Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate
Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate

What is a Real Estate Fund of Funds (FoF)?

Written by Than Merrill

Diving into the real estate investment world can be both exciting and lucrative. One of the emerging strategies garnering attention is investing through a Real Estate Fund of Funds (FoF). This method offers a pathway for investors to spread their capital across a variety of real estate investments under one umbrella, potentially minimizing risks and maximizing diversification. The concept of a real estate fund of funds might seem complex at first, but as you delve deeper, the advantages and structure become clear, making it a compelling option for those looking to broaden their real estate investment horizon.

What is a Fund of Funds in Real Estate?

A Real Estate Fund of Funds (FoF) is a type of investment structure where the fund invests in multiple other real estate funds, rather than directly in real estate assets. This approach allows investors to gain broad exposure to the real estate market through a single investment. The primary goal of a FoF is to offer diversification and risk mitigation by spreading investments across various sub-funds, each managed by seasoned professionals with expertise in different real estate sectors.

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How Does a Real Estate FoF Work?

Types of Funds Included

Real Estate FoFs can invest in a variety of fund types, including:

  • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

  • Private Equity Real Estate Funds

  • Real Estate Mutual Funds

  • Other niche real estate funds focusing on specific sectors like commercial real estate or residential real estate

Each type of fund within the FoF has its own strategy, management style, and risk profile, contributing to the overall diversification of the FoF portfolio.

Management and Operations

A Real Estate FoF is managed by a fund manager or a team of managers who make decisions regarding which funds to invest in. They scrutinize the performance, strategies, and management of the underlying funds to ensure alignment with the FoF’s investment objectives. The management fees and other operational costs are crucial considerations as they can impact the overall returns of the FoF. The operational prowess of the management team is key to navigating the complex landscape of real estate investments, making sound decisions that aim to enhance the performance of the FoF.

Pros and Cons of Investing in Real Estate FoFs


  • Diversification: A significant advantage of investing in a real estate fund of funds is the diversification it offers. By spreading investments across multiple funds, investors can mitigate the risks associated with individual real estate assets.

  • Professional Management: Investors benefit from the expertise of professional fund managers who have in-depth knowledge and experience in the real estate market.

  • Lower Risks: The diversified nature of FoFs can potentially lead to lower risks compared to investing directly in real estate assets.


  • Fee Structure: The layered fee structure, encompassing management fees for both the FoF and the underlying funds, can erode the overall returns.

  • Lower Returns: The focus on diversification can sometimes lead to lower returns, especially in comparison to direct investments in high-performing real estate assets.

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How to Invest in a Real Estate Fund of Funds

Investing in a Real Estate Fund of Funds (FoF) can be a prudent way to venture into the real estate market while benefiting from diversified exposure. However, it requires a well-considered approach. Here’s a more detailed guide on how to go about it:

  1. Research: Begin by identifying reputable FoFs that have a track record of solid performance, transparent operations, and reputable management. Reviewing past performance, although not indicative of future results, can provide insights into the FoF’s management capability. It’s crucial to understand the investment strategy of the FoF to ensure it aligns with your investment goals.

  2. Financial Assessment: Assess your financial goals to determine how investing in a Real Estate FoF aligns with these goals both in the short-term and long-term. Risk tolerance is another critical factor; ensure you are comfortable with the risks associated with the FoF’s investment strategy. Real estate investments typically require a longer-term horizon, so ensure your investment horizon aligns with the liquidity and the structure of the FoF.

  3. Consultation: Seeking professional advice is advisable. Financial advisors can provide personalized advice based on your financial situation. Legal advice can also be beneficial to understand any legal implications of investing in a Real Estate FoF.

  4. Legal and Financial Prerequisites: Some Real Estate FoFs may require investors to be accredited, so ensure you meet any accreditation requirements. Preparing all necessary documentation, such as financial statements and identification documents, is crucial as they may be required as part of the investment process. Be prepared to commit the required capital for the investment and understand the terms of the capital commitment to ensure it aligns with your financial planning.

  5. Making the Investment: Once you’ve decided to invest, completing a subscription agreement and other related paperwork to formalize your investment is the next step. Transfer the capital as per the instructions provided in the subscription agreement. After investing, stay informed about the performance of the FoF and the underlying real estate funds, and maintain communication with the fund managers.

What is the Difference Between a Fund of Funds and a Syndication?

In the realm of real estate investment, syndication is another prevalent strategy. Unlike a real estate fund of funds, a real estate syndication is a temporary alliance of investors who pool their resources to invest in a single real estate project or a series of projects. Here’s a comparison between FoF and Syndication:

  • Structure: FoFs have a more complex structure with multiple layers of management, while syndications have a simpler, more direct structure.

  • Management: FoFs are managed by professional fund managers, whereas syndications may be managed by one of the investors or an external manager.

  • Investment Goals: FoFs aim for diversification across the real estate market, while syndications target specific real estate projects.

  • Investor Involvement: Investors in a FoF have less direct involvement in the underlying investments compared to those in a syndication.


The prospect of investing in a Real Estate Fund of Funds presents an avenue for individuals to venture into the vast real estate market with a level of diversification that aims to manage risks effectively. As the landscape of real estate investment evolves, understanding and considering a real estate fund of funds as part of your investment strategy could be well worth the effort. The structured, professional management and the potential to explore various sectors within the real estate market make Real Estate FoFs an intriguing and viable option for investors.

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