Roofstock Review 2021 – An Easy Way to Invest In Rental Properties
Roofstock gives non-accredited investors an entry into the world of real estate investing. They’re different from most crowdfunding real estate platforms because you’re investing in specific, single-family rental properties and then owning them outright instead of investing in large scale projects that can take years to realize. Roofstock’s unique premise allows investors to own real property and to quickly start generating cash-flow from rental income.
At a Glance
What we like
- Open to non-accredited investors
- Cash-flow positive investments
- Direct ownership of your investment
- Low fees
What Needs Work
- Requires a large initial investment
- Highly illiquid
- Rental properties require a lot of work
- Buying rental property online can be risky
- Non-accredited investing
- Those new to real estate investing
- Low-fee investing
Ease Of Use
Roofstock gives non-accredited investors an entry into the world of real estate investing. They’re different from most crowdfunding real estate platforms because investing in the property outright — you’re the owner in the end and not relying on a marketplace to make money for you.
What’s also different about Roofstock is that they focus on occupied, single-family rentals. The purpose is to take advantage of a growing market that hopes to make your investment cash-flow positive from the start.
Roofstock wants to take the stress, work, and costs out of buying rental investment properties, and this Roofstock review will explore how it all works and whether or not Roofstock is a good investment.
Roofstock Review 2021 – An Easy Way to Invest In Rental Properties
What is Roofstock?
Roofstock is a unique real estate investment platform that serves as a marketplace where investors can buy and sell turnkey properties or entire real estate portfolios. Roofstock properties are single-family homes that you buy and rent out to generate monthly income. Investors do not need to be accredited to use Rooftock, and you can use Roofstock’s platform to search for properties in your current city or 70+ different markets across the U.S.
Real estate has long been one of the best paths towards wealth, but the problem for average investors has always been the cost and difficulty. That’s the problem Roofstock attempted to solve when they launched in 2015.
Roofstock aims to provide a cost-effective, simple, and accessible way to invest in real estate. Here’s how they’re attempting to do that:
- Using a comprehensive certification process before listing properties
- One-stop shopping for researching, buying, selling, and connecting with financing and property managers
- An intuitive platform with in-depth analytics that helps investors understand each property before they buy
How Roofstock certifies investment properties
One of the most important things to clear up right away is that Roofstock does not own all of the homes listed on their site. Independent sellers own most homes, and Roofstock acts as the sellers’ agent on the listing and transaction.
Before Roofstock takes on any properties and lists them on the platform, they go through a lengthy vetting process to certify properties that includes:
- Walkthrough inspection done by an experienced, third-party inspection vendor (some properties have an inspection contingency that says the property will be inspected after an offer has been inspected)
- Review the inspection to ensure that necessary repairs won’t cost over 15% of the listing price and the property meets certain standards for the HVAC system, won’t require immediate roof repairs, no electrical or health and safety issues, etc.
- Identify necessary repairs and providing cost estimates to buyers before they put in an offer or prior to closing
- Have the seller confirm a good rent payment history
- Provide all of the information and data that Roofstock collects about a property on its listing page
Each property listing includes photos, purchase price, rent, and the expected total return in different time frames. Roofstock also lists important investment analytics like annualized return, cap rate, gross yield, cash flow, and rate of appreciation.
Once you’ve purchased an investment property through Roofstock, you are the property owner and hold the title. You’re responsible for maintenance, property management, leasing, taxes, etc. Roofstock will recommend vetted property managers if you want to be completely hands-off.
Roofstock fees, pricing, and minimum investment
It’s 100% free to get on Roofstock and start browsing investment properties and portfolios. The platform aims for transparency, so you can see everything before you even create your free profile.
There’s no set minimum investment to invest in real estate through Roofstock — your minimum is the property’s purchase price.
If you take out a loan to buy the property, most lenders will require you to put at least 20% of the purchase price down. You will also be required to pay closing costs, which are generally 4% to 5% of the purchase price. For a $100,000 investment property, you would be looking at about a $20,000 down payment and $4,000 to $5,000 in closing costs.
Roofstock does charge a marketplace fee equal to 0.5% of the contract price on the house or $500, whichever is higher. You pay that fee once your offer is accepted on a home.
Roofstock’s platform is user-friendly. You can search properties based on location, list price, neighborhood rating, cap rate, size, year built, annual appreciation rate, and several other filters.
Roofstock’s money-back policy says that if you’re unsatisfied with your purchase for any reason, they will re-list the property for free on their marketplace. Once the property sells, Roofstock will refund the original purchase price at closing regardless of the price it re-sells for.
You’re still required to maintain and manage the property until it’s sold, and it needs to be in the same condition as it was sold to you.
Lease Up Guarantee
Roofstock knows that occupied rentals are much more appealing to investors because they can start generating cash flow from day 1. That’s where the Lease Up Guarantee comes in. This guarantee states that you will secure a signed lease within 45 days, or they will cover rent for up to a year.
