With CEO & CoFounder of SmartCrowd
How can we help you?
Our FAQ's page is built to answer any question you might have
SmartCrowd is a regulated real estate crowdfunding platform that enables people to grow their wealth by collectively investing in income-generating properties. Through SmartCrowd, users can reap all the benefits of direct real estate investments (i.e., by owning the properties) and reduce their risk by allocating their capital across a number of properties all through an award-winning digital platform. SmartCrowd makes real estate investing, easy, hassle-free, and less risky for people by allowing people to invest for as low as AED 5,000 (approximately $1400).
SmartCrowd is registered in the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (“DFSA”). The DFSA is the financial services regulator of the DIFC.
Starting Your SmartCrowd Journey: Becoming an Investor
SmartCrowd provides pre-vetted property investment opportunities, transparent data, and gives investors the ability to diversify their real estate portfolios through a secure & regulated real estate investment platform.
- SmartCrowd, a regulated platform by Dubai Financial Services Authority.
- Members get access to institutional data and market valuations for free.
- You can create a diversified real estate portfolio and start earning passive income almost immediately
- SmartCrowd is entirely Digital. You can invest from anywhere in the world and there’s no travelling required.
- Low minimum of AED 5,000 (approx than $1400) to invest in a range of different properties.
- It’s hassle-free investing. No personal property management required and you don’t need to be a real estate expert (far from it)
It’s free for you to join SmartCrowd. There’s no commitment to invest once you create an account. However, for compliance reasons if your account is dormant (you have not completed registration and/or have not invested on SmartCrowd), your account may be deleted. Don’t worry, we’ll notify you in advance to let you know what to do if you want to keep your account!
It’s simple and free! Register on the SmartCrowd platform and complete the entire process in 5 minutes.
Once you’re registered, browse live properties and invest in those that align with your goals. Top up your digital wallet via a bank transfer and complete your investment. Once the property you invest in gets 100% funded, sit back, relax and watch your wealth grow.
All users will go through compliance checks before onboarding & start investing. As per the DFSA AML Rules and in accordance with UAE Federal AML Laws, Smart Crowd has implemented a robust Anti Money Laundering framework to ensure that Smart Crowd mitigates the risk of money laundering or terrorist financing activity through its platform. Smart Crowd’s AML framework includes, but is not limited to, the designation of a Money Laundering Reporting Officer, employee AML training and the implementation of a Customer Due Diligence process
In each investment opportunity, Smart Crowd limits maximum ownership to 24.99% to ensure no individual owns a majority interest.
However, the total amount that a user can invest in the platform, depends on the type of investor you are. There are two types of investors, retail investors and professional investors.
Professional Investor: If you are classified as a “professional client,” then you will have no limitation on how much you can invest using our platform. A professional client is one who has prior experience and understanding of relevant financial markets, and a decent net-worth from their previous investments.
Retail Investor: If you are classified as a “retail client,” then you will be restricted to $50,000 over a year. According to the DFSA, an individual is classified as a Retail Client if they cannot meet the Professional Client criteria or if they opt to be classified as a Retail Client. These clients are also offered more protection because they are deemed to have less net worth, experience and understanding of relevant financial markets than a Professional Client. We are required to provide Retail Clients with certain disclosures and risk warnings that we may not necessarily provide a Professional Client. Furthermore, we will handle Retail Client complaints in accordance with specific requirements as defined by the DFSA.
Smart Crowd classifies all users as Retail Client unless the user requests to be classified as a Professional Client.
According to the DFSA Rule Book, COB Section 2.3.7, an individual is a professional client if:
- The individual has net assets of at least USD 1 million, excluding the value of primary residence. Assets that are indirectly owned can be included in the calculation and either
- Within the previous two years, the individual is, or
- Has been, an employee in a relevant professional position of an Authorized Firm or a Regulated Financial Institution or
- The individual appears, on reasonable grounds, to have sufficient experience and understanding of relevant financial markets, products or transactions and any associated risks.
Smart Crowd will need to verify the above information in order to classify you as a professional client.
