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I am currently renting an apartment, and investing a portion of my income in stocks and bonds (90/10). Part of my stock allocation contains REIT's.

I have been saving to purchase a home (I have enough for a 20% down payment), but was wondering if increasing REIT exposure is comparable to owning real estate?

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2 Answers 2

A couple of distinctions.

First, if you were to "invest in real estate" were you planning to buy a home to live in, or buy a home to rent out to someone else? Buying a home as a primary residence really isn't "investing in real estate" per se. It's buying a place to live rather than renting one. Unless you rent a room out or get a multi-family unit, your primary residence won't be income-producing. It will be income-draining, for the most part. I speak as a homeowner.

Second, if you are buying to rent out to someone else, buying a single home is quite a bit different than buying an REIT. The home is a lot less liquid, the transaction costs are higher, and all of your eggs are in one basket. Having said that, though, if you buy one right and do your homework it can set you on the road for a very comfortable retirement.

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well yes but you should also begin to understand the sectoral component of real estate as a market too in that there can be commercial property; industrial property and retail property; each of which is capable of having slightly (tho usually similar of course) different returns, yields, and risks. Whereas you are saving to buy and enter into the residential property market which is different again and valuation principles are often out of kilter here because Buying a home although exposing your asset base to real estate risk isnt usually considered an investment as it is often made on emotional grounds not strict investment criteria.

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