Accredited Investors

So, you’re interested in spreading your wings in real estate investing. However, to become an accredited investor and invest passively in potentially lucrative deals, you must meet specific income/ net worth requirements.

If you do meet these requirements, taking part in accredited investing is one of the smartest decisions you can make. Why? Because these types of passive investors can generate cash flow without having to work a regular 9-to-5. In addition, you can easily generate higher returns and lower your risk when you participate in an apartment syndication deal versus trying to handle your own deal.

Take a peek at the blogs below to become familiar with the accredited investor definition, and explore how to get started in this field. For instance, you can find out the benefits of investing in apartment syndication deals, and the best places to invest in such deals. Then, if you enjoy what you read, feel free to check out my hundreds of other blog posts for other valuable real estate investing insights. Also, take a peek at my Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever book for even more strategies for winning as a real estate investor.

Growing Overseas with Jennifer Bourdeau

Growing Overseas with Jennifer Bourdeau

For some professionals, the opportunity to relocate for a career is an exciting next step on their path to success. However, when Jennifer Bourdeau chose not to relocate for her career in the hotel industry, it led to an even more fulfilling adventure. She had always wanted to obtain an MBA degree, and with a reluctance to move for her job, she decided that the time to earn it was now.

 

Education Abroad

Accelerating her timeline, Jennifer Bourdeau started evaluating MBA programs, not only across the United States but across the globe. She enjoyed travel and realized that she might as well create an experience as she furthered her education. Jennifer landed on a year-long intensive MBA program located in Nice, France. Eleven years later, she remains based in the South of France where she is building her career and future.

“I decided to stay. I thought, ‘Okay. Let me give it a go. I will stay in France and try to find a job,’” Jennifer reflected. “I ultimately found a great job working in the travel industry, but in technology for travel.”

 

Financial Clarity

Jennifer Bourdeau was focused on building her professional acumen and career in France as a business consultant in product marketing, working with teams all across the globe. Throughout this period of growth, she sat down to examine her finances, which she was convinced weren’t enough.

“I took a look at my finances, and I realized that I had financial clarity. I thought, ‘Wow! I’m in a good position.’ Before that, I had always had this scarcity mindset. I didn’t have enough money. I needed to keep saving it,” Jennifer said. “I realized that I’m pretty comfortable right now and I can take some risks. And this aggressive saving that I had been doing had given me some options. One of the options was to say, ‘You know what? I’m going to take a break from the corporate world and try out something new.’”

 

Becoming a Full-Time Investor

At the end of June, Jennifer Bourdeau will be transitioning out of her corporate role and into a role that is solely focused on generating wealth and allowing her to make the most of her time: a full-time real estate investor.

Real estate was something that Jennifer dabbled in before leaving the United States. In 2007, she purchased a home that had significant equity in it. To ensure that she could continue owning it, unbeknownst to Jennifer, she started house hacking to pay the mortgage. Since then, her passion for real estate has only grown.

“When I moved to France, I became a passive landlord. I just rented the whole property with a property manager. I’ve done two new-build villas. We’ve also rented them seasonally. So that created quite a bit of income and a bit of work as well on our side to manage those rentals,” Jennifer shared. “I like active investing because it’s a direct reward and a direct reflection of my efforts. So every penny that is made, it’s because I did something well. Every penny that’s lost is because I did something wrong.”

 

Building a Team

Last year, Jennifer Bourdeau continued to diversify her real estate portfolio by investing in multifamily syndications. As she started in this new arena of investment, she realized that she needed to surround herself with individuals and operators who would help fill in the gaps in her real estate savvy.

“When I discovered passive investing, I had no team. I was so clueless. So I just consumed as much content as I could. I spent a really good amount of time upfront educating myself and learning who the players were in this space,” Jennifer said. “And from there, I started to create a little network. I discovered some investor groups. That is my team— these other investors.”

 

A Better Path to Success

Jennifer’s investor network is now more than one thousand people strong, with several hundred actively engaged in providing insight and best practices along the way.

“Now, my aim is more about creating wealth without creating a job. It’s been valuable to have insights and expertise and learning through sophisticated, experienced investors,” Jennifer reflected. “I just became disillusioned with this boomer’s dream where you go to college, you get a job, you buy a house, you get married, you stay dedicated to a company for so long, and then you retire at 65. I just realized there was a different way, a different path to get where I want.”

 

 

About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios. www.thelabcollective.com

 

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Learn From These 6 Investing Mistakes

Learn From These 6 Investing Mistakes

While real estate investing can be incredibly lucrative, these investments come with the risk of moderate or even significant financial loss. Often, investing mistakes are tough lessons that come with a high price tag, but you don’t necessarily have to learn those lessons through your own experiences.

United Property Group Founder Dan Gorman has been investing in real estate for more than 22 years, and he has purchased more than $50 million in commercial real estate. Currently, he owns apartments, office space, and a few restaurants. While Gorman has enjoyed incredible success as an investor, he has also lost an extensive amount of money through mistakes with multifamily and commercial real estate. What can you learn from Dan Gorman?

