Real Estate Investing for Dentists

By Cecil Staton, CFP®

Real Estate Investing for Dentists: A Guide to Growing Your Wealth and Financial Security

As dentists, our primary focus is always on providing excellent patient care. However, taking care of our financial health and ensuring a secure future is just as important. Real estate investing can be a particularly attractive option for dentists looking to diversify their investment portfolios beyond traditional stocks and mutual funds. In this article, I will guide you through the nuances of investing in real estate, focusing on rental properties, commercial properties, and real estate investment trusts (REITs), and discuss how they can contribute to your financial security and net worth growth.

Why Real Estate Investing?

Real estate investing offers several advantages that make it a good investment for dental professionals. First, it can provide a steady stream of rental income, which is beneficial for cash flow management—a critical aspect of any dental practice. Additionally, real estate ownership comes with tax benefits that can significantly lower your tax liability. Finally, real estate typically appreciates over time, contributing to net worth growth and providing financial security in retirement.

Understanding Different Types of Real Estate Investments

1. Rental Properties

Investing in rental property is one of the most direct forms of real estate investing. As a dentist, you can invest in residential properties to rent out to tenants or commercial properties, such as office buildings, that can be leased to businesses, including dental practices.


  • Rental Income: A major advantage of owning rental properties is the potential for stable monthly rental income, which can be used to cover mortgage payments and other expenses or simply as additional income.
  • Tax Advantages: Real estate investors benefit from deductions such as mortgage interest, property tax, operating expenses, and depreciation, which can reduce the amount of taxable income derived from rental income.
  • Appreciation: Property values generally increase over time, allowing your investment to appreciate and build equity.

Best Practices:

  • Research the Market: Understand the local real estate market to identify areas with high rental demand and potential for property value appreciation.
  • Quality Management: Hiring a competent property manager can alleviate the burden of day-to-day management tasks and ensure your property is well-maintained, which is crucial for preserving the value of your investment.

2. Commercial Properties

Commercial real estate is a broader category that includes everything from retail spaces to office buildings. For dentists, owning the building where their practice operates adds an asset to their portfolio and provides control over one of their major operational costs—rent.


  • Control Over Costs: Owning your practice’s building can stabilize your business’s operational costs, as you will no longer be subject to annual rent increases.
  • Income from Leases: If the property is larger than your practice needs, you can lease the extra space to other businesses, creating an additional income stream.
  • Capital Appreciation: Commercial properties in good locations can appreciate significantly, enhancing your investment returns.

Best Practices:

  • Location is Key: Choose a location that is accessible and visible to attract high-quality tenants and ensure steady appreciation.
  • Understand Commercial Leases: Commercial leases can be complex. Understanding the terms and conditions is crucial before entering into any agreements.

3. Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)

For those who prefer a more hands-off approach, REITs offer a way to invest in real estate without the complexities of direct property ownership. REITs are companies that own, operate, or finance income-producing real estate across a range of sectors.


  • Diversification: REITs provide exposure to a diverse portfolio of properties, reducing the risk associated with individual investments.
  • Liquidity: Unlike direct property investments, REITs are traded on major stock exchanges, providing liquidity similar to stocks.
  • Dividends: REITs are required by law to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders annually as dividends, offering an attractive income stream.

Best Practices:

  • Choose Wisely: Research REITs to find those with a strong track record, stable management, and alignment with your investment goals.
  • Consider Tax Implications: While REIT dividends provide regular income, they are taxed as ordinary income, which could be higher than capital gains taxes on other investments.

Should A Dentist Become A Real Estate Investor?

It’s quite common for dental practice owners to step into the realm of real estate investing, starting typically with purchasing their practice’s office space. This transition can seem like a natural progression in building one’s assets. However, it’s important to exercise caution: venturing too far into commercial property ownership can lead to an over-leverage of debt and an unhealthy concentration of risk. Such scenarios can jeopardize both the practice and personal finances if the market takes a downturn.


After securing ownership of their dental office location(s), dentists should look towards diversifying their investment portfolio. A globally diversified portfolio can spread risk across different asset classes and regions, helping to buffer against potential losses in any one area and ensuring a more stable financial future. This strategic diversification preserves capital and positions dental practice owners to capture growth from a broader range of economic sectors and global opportunities.


Does Investing In Real Estate Lead to Financial Freedom?

When dentists calculate the potential returns on real estate investments, they often overlook significant expenses such as property management fees, property taxes, and real estate agent commissions. These costs can substantially diminish the actual rate of return. Additionally, real estate’s physical and market-specific risks can further complicate investments. Instead of heavily concentrating their capital on real estate, dentists should consider diversifying their risks by investing in a broadly diversified portfolio. Historically, such portfolios have tended to outperform real estate over long periods, offering better returns, greater liquidity, and lower volatility, making them more diversified and potentially more profitable investments.


Does Real Estate Produce Passive Income Streams?

Many include purchasing real estate in their financial goals because it’s often sold as an investment strategy that can lead to financial independence. When seeking higher returns, the best investment is owning your own business. A dental practice owner seeking financial success will usually be disappointed to find real estate investing isn’t passive. Managing properties costs time and often significant funds that lower your return.


After you’ve done everything to increase your practice value and purchase your own building, it’s usually best to start investing in the stock market. Tax-advantaged retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s, Roth IRAs, 529s, etc., can involve little involvement and be much more passive than real estate.

You can read more about investing for dentists.

Financial Planning and Real Estate Properties

As a dental-focused financial advisor, I recommend integrating real estate investments into your broader financial plan. Consider your current financial situation, your practice’s cash flow, your personal and professional goals, and the amount of time you can dedicate to real estate management. Real estate can enhance your investment portfolio by providing potential for appreciation, additional income through rent or dividends, and diversification from market volatilities.


Real estate offers compelling investment opportunities for dentists looking to expand their investment horizons and build financial security. Whether you’re interested in owning residential real estate, your office building, or commercial buildings, finding the best investment takes time and patience. If you’re looking for a dental-focused investment advisor who understands the intricacies of real estate investing for dentists, check us out.

At Arch Financial Planning, we specialize in guiding dentists through the intricacies of benefit plans and the intricacies of the Internal Revenue Code, ensuring you make the most informed decisions tailored to your financial goals.

Arch Financial Planning is a dental-focused financial advisor that helps dental practice owners nationwide. Be sure to read our guide and hire the right team of advisors who can assist with building and selling the practice you’ve built to empower your retirement plan. 

Author: Cecil Staton, CFP® CSLP®

Author: Cecil Staton, CFP® CSLP®

I'm a fee-only financial advisor for dentists serving clients nationwide.

I left the large financial institutions to start my own RIA. I did it so people could pay for real planning and not just an agenda to sell a hidden product. As a fiduciary, Arch Financial Planning, LLC was built on that promise by delivering non-cookie-cutter plans that provide solutions to achieve their goals.

Who do I serve?

Typical: Dental practice owners
Goals: Pay off student debt, start/sell a practice, and grow their wealth
Location: Virtually anywhere in the U.S.

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This website (the “Blog”) is published and provided for informational and entertainment purposes only.  The information in the Blog constitutes the Content Creator’s own opinions and it should not be regarded as a description of services provided by Arch Financial Planning, LLC or Cecil Staton, CFP® CSLP®.

The opinions expressed in the Blog are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or on any specific security or investment product.  It is only intended to provide education about personal financial planning.  The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice.

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