Assumptions vs. Reality: Who Really Invests in Real Estate? [Infographic]

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What does the average real estate investor look like?

When you envision the stereotype of a real estate investor, you might conjure up a nondescript businessman in an expensive-looking suit working in a high-rise in New York.

But what pieces of that stereotype are true—and what are a figment of Hollywood lore? Let’s dig into who really invests in real estate. While some typical perceptions might ring true, it turns out that the “average” real estate investor might be a bit different than what most think.

Related: What Sets Apart Successful Real Estate Investors From Those Who Fail, Quit, or Never Get Started?

BiggerPockets Study: Who Invests in Real Estate?

Do any of these data points surprise you? What do you find predictable—and what do you find not-so-predictable?

Weigh in with a comment!

About Author

Lauren Hogan

Lauren Hogan is the director of marketing at BiggerPockets. She is an aspiring real estate investor and the person behind any survey, marketing email and general messaging you receive from BiggerPockets. Have feedback about BiggerPockets marketing? Let us know here.


  1. Scott Trench

    Fantastic article! I think the income point is the most telling. Most of our investors fall in the middle to upper-middle-class income range. I am actually surprised by this. I thought that we’d have more ultra-wealthy ($200K+) and more lower income ($50,000 or less) folks.

    • Randy Lehman

      Love the data. Great graphs. Some thoughts about #2 and #3.

      #2 – “Rich” and “High Income” are very different things. Plus I’d guess most of the highest income investors AND highest net worth individuals aren’t on BP, but that’s conjecture.
      #3 – sampling bias, lots of 50+ real estate investors, but they just aren’t on bigger pockets

      The guys in my town that are really making the big real estate moves are 50, 60, 70+ and are not on Bigger Pockets.

      Would love to know what Scott Trench thinks.

  2. Jason Flatt

    This is really interesting, especially in graphic format. 🙂 Thanks for digging into the details and aggregating the data.

    For item 3, it does not seem the assumption and reality are the same. The assumption states age and experience, but the reality only shows age. I think seeing experience would be useful, too.

  3. James W.

    #1 is funny. lol.


    ill add another myth – its easy money once you learn it.

    the fact is we’re dealing with a fixed asset here – that has severe, severe liquidity issues even in a growth market.

    i have experience in stock trading and i can tell you real estate is the exact opposite in liquidity. we’re looking at closers, contractors, renovation times, plan B’s because things didnt go as planned, listing, waiting for a buyer, contract falling apart, relisting, closing, selling and finally banking the money.

    liquidity… is one pain in the backside about real estate.

  4. Andrew Bartelt

    Nearing 40 years of age myself, and having heard for 20 years that social security will not be there for me and my generation, It is not surprising to see the youth of today looking out for themselves. I know if all else fails, a few paid off duplexes will keep me from eating dog food in my old age. Great article Lauren.

  5. james register

    Great Study,
    I liked point #6 the most. It’s all about location, location, location which are three most important words in real estate. We should always look in our backyard (sort of speak) first, then look 25 miles to the left and then 25 miles to the right.

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