It’s crazy what real estate is selling for these days. In one of the best seller’s markets in decades, some homes are selling for tens of thousands of dollars over the asking price. If you don’t have the cash or credit to purchase a new home or land, you might want to take a look at a different type of real estate investment: digital real estate.

Digital real estate is a place on the internet for websites. You’re reading this on a digital website -- a .com. It may even be a .com that was purchased 20 or more years ago for $10, or maybe it didn’t cost anything at all initially.

Early domain investors have made millions of dollars since the early 2000s. As an example, someone purchased the domain whisky.com back in 2001. I say they purchased it, but in reality, it was free. According to the Domain Industry News Magazine in a cover story from 2014, Michael Costello picked up whisky.com for free and sold it later for $3.1 million.

Other .coms that resulted in huge payoffs for early investors are hotels.com, insurance.com, and FB.com which was originally owned by American Farm Bureau Federation but sold to Facebook for a cool $8.5 million in 2010.

Most of us normal people missed out on the .com early investment days, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t making money flipping other domain extensions. In recent years other domains such as .dance, .run, .community, .realtor, .games, .recipe have gone online. Even those who aren’t flipping the domains for profit have more opportunities to purchase domains for their business or for personal use. Most cost only $10-$20 a year.

Like real-world real estate, domain names are one-of-a-kind. They’re as unique as they can be. If someone has myhomestore.retail, no one else can get it unless they pay the person who currently owns it.

While flipping domain names can be lucrative, they also make nice gifts. I’m sure you’re thinking “yeah, for a geek”, but think about it. If a friend is having a baby giving them the domain with their child’s first and last name and a .me or .cool or .rocks will the most interesting (and cool) gifts they’ll receive. And it is theirs forever provided they pay the $12 a year to keep the registration active.

Where do you buy domains and how difficult is it? It isn’t difficult at all. Google and GoDaddy are among dozens of domain registration companies. You can search for available domains by entering the name and the registration company will find interesting combinations.

Creativity is important. When the domain extension .xyz became available a few years ago, Google purchased and registered abc.xyz for its Alphabet company website. Clever.

Owning your own piece of digital real estate also comes with a unique email address.

Good luck!