What is Arbitrage in Real Estate Investing?

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Real estate arbitrage is a profitable strategy used by investors to make money quickly. This article explains the basics of real estate arbitrage, including its definition, how it works, different types in the industry, and the pros and cons of rental arbitrage. Use this guide to determine if arbitrage is the right strategy for your real estate investment.

Key Points:

  • Real estate arbitrage involves buying properties below market value and renting or selling them for profit.
  • The four main types of real estate arbitrage are wholesaling, house flipping, master leasing, and vacation rentals.
  • Consult with a real estate agent or financial advisor to see if arbitrage is right for you.

What is arbitrage?

Arbitrage is a low-risk strategy in finance that involves buying and selling assets in different markets to make a profit. In real estate, it means buying properties below market value and quickly selling or renting them for profit.

How does arbitrage work?

There are two main ways to use arbitrage in real estate. One is buying properties below market value and selling them quickly for a higher price. The other is leasing properties below market value and renting them out for a higher price. Both methods aim to generate quick profits.

Different types of properties can be targeted for a successful arbitrage strategy, with residential properties being the most common choice for investors. The major types of real estate arbitrage are wholesaling, house flipping, master leasing, and vacation rentals.


Wholesaling involves signing a contract on a property and then selling that contract to another investor. It’s the most popular form of real estate arbitrage.

House Flipping:

House flipping involves buying a property, renovating it to increase its value, and then selling it for a higher price.

Master Leasing:

Master leasing, also known as subletting, is a type of rental arbitrage where an investor rents a property and sub-rents it to another party.

Vacation Rentals:

Short-term vacation rentals can also be a form of rental arbitrage. Investors rent properties from owners and sublease them on platforms like Airbnb or Vrbo, creating potential for passive income.

Rental arbitrage, acquiring rental properties below their potential earnings, can be a rewarding investment strategy. However, it has pros and cons. Here’s a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of running a rental arbitrage business to help you decide.


  • Demand: The real estate market always needs long-term and short-term rental units.
  • Minimal Upkeep: Once rented out, properties become a low-maintenance venture.


  • Market Instability: Fluctuations in the real estate market can affect rental demand.
  • Competition: Starting and growing a rental arbitrage business can be challenging due to intense competition.
  • Property Management: Managing properties is a significant expense, both financially and time-wise.
  • Narrow Profit Margins: Profit margins on long-term rentals are around 2% and approximately 10% on short-term rentals.

In Conclusion:

Rental arbitrage offers a low-risk investment opportunity with potential returns. However, competition for undervalued properties can make it challenging to get started and maintain momentum. Consult with your real estate agent and financial advisor before deciding on this investment strategy.

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