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HappyNest Review 2024: Features, Pros and Cons

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HappyNest is a micro-investing platform that specializes in commercial real estate. With HappyNest, non-accredited investors in the US can get real estate exposure in their portfolio for as little as $10.

But how does HappyNest work? Can you really invest in real estate with just $10?

In this HappyNest review, we’ll discuss these questions and more. We’ll take a closer look at the platform so you can decide if it’s a good option for your investing needs.

HappyNest

2.6

on HappyNest’s website

Quick Summary: HappyNest is a real estate investment platform where users can invest in a diversified real portfolio for as little as $10. The platform is available to non-accredited investors too.

Promotion: None

Pros:

  • Low investment minimums
  • Open to non-accredited investors
  • No monthly or annual account management fees
  • Invest your spare change in real estate
  • Supports recurring investments

Cons:

  • Unclear pricing structure and fees
  • Limited liquidity
  • Limited track record
  • Has relatively few properties in its portfolio

What Is HappyNest?

HappyNest is a real estate micro-investing platform for non-accredited individual investors in the US. It was founded in 2017 by Jesse Prince, a former US Army Captain and experienced real estate investor.

What sets HappyNest apart from other similar platforms is that it has low barriers to entry, including a $10 minimum investment requirement. HappyNest also offers a range of other unique features, including the ability to invest your spare change into a portfolio of commercial properties.

HappyNest Homepage
Source: HappyNest

How Does HappyNest Work?

To use HappyNest, you first need to make and fund an account. Once your account is up and running, you can purchase shares of HappyNest’s private REIT (real estate investment trust).

After you make an investment, you become a shareholder of HappyNest’s REIT. As a shareholder, you can earn dividends from any of the net income that the REIT produces. HappyNest strives to pay dividends on a quarterly basis (though returns aren’t guaranteed), and these dividends are the main way that investors make money from the platform.

HappyNest’s REIT shares have a target hold period of at least three years. After a six-month initial wait period, you can request to redeem your shares early.

However, you won’t receive the full NAV (net asset value) of your shares unless you wait three years before selling your investment. You can also only sell your shares twice per year, and all redemption requests must be approved by the company’s board. As a result, HappyNest is primarily designed for long-term investors.


How to Open a HappyNest Account

The only way to open a HappyNest account is via the firm’s mobile app. HappyNest is also only available to US citizens and residents over the age of 18.

Once you download the mobile app, you’ll be prompted to create an account by entering an email address and password. From there, you need to provide:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Physical address
  • Phone number
  • Social Security Number

After you create your account, you need to fund your portfolio with a bank transfer of at least $10. As soon as your account is funded, you can buy shares of the firm’s REIT.

HappyNest Sign Up
Source: HappyNest

HappyNest Features

Here’s a look at some of the key features that you can look forward to when you sign up for a HappyNest account.

Minimum Investment$10
Account Fees$0 (broker fees) and $0 (platform fees). Other fees apply and can go as high as 3% of the fund’s proceeds.
Offering TypesPrivate Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
Property TypesCommercial Real Estate (CRE)
Advertised Returns5% to 6% annual dividend yield
DistributionsQuarterly
Investment Term3+ years
Mobile AppiOS and Android
Secondary MarketNo
Accreditation RequiredNo
Self-Directed IRANo
1031 ExchangeNo
SupportEmail ([email protected]) and chat

Low Investment Minimums

While many private REITs have minimum investment requirements of $10,000 or more, HappyNest lets you invest in its REIT with as little as $10. A $10 investment gets you a single share of the company’s REIT, so it’s a starting point for investors on a limited budget.

Available to Non-Accredited Investors

Unlike many real estate platforms, HappyNest doesn’t require investors to be accredited. HappyNest welcomes any US citizen or resident over the age of 18 with a valid Social Security Number to open an account.

HappyNest Strategy
Source: HappyNest

Invest in Private REITs & Commercial Real Estate

When you invest with HappyNest, you’re investing in the company’s private REIT, which is backed by a portfolio of commercial properties. These commercial properties include a range of tenants, including brands like FedEx, CVS, and Bonner Carrington.

As of the time of writing, HappyNest’s private REIT portfolio includes three commercial properties with average term leases of 10 years. It has a targeted dividend investment yield of about 5–6%, depending on the success of the fund.

There are some advantages to investing in private REITs, like HappyNest’s, including the opportunity for higher dividend yields. However, private REITs come with a lot of risk. 

