What Would Accreditation Change Mean for Real Estate Investors?

Investors determined by a test to be ‘financially savvy’ would be allowed to invest in ways that they can’t now without having a certain level of assets.

Looking up at an apartment building with a very blue sky as the background.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Recent proposed congressional changes to investor accreditation laws promise to leave a long-term mark on the commercial real estate landscape.

Previously, only achievable by having a net income of over $1 million or more than $200,000 in annual net earned income during the last two years, the new proposal from the House of Representatives will allow investors to achieve accreditation status by passing a test that proves their “financial savvy.”

The test, which would be administered by FINRA, would be provided free of charge and would assess the individual's competency and knowledge of the private market. It would also address topics like various securities both public and private, corporate governance and risks associated with private assets, like limited liquidity and different disclosure rules.

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At the heart of these changes is the aim to democratize investment opportunities to the mainstream by lowering barriers to entry for individuals to invest their capital, thereby potentially altering the dynamics of real estate funding. But what are the realities behind these alterations? Ultimately, this should positively influence the securities space so long as new investors are prudent as they assess real estate offerings if they become more mainstream.

Expanding the investor pool

Currently, accredited investors are qualified with more than $200,000 in earned income per year individually, $300,000 per couple or $1 million in net worth. This approach primarily limits real estate investment opportunities to institutional investors or high-net-worth individuals.

With the relaxation of these criteria, a broader spectrum of investors would be eligible to participate in various real estate ventures, significantly expanding the capital pool available for developers and real estate companies and, in turn, providing investors with an additional source of diversification for their assets.

Boosting crowdfunding platforms

The rise of real estate crowdfunding platforms has been remarkable in the past decade. However, their growth was somewhat stifled by stringent accreditation laws. With eased regulations, these platforms could witness an influx of investors. This would not only provide more investment opportunities but also support smaller, innovative real estate projects that might have been overlooked by larger institutional investors.

More investors means more development in the long term, because it means more capital is making its way into the real estate industry. This would offer investors more project diversification and opportunities to participate in the real estate space.

Enhanced project diversification

With more investors in the mix, developers and real estate entrepreneurs will have the flexibility to explore a variety of projects. They won't be pigeonholed into catering exclusively to the whims and risk appetites of a select few. This means the market and investors may see a broader range of projects, from affordable housing and green buildings to tech-integrated commercial spaces.

For example, at 1031 Crowdfunding, we offer a diverse group of projects in spaces like senior housing, multifamily and medical facilities that provide investors with real estate stratification of investments.

The potential relaxation of investor accreditation laws represents a pivotal moment for the real estate industry. By democratizing access, enhancing the robustness of the investment environment and encouraging a broader range of projects, these changes would herald a new era for real estate development and investment.

As with all reforms, careful oversight and ongoing evaluation will be necessary, but the initial indicators point toward a promising future for the industry.

If you’re interested in learning more about this and other potential legislation affecting real estate securities, check out our website.

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This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

Edward E. Fernandez
President and CEO, 1031 Crowdfunding

Edward Fernandez is President and Chief Executive Officer of 1031 Crowdfunding. With three-year revenue growth of 482%, 1031 Crowdfunding received ranking No. 1348 among America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies on the Inc. 5000 list. Mr. Fernandez holds FINRA Series 6, 7, 24, and 63 licenses and is a Forbes Business Council Member. He has over 20 years of inside and outside sales experience and is personally involved in raising over $800 million of equity from individual and institutional investors through private and public real estate offerings. He is highly skilled in the simplification of highly complex real estate strategies and sophisticated investments and is regularly featured on Forbes, Inc., and the TD Ameritrade Network.