If you're intent on investing in the real estate you better be informed of the peculiarities of what you're facing by dividing real estate into several categories. • Residential real estate investments are properties such as houses, apartment buildings, townhouses, and vacation houses where a person or family pays you to live in the property. The length of their stay is based upon the rental agreement, or the agreement they sign with you, known as the lease agreement. Most residential leases are on a twelve-month basis in the United States. • Commercial real estate investments consist mostly of things like office buildings and skyscrapers. If you were to take some of your savings and construct a small building with individual offices, you could lease them out to companies and small business owners, who would pay you rent to use the property. • Industrial real estate investments can consist of everything from industrial warehouses leased to firms as distribution centers over long-term agreements to storage units, car washes and other special purposes real estate that generates sales from customers who temporarily use the facility. • Retail real estate investments consist of shopping malls, strip malls, and other retail storefronts. In some cases, the landlord also receives a percentage of sales generated by the tenant store in addition to a base rent to incentivize them to keep the property in top-notch condition. • Mixed-use real estate investments are those that combine any of the above categories into a single project. Beyond this, there are other ways to invest in real estate if you don't want actually to deal with the properties yourself. Real estate investment trusts, or REITs, are particularly popular in the investment community. When you invest through a REIT, you are buying shares of a corporation that owns real estate properties and distributes practically all of its income as dividends. You can also get into more esoteric areas, such a tax lien certificates. Technically, lending money for real estate is also considered real estate investing, but I think it is more appropriate to consider this as a fixed income investment, just like a bond, because you generating your investment return by lending money in exchange for interest income. You have no underlying stake in the appreciation or profitability of a property beyond that interest income and the return of your principal. Likewise, buying a piece of real estate or a building and then leasing it back to a tenant, such as a restaurant, is more akin to fixed income investing rather than a true real estate investment. You are essentially financing a property, although this somewhat straddles the fence of the two because you will eventually get the property back and presumably the appreciation belongs to you. These are some of the avenues by which an individual / a company can venture into the world of Real Estate investments and can make a profit out of it too, but real estate investments are subject to market risks, you should be able to negate that if you have done your homework and invest wisely.