Strategic Investing: Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) 101

Strategic Investing: Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) 101

As a doctor or healthcare professional, your time is dedicated to patient care. But building a strong financial future is also important. While traditional real estate ownership can be a great wealth-building strategy, it also requires significant time and effort for management. This is where real estate investment trusts (REITs) can be a valuable tool. REITs allow you to invest in income-producing healthcare real estate without the burden of property management. In this article, we’ll explore REITs, including their advantages, drawbacks, and how to make informed investment decisions to grow your wealth.

What Is a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)?

An REIT is a business entity that owns, manages or provides funding for real estate properties that generate income. Similar to mutual funds, REITs combine the funds of investors, enabling individual investors to receive dividends from real estate ventures without the need to purchase, oversee, or finance properties on their own. Congress introduced REITs in 1960 to grant more investors the opportunity to invest in income-generating real estate assets.

Types of REITs

REITs come in various categories, each focusing on a specific property sector. Understanding these categories is crucial for aligning your investment goals with the REIT’s holdings.

Equity REITs

Equity REITs are the most common type, owning and managing income-generating real estate. These can include a variety of property types such as office buildings, shopping malls, apartments, and hotels. They generate revenue primarily through leasing space and collecting rents on the properties they own, and they may also sell properties that have appreciated in value.

Mortgage REITs

Unlike equity REITs, mortgage REITs provide financing for income-producing real estate by purchasing or originating mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. Their revenue comes mainly from the interest earned on these mortgage loans.

Hybrid REITs

Hybrid REITs combine the investment strategies of both equity REITs and mortgage REITs. They can own properties directly and also invest in real estate mortgages, providing a blend of income from rent and interest.

Benefits of Investing in REITs

Now that we’ve explored the different types of REITs, let’s delve into the reasons why they might be a compelling fit for busy doctors and healthcare professionals. REITs offer several advantages that can contribute to your financial goals without taking up your valuable time.

Dividend Income

One of the most attractive features of REITs is their ability to provide a steady stream of income through dividends. By law, REITs must distribute at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders, which can result in higher yields compared to other investments.


REITs offer an excellent way to diversify an investment portfolio. Real estate has historically shown low correlation with stocks and bonds, helping to reduce overall portfolio risk.

Professional Management

Investing in REITs means your real estate investments are managed by professionals. These management teams handle property acquisition, leasing, maintenance, and other operational aspects, which can enhance the potential for income and property value appreciation.


Unlike direct property ownership, REITs are typically traded on major stock exchanges, providing investors with high liquidity. This means you can easily buy and sell shares, accessing your capital as needed.


REITs lower the barrier to entry for real estate investment, allowing individuals to invest in large-scale properties and real estate portfolios without the need for significant capital or the complexities of direct property ownership.

Considerations & Risks

While REITs offer significant advantages, it’s important to understand the potential drawbacks before making any investment decisions. Just like any investment, REITs come with inherent risks to consider alongside the potential rewards. Let’s explore some key factors to keep in mind.

Interest Rate Sensitivity

REITs can be sensitive to interest rate changes. When interest rates rise, the cost of borrowing increases, which can impact REIT profitability. Additionally, higher interest rates can make REITs less attractive compared to other fixed-income investments.

Market & Economic Conditions

REIT performance can be influenced by market and economic conditions. During economic downturns, property values and occupancy rates may decline, reducing rental income. Conversely, during economic growth, REITs can benefit from increased demand for properties.

Sector & Property-Specific Risks

Different types of REITs face unique risks. For example, retail REITs may struggle due to the rise of e-commerce, while healthcare REITs might be affected by regulatory changes. It’s important to understand the specific risks associated with each REIT’s property sector.

Tax Considerations

REIT dividends are typically taxed as ordinary income, which can be higher than the tax rates on qualified dividends from stocks. However, some REIT dividends may qualify for preferential tax rates. Investors should consult with tax advisors to understand the implications.

Evaluating REITs

Now that you understand the advantages and considerations of REITs, let’s explore some key metrics to analyze when evaluating potential REIT investments. This will help you choose REITs that align with your financial goals and risk tolerance.

Key Financial Metrics

When evaluating REITs, consider key financial metrics such as funds from operations (FFO), net operating income (NOI), debt-to-equity ratio, and interest coverage ratio (ICR). These indicators help assess the REIT’s financial health and its ability to generate sustainable income.

Property Type & Quality

Assess the types of properties a REIT owns and their quality. Factors like location, tenant quality, lease terms, and property management can significantly impact performance.

Occupancy Rates & Lease Terms

High occupancy rates generally indicate strong rental income potential. Review the REIT’s historical and current occupancy rates, as well as the terms of its leases, including durations and rent escalation clauses.

Investment Strategies

Armed with the knowledge of REIT types, benefits, considerations, and evaluation methods, let’s explore different investment strategies you can utilize to incorporate REITs into your investment portfolio.

Publicly Traded REITs vs. Non-Traded REITs

Publicly traded REITs offer high liquidity and are accessible to most investors. Non-traded REITs can provide access to high-quality real estate that may be less susceptible to stock market volatility, but they typically come with higher fees and lower transparency. Carefully consider these factors when evaluating non-traded REITs.

Portfolio Diversification

Including REITs in your investment portfolio can enhance diversification. REITs offer exposure to different real estate sectors and geographic regions, spreading risk and potential returns.

Long-Term vs. Short-Term Investment

Consider your investment horizon. REITs can be suitable for both long-term income generation and short-term capital appreciation, depending on market conditions and individual goals.

The Bottom Line: Building Wealth through REITs

Investing in real estate investment trusts (REITs) is a way for busy doctors and healthcare professionals to diversify their investment portfolios and potentially build long-term wealth. REITs offer the advantage of steady income through dividends, professional management of real estate assets, and easy liquidity, all while freeing up valuable time. Remember, as with any investment, carefully consider your risk tolerance and investment goals before making decisions. Consulting with a financial advisor can help you determine if REITs are the right fit for your financial portfolio.

Additional Investing Resources

Continue learning about various investing options by reading the articles below!

The information provided in this blog post is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. For specific financial counsel on investments, we strongly recommend seeking the guidance of a qualified expert.

Published on Jun 14, 2024

Written by The Influent Staff

You May Also Like