 

1. Trusting Others With Skin in the Game

When Gorman reflects on some of his biggest financial losses and investing mistakes, he attributes them to not understanding the deals fully and relying on the advice of others. For example, many years ago, he was under contract to purchase a 120-unit apartment complex. The deal was complicated with financing involving bonds, low-income tax credits, and other unique sources of capital. Gorman admits that he did not understand the deal fully. He relied on the advice of others who told him it would be a profitable deal, but those individuals all stood to profit from the transaction. Gorman believes that they were advising him with their own agendas in mind.

Before closing, Gorman rightfully got cold feet. He tried to back out even though he stood to lose a large chunk of money at that stage in the transaction, but his attorney advised him that he could be sued for not following through. Ultimately, Gorman went through with the deal, and he lost a substantial amount of money for many years on end until he sold the property recently.

 

2. Failing to Understand the Transaction

Gorman recalls specifically asking his real estate attorney about one key aspect of the transaction, and his attorney could not explain that component of the transaction to him. In hindsight, Gorman realized that if an attorney who works with real estate transactions on a daily basis could not understand the structure, this should have been a red flag.

He warns others never to get involved with land contracts, lease options, bond financing, and other situations that are over their head. Take the time to understand all aspects of the transaction fully before committing to it.

 

3. Relying on Projections

This particular project was a rehabilitation project that involved putting $2.5 million into the property. The rents were below market value with a two-bedroom unit at the time renting for $650. The projection used by underwriting was $750 per month for these units. Gorman’s attorney advised him that the underwriting projections were too aggressive and that they may not be realistic.

Initially, Gorman saw dollar signs and ignored his attorney’s advice. However, he realized as the closing date approached that his attorney may have been right. This realization came too late because Gorman already had $250,000 of hard money invested in the deal. He has learned to use conservative, realistic projections that are based on actual market data.

 

4. Failing to Understand Contract Terminology

Ultimately, the 2008 real estate crisis led Gorman to go into default on the apartment complex. While he was not behind on payments, the lender backed out of the financing. The only option he realistically had was to file for bankruptcy. However, even though the multifamily property was owned in a protected entity, the bankruptcy triggered defaults in other investments that Gorman owned. Essentially, this one bad deal triggered the collapse of his investment portfolio.

 

5. Not Understanding the Tax Implications

In addition to dealing with the ramifications of bankruptcy and losing money on this 120-unit multifamily complex transaction, Dan Gorman was hit with a huge tax bill when he ultimately sold the property 15 years later. While he sold the property for exactly what he paid for it, he realized a net profit of $1.5 million. This was a surprise to him, and he states that he still does not fully understand how the calculation was made. Because of this net profit, however, he is now struggling to find a way to mitigate his tax liability with only a few months left in the tax year.

 

6. Overlooking Building Permits

This is not the only project that has provided Gorman with major life lessons. One of the more recent lessons that he has learned is tied to an office building that he rehabbed. He met with the building inspector and an official from the fire department to discuss his plans for the project, and they both told him to move forward with it. Through a miscommunication, Gorman believed that a permit was not required to do the work. Now, he is backtracking in an attempt to pull together all of the documents related to the permit. Unfortunately, this opened up a can of worms related to maximum occupancy, usage, and more. The project seemed fairly straightforward initially, but it has become overly complicated because he is dealing with the permit application process midstream.

 

Through his investing mistakes, Dan Gorman believes that residential real estate is easier to invest in than commercial real estate, but both require diligence. He is happy to discuss his investing mistakes with others in the hope that they may learn from them. At the same time, he acknowledges that he still has lessons to learn. Nonetheless, the mistakes that he has made have made him a more conservative, cautious investor.

 

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The First Timer’s Guide to the Best Ever Conference

The First Timer’s Guide to the Best Ever Conference

With a name like “Best Ever,” it’s easy to get excited, and maybe even a little intimidated, about attending your first Best Ever Conference. You might be wondering what makes it the best ever, and how you can get the most out of this conference. And we want to help!

That’s why we’ve developed our First Timer’s Guide for your first Best Ever Conference to ease your mind and help you get the most value out of your time.

 

How the Best Ever Conference Is Designed

The Best Ever Conference, known throughout the commercial real estate industry as the BEC2022, is designed specifically for commercial real estate professionals to focus on relationships and education that will directly impact growth for both you and your portfolio.

 

Our Speakers

Our speaker selection process isn’t about who we know, it’s about what YOU want to know!

Our team listens to and actively engages with commercial real estate investors like you all year round to ensure we stay at the forefront of the commercial real estate investing industry, choosing speakers with expertise and topics that you want to learn about most.

Past speakers have included industry giants such as:

And more importantly, past topics have included:

  • How to Scale Your Syndication Business
  • Lessons in Becoming a Better Leader
  • How to Build a Powerhouse Investing Team, and
  • Multiplying Your Real Estate Portfolio

 

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your time at the BEC2022:

 

Before the Conference

In the weeks leading up to the conference, take some time to create a game plan for your experience. Consider who you want to meet, which services and vendors you might be interested in learning more about, and what topics and insight will be most valuable to you and your goals.