Investment Structure and SPVs
You are in 100% control of funds in your digital wallet. SmartCrowd is required to provide regular reports to the regulator on the client money account as well as conduct regular independent audits on the client money account. Think of your digital wallet like a separate bank account to keep your capital safe to invest on the SmartCrowd platform . You can add or withdraw your funds from your digital wallet at any time at no charge to you. Please note: standard bank charges may apply at withdrawal depending on your bank. These charges are independent of SmartCrowd.
Smart Crowd will establish an investment vehicle, called a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the purpose of purchasing the investment property.
Each property on SmartCrowd has its own corresponding SPV. And each SPV is broken into 1,000,000 shares. For ease of calculation, if a property is worth AED 1 million, each share in that property is worth AED 1. If an investor invests AED 5,000 – he/she owns 5,000 shares in that investment or 0.5% of the property. As per the Dubai Land Department’s requirement, this vehicle will be incorporated and registered in the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre).
The shares are always the property of the investors and they are the ultimate beneficial owners. SmartCrowd does not own any shares. SmartCrowd facilitates the entire process to make this method of investing possible for you.
A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is just a fancy way of saying “a separate new entity” – it’s no different than setting up a new business.
Currently, RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Agency) cannot accommodate more than five to ten people on a property’s title deed.
In order to accommodate multiple investors on a property title deed, SmartCrowd establishes one one SPV for every investment property so that there isn’t a limit on the number of shareholders that can collectively invest in a property.
As an investor, you do! You are the ultimate owner and beneficiary of the property proportionate to your investment amount. For example, if you invest AED 5,000 in a AED 1M property, you own 0.5% of that property. The remaining 99.5% is held by other property investors like you! Collectively, you all earn dividends through the property. Through this mechanism, not only can you invest in an affordable manner, but you can also reduce your risk because you can spread your capital across dozens of properties as opposed to one (i.e., as the adage goes: don’t put all your eggs in one basket!).
Since it is not possible to list out dozens of names on a single title deed, the name issued on the title deed (ownership document) is that of the SPV corresponding to your property. Do not be worried. Ultimately, you own direct shares in the SPV, which in turn is only responsible for holding the asset that is your investment property and paying out dividends to you. To see your name as a shareholder, simply go on to the DIFC public register and type the name of the SPV that corresponds to your property. Typically the name of the SPV starts with the initials “SC” followed by a hyphen and a number.
The total amount that a user can invest through SmartCrowd depends on the type of investor. There are two types of investors, retail investors, and professional investors.
Professional Investor: If you are classified as a “professional client,” then you will have no limitation on how much you can invest using our platform. A professional client has prior experience and an understanding of relevant financial markets, and a net worth of USD 1 million excluding primary residence.
Retail Investor: If you are classified as a “retail client,” then you will be restricted to a total of $50,000 (approx. AED 183,000) investments in total in a calendar year i.e. from January 1st to December 31st.. According to the DFSA, an individual is classified as a Retail Client if they cannot meet the Professional Client criteria or if they opt to be classified as a Retail Client. These clients are also offered more protection because they are deemed to have less net worth, experience, and understanding of relevant financial markets than a Professional Client. We are required to provide Retail Clients with certain disclosures and risk warnings that we may not necessarily provide a Professional Client. Furthermore, we will handle Retail Client complaints per specific requirements as defined by the DFSA.
Note: SmartCrowd classifies all users as a Retail Client unless the user requests to be classified as a Professional Client.
If the Total Funding Target is achieved and the Investment Round completes you will be sent a share certificate representing your Shares. If the Total Funding Target is not achieved within the relevant time period, all committed funds will be returned, without deduction of any fees or expenses, your Smart Crowd Account (Smart Crowd Account). You can then choose to use the returned funds towards another Property or withdraw the funds from your Smart Crowd Account entirely. Please note where you initiate a withdrawal of funds from your Smart Crowd Account via the Platform, we will return your funds to the bank account which you used to fund your Smart Crowd Account. Your Smart Crowd Account is a segregated account operated by Emirates NBD.
A Material Change means any change or new matter that may significantly affect the value of the Property, the ability to rent the Property, the return on the Property or the value of the Investment. If a Material Change occurs during the commitment period, Smart Crowd will disclose prominently on its Platform details of the material change; notify committed investors of the material change and require them to reconfirm their commitment within 5 business days; and if reconfirmation is not provided within 5 business days, cancel the commitment. If a Material Change occurs after the commitment period, Smart Crowd will disclose prominently on its Platform, details of the material change; any change in the rights of investors, arising from the material change; and what steps, if any, Smart Crowd is proposing to take as a result of such change.
