CrowdStreet Review 2022: How To Get Started in Commercial Real Estate

4.0
Quick Take: CrowdStreet offers a simple alternative to the challenges that usually come with shopping for commercial real estate: You can sign up for free and find a specific deal, or bundle from dozens of opportunities from the comfort of your couch. But you'll need a sizeable initial investment to take part.
  • Accessibility
    3.5
  • Innovation
    5.0
  • Flexibility
    3.5
  • Breadth of Products
    3.8
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Free sign-up for those who qualify
  • A variety of deals to choose from, including multifamily, self-storage and data centers
  • Sponsors who bring commercial deals to CrowdStreet’s marketplace are carefully vetted

Cons

  • Only serves accredited investors, which eliminates those who don’t have a certain level of income or wealth
  • High minimum investment of $25,000
  • Limited to commercial real estate investments, which means a less diversified portfolio compared with other investment vehicles

What Is CrowdStreet?

CrowdStreet is an online platform that lets you invest in commercial real estate without going the conventional route of buying a property yourself. As an individual investor, you can become a co-landlord of sorts, with access to a real estate market you might not otherwise have.

Who Is It Best For?

If you’re an investor with a decent amount of wealth to bring to the table, CrowdStreet offers an array of commercial real estate opportunities. You can sign up for free and start window shopping for various investments. If you find a project you like and agree with the terms of its sponsor, all you have to do is sign on to get a stake in a property.

CrowdStreet works best for more affluent investors who have an interest in commercial real estate. It’s not a great option if you don’t have a lot of money to invest, or if you want a more diversified portfolio.

How to Apply for CrowdStreet

You can sign up for a CrowdStreet account free of charge by hitting the “Create an Account” link on its homepage. You’ll have to provide your name and email address, and then create a password. You’ll also be asked to verify if you are an accredited investor, and then agree to the terms and conditions. Another option is to sign up with a Google account.

CrowdStreet Features

CrowdStreet sources commercial real estate projects and offers accredited investors the chance to buy into them. Individual projects, or single-sponsor funds, come with a professional real estate manager. When an investor identifies a deal and a sponsor of interest, the legal documents can then be signed online. These projects might target a geographic location and/or an asset class, such as office or multifamily.

What is an Accredited Investor?

To qualify as an accredited investor under Securities and Exchange Commission rules, you must meet the following criteria: 

  • Have an income that exceeded $200,000 individually or $300,000 together with a spouse during each of the prior two years, with expectations to earn the same for the current year; OR
  • Have a net worth of $1 million, individually or with a spouse, excluding the value of a primary residence

How CrowdStreet Earned its Scores

Here’s a breakdown of the different factors that comprised GOBankingRates’ scoring:

Accessibility

As of March 2022, CrowdStreet still did not offer a mobile app. However, you can sign up for an account free of charge on its website, either by creating an account or by signing up with your Google account. The website itself is easy to navigate and offers a comprehensive look at various investment options.

Account Minimum

CrowdStreet is not a good option for people who don’t have a sizeable chunk of money to pour into investments. You face a minimum investment of $25,000 for most projects, but the range of minimums can go all the way up to $100,000. By comparison, RealtyMogul.com, another real estate investment platform, has a minimum investment of $1,000. EquityMultiple minimums start at $5,000 and typically range from $10,000-$30,000.

Investment Flexibility

The CrowdStreet website lets you choose investments based on several sets of criteria. These include the rate of return; deal terms such as minimum investment, minimum hold period, loan-to-cost and distribution period (e.g. monthly, quarterly, annually); offering type such as investment structure, geographic region and property type; and type of sponsor. The downside is that you can only choose real estate investments.

Breadth of Products

CrowdStreet limits itself to commercial real estate investments, so even under the umbrella of real estate you don’t have access to residential properties. However, there are numerous types of real estate funds and investments you can choose from.

Good To Know

CrowdStreet offers a range of information about investing in the commercial real estate market, starting with videos about each potential project that’s up for grabs on the site’s marketplace. Beyond that, there’s plenty of general information about the latest happenings in the commercial real estate market and the nuts and bolts of making commercial real estate decisions.

CrowdStreet vs. Competitors

CrowdStreet operates in a fairly narrow niche, but there are other platforms that let you dive into commercial real estate investments. Here’s a quick look at how they stack up.

Platform Best For
CrowdStreet High-wealth investors who want free and easy access to commercial real estate investments.  
RealtyMogul Everyday investors who want exposure to Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).
EquityMultiple Investors who want more choices on how to invest in commercial real estate.

CrowdStreet vs. RealtyMogul

RealtyMogul offers a cheaper way to invest in commercial real estate, with a minimum investment of $1,000. CrowdStreet gets the edge in terms of offering a broader range of commercial real estate investment options beyond REITs.

CrowdStreet vs. EquityMultiple

EquityMultiple has a lower minimum investment at $5,000 and offers investors three different options: fund investing, direct investing in individual properties, and savings investments in the form of short-term diversified notes. But CrowdStreet offers a host of options that let you narrow down your investments as well as tools to help investors better understand the commercial real estate market.

Other Options

If you are a non-accredited investor and don’t qualify to invest with CrowdStreet, you can still enter the commercial real estate market without having to buy into individual properties. The best option is to direct your funds into a Real Estate Investment Trust for a much lower cost of entry than CrowdStreet calls for.

Final Take

CrowdStreet empowers investors to enter the commercial real estate market without having to drive around and look at individual properties. You can sign up for free, and the platform is easy to navigate so you can find the types of investments that best fit your investment and risk profile. The downside is that you need at least $25,000 to invest, which will eliminate a lot of potential investors.

Click here to visit CrowdStreet and learn more.

FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about CrowdStreet.
  • What is the minimum investment needed to access a project on CrowdStreet?
    • Most projects have a minimum investment of $25,000, but the range of entry points can go all the way up to $100,000.
  • Does CrowdStreet charge fees?
    • No. Qualified investors can join CrowdStreet and browse investment opportunities at no charge.
  • Do sponsors on CrowdStreet charge fees?
    • Yes, real estate sponsors can charge fees if that’s the way they choose to be compensated

Vance Cariaga contributed to the reporting for this article.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by CrowdStreet. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by CrowdStreet.

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About the Author

Kelli Francis is a writer and content strategist. She started her career with a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and went on to work in some of the industry’s busiest newsrooms, from The Seattle Times to MSN.com, WebMD and Yahoo. In nearly a decade at Yahoo, she worked as an assistant managing editor at Yahoo Finance, specializing in personal finance content; a producer for Yahoo News; and a managing editor on Yahoo’s home page team. A perennial seeker, Kelli is currently expanding her knowledge of all things finance as a student at The American College of Financial Services. She is also the very proud mom of a wonderful and unstoppable 7-year-old with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  
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