Earlier in the year, Lanny introduced me to a new investment option. In his effort to diversify his holdings, he was looking for an alternative to equities. He shared Fundrise with me and like him, I really liked what I read. So I quickly signed up to invest. This article will discuss my Fundrise investment, the performance of the portfolio since my initial investment, and other facts about the real estate, crowdsourcing website.
Let’s answer a simple question to start. Who is Fundrise? Fundrise is a real estate crowdfunding investment platform that allows individual investors to invest in large, real estate deals. Fundrise has 3 different plans to invest and non-accredited investors can start with a minimum $500. So it doesn’t take a lot of capital to participate in this market! A major selling point for Fundrise.
Bert’s Investment History
I started investing in Fundrise in May 2019. My initial investment was $1,000. Since then, I have made three other investments. See my transaction history below:
I have two different investments in Fundrise, as the transaction history shows. Fundrise is not currently in my portfolio on the website. But I factor it into my quarterly net worth calculation.
Fundrise Supplemental Income Investment
The Fundrise Supplemental Income Investment is the investment that contains various real estate projects. This is the core investment that Fundrise offers to investors (differs from the next investment opportunity). I selected the supplemental income portfolio versus the other two options (Balanced Investing and Long Term Growth) due to the fact that this portfolio is focused predominantly on paying investors a steady stream of dividend income, rather than appreciation of investments. The other investment options were more weighted towards appreciation.
My investments in Fundrise’s Supplemental Income portfolio are currently spread over 81 different real estate projects with different debt ratings (As of Nov. 2019) and anticipated returns on investment. These positions will appreciate, pay dividends, and invest/divest real estate transactions.
After my initial $1,000 investment, I made two other contributions to my account. In total, I’ve added $250 to my Fundrise – Supplemental income investment. My plan for investment is simple, but not defined. On a quarterly basis, I would like to contribute to my account in some capacity. Hence, the additional investment increments are different. But as I’ll discuss later, I would like to develop a more consistent investment plan.
Fundrise Internet Public Offering (IPO)
The second investment was an opportunity presented to all Fundrise investors 6 months after their initial investment. The company continues to grow. With the growth, so does their need for capital. Rather than tapping the equity markets, Fundrise offers their current investors a unique opportunity: an Internet Public Offering.
This allowed current investors a unique opportunity to invest in the company and share their successes. Of course, there is an element of risk to this investment. Since it is an investment in the company, you are now part of the roller coaster ride. If the company succeeds, your investment grows. If the company does not grow as anticipated, your investment could lose value. Further, if Fundrise decides to shut down, you could lose your entire investment. However, after I read the prospectus, the information online, and the growth projections, I decided the risk was worth the investment. Based on my current investments, I was able to invest $1,005 in the IPO.
One of the questions I always have with online lending investments is “How is the investment performing?” There is not as much transparency about the company since the investment opportunities are not publicly traded and do not file financial information with the SEC.
However, from their real estate investments, Fundrise has adopted a stance of being very transparent with their investors. It has helped me have a great understanding of how my investment is performing, including some of the individual fund investments. Note, this section will discuss the performance of the Supplemental Income portfolio, not the IPO.
First, I’ll start with the investment performance of my initial investment. The returns are broken down as follows:
The supplemental income portfolio was predominately dividend focused, so it does not surprise me to see that the majority of return is attributed to dividends. Remember, my initial investment occurred at the end of May. So this represents about six months of investment returns. Annualized, I am set to receive ~$72 in dividends. This represents just under 6% on my initial investment. Hopefully the number increases, since my second investments in Fundrise occurred in September and October. Thus, the dividends were hopefully front loaded when my investment was slightly lower.
Second, I’ll discuss the performance of the real estate projects that we are investing into. The website does not list default rates. However, I can say, since I began investing in Fundrise, I have rarely received an update about a project having problems. In fact, to date, I can only think of 1 property that was having potential problems paying their debt obligations. Fundrise sent a message immediately and discussed how they were working to recover the invested capital. With lower debt ratings on some investments, I was expecting to run into this situation more frequently. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I haven’t. However, I will keep you up to date with this as I write subsequent Fundrise performance review articles.
Communication and consistency: Two Most Impressive Things about Fundrise So Far
Lanny’s initial Fundrise investment article wrote had a few “Pros” that have impressed me a lot during my initial investment period. The pro read “Consistently informed regarding your application and afterwards, your projects within your investment portfolio.”
I love reading the project updates that Fundrise sends via email. The updates cover a range of topics: new investments, projects paying off, major updates on the progress of a project, any issues (as I mentioned last section), or just a portfolio review. One of my major hesitations with investing in Fundrise and feeling like my money was handed to a company and the investment wouldn’t feel real. The company couldn’t do more to make their investors comfortable with their investment. It has truly impressed me.
Other than the communication, the consistency has impressed me as well. Lanny always talked about how much he loved the consistency of his Fundrise portfolio. Each day, the portfolio would slowly appreciate and churn dividends. All consistent, smooth, and clean. That has been very true for me as well. Everything has been smooth.
Summary & Strategy Going Forward
Overall, I’ve been pretty happy with my Fundrise investment. The portfolio is performing exactly as I had expected it too. Very nice dividends, strong investment performance, and minimal appreciation. As an alternative to stocks, I couldn’t be happier six months in.
So what am I going to do now? I mentioned earlier that I would like to have a more consistent approach to investing in Fundrise. My goal is to invest at least $250 per quarter into my portfolio. This would allow me to continue building my position, slowly, without taking away from growing my overall portfolio. Hopefully, then, I’ll be producing a three digit annual dividend stream from this platform.
Are you familiar with Fundrise? Have you had a similar experience investing with them in the past? What are your thoughts on the crowd-sourcing platform? Are you comfortable with my investment strategy going forward? Would you have invested in Fundrise’s IPO?