According to Wikipedia, a real estate investment trust or REIT is a tax designation for a corporation investing in real estate, that reduces or eliminates corporate income taxes. In return, REITs are required to distribute 90% of their income, which may be taxable in the hands of investors. The REIT structure was designed to provide a similar structure for investment in real estate as mutual funds provide for investment in stocks.
Why I Do Not Invest in REITS
The reason for my not investing in REITs is simple. As previously described, our house value already makes up about 73% of our total assets. We are grossly overweight in real estate investments already. Yes, we may live in our house for the time being, but that does not take away from the fact that it is a part of our asset mix. We could sell our home tomorrow and rent another house or condo.
When we borrowed the money to buy our house, we took out a loan in the form of a mortgage from a bank. Compared with our previous life experience with money, the dollar amount of this loan was overwhelming. Even though we had plans to live in our new house, which we do now, we made an extremely large investment in Brantford, Ontario, Canada residential real estate. I prefer not to add to my real estate investments (which already make up 73% of our total assets), by buying REITs. Similarly, if we were renting a condo and we had a $250,000 portfolio of stocks and mutual funds, I might consider adding some REITs or even buying a house.
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