This is particularly true for smaller REITs like HappyNest’s as they have less diversification built into their portfolios. HappyNest’s REIT does have some reputable corporate tenants, though the fact that it has so few property holdings makes it a fairly high-risk investment.

Nest Egg

The HappyNest app’s Nest Egg feature is a savings tool that helps you visualize how much you need to invest to meet your financial goals.

To use the tool, you first need to input how much you want to save and your time horizon. Nest Egg will then give you a projection of how much your account value could potentially grow over time so you can determine if you’re on track to meet your goals.

Automated Investing

To help you put your investing strategy on auto-pilot, HappyNest offers an automated investing feature. With this feature, you can establish weekly or monthly recurring investments into your HappyNest account.

When you set up auto-investing, your funds will be transferred from your linked bank account to your HappyNest portfolio according to your chosen schedule. There’s no additional fee to set up automated investments and you can cancel your recurring deposits at any time.

HappyNest Invest In Commercial Real Estate
Source: HappyNest

Loose Change

Loose Change is a feature from HappyNest that lets you round up spare change from your daily purchases so that you can make micro-investments in your real estate portfolio.

Using the Loose Change feature requires connecting your bank account or credit card to HappyNest via Plaid. Plaid will automatically track your spending and contribute your spare change to your HappyNest account once your accumulated total reaches $5.

Note that HappyNest currently offers a six-month free trial for this feature. After your trial period ends, it costs $1 per month to use Loose Change.

Past Performance & Dividend Yield

HappyNest hasn’t yet publicly published its investment returns. But according to US law, the company, like all REITs, must pay out at least 90% of its annual net income to shareholders. HappyNest aims to pay 100% of its net income to investors, and it has a target quarterly dividend return of 5–6%.

But there is no guarantee that HappyNest will earn income in any given year, so your dividend payouts aren’t guaranteed either. It’s possible that you may receive more or less than the target 5–6% dividend yield each year, so keep that in mind before you invest.

HappyNest How Does It Work
Source: HappyNest

Mobile App

The HappyNest platform is currently only available via the company’s mobile apps. HappyNest has both iOS and Android apps available, both of which have relatively good reviews.

Since the HappyNest app is the firm’s only platform, it offers all the features you need to manage your account. This includes support for making deposits, setting savings goals, viewing your portfolio, and researching future investment opportunities.


HappyNest Pricing & Fees

Technically, HappyNest doesn’t have any account fees. That’s because the company doesn’t directly charge any account management or commission fees to investors.

But this doesn’t mean that HappyNest is free to use.

According to the offering circular that HappyNest filed with the SEC, the company indirectly charges fund fees to cover the costs of its operations. For example, HappyNest currently charges the following: 

  • Monthly asset management fee: 0.0417%
  • Acquisition fee: 3%
  • Disposition fee: 3%
  • Property management fee: 1% 

As of the time of writing, you won’t see this money deducted directly from your account. Rather, these fees will lower the total dividends that you might earn through HappyNest because each fee reduces the profitability of your investments.

If you don’t like to pay out of pocket for account management fees, this fee structure might be ideal. But the major downside to this pricing system is that it lacks a lot of transparency for investors.

HappyNest Pricing
Source: HappyNest

HappyNest Security

To protect your personal information, HappyNest has a security system in place. This security system includes 256-bit encryption on the HappyNest app, email verification, and unusual activity alerts to protect your account from bad actors.

However, HappyNest holdings are not FDIC or SIPC insured. The company also doesn’t mention any private insurance coverage for its account holders, so there is a risk of financial loss if the platform goes out of business.


HappyNest Customer Service

If you have an issue with your HappyNest account, the only way to contact the company’s support team is via email. The company has a chatbot service on its website, but it doesn’t currently offer phone-based support.


HappyNest Pros

  • Open to non-accredited US-based investors 
  • Minimum investment requirement of just $10
  • User-friendly app with a sleek interface
  • No monthly or annual account management fees
  • HappyNest REIT includes commercial properties with reputable tenants
  • Loose Change feature lets you invest your spare change in real estate
  • Supports weekly and monthly recurring investments
  • Aims to provide quarterly dividends to investors

HappyNest Cons

  • Pricing structure makes it difficult to know how much you’re paying in fees
  • Very limited liquidity with few opportunities to redeem your shares early
  • New company with a limited track record of success
  • Has relatively few properties in its portfolio
  • No phone-based customer support
  • Minimum holding period of six months on HappyNest REIT shares
  • Will only let you sell shares twice a year (subject to board approval)
  • Penalties for selling shares that you’ve held for less than three years

HappyNest Alternatives

Not sure that HappyNest is right for you? Here are two HappyNest alternatives to consider instead.

