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Property Value Want to be a land baron but don't have the cash? Check out a real estate investment fund.

By Dian Vujovich

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you fancy the idea of owning property but don't have thecash to buy it, a real estate fund may be what you've beenlooking for. Real estate funds have been growing in popularity overthe past few years. One of the reasons these income-producing fundshave enjoyed a shareholder increase is that most invest in equityReal Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

An equity REIT is a stock that must pay out 95 percent of itstaxable income as dividends if it's to enjoy a tax-advantagedstatus. What REIT companies typically do is own and manage aportfolio of income-producing real estate. One REIT might ownapartment complexes in the Southwest; another could specialize inowning hotels nationwide.

Because there is almost no end to the real estate propertycombinations you can make, most equity REITs represent asector-specific diversified investment. Put a group of differentREITs in a mutual fund portfolio, and you multiply thatexposure.

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