 

Set Your Speaker Session Lineup

First, we encourage you to check out the BEC2022 speaker lineup on our website at besteverconference.com. We will update the conference website regularly as new speakers are confirmed.

Research each of the BEC2022 speakers before the conference. Get to know who they are, what they bring to your table, and the type of information that will be presented. Consider how this information can help you grow your business and portfolio.

It is also a good idea to make note of any questions that come up during your research that you would like to ask the presenters.

Now, break the different speaker sessions into three categories to set your custom speaker session schedule:

  • Must attend
  • Would like to attend
  • Don’t need to attend

 

Shortlist Your Exhibitor Interests

Another good way to make the most of your time at your first Best Ever Conference is to take a look at the exhibitors that will be present. Which exhibitors do you want to learn more about?

Next, go ahead and make a shortlist of the exhibitors you’re most interested in and keep this in your back pocket to make the most of your downtime between sessions at the conference.

 

At the Conference

Balance Your Time

As with most conferences, the top three things you’ll do at the BEC are learn from speakers, network with speakers and other attendees, and browse the exhibitor booths. To get the most out of the Best Ever Conference, you’ll want to strike a balance for the way you spend your time.

Set your speaker schedule into your calendar with locations and reminders so you’re never late to your “must attend” speaker sessions.

During your “don’t need to attend” sessions, try to make your rounds to the exhibitors based on your preparations. Spread these visits out to allow for plenty of time to take care of your basic needs and stay comfortable, fresh, and energized throughout the conference.

And last but certainly not least, plan to spend the rest of your time networking with speakers and other conference attendees.

Most likely, you’ll have questions for the “must attend” speakers — either prepared questions from your pre-conference recon or questions that came up during the presentation. Here is an insider tip: Don’t try to talk to the speaker immediately after their presentation. That’s when everyone is going to want to talk to them and you’ll spend a lot of time waiting in line or look like a weirdo running up to them to get to the front of the line. Instead, talk to them between sessions, at private events, and in the additional group events and parties that will take place at night.

All Work and No Play — Not Us!

Lastly, we’re excited to announce that the BEC2022 will be held at the Gaylord Rockies Resort in Denver, Colorado.

Many BEC attendees use the conference as an opportunity to vacation in Colorado either before or after the conference — skiing and snowboarding are the most popular activities. If this is the case for you, don’t forget to pack your snowboard, skiing, or sledding gear!

 

After the Conference

The value from the BEC doesn’t stop at the end of the conference, it only continues. The relationships you will develop and the knowledge that you take away can be implemented immediately and last a lifetime.

If you haven’t already, check out www.besteverconference.com to learn more about the Best Ever Conference and reserve your ticket today. Check back often for updates, and we’ll see you at the Best Ever Conference in February 2022!

 

 

 

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Big Goals in the Big Apple With Melissa Jameson

Big Goals in the Big Apple With Melissa Jameson

With big goals for her professional development and real estate portfolio, Melissa Jameson shares how nurturing the growth in others has helped her thrive in both.

 

On the Move

After growing up in Connecticut, Melissa Jameson decided it was time for a total change of scenery. She moved to California to earn an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of San Diego before crossing the continent again to land in Washington, D.C., where she would work on Capitol Hill while also obtaining her master’s degree from George Washington University.

While in Washington, D.C., Melissa earned a job as an advisor to the Department of Justice, where she worked closely with the FBI and DEA on money laundering investigations. She continued to excel in a constantly evolving field, providing investigative support and specialized knowledge to support active federal criminal cases and help the government “follow the money.” That is, until 2014 when an opportunity presented itself to join PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Financial Crimes practice in New York City— somewhere she had always dreamed of living.

 

Becoming a Real Estate Investor

With her new job away from Washington, D.C., she could now focus on other opportunities. A family property was Melissa’s first entry into real estate and where she started developing a genuine interest in the potential of real estate investments for wealth generation.

“I had always been interested in real estate and then ended up with this family property that I decided to renovate and rent out. And as I started to do that, I realized there’s definitely more money to be made in real estate, and I got my feet wet,” Melissa said. “I realized lots of people were making a lot of money in real estate. I can be doing something here, too, even though I’m obviously working a full-time job. I started getting an interest in buying other properties to rent out, so I started actively investing in Atlanta. I also started passively investing, partnering with operators investing in high-growth areas in the U.S.”

 

Keys to Success

As Melissa has continued to grow her real estate portfolio, she realized that many skills fluidly transfer between the corporate world and the world of a real estate investor.

“Having good mentors is really important, and personally, I’m still trying to develop those mentoring relationships in the real estate industry. I have those mentors more on the corporate side, just because I’ve been in the industry for so long,” Melissa shared. “The network and mentors, in particular, can be so helpful because you can bounce ideas off of them and potentially avoid making the same mistakes.”

