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Investor Education

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are companies that own and typically operate large-scale, income producing real estate. This may include office buildings, shopping malls, apartments, hotels, resorts, self-storage facilities, warehouses, and mortgages or loans. Unlike other real estate companies, a REIT does not develop real estate properties to resell them. Instead, a REIT buys and develops properties primarily to operate them as part of its own investment portfolio.

REITs provide a way for individual investors to earn a share of the income produced through commercial real estate ownership – without having to go out and buy commercial real estate.

Many REITs are registered with the SEC and are publicly traded on a stock exchange, known as publicly traded REITs. Others may be registered with the SEC but are not publicly traded, known as non-traded REITs or non-exchange traded REITs. This is one of the most important distinctions among the various kinds of REITS. Before investing in a REIT, you should understand whether it is publicly traded, and how this could affect the benefits and risks to you.

The resources below provide details on the features of publicly traded and non-traded REITs, risks of investing in REITs, fees and costs and what to consider before investing in a REIT.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)