A real estate investment trust is a mechanism by which ordinary investors can buy into property with a large group of others and earn value in two ways. First, it has a market value and shares can be bought and sold. Second, the properties owned by the investment trust may increase in value over time. In some cases investors may also receive an annual share of operational profits from the trust as it collects rent from tenants. The typical real estate investment trust buys large-scale properties such as office buildings and apartment complexes. Therefore, it provides a way for the average person to own part of large, income-generating properties.