Learning from the past is another foundational element that drives Melissa’s investment strategy. In her formative years, she didn’t have financial role models in her life. Healthy money management wasn’t practiced or discussed.

Taking the Lead

Today, she is looking ahead and lives her life in a way that positions herself for a secure financial future, focusing on building a portfolio of diverse financial investments, and taking calculated risks.

“If other people can do this, other people are making money off of it; I had that confidence in myself that I can, too,” Melissa said. “I’m not perfect. I’m still learning and making some mistakes along the way, but it’s just that I have that confidence in myself that I can really learn, that I can make the connection and that I can be successful in this industry.”

With confidence comes support, and whether it is in the professional realm or with a team of fellow real estate investors, giving support is a fundamental element of every successful team. For Melissa, it’s essential to how she’s grown and managed her own team to ensure their continuous success.

“I love leading people. I’m really passionate about it because I like to see people grow and develop, and I love mentoring, building relationships, and building that trust,” Melissa reflected. “At the end of the day, we all want to succeed and we all have the same objective, so I want to make my team feel like I really support them and that I’ll do whatever I can to really help them in whatever ways they need.”

 

 

About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios. www.thelabcollective.com 

 

 

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Boost Your Investment Growth in 2022 With the Best Ever Conference

Boost Your Investment Growth in 2022 With the Best Ever Conference

It’s official — the Best Ever Conference is going to be back in person and better than ever in 2022 in Denver, Colorado.

Attendees will have the opportunity to take full advantage of engaging keynotes, workshops, and networking with top real estate investors and innovators, all while forming long-lasting relationships with other high-quality attendees.

Investors eager to boost their growth in 2022 will want to mark their calendars for this game-changing event.

We asked Hunter Thompson, Managing Principal of Asym Capital, to share his thoughts on the Best Ever Conference. “There’s a part of me that wants to try to say, ‘It isn’t REALLY the best ever!’ but, you know what — it actually is,” he said. “When it comes to the caliber of the speakers, the networking opportunities, and the overall energy of the event, it just might be the ‘Best Ever!’”

Hunter added, “If I’m going to take the time out of my schedule to travel to a conference, it needs to be a five-star experience. Best Ever never fails to deliver on that requirement, which is why I attend every year.”

Purchasing a ticket today will allow attendees access to monthly virtual group discussions known as Mini Masterminds, which have already started. These Mini Masterminds provide the opportunity to immediately begin connecting with other attendees and continuously build relationships prior to meeting in person at the conference.

The BEC three-day agenda is going to be packed with next-level value and opportunities for growth. Not one day will be the same.

Want to elevate the experience? There is a limited amount of VIP tickets available. These tickets include everything in General Admission, plus additional exclusive opportunities to meet conference speakers, attend private social events, and more.

To purchase your ticket today, visit besteverconference.com.

 

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What Do Limited Partners Do for a Living?

What Do Limited Partners Do for a Living?

Those who qualify to invest in apartment syndications as limited partners are required to have a certain amount of money (net worth and liquidity) and investing experience.

But who are these people?

A common misconception is that only a “special” sort of person can passively invest in real estate. A savvy Wall Street broker, a billionaire tech giant, a hedge fund manager, and other such wealthy professionals. While these people absolutely do passively invest in real estate, thinking they are the only ones who invest cannot be further from the truth. In fact, as you will see if you keep reading, the most common passive investor is (probably) who you least expect. In fact, if I had to bet, I’d say that someone you know already passively invests in real estate.

Following are the types of people who most commonly passively invest in apartment syndication.

 

W2 employees

Arguably the most common passive apartment investor works a full-time W2 job. These are individuals who’ve reached a point in their careers where they have a high enough salary or made enough investment into stocks, IRA, 401(k), or other investments to meet the SEC’s accredited investor status.

I have met passive investors who work W2 jobs in nearly every industry. Examples include:

  • Physicians
  • Dentists
  • Technology sales
  • Engineers
  • Oil and gas executives (often engineers who’ve transitioned into management roles)
  • Commercial pilots
  • Fortune 500 executives
  • Attorneys
  • Professional athletes
  • Authors
  • Composers
  • Actuaries

People with high-paying W2 jobs decide to passively invest in apartment syndications because they work long hours and enjoy what they do, but they also want to beat the returns they are receiving on their other investments, like IRAs, 401(k)s, and the stock market.

 

Small business owners

These are self-employed individuals who’ve scaled a business to the point where the revenue generated or value of the company allows them to meet the SEC’s accredited investor requirements.

Examples of companies owned by small business owners who passively invest in apartment syndications include:

  • Landscaping companies
  • Architectural signage and lighting companies
  • Construction companies
  • Restaurants
  • Franchises
  • Health machinery companies
  • Grilling accessories companies
  • Office water cooler companies
  • Exposition companies
  • Technology companies
  • Voiceover actors
  • Golf cart supply companies

And the list goes on, because being self-employed, small business owners are heavily taxed. Therefore, they are attracted to passively investing in apartment syndications because they can get tax benefits. Also, they are busy running a small business that they are passionate about. They don’t have the time or the desire to go out and actively invest in real estate.

