Economic theory and rational expectations postulate several reasons why listed real estate companies could pursue to achieve the REIT status. However, there are practical and structural up- and downsides of course. This paper employs both the heterogeneity and severity of regulations, incorporates firm specific characteristics, market dynamics and agency issues to reveal driving forces of listed real estate companies, which influence the decision to elect the REIT sta-tus. Our results show two dominant REIT criteria among the legal requirements as well as conversion following behavior across domiciled companies. Furthermore, key executives tend to use the REIT framework to personally participate in the accompanied market effects triggered by adopting the tax-exempted status.