Real estate investing is an excellent way to supplement your current income or even create a full-time income stream. But it can be hard work and you often have loads of expenses and purchases to make. If you want to improve your bottom line, consider using credit cards for their earning potential and helpful benefits.
The best rewards credit cards provide plenty of opportunities to earn valuable rewards on purchases you’re already making. In addition, their benefits can offer useful ways to help you save money on your real estate projects.
This guide will go over the best credit cards for real estate investors and help you decide which credit card offers would be the best fit for your real estate needs.
The best credit cards for real estate investing
- Best for a generous sign-up bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Best for common business expenses: Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- Best for house flipping: Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card
- Best for big purchases: Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express
- Best for furniture and electronics: U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card
- Best for simple cash back and balance transfers: Citi Double Cash Card
How credit cards can power up your real estate investing
If you invest money into real estate properties because you’re a general contractor, landlord, or something similar, you likely have no shortage of expenses involved with your business practices. This is where credit cards can shine, especially those with a rewards program.
Whether you need to pay for repairs on your rental properties or get supplies for a big renovation on a house flip, credit cards are a valuable asset that shouldn’t be overlooked. Here are a few ways credit cards can help real estate investors:
- Improved cash flow: If you want to start flipping houses or rehab a property for renting, you need money to get started. Real estate beginners may not have the necessary funds to start the process of renovating a home. They also may not qualify for short-term loans on these types of projects. In addition, real estate veterans may have difficulty coming up with money because they’re already juggling multiple real estate projects at the same time. In these situations, credit cards can provide the needed capital to fund repairs or renovations to your property. This can keep your project from stalling and get you closer to your financial goals.
- Earning potential: If you’re already making purchases on supplies, tools, and other expenses with your real estate business, you might as well get rewarded for them. When you compare credit cards, it’s easy to see how rewards cards can help most real estate investors. As you pay for necessary expenses, you’ll get rewarded in the form of cash back, points, or miles. You can in turn use those rewards to get more cash for your business or for other helpful redemptions, such as flights and hotel stays.
- Major rewards up front: Sign-up bonuses are often the quickest way to earn a lot of rewards from credit cards in a short amount of time. The obstacle for most people when it comes to earning sign-up bonuses is the minimum spend required. Real estate investors, though, have a good deal of large expenses they can leverage for big rewards. If you earn enough credit card rewards you might even be able to buy an investment property with points.
- Separate expenses and credit history: Separating your small business expenses from your personal expenses becomes increasingly important as your real estate business grows. Having separate expenses can help make tax filing easier, which can potentially save you a lot of time and money during tax season. And if you use some of the best small business credit cards for your real estate business, you can also separate your personal and business credit history. This can be useful if you carry high balances because of real estate expenses. With the right business credit card, your personal credit score won’t be affected by high credit utilization.
- 0% financing: Real estate investing can be a game of shifting and managing your finances wherever they’re needed. It can be helpful to have a credit card with an introductory 0% interest rate on purchases to assist you with large expenses, like outfitting a kitchen with new appliances or completely replacing a roof. You can avoid big interest fees on these purchases while you build up the money to pay them off. If you’re already getting hit with interest fees on a card, it could make sense to transfer your balance to a new card. The best balance transfer credit cards offer 0% rates on balance transfers, which can save you major money on interest while giving you a long period to pay off your expenses.
The best credit cards for real estate investing for January 2021
|Card name||Best for||Why it’s special|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||Generous sign-up bonus||Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months|
|Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||Common business expenses||Earn 5X points on Lyft rides; 3X points on the first $150,000 spent each year on travel, shipping, internet, cable, or phone services, and advertising purchases with social media and search engines; and 1X points per $1 on everything else|
|Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card||House flipping||Earn 1.5% cash back on all spending|
|Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express||Big purchases||0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months|
|U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card||Furniture and electronics||Earn 5% cash back on two categories, up to $2,000 quarterly and 2% cash back on one one everyday category|
|Citi Double Cash Card||Simple cash back and balance transfers||Earn up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay, plus get 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months|
Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best for a generous sign-up bonus
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. For cash redemptions, each Chase Ultimate Rewards point is worth 1 cent, so you could get a lot of money back for purchases you’re already making. You also get an increased redemption rate of 1.25 cents per point if you redeem for travel.
The Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee, but the cost is easily offset through the sign-up bonus and your potential earnings. You can earn 5X on Lyft rides, 2X points on eligible dining and travel, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases. Because this card is focused on travel rewards with its earning potential and increased travel redemption rate, it’s best for real estate investors who travel often for their business.
Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Best for common business expenses
Every business has some common expenses that just need to be covered. With the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you can earn 5X points on Lyft rides; 3X points on the first $150,000 spent each year on travel, shipping, internet, cable, or phone services, and advertising purchases with social media and search engines; and 1X points per $1 on everything else. You can also earn 100,000 points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months.
The sign-up bonus alone will cover this card’s $95 annual fee, but the earning categories can provide a constant stream of bonus points for your ordinary business expenses. This card is designed for real estate investors who can meet the minimum spend required for the sign-up bonus and also get value from the first $150,000 spent each year on travel, shipping, internet, cable, or phone services, and advertising purchases with social media and search engines.
This card can also be useful for business owners who often travel between real estate properties. You’ll earn bonus rewards for travel expenses and you get a 25% bonus on your travel redemptions with the Chase Ink Business Preferred.
Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card: Best for house flipping
If you want to use credit cards for real estate investments, be aware that not every credit card will earn bonus points on common real estate expenses. You’d typically need to use multiple cards with different earning categories to maximize the rewards you earn. However, cards like the Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card can help you earn the same rewards rate on any purchase.
This card earns 1.5% cash back on all spending and offers $750 after spending $7,500 in the first 3 months after account opening. And because the annual fee is $0, everything you earn is a bonus.
For house flippers and home renovators, the Chase Ink Business Unlimited is a great card to have in your wallet. Real estate expenses can vary depending on the project, so you might not always be buying supplies from the same stores. With this card, you get the same earning rate on everything, so it doesn’t matter where your expenses come from.
Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express: Best for big purchases
If you know you have big real estate purchases coming up, consider using the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express. This card gets a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months after account opening, which can give you enough time to work on your real estate investments without having to pay heavy interest fees each month.
In addition, the Blue Business Plus Amex also offers cardmembers 2X Membership Rewards points on business purchases up to $50,000 each year, and 1X points on purchases after that. So every purchase you make for your real estate business will earn valuable Amex Membership Rewards points you can redeem for travel, cash back, gift cards, and much more.
This card makes the most sense for real estate investors who want a good bonus rate on their purchases and could also benefit from a 0% intro APR on purchases. And if you’re more interested in earning Membership Rewards points over different types of reward currencies, this card would be a better fit than the others. The Blue Business Plus Amex has a $0 annual fee, so there’s no stressing about the annual cost.
U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card: Best for furniture and electronics
With the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card, cardholders get to choose which categories offer you bonus rewards. You can earn 5% cash back on two categories, up to $2,000 quarterly and 2% cash back on one everyday category.
This kind of rewards program can be immensely helpful for real estate investors because they can choose to earn 5% cash back on categories such as furniture and electronics. If you’re renovating a property and setting it up as a rental, you may need to regularly buy those kinds of items, and getting 5% cash back could really start to add up.
It also helps that you get to choose the 2% category, which offers unlimited cash back. Because one of the everyday options for this category is gas, you’d be covered for the fuel expenses of driving to and from your real estate projects. And because the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card has a $0 annual fee, there’s no annual cost to cut into your earnings.
Citi Double Cash Card: Best for simple cash back and balance transfers
The Citi Double Cash Card provides two excellent uses for real estate investors. The first is its earning rate, which is up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay. An unlimited amount of cash back for any type of purchase can be very useful for a small business owner who is buying lots of different supplies to keep a business running smoothly.
The second use is getting a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months after account opening. This can be helpful if you already have real estate expenses on another card and you want to move them to this card to avoid high interest rates. As you save money from avoiding interest, you can work on paying your balance down.
The Citi Double Cash also has a $0 annual fee, so you automatically dodge a common credit card cost.
How we chose these cards
Each real estate investor may have slightly different types of investments. That means you may have different expenses than someone else, so the type of credit card you need should be different as well.
With this in mind, we chose a varied assortment of credit cards from a variety of credit card issuers in order to fit distinct situations. For example, a one-size-fits-all business card like the Chase Ink Business Unlimited is a great choice for earning rewards on any type of purchase, whether you’re upgrading a bathroom or working on drywall. However, you may want more specialized earning rates, which the Chase Ink Business Preferred provides. Or you could use both cards or more at the same time to really maximize your earning potential.
We also included both personal credit cards and business credit cards, as well as cashback cards and travel rewards cards, with the hope that you would find the best new card for you and your financial situation. Keep in mind, the chosen cards may not fit every situation, but they can give you a good idea of what’s available and which card(s) might make the most sense for you.
Can you purchase real estate with a credit card?
It’s possible to purchase a real estate property with a credit card if the situation allows for it. You’d need a high enough credit limit on your card to afford the cost of the property and you might have to pay some fees depending on the company you’re working with, but it’s technically possible. Perhaps a more sound method of purchasing real estate with credit cards is using your cards to earn rewards and then redeeming those rewards for cash. You can then put that cash toward real estate investments.
Can closing costs go on a credit card?
Most lenders won’t accept credit cards as a form of payment for closing costs, though you might be able to do a cash advance on your card. Because cash advances are typically accompanied by large fees, you’d likely want to avoid using this option as much as possible. Check with your lender or loan officer to see what types of payments are accepted for your loan’s closing costs.
What’s the best credit card for real estate agents?
The best credit card for real estate agents will depend on their typical expenses. Many real estate agents constantly drive between properties, so a card like the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express would be an excellent choice because it earns 3% cash back on U.S. gas stations and eligible transit. For a business credit card with bonus categories for both gas and common business expenses, the Chase Ink Business Cash makes a lot of sense.
The best credit card for your real estate business depends on what you need it for. You have many different cards to choose from, so take a look at what’s available and see what each card has to offer. If a card aligns with your spending habits and financial goals, it’s likely the best card for your situation.
Remember, if you’re going to use a credit card for increased cash flow while investing in real estate, it doesn’t often make sense to get hit with high interest fees. It’s almost always a good idea to completely pay off your balance each month so no interest can accrue. If you’re taking advantage of a 0% interest rate offer, be sure to pay off the balance before the introductory rate expires.