Roofstock Review [2022]: Real Estate Investing Made Easy

Roofstock offers an online platform for buying and selling rental properties and investing in real estate.
Last updated Aug. 25, 2022 | By Ben Walker, CEPF | Edited By Michael Kurko
Roofstock Review

FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Opportunities for real estate investing haven’t always been easily accessible to the general public due to the high costs involved. But with certain companies, streamlined investment options are more widely available, even if you’re not an experienced investor.

Roofstock lets you sign up for free and access an online marketplace of single-family investment properties around the country — all from the comfort of your own home. If you’re interested in a home, making an offer is simple. In this Roofstock review, you’ll learn how it works and if it’s the right investment platform for you.

Quick Summary

Simple investing in single-family rental properties.

  • Invest using insights and proprietary data
  • 30-day money-back guarantee (some properties)
  • Over $5B in completed SFR transactions
In this Roofstock review

What is Roofstock?

Roofstock is a real estate investment platform and marketplace that allows you to participate in different types of real estate investing depending on which service you choose.

Roofstock’s main service allows you to buy single-family homes around the country. However, you can also buy portfolios of properties, sell properties, and more.

Roofstock was founded in May 2015 by Gregor Watson, Gary Beasley, and Rich Ford. Its inception came from the belief that the process of buying and selling investment properties was outdated. The purpose of the company was to provide a marketplace where real estate investors could easily find all the information they needed to make real investment decisions.

To date, Roofstock has surpassed over $5 billion in transactions in more than 70 real estate markets. The company also has over 500 employees, called “Roofsters.”

Roofstock

Roofstock

Minimum investment Varies by project
Marketplace fee Higher of 0.5% or $500
Asset classes Single-family rentals (SFR)
Account types available Individual properties, property portfolios, stocks
Features Can filter properties based on the list price, location, gross yield, and more
Distributions Varies by project
Best for... Buying and selling single-family rental properties
Visit Roofstock

How does Roofstock work?

The Roofstock platform is an online marketplace for investing in real estate, but the company offers a variety of services. This includes referrals for property management services for your single-family rental homes, though Roofstock’s focus tends to be primarily on its investment opportunities.

You might consider using Roofstock to buy an investment property, rather than buy directly through an agent, since everything is online on a simple and easy-to-use platform. You can also sign up for free and view detailed information about different properties to help you decide where you want to start investing.

Properties

Roofstock allows you to browse whole, single-family investment properties available for sale. Anyone can view these properties, but you’ll need to create a free account if you want to see more detailed information.

Roofstock properties


You have the option to view all listed properties or you can customize your search using filters. This includes filtering by list price, location, monthly rent, gross yield, bedrooms and bathrooms, year built, square footage, and more.

The Neighborhood Rating was created by Roofstock to give investors a simple way to evaluate the risks and rewards of investing in different neighborhoods. Typically, the higher the rating, the lower the risk as properties are generally in appreciating markets. Lower ratings tend to indicate higher-risk properties with lower purchase prices and higher yield potential.

You can save any property listings you view for quick access later. Clicking on a listing gives you a detailed page about the property and lets you make an offer if you have a Roofstock account.

Roofstock typically has hundreds of properties available to browse, with prices ranging from less than $100,000 to over $1 million. Roofstock markets are available in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Portfolios

Roofstock portfolios are typically multiple single-family properties that can be purchased as a group. For example, you might be able to buy five properties in Illinois or 15 properties in Alabama.

Roofstock portfolio


Each portfolio is different and may have different requirements. In some cases, you might be required to buy a select number of properties in the portfolio, while in others you may need to buy everything in the portfolio.

Bring your own property

This service allows you to submit a rental property to Roofstock that’s not currently available on the Roofstock Marketplace. Roofstock will then screen the property using its underwriting technology to see if it would be a good fit.

If the property is approved, Roofstock will connect you with a vetted local real estate agent to assist you throughout the purchase process. It doesn’t cost anything to submit properties to Roofstock and you can submit up to 10 properties per month.

