Another REIT alternative is Realty Income (O - Get Report), a commercial REIT that owns 2,496 properties, making up more than 21.2 million square feet of leasable space. Realty Income is a more prototypical real estate investment trust because of its long-term triple-net lease structure. What that means is that tenants are responsible for costs like property taxes, insurance and maintenances, leaving Realty Income to collect a pre-set inflation-adjusted leasing fee.That arrangement is especially compelling given the fact that Realty Income's average lease is longer than 20 years. Even if there are major shakeups in the real estate market, the firm is able to collect consistent and predictable income from its property portfolio. And because the firm is a REIT, and obligated to pay the vast majority of its earnings out directly to shareholders, that means that Realty Income is an excellent option for income investors. While the firm's 0.2% dividend increase this month doesn't sound like much, it's adding onto what's now a 4.95% yield. Monthly payouts add to this stock's attractiveness as a dividend holding.