 

Retirees

People who retire from a W2 job or who sell their small business also passively invest in apartment syndications. They have a lump sum of cash that they want to put to work while enjoying their retirement.

 

Professional full-time passive investors

These are individuals or groups who — using their own money, other people’s money, or both — operate a business that exclusively passively invests. They either exclusively passively invest with one or multiple GPs or they invest in a wide range of passive investment opportunities (apartment syndications, REITs, stocks, start-up businesses, etc.).

Examples of full-time passive investors include individuals who accumulated a high net worth and quit their W2 jobs to passively invest full-time or institutional investment firms like private equity companies or family offices.

A professional, full-time passive investor will choose to invest in apartment syndications because they can achieve higher and less risky returns compared to other passive investment opportunities and/or diversify their portfolio.

 

The GPs

It is common (and ideal) for the GPs to invest in their own deals. GPs will choose to invest in their own deals to create an alignment of interest with the LPs and to convey their confidence in the deal.

 

Real estate professionals

Individuals who invest in other types of real estate will passively invest in apartment syndications that generate enough income or have a large enough net worth from the active real estate business to meet the SEC accredited investor requirements.

Examples of real estate professionals who passively invest in apartment syndications include:

  • Fix-and-flippers
  • Buy-and-hold landlords
  • Short-term rentals
  • Developers
  • Commercial real estate investors (self-storage, mobile home parks, retail, medical, office, industrial, etc.)
  • Real estate agents
  • Commercial brokers
  • Mortgage brokers and lenders
  • Property management companies
  • GPs on other apartment syndications

 

If this type of individual is an active real estate investor, they will choose to passively invest in apartment syndications to diversify their investments, since they are usually focused on one asset class. For the non-real estate investors and real estate investors alike, since they work in the real estate industry full-time, they can qualify for the “Real Estate Professional” tax status. This allows them to use passive losses to offset the income generated from their active business.

Most likely, this person would choose to invest in apartment syndications to diversify their investments because they are usually exclusively investing in single-family homes or smaller multifamily properties. Additionally, the IRS has a designation called “Real Estate Professional” where passive losses can be used to offset non-passive income.

 

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How to Achieve Financial Independence Through Passive Investing

How to Achieve Financial Independence Through Passive Investing

Passive investing is one of the best things you can do if you want to achieve financial independence and retire early (FIRE). In a podcast interview with an online blogger and radiologist, we looked at how passive investments helped him become financially stable following a horrible divorce. To protect his anonymity, we will refer to our guest as XRAYVSN.

 

He Lost Everything Before Rebuilding Again as a Passive Investor

Before his divorce, XRAYVSN was financially stable. He lost more than $1 million following the divorce, and his work as a radiologist was not enough to rebuild his nest egg. Commercial real estate and passive investments allowed him to regain the money he lost.

During his 2010 divorce, XRAYVSN spent $300,000 on just his legal counsel fees. By the time everything was done, his net worth was $800,000 in the red. At almost 40 years old, he was completely devastated. His life savings were gone, and he had nothing to look forward to.

Instead of giving up, he began deploying his income in intelligent ways. After a lot of research, he decided to use his earnings to generate passive income. Inspired by the White Coat Investor and Passive Income MD, he began investing in new income streams.

 

How He Achieved His FIRE Goals

Within the FIRE movement, there are different levels of independence. Lean FIRE is when you are able to cover your basic needs. Meanwhile, Fat FIRE is when you can take luxurious vacations and afford almost anything you want. At this point, XRAYVSN is between these two levels of financial independence.

There are a variety of ways that an accredited investor can make money, but XRAYVSN already had a day job. Because he spent so much time working as a physician, he did not want to get started with active investing. Soon, he began researching different real estate investments.

Unlike many FIRE fans, XRAYVSN already had some experience with real estate investing. Before the divorce happened, he had owned several condos. Unfortunately, managing the condos had taken up a significant portion of his time. He knew that he had no interest in becoming a landlord again.

Because of the way the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxes earned income, real estate investments were especially appealing. Real estate investments come with extra tax breaks. Each tax break saved XRAYVSN more money, which he could reinvest in real estate properties.

 

Real Estate Investment Trusts

He ultimately decided to use real estate investment trusts (REITs). If you do not want the hassle of being a landlord, a REIT is an excellent alternative. It is essentially a stock that is made up of real estate investments.

Basically, you start by investing your money in a REIT. Then, they invest your money in real estate properties. Each quarter, you are paid distributions based on the REIT’s earnings. While you get paid like a normal real estate investor, you do not have to do any of the work. Because REITs function like stocks, you can easily sell your shares if you need to.

Since REITs are essentially stocks, their value can fluctuate. If the stock market tanks, your investment can disappear along with it. As long as you do not plan on selling your shares in the near future, this is not a major issue.