The stipulations are that you must work with one of their preferred property managers to fill your vacancy, have it in rent-ready condition, and that you must accept qualified applicants that pass screening guidelines. The Lease Up Guarantee isn’t available for duplexes, multiplexes, or homes purchased as part of a portfolio.
In addition to investing in individual single-family rentals, Roofstock offers portfolio investments that hold multiple properties in markets across the U.S. These are properties owned by the same seller who’s ready to offload a bulk of homes.
You can view the details of each property in the portfolio, and you’ll have a chance to fine-tune your portfolio before closing. For example, you may be able to select specific properties.
Invest through IRA or solo 401(k)
Roofstock allows you to purchase rental properties using funds held in your self-directed IRA or solo 401(k).
Roofstock One is a fully managed investment offering that allows accredited investors to buy shares of specific properties instead of buying the whole property. Inventors purchase shares that represent 1/10the of the home’s equity. You receive economic rights equal to the number of shares you own, and those rights include potential net income rental, appreciation, and tax benefits.
There is a $5,000 minimum investment to invest with Roofstock One. This is a passive investment as properties are professionally managed and financed through Roofstock. Properties are held in a trust and owned by a pool of investors, and Roofstock maintains a minimum 10% share of e property on Roofstock One for at least the first year.
The benefit of investing through Roofstock One is that a minimum $5,000 investment would allow you to diversify your portfolio across a number of markets.
To qualify as an accredited investor, you must meet one of two requirements: have an annual income of at least $200,000 ($300,000 for joint income) for at least the past two years; or have a net worth of more than $1 million (jointly or with a spouse). Your primary residence cannot be factored into your net worth, but your mortgage does not count against your net worth.
Why invest with Roofstock?
Roofstock specializes in single-family rental (SFR) properties, and the SFR market has historically stayed stable and strong throughout the natural economic cycle. The SFR market is already worth $4 trillion, with over 16 million single-family rental properties in the U.S. But that number is expected to grow by 13 million by 2030.
That kind of growth and stability makes investing in SFRs an appealing prospect. When you consider that Roofstock takes a lot of the work out of researching and finding the right investment, you can start to understand how their service could be valuable.
It’s worth mentioning again that Roofstock focuses on occupied rentals so they start generating cash flow ASAP. Roofstock gives you more peace of mind by helping to facilitate 1031 exchanges, offering a 30-day money back policy, and giving you a Lease Up Guarantee on unoccupied homes.
How does Roofstock make money?
Roofstock makes money through marketplace fees that are charged to buyers and a commission paid by sellers. Buyers pay either $500 or 0.5% of the purchase price, whichever is greater. Sellers are charged 3% of the sale price or $2,500, whichever is greater.
Roofstock pros and cons
- Open to non-accredited investors: Accreditation can be a hurdle to other forms of real estate investing, and Roofstock breaks down that barrier.
- Cash-flow positive investments: Because you're not flipping a house or waiting for a commercial real estate development to be completed, you can start generating income from your investment much faster.
- Direct ownership: Buying a rental property is a tangible asset that allows you to take advantage of rental income or sell later if that makes more sense.
- Low fees: Roofstock relies heavily on technology, which like robo-advisors, allows them to charge lower commissions to sellers, which keeps costs down.
- Requires large initial investment: You will likely need to put down at least a 20% down payment on the property you purchase through Roofstock because it’s not your primary residence.
- Highly illiquid investment: Real estate is known as a notoriously illiquid investment, meaning if you need cash quickly, you may find yourself in a tight spot.
- Rental properties require a lot of work: You can have a more passive experience if you hire a property manager, but things break, the home will need maintenance, you might have renters that don’t pay, etc.
- Buying a rental online is risky: You’re relying on a platform to do the heavy lifting for you, but this is still a relatively new platform. Roofstock works hard to mitigate the risks, but buying a property sight unseen and relying on inspections can be risky.
Roofstock review, the final word: Is Roofstock a good investment?
Roofstock stands out in the world of online real estate investing. They leverage technology to make finding the right rental property easier than ever with in-depth analysis. You can literally search and buy rental properties from anywhere in the world.
This is an attractive way to start investing in real estate if you’ve never done it before, and Roofstock has some major perks, especially positive cash-flow investments and low fees. But there are still risks. Owning an investment property takes work, whether or not you acquired it in person or online.
You have to understand the risks and do your due diligence, and if it still makes sense, Roofstock can be a great way to own your first investment property.
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About Millennial Money Man
Bobby Hoyt is a former band director who paid off $40,000 of student loan debt in 18 months on his teaching salary and then left his job to run Millennial Money Man full-time. He helps other Millennials earn more through side hustles, save more through budgeting tools and apps, and pay off debt. He is a personal finance expert who has been seen on Forbes, Reuters, MarketWatch, CNBC, International Business Times, Business Insider, US News, Yahoo Finance, and many other personal finance and entrepreneurship media outlets.