What Exactly Real Estate Crowdfunding Is — And Why You Should Care

What Exactly Real Estate Crowdfunding Is — And Why You Should Care

2 min read
Sterling White

Sterling White is a multifamily investor, specializing in value-add apartments in Indianapolis and other Midwestern markets. With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling was involved with the management of over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $18.9MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments. Through the company he founded, Sonder Investment Group, he owns just under 400 units.

Sterling is a seasoned real estate investor, philanthropist, speaker, host, mentor, and former world record attemptee, who was born and raised in Indianapolis. He is the author of the renowned book From Zero to 400 Units and the host of a phenomenal podcast, which hit the No. 1 spot on The Real Estate Experience Podcast‘s list of best shows in the investing category.

Living and breathing real estate since 2009, Sterling currently owns multiple businesses related to real estate, including Sterling White Enterprises, Sonder Investment Group, and other investment partnerships. Throughout the span of a decade, he has contributed to helping others become successful in the real estate industry. In addition, he has been directly involved with both buying and selling over 100 single family homes.

Sterling’s primary specialities include sales, marketing, crowdfunding, buy and hold investing, investment properties, and many more.

He was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast episode #308 and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single family investing and apartment investing to mindset and scaling a business online. He has been featured on multiple other podcasts, too.

When he isn’t immersed in the real world, Sterling likes reading motivational books, including Maverick Mindset by Doug Hall, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, and Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone.

As a thrill-seeker with an evident fear of heights, he somehow managed to jump off of a 65-foot cliff into deep water without flinching. (Okay, maybe a little bit…) Sterling is also an avid kale-eating traveller, but nothing is more important to him than family. His unusual habit is bird-watching, which he discovered he truly enjoyed during an Ornithology class from his college days.

Sterling attended the University of Indianapolis.

Instagram @sterlingwhiteofficial

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Real estate investing is a tool that allows people to build wealth. Because of this, industry leaders want to catapult the reputation of the sector into the 21st century. One way to do this is through real estate crowdfunding. Due to recently passed laws, investors now have access to more deal flow.

Crowdfunding Sites

According to Wikipedia, crowdfunding is “pooling smaller amounts of capital from a large number of individuals to fund a business, venture or investment.” Everything imaginable has been funded on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo  — from rock albums to comic books to trips abroad.

Real estate has not traditionally been associated with crowdfunding. But with the new laws, it now lends itself to crowdfunding very well. In fact, there are entire websites devoted to real estate crowdfunding.


How Crowdfunding Applies to Real Estate

At its core, real estate crowdfunding has been around for centuries. Relatives put money together to buy property. Even large investment companies pooled their funds together to purchase properties. But the primary difference between the collective investing of the past and the crowdfunding of today is the ability to facilitate the process online. Because of the internet, we now have access to this distribution platform.

Related: #AskBP 017: Real Estate Crowdfunding: Should I Invest?

Overcoming the Uncertainty Factor

A factor that may prevent investors of all ages from participating in crowdfunding is uncertainty in this industry. But this concern doesn’t mean that you should stay away from crowdfunding altogether. It just means that you should make sure you do additional research. You not only need to research the property you’re thinking about investing in, you also need to research the operators and market.

The most important thing to maintain while investing in this new sector is due diligence. Don’t allow the lightning-fast speed of internet deals cause you to prematurely rush into a bad investment. You need to go through the same research process with crowdfunding that you would pursue with regular investing.

Use Crowdfunding to Finance Your Commercial Real Estate


As far as investing, the SEC is on it. As of 2013, the commission is only allowing accredited investors to participate in publicly advertised offerings. So before you participate in any kind of online investment, make sure that you meet certain requirements. And whatever your role in investing, it’s important to keep in mind that new doors could be opened for the non-accredited with the recent passing of Regulation A+ for publicized offerings. 

Crowdfunding for real estate investing is essentially rooted in the JOBS act of 2012. Prior to that, there were far more regulations regarding fundraising. But in an effort to heal the nation’s economy since the recession, the government has revamped their entire stance about this approach to investing.

The Commercial Real Estate Development Association recently released a statement to clarify new developments: “Crowdfunding for real estate is not an entirely new phenomenon. Numerous players have entered the field. Although each of these platforms has its own niche and strategy, with different levels of minimum investment, all are geared toward accredited investors who meet specific requirements for net worth and/or annual income. By contrast, crowdfunding under the JOBS Act will open the field to many more, smaller investors.”

Related: How to Use Crowdfunding to Finance Your Commercial Real Estate


Whether it’s online or in person, it’s important to do research before moving forward with any investment. But taking the necessary precautions shouldn’t prevent you from proceeding with crowdfunding. There are more government regulations about online investing than ever.

Just because it’s a newer concept doesn’t mean you should rule crowdfunding out as a possible way to facilitate your progress as an investor. Many reputations have been built online, and there are now plenty of ways to pursue safe crowdfunding.

Have you considered crowdfunding as a way to invest? Any questions?

Leave your comments below!