 

Crowdfunding

RealtyShares and crowdfunding platforms allow normal investors to invest in major real estate properties. Before the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, wealthy households were the only people who could invest in certain properties. The JOBS Act made it possible for average investors to invest in these real estate properties.

With many crowdfunding platforms, you can get started with a minimum investment of just $5,000 to $10,000. These investments work by pooling funds from a variety of different investors. If you achieve a net worth of $1 million or more, then you can become an accredited investor. You can also achieve this status if you make $200,000 or more per year.

 

Securing a Syndicator

Accredited investing is designed for sophisticated investors. Once you achieve this status, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allows you to buy unregistered securities. The SEC assumes investors who reach the accredited level are sophisticated enough to understand the added risk that occurs when you buy unregistered securities.

XRAYVSN quickly attained accredited status, which meant he could get new opportunities through private syndicators. He reached out to these syndicators through their websites and arranged for interviews. Because of how they are designed, these investments typically require a lot more research than standard investments.

Private syndicators spend their time searching for investment ideas. When they find a good one, they send an email blast to their investors. Then, they will generally host a demonstration for investors. Most syndicators require a minimum investment of at least $50,000. These investments are also illiquid, so it is difficult to access your money after you have invested it.

Obviously, this means that you do not want to use these types of investments if you need your money right away. If you want to make a long-term investment, working with private syndicators is a good idea. People can also get started by learning about the program through Syndication School. Because there are good and bad syndicators, it is important to look for red flags before you start passive investing with them. If you are comfortable working with a certain kind of commercial real estate, you should find a private syndicator that works in that sector.

As you look at different syndicators, you should read reviews from people who have already invested with them. You should also look at their results. How do they compare to similar organizations?

Some syndicators like to inflate how much they earn, so watch out for this issue. If one apartment complex is twice as profitable as other complexes in the same area, you should be suspicious. The company needs to have a good explanation for why they are earning so much more money than everyone else. If they do not have a reasonable explanation, you should invest with someone else.

 

Forging Your Own Path to FIRE

In order to become financially independent, you need to look at your burn rate. This figure is the amount you end up spending on your lifestyle and living expenses each year. To retire early, you must be able to cover your burn rate each year. You need to make a passive income stream that can cover your burn rate. If passive investing brings in more money than your burn rate, then you can afford to live a more luxurious lifestyle.

Do not be discouraged if you cannot retire right away. Because of compound interest, your earnings will grow over time. In order to retire comfortably, you will need to save 25 times your annual expenses. This means that you will need $1.5 million in the bank if you need $60,000 a year.

XRAYVSN is working toward an even more conservative goal. Instead of pulling 4 percent out of his retirement savings each year, he plans on only using 3 to 3.5 percent. To achieve this goal, he is bringing in passive income through his blog, private syndicators, and commercial real estate.

As an accredited investor, he can access more investment types than the average investor. Despite his accredited status today, he originally started out with simple crowdfunding investments. Even if all you can do is start small, you can eventually work your way up to accredited investing and achieve your FIRE goals.

 

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6 Best Ways to Find Commercial Real Estate Syndicators

Since commercial real estate syndications are a more sophisticated investment strategy for a smaller portion of the population (i.e., accredited investors), it is more difficult to find sponsors compared to other passive investment opportunities. For example, go to your local bank and they will ask you if you are interested in high-yield savings accounts or CDs. Go to any financial website or speak with a financial advisor and you’ll learn about stock, bond, and mutual fund opportunities. REITs are even more widely discussed than syndications.

In this blog post, I will outline some of the best strategies for finding commercial real estate syndicators to passively invest with. The six ways to find commercial real estate syndicators below are based on Ryan Gibson’s, CIO and co-founder of Spartan Investment Group, presentation at this year’s Best Ever Conference.

 

1. Online

Did you know that there are websites dedicated to creating a database of syndicators who are raising money for commercial real estate opportunities? Two of the most popular websites are 506 Investor Group and FormDs. Both resources are different but serve the same purpose: to help accredited investors find commercial real estate syndicators.

506 Investor Group is a private and confidential group of passive investors who discuss, evaluate, and share due diligence on alternative investments, including commercial real estate syndications. One resource you can access without a membership is the Rate Sponsors page. View a list of sponsors, which includes what they invest in and their ratings and reviews from other members in the 506 Investor Group.

FormDs, on the other hand, is a free database of all SEC filings (called “Form Ds”) of startups, growing businesses, hedge funds, and private equity firms, which includes commercial real estate syndications. On FormDs, you can search by the sponsor or company name, or you can filter by type (i.e., commercial real estate) and location.

A simple approach is to use FormDs to find a group and 506 Investor Group to review the group before scheduling an introductory call.

 

2. Networking

Speaking with other high net worth individuals is another way to find commercial real estate syndicators. Someone in your circle of influence (friend, neighbor, work colleague, etc.) may be passively investing in commercial real estate without you even knowing.