HappyNest vs. Fundrise

Fundrise is one of the best-known real estate investing platforms. The company allows non-accredited investors to get real estate exposure in their portfolios for as little as $10.

The main difference between Fundrise and HappyNest is in each company’s track records and pricing structures. Fundrise charges approximately 1% in account management and fund fees to all investors, which is lower than what you’re indirectly charged through HappyNest’s REITs.

That said, the real advantage of Fundrise over HappyNest is that it is a much more established company with a solid track record. Returns aren’t guaranteed with Fundrise, but the company has been in business since 2012 and has seen historical annual returns of 7–22%. Read our full Fundrise review to learn more.

HappyNest vs. Streitwise

Streitwise is a real estate investing platform that’s open to non-accredited investors. When you invest with Streitwise, you’re purchasing shares of the company’s REIT, which has yielded a historical average dividend of around 9%.

The downside to Streitwise is that it has a higher minimum investment requirement (500 shares, or about $5,000). Stretiwise’s fees are also somewhat high (2% annual management fee — ongoing) when compared to Fundrise and HappyNest. 

But Streitwise is a well-established company with a large portfolio of commercial properties and a solid track record, so it’s an interesting option if you can meet the high initial investment requirement.

HappyNestStreitwise LogoFundrise
Our Rating

2.6

4.0

4.4

Fees$0 (broker fees) and $0 (platform fees). Other fees apply and can go as high as 3% of the fund’s proceeds.2% annual management fee1.0% per year
Account Minimum$10$5,000$10
PromotionNoneNoneAdvisory fee waived (*12 months)
HighlightAccess to commercial real estate investment opportunitiesInvest in commercial real estate via an equity REITAccess to private real estate deals
Best ForNon-accredited investorsLong term investorsLong term investors

Who Is HappyNest Best For?

HappyNest is best for non-accredited investors who understand the risks that come with investing in a small private REIT. The firm’s low minimum investment requirement also makes it a unique option for investors on a limited budget.

However, there are many risks to using HappyNest. If you prefer to invest in a highly liquid asset class or if you have a time horizon that’s shorter than three years, HappyNest likely isn’t the best choice for you.


HappyNest Review FAQ

Here are our answers to some of your most frequently asked questions about HappyNest.

Is HappyNest Free?

HappyNest doesn’t currently have any direct account management fees. However, it indirectly charges administrative fees to manage the properties in its REITs. These indirect fees can lower your investment returns over time.

Is HappyNest Safe?

HappyNest is a reputable, albeit young, company that offers a private commercial REIT to inventors. But there is always risk involved with investing, especially with a smaller private REIT like HappyNest’s. Returns are not guaranteed with HappyNest, and there’s always a risk of losing money through your investments.

Does HappyNest Offer a Mobile App?

Yes, HappyNest offers both an iOS and an Android app. The company doesn’t currently have a web-based platform, so the only way to manage your investments is through the app.

How Does HappyNest’s Referral Bonus Work?

HappyNest typically runs a new subscriber bonus program where you can get $25 worth of HappyNest REIT shares once you create a new account. To earn the bonus, you need to create a new account and make an investment of at least $10. Sometimes, HappyNest also offers a similar referral bonus whenever you invite another investor to join the platform.

What Is the Holding Period for HappyNest Investments?

HappyNest’s REIT shares have an initial minimum holding period of six months. After six months, you can redeem your shares up to two times per year. However, you will only receive 100% of the net asset value (NAV) of your shares if you hold them for at least three years.

In A Nutshell

  • Minimum Investment: $500
  • Fees: $0 (broker fees) and $0 (platform fees). Other fees apply and can go as high as 3% of the fund’s proceeds.
  • Promotion: None
HappyNest

on HappyNest’s website


Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to appreciate about HappyNest for investors with high risk tolerances and long time horizons. But there are also aspects of the platform that warrant caution, especially given the company’s limited track record, small property portfolio, and restrictions on when you can redeem your REIT shares.

At the end of the day, HappyNest is worth checking out if you’re interested in real estate investing. But before you sign up for HappyNest, make sure you understand the risk that comes with your investments.

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