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Different risks certainly, not so sure regarding "far less risk". Risk is in the future so we can only speculate. "Office work" as an engineer creates dependencies on others, the benevolence of a corporate employer - my experience has been highly variable. Most engineers I know have re-located more than the average bear and/or travel a ton. All real estate is local, and the buck stops in the mirror.


This really nails the crux of it. Directly held rental RE isn't a passive investment like other vehicles. In reality, it is a business, whether it is a small time thing you do on the side or a full time effort. Some people are born entrepreneurs, others are happy as employees. Some can/will cross the divide. Personally, I have always been an employee, while my dad has always been an entrepreneur, and we both do OK. I'm not really interested in having a small business on the side, so the current state of the RE market doesn't tempt me to invest there (there is money to be made, but you have to work at it). If market conditions were to change, I might be a RE investor, but given my preferences there would have to be some pretty juicy low-hanging fruit. Others are happy running their own RE operations regardless of the state of the RE market. Different strokes.

Just remember that directly held RE is more like a business than a passive investment in most cases.
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