We have structured a 3-stage approach to evaluate each investment opportunity in the most efficient way. The properties go through a rigorous selection process and as a result, only a small amount of them actually end up on the platform.
We work with financial institutions, property brokers and consult with independent consultants who provide their expertise. Alongside this, we use real-time market data provided by REIDIN, a reputable leader in real estate market data to ensure that our platform offers only quality properties that will provide healthy returns.
You can review the extensive details of our screening criteria here.
Yes. You have 100% control over your investment decisions. SmartCrowd only provides you with a marketplace of select, and pre-analyzed options to choose from. SmartCrowd lists property details, including property amenities, financial data, market data, and real-time property valuation powered by an independent third party to assist you in your decision-making. SmartCrowd does not provide any advice or recommendation. You decide how much and in which property you want to invest in.
Profiting From Your Investments
You own a share of an individual property via a DIFC Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). The returns are issued from the SPV and you receive a share of returns proportionate to your investment as a shareholder.
The frequency of returns are based on the current tenancy contract and how many cheques the tenant pays their rent in.
The returns available to property owners are calculated as the rent collected from tenants, minus the property-related costs, which include but are not limited to, service charges, repairs & maintenance, property insurance and management fees.
Estimates of future returns are provided with the property listing on the platform. Our estimates are available for review as part of the investment process. However, it is important to note that this information is based on past performance, which cannot be regarded as an accurate indicator of future results. Smart Crowd does not provide investment advice. We only provide you with the tools and transparent market information to help make your investment decision.
Investors can sell their shares at any time, although SmartCrowd recommends a holding period of 5 years. At the end of the recommended holding term, a mandatory vote is called where investors are given the option to sell their investments at market value (each property is evaluated by an independent Real Estate Regulation Authority (RERA) approved valuator).
However, this vote can be called sooner by SmartCrowd, or any of the investors for valid reasons (i.e., there’s opportunity to make a handsome profit). The vote is based on proportionate weighting of your investment. That means, if you own 10% of the shares in a property, your vote carries a 10% weight. We don’t allow anyone to own more than 24.90% of a property. This is designed to ensure that no one is a controlling party. Here’s an example: imagine 60% of the shareholders decide to exit/sell their shares. In this case, 60% of the shares will be re-listed on the platform to replace those shareholders with new ones. If the 60% does not get funded by investors on the platform, then the property is sold in the open market and everyone is exited. Conversely, in a situation where 40% decide to sell and 60% decide to retain the investment, we will list 40% of shares on the platform. However, if we the 40% does not get funded within the funding period, the investors will have to retain their ownership along with the majority.
We are launching a secondary market in the second half of 2021 where you will be able to sell your shares at periodic intervals within a year to other investors. This will provide you with more options to exit your investment more frequently. Remember, real estate should not be treated as a speculative asset. It is a great investment for those who have the appetite to weather out short-term economic fluctuations.
SmartCrowd limits maximum ownership to 24.90% in each investment opportunity to ensure no individual owns a majority interest. This is to protect the interest of all shareholders, whether large or small. SmartCrowd exists to allow investors to diversify their investments. Why invest AED 1 million in one property when you can divide that into 20, reduce your risk, and optimize your returns?
Maintainance, Management & Insurance
Each property will have an assigned facility manager. All facility managers are RERA-approved and reviewed by Smart Crowd.
The investment vehicle will enter into a management agreement via SmartCrowd in its capacity as the administrator of the investment vehicle, which will assign property management to the selected facility manager.
Facility management fees are typically 3-5% of the gross rent deducted from the rental income. These charges include advertising, managing the property, collecting rents, managing tenants and works with RERA for any issues. This charge excludes VAT, legal expenses and certain costs, such as standard maintenance charges and any repair and maintenance expenses.
Yes. Each property is covered with standard property insurance that ensures your capital is protected against catastrophic damages such as floods or fires.
We don’t expect investors to make further capital contributions. Gross rents funds all costs including bills and fees. Property insurance mitigates the risk of catastrophic damage, such as flood or fire.