There are a number of ways to invest in Real Estate. Some ways require way more work, and some require more money.
Method 1) You Purchase a Property Outright 100%. You manage it yourself and deal with all of the Tenant phone calls.
Method 2) You Purchase a Property Outright 100%. You Hire a Property Manager to manager your property and the Tenants.
Method 3) You Purchase a Property 50% / 50% With a Joint Venture Partner. You Provide the Financing and the Joint Venture Partner Deals with all aspects of the Management. In a predefined time sell the property and split the profits equally.
Method 4) You Provide the Financing (Basically a Mortgage) to a Joint Venture Partner. Joint Venture partner owns and manages the Property 100% you receive a Monthly Mortgage Payment. In essence you act like the Bank and are protected on the title the same way a bank would be.
All of these methods are proven ways to invest in real estate. Method 4 is the least hands on only your money is working and you receive a monthly fixed return. Method 1 is the most hands on, have 100% control and stand to profit or lose as the Real Estate market fluctuates.