If you’re approved to purchase the property through Roofstock and the seller accepts your offer, you would have to pay the standard marketplace fee of the higher of 0.5% of the contract price or $500. Roofstock’s bring your own program is currently only available in these select cities:

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Austin, TX
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Charleston, SC
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Columbia, SC
  • Greenville, SC
  • Houston, TX
  • Huntsville, AL
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Jackson, MS
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Killeen, TX
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Lexington, KY
  • Little Rock, AR
  • Memphis, TN
  • Montgomery, AL
  • Orlando, FL
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Springfield, MO
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Tampa, FL
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Waco, TX

Short-term rentals

The homes available for purchase in Roofstock’s “Properties” and “Portfolios” sections are typically meant for full-time tenants. The “Short-Term Rental Properties” section is restricted to rental properties that have been used as short-term rentals, such as through Airbnb and Vrbo.

Roofstock short term rentals


Short-term rental properties can be used by guests for both business and pleasure purposes. They’ve become a popular form of lodging for travelers who want the amenities of a home compared to a hotel room. This could include access to a kitchen, parking, and the ability to share a space with family and friends.

Roofstock One

Roofstock One is an investment program that allows investors to purchase shares of tracking stocks that reflect the economic performance of single-family rental (SFR) property portfolios. This is a real estate investment trust (REIT) structure that tracks the financial performance of real estate properties.

Roofstock One is separate from the general Roofstock marketplace and has additional requirements. It’s only available to accredited investors and requires a $5,000 minimum investment. After the initial investment, you can purchase shares for as little as $100 each with no limit to the number of total shares you can own.

There are multiple ways you could become an accredited investor, but two of the common ones include:

  • Earning $200,000 (or $300,000 jointly with a spousal equivalent) per year for the last two years and with expectations to meet or exceed this threshold in the current year.
  • Having a net worth over $1 million, excluding the value of your primary residence.

Lennar marketplace

Roofstock has partnered with Lennar, a top U.S. homebuilder, to offer specific investment opportunities with new properties built by Lennar. You can either keep the home or rent it out. Roofstock also offers optional concierge property management services on any Lennar property you want to rent out.

Lennar marketplace


The Lennar marketplace offers investors multiple benefits, including:

  • Lennar quality: Lennar homes are known for their quality, including upscale features like smart home technology and modern interiors.
  • Lennar warranty: Lennar homes are backed by multiple warranties, including a one-year warranty on workmanship and materials, a two-year warranty on different systems, and a 10-year structural warranty.
  • Flexible uses: You can use your Lennar home for personal use, as a vacation home, or as a rental property.
  • Popular markets: Lennar homes are available in multiple cities, including Atlanta, Georgia; Dallas, Texas; and San Antonio, Texas.

Selling

Roofstock also offers opportunities for selling investment properties you no longer want. You can either list your property on the Roofstock Marketplace or request a quick cash offer through the Roofstock Offers program.

Roofstock fees for selling include a 3% charge in commission fees for selling on its marketplace or a 3% service fee for going through the Roofstock Offers program.

Who can use Roofstock?

Learning how to invest in real estate hasn’t always been easy, but Roofstock can help anyone get started. You don’t need an account to browse the general listings available on Roofstock, but a free account will let you view more detailed information about each property.

You also don’t need to be an accredited investor to buy or sell properties on Roofstock. The only service with this requirement is Roofstock One, which also requires a $5,000 minimum investment.

If you want to buy a property on Roofstock, you’ll need cash or financing. Since you’re buying actual properties and not investing in shares or real estate funds, Roofstock might be best if you have some real estate knowledge and are ready to be actively involved. If you plan to have someone else manage your properties, you might not have to be as active of an investor.

How much can you earn with Roofstock?

As with any investment, there’s no guarantee that you’ll earn anything with Roofstock. But the company does try to give you as much information as possible to help inform your decisions about the available investment properties.

This includes giving you detailed information about the purchase price, estimated initial investment cost, estimated rent, and more. However, since purchase costs, rent, and other factors can fluctuate, the amount of money you can earn on each property will vary.

Roofstock screenshot


Using the above example of a house listed in Chicago for a purchase price of $155,000, Roofstock estimates your first-year financial highlights as follows:

Roofstock calculator


Keep in mind that this is an estimate. When deciding if a purchase might make sense for you, it’s important to consider the types of expenses you might have, the property taxes, and whether you’ll have to make loan payments.

It’s also important to do your due diligence on other research as well, including management fees, down payments, and closing costs. Some Roofstock properties include title reports, and all Roofstock Certified properties have had a property inspection. You can view title reports and inspection reports on the property listing.

How to get paid

If you purchase a property through Roofstock, you would be the owner of that property. Part of direct ownership includes collecting rent money from tenants, either directly or using the services of a professional property management company that manages the property for you.

