Crowd funding appears to be a new way to invest in real estate. Basically money is pooled from many different investors large or small to aquire real estate. Unlike a REIT  or real estate investment trust. The shares are not sold on the stock market and you can invest in debt and euity. Crowdfunding also can qualify for an IRA investment as a self directed IRA however you need an administrator. Many equity investment firms have raised money for crowfunding. It is interesting that this newer type of investing is an out growth of the internet.

I am not using this space for investemnt or legal advice. Although many of  these funds have high returns, I am sure they also have high risks  and are not for everybody.

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=5&id=309084