 

3. Funds

Another way to find a commercial real estate syndicator is through a fund that invests with commercial real estate operators. Known as the “funds of fund” model, a group will pool together investments from accredited investors and invest in other types of funds, like a commercial real estate fund. So, rather than finding a commercial real estate syndicator yourself, you find a group that specializes in investing with other apartment syndicators.

 

4. Commercial real estate events

Meetup groups and conferences that focus on commercial real estate are great resources for finding commercial real estate syndicators. You will either meet commercial real estate syndicators directly, or you will meet people who passively invest with commercial real estate investors. Here’s a list of real estate investor meetups to get you started.

 

5. Commercial real estate projects

If you see a commercial real estate development or rehab project in your area, chances are it is a syndicated deal. You can find out who syndicated the project by looking up the property parcel on the local county auditor/appraiser site and determining who owns the asset. Most likely, it is owned by an entity, but you can go to either the SEC website or the Secretary of State website to look up the owner of the entity.

 

6. Referrals

Once you find one operator to passively invest with, they can be a great source for other syndicators. They likely know other operators who are syndicating projects, either in the same niche or different niche. After you are happy with their performance, reach out to them for a referral.

Referrals from other operators (or other passive investors) are the best way to find commercial real estate syndicators, because they are pre-qualified, in a sense. You still want to screen them (here is a blog with the most important questions to ask when qualifying a syndicator); however, they come with more legitimacy since they were referred to you by a trusted source.

 

Best Ways to Find Commercial Real Estate Syndicators

The best way to find pre-qualified commercial real estate syndicators is from referrals. In addition to referrals, use websites, like 506 Investment Group and FormDs, to find and review prospective syndicators. Network with other high net worth individuals in your network to learn who they are investing with. Work with funds who invest in commercial real estate funds. Attend commercial real estate meetup groups and conferences. Lastly, assume any new commercial real estate project in your area is a syndication deal and locate the group that manages the project.

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Welcome to the Accredited Investor Club

Picture a dimly lit room, full of some of the world’s wealthiest individuals, privately gathering to discuss the future of the world. Rockefeller. Morgan. Carnegie. All of the world’s biggest players are there, deciding which markets will succeed, which assets will thrive, and who will end up footing the bill.

For ages, many of the world’s “best deals” were available only to insiders or those “in the know” with special connections. If you did not have those special connections, you were not given an opportunity to learn about the best deals, even if you did happen to have large amounts of wealth. As a result, connections became even more important than capital, establishing a system that was inherently asymmetrical.

Essentially, this created a dichotomy of investors. One group of people who could access everything, including the best opportunities on Main Street, and another group who could not, who were instead relegated with the rest of the herd to the thralls of Wall Street and told that this is as good as it gets. Various regulations prevented everyday people from discovering these private, alternative investment opportunities, even if the sponsor of these particular deals wanted to tell everyone about them, as these sorts of communications were all categorized as illegal solicitations.

The combination of legal restrictions, deliberate exclusivity, and concentrated wealth created a world in which it became extremely difficult for many people, even wealthy people, to authentically have a seat at the table. To truly succeed and gain access to the world’s best deals, you would need to have a direct link to the smoky rooms themselves — otherwise, you wouldn’t have any way to learn about these deals until they appeared in the next day’s paper.

Recently, however, things began to change, and the tables finally began to turn.

The passage of the Jumpstart Our Businesses Act (the “JOBS Act”) in 2012 marked a major departure from the previous way of doing things. With the passage of the JOBS Act, many previously illegal actions became legitimized, including soliciting deals to the general public and crowdfunding certain ventures.

In a very short amount of time, the smoky backrooms of years past opened themselves to qualified investors. As long as an individual can qualify under certain income or net worth parameters, they can now learn about, explore, and invest in a once inaccessible, wide range of financial opportunities.

 

What is a Qualified Investor?

Today, the “qualified investor” is the J.P. Morgan or John D. Rockefeller of years past. To become a qualified investor, you do not need to be a billionaire, though in most cases you will still need to have a considerable amount of wealth or income. However, access to information is no longer limited, which has helped extend membership to the secret, exclusive club to several new members.

To be a qualified investor, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires you to meet the definition of an accredited investor, meaning someone who:

  1. has a net worth of at least $1 million (excluding your primary residence) or
  2. an annual income of at least $200,000 ($300,000 if combined with a spouse) in each of the last two years, with a reasonable expectation that such income will continue for the current year.

With the passage of the JOBS Act, individuals who meet the criteria mentioned above can now legitimately participate in a range of new investment opportunities, such as crowdfunding, venture capital funds, private equity funds, real estate syndications, hedge funds, and more.

The modern accredited investor’s club is still exclusive, but it is one that is actively calling for qualified individuals to join. No longer do you need a special invite, instead, you just need enough income or net worth to finally play in the great game of wealth-building that others have been enjoying for years.

Wealthy individuals across the United States have been flocking to these new opportunities because, frankly, they are much better than traditional options. The S&P 500 Index has yielded an average historic return of about 10% per year. This is a standard benchmark against which many other investments are tested. If an investment opportunity can yield a greater rate of return — without exposure to more risk — then it will certainly be an investment worth considering.

