The Changing Face of Real Estate Investing

Real estate investing may never be the same again.

Thanks to the JOBS Act of 2012, real estate finance is no longer reserved for equity firms and high net worth individuals. A new practice called "crowd-funding"  makes it possible for a much wider range of individuals to participate in real estate development. Now individuals can invest $1,000 and receive part ownership in a building and a percentage of the returns from rent and appreciation.

Crowd-funding not only makes investment in large-scale real estate projects available to the public, but it also has the potential to ease tensions between developers and local citizens. It's not uncommon to find that locals are unhappy with the huge office park or hotel that's being built in their backyards. With crowd-funding, the public has the opportunity to have ownership and a voice in what being developed in their neighborhoods. 

Ben Miller, founder of real estate crowd-funding website Fundrise, says the crowd-funding adds "social capital" to the development process. Locals often know what will succeed in their city better than remote consultants or big banks, and they have real connection to the project because it's in their city. With a thousand people invested--financially and emotionally--in a project, developers have access to an unprecedented amount of free marketing and local knowledge.

Long gone are the days of real estate investing being restricted to corporations and the super rich. With the growing popularity of crowd-funding, the new face of real estate investing may look pretty similar to your own. 

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Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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