack of liquidity, investors may have difficulty selling their shares should the need arise. Additionally, non-traded real estate investment trusts often have high upfront fees, which can impact the overall return on investment. As with any investment, it’s essential to thoroughly understand the risks and rewards associated with non-traded REITs before investing.

Pros and Cons of Non-Traded Real Estate Investment Trusts

Non-traded REITs come with a set of potential advantages and disadvantages that investors must carefully weigh before diving in.


Non-traded real estate investment trusts are not directly tied to the fluctuations of the stock market, which can lead to less volatility and could provide a hedge against market downturns. They can also offer a steady income stream through regular dividend payments, making them attractive to investors looking for consistent income. Additionally, these real estate investment trusts offer the opportunity to invest in real estate assets that might be otherwise inaccessible to individual investors, thereby allowing for greater diversification within a portfolio.


The primary drawback of non-traded real estate investment trusts is their lack of liquidity. With no public trading market, it’s often difficult for investors to sell their shares, which can be problematic in the event of a financial emergency. Non-traded real estate investment trusts also tend to have high upfront fees, which can eat into potential returns. These fees include selling and marketing costs, as well as management fees. Furthermore, the valuation of non-traded real estate investment trusts can be complex and opaque, which might make it difficult for investors to accurately determine the value of their investment.

Before making a decision to invest in non-traded REITs, it’s crucial for potential investors to fully understand these pros and cons, and ideally, to consult with a financial advisor or legal professional who can provide informed guidance.

Benefits of Investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts

Investing in REITs offers several potential benefits:

  • Diversification: Real estate investment trusts can provide a level of portfolio diversification, as real estate often reacts differently to market conditions compared to other asset types.
  • Dividend Income: By law, real estate investment trusts must distribute at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders as dividends.
  • Accessibility: REITs offer individual investors the ability to invest in large-scale commercial real estate properties that would otherwise be out of reach.
  • Professional Management: REITs are managed by professionals with extensive knowledge and experience in the real estate sector. This can result in better decision-making and potentially higher returns.
  • Inflation Hedging: Real estate often acts as a hedge against inflation. When inflation rises, so can rental income and property values, providing a degree of protection for investors.
  • Tax Advantages: Under certain conditions, REITs may offer investors tax benefits such as dividends from taxable income.

Understanding the Risks of REITs

While investing in REITs can offer several benefits, it’s also important to understand the associated risks:

  • Market Risk: Like any publicly traded investment, the value of real estate investment trusts can fluctuate based on the overall condition of the stock market.
  • Interest Rate Risk: The performance of real estate investment trusts, particularly mortgage types, can be significantly affected by changes in interest rates.
  • Property Market Risk: Factors such as property location, demand, and market conditions can impact the performance of a real estate investment trust.
  • High Fees and Commissions: REITs, especially non-traded ones, often have high upfront fees like selling and marketing costs, management fees, and broker commissions. These expenses can greatly diminish the net returns on investment.

Legal Assistance with REITs at Schwartz Law Firm

At Schwartz Law Firm, we offer a comprehensive range of services related to REITs. Our team of experienced attorneys can provide insightful guidance on real estate investment trusts and help protect your interests.

  • Legal Representation: If you encounter legal issues related to your REIT investments, we’re here to evaluate your claim. We have extensive experience dealing with a variety of related legal matters to REITs
  • Dispute Resolution: If you’re involved in a dispute related to a REITs, our team can guide you through the resolution process, representing your interests every step of the way.

Why Choose Schwartz Law Firm?

With a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of REITs, Schwartz Law Firm is your go-to source for all your REIT-related needs. Our team of dedicated and skilled attorneys is committed to providing high-quality legal services and representation.

Whether you’re considering investing in real estate investment trusts or dealing with a legal issue related to your current investment, Schwartz Law Firm is here to help. We approach every case with a commitment to integrity, transparency, and personalized services.

  • Education and Guidance: Our experts at Schwartz Law Firm can provide a detailed understanding of how real estate investment trusts operate, their advantages, potential risks, and their role in a well-diversified portfolio. We are committed to helping investors make informed decisions about their investments.
  • Legal Expertise: Our seasoned attorneys specialize in securities law and have a deep understanding of the intricacies of real estate investment trusts. We can provide expert legal advice and representation to protect your interests and ensure you’re treated fairly.
  • Client-Centered Approach: We put our clients at the center of everything we do. Our goal is to provide you with the highest level of service and to build a relationship based on trust.

Investing in real estate investment trusts can be a powerful strategy for portfolio diversification and income generation, but it’s essential to understand the potential risks and legal implications. At Schwartz Law Firm, we’re dedicated to providing you with the information and support you need to navigate the world of real estate investment trusts confidently and effectively.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you with your REIT investments. Trust in Schwartz Law Firm, your partner in understanding and navigating the complexities of real estate investment trusts.