If you’re an accredited investor using Roofstock One to make investments, you’ll be paid in distributions. If your investments are making enough money for investors to be paid, you may receive quarterly distributions. 

How to stay safe investing with Roofstock

Part of learning how to invest money is knowing how to invest safely. Roofstock also offers two guarantees:

30-day money-back guarantee

If you’re not satisfied with the purchase of a certified Roofstock property, the company may re-list it for free on the Roofstock Marketplace within 30 days of your purchase if you qualify. When the property sells, you will be refunded your original purchase price even if the home resells for less. If the home doesn’t sell within 180 days, Roofstock will buy back the property and refund your money when the sale closes. 

Eligible properties will have the guarantee badge displayed on the listing in the Roofstock Marketplace. This doesn’t include portfolio, Select, VIP program, multi-family, or short-term rental purchases. You may only make one guarantee claim per 180-day period.

Vacancy protection

You could receive up to 75% of the predetermined market rent for six months or until a lease has been signed if you purchase an eligible vacant single-family property through Roofstock. The property must be vacant or be subject to a written owner leaseback agreement of 30 days or less at closing, and you must be working with a Roofstock preferred property manager for a property to be eligible for vacancy protection. 

This protection isn’t available for duplexes, multiplexes, portfolio, VIP program, or short-term rental properties.

FAQs about Roofstock

Is Roofstock real?

Roofstock is a real and legitimate company that offers multiple services to individuals interested in real estate investing. Since the company was founded in May 2015, it has surpassed over $5 billion in transactions and won multiple awards, including making the Forbes Fintech 50 Most Innovative Companies list.

To help protect its users, Roofstock offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for select property purchases. You may also qualify for vacancy protection on properties that are vacant at closing.

Is Roofstock a safe investment?

Any type of investment comes with risks, including real estate. However, Roofstock offers a few potential safety nets for its investors, including a 30-day money-back guarantee and vacancy protection on some home purchases.

Is Roofstock only for accredited investors?

Roofstock is available to both accredited and non-accredited investors. Accredited investors typically have an individual or joint net worth over $1,000,000 or make over $200,000 per year.

It’s not a requirement to be an accredited investor to participate in buying and selling rental properties on Roofstock. If you want to participate in Roofstock One, you would need to be an accredited investor and invest a minimum of $5,000 initially.

How to sign up for Roofstock

Follow these steps to sign up for Roofstock:

1. Visit the Roofstock website and select “Sign Up”

Roofstock signup


2. Enter an email address and password to create an account.

Roofstock create account


3. Fill in your first name, last name, and phone number.

Roofstock signup screenshot


4. Build your investor profile if you'd like to, but this step can be skipped.

Roofstock investor profile


5. Start browsing properties, portfolios, and short-term rentals or submit a property.

Roofstock browse properties


Alternatives to Roofstock

For other ways to invest in real estate, including investing in real estate without buying property, you might consider Crowdstreet, Diversyfund, and Pacaso.

Crowdstreet offers an online marketplace for commercial real estate investment opportunities through real estate crowdfunding. The Crowdstreet team has over 120 years of combined real estate and related business experience and has helped their investors earn over $591 million in distributions. Investing in Crowdstreet’s REIT is for accredited investors only.

Read our full Crowdstreet review.

Diversyfund isn’t limited to accredited investors, as it has no net worth restrictions. You’re able to start investing in real estate with as little as $500. This is typically seen as a low amount to get started with real estate investing and an opportunity to invest in areas other than stocks and bonds.

Read our full Diversyfund review.

Pacaso offers opportunities to share ownership in homes with other investors. This is a modern strategy for having a second home to use during different parts of the year in appealing locations but at affordable prices. Pacaso takes care of the property management, including furnishings, utilities, and any needed repairs.

Read our full Pacaso review.

If you’re new to investing in real estate and want to learn more, get started with our beginner’s guide to real estate investing.

Roofstock Benefits

  • Simple investing in single-family rental properties
  • More than $5 billion in completed SFR transactions since 2016
  • Unique vacancy protection or 30-day money-back guarantee for some properties
  • Make investment decisions using insights, proprietary data and technology

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF Ben Walker, CEPF, is a credit cards and travel writer at FinanceBuzz who loves helping others achieve their travel goals through financially sound decisions. For over a decade, he has been using credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of traveling the world. Ben is a Certified Educator of Personal Finance and has been featured in The Washington Post, MSN, Debt.com, and Finder.com.