In markets that are less saturated than the stock market, the possibility for strong returns remains much higher. For example, it is not unusual for real estate syndications to yield an average annualized return of 15-25% per year, which does not even take into account the tax benefits not afforded to stock investors.

Today’s Accredited Investors

Today, there are about 12 million accredited investors in the United States. In 1983, there were just above a million. The number of people who can participate in this exclusive club is indeed increasing, and while participation still requires wealth, it is clear that more people can legitimately shape their own economy than ever before.

For some investments, you may need to verify your accredited investor status by a third party, such as a CPA or an attorney, and in other investments, you may just need to self-certify. Furthermore, there are some private, alternative investment opportunities that you may participate in even if you aren’t accredited, but you will need to be “in the know” like in years past.

 

Seth Bradley is real estate entrepreneur and an expert at creating passive income while still working as a highly paid professional. He’s closed billions of dollars in real estate transactions as a real estate attorney, investor, and broker. He’s the managing partner of Law Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on multifamily and opportunistic acquisitions. He’s a former big law attorney and is now the managing partner of his own firm, Bradley Law Limited, helping his clients with their real estate and asset protection needs. He’s also the host of the Passive Income Attorney Podcast, educating attorneys and other professionals on how to stop trading their time for money so that they can practice when they want to, not because they have to. Get started building a future full of freedom at Invest – Law Capital Partners

 

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Helpful vs. Hurtful

Lessons from Investment Markets of the Past

When I was a kid in the 1960s my parents weren’t broke, but we didn’t have a lot. Thankfully, we had enough. My Dad was an engineer at Boeing, and Mom was a bookkeeper. Lots of parents just like mine were trying to make it in the world. World War II and the Depression were far enough behind that the sting had faded; it was time to make their mark in the world. On Friday nights at [8:00], Louis Rukeyser was on TV for 30 minutes talking about the stock market with some of the world’s most influential Wall Street titans. If you are old enough to remember Rukeyser, you remember his show Wall Street Week in Review and the catchy tune with glam pictures of the New York Stock Exchange. Back then, Rukeyser was a big deal. There was no such thing as a TV clicker let alone the internet. Rukeyser, other TV media, and the newspaper were how people kept up with the world.

Times and markets have changed. While the methods of gathering investment information differ then vs. now – there is still a constant and that constant is: risk!

 

Learning from the 1970s market

Back in the ’70s, interest rates were a lot higher than they are now. During those years when I was setting the table and sitting next to Dad watching Wall Street Week, the Federal Funds rate was anywhere from 4% – 20%. If there was one aspect of the economy that characterized the 1970s, it was inflation. Persistent for most of the decade, it choked off much of the growth in our nation’s businesses. Paul Volker, then the chairman of the Federal Reserve, had to eventually take decisive action and raise the Fed Funds rate to near 20% to “slay the inflationary dragon”. Money tightened, interest rates spiked, and homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were jammed as their mortgage payments shot higher. Enter the recession as unemployment peaked above 10% due to restrictive Fed policy. Thankfully, it worked. From 1980-1983, inflation dropped from above 13% to under 4%.

During this time the stock market was in a horrible sideways bear market arguably caused by rising rates, and there was a point in 1982 where the stock market was priced the same that it had been in 1968. In that same era in downtown Seattle, there was a billboard on the side of the highway that read, “Will the last one out of Seattle please turn out the lights?” (think recession). With all this being said, if you were an investor in 1982, do you think you would have been excited to buy real estate or stocks at that time?

My best guess is that in rough economic conditions most of us would prefer to stay liquid. Bonus question what did you do with your stock portfolio in March/April 2020 with COVID? Buy, sell, or stay put? The answer to this last question tells you everything you need to know about your ability to buy low and sell high. That might sting a little. It does for me.

What is my point? When the Fed has literally had its thumb on the scale of the bond market for 12 years straight, knocking the natural cadence of our free markets onto its keister, there will be an equal and opposite reaction. Think Isaac Newton’s 3d law. Not to be overly dramatic, but it’s worth an internet search; it’s a thing! The “thing” of it is, we have yet to see the equal and opposite reaction. To get super granular here, the “action” began in 2008 when the Fed began flooding the bond market with liquidity. That liquidity injection has continued until this day and there will be a day of reckoning.

 

What will the reaction be?

What will the equal and opposite reaction be? I do not know. But let’s talk about that.

Rarely, if ever, investors are able to time the market with consistent success. What market? Any market. Stocks, bonds, oil, coffee, multifamily, syndicated second mortgage investments, or syndicated storage investments. Kahneman & Tversky, in 1979, nailed it with their Behavioral Economics study, Prospect Theory. In summary: when investing, the current environment subconsciously provides the framework for an expected outcome, and people generally have an aversion to losses. Why didn’t you and I both buy 200 shares of Amazon stock in March of 2020 when it was at $1,800 a share (vs. $3,000 today)? Because our perspective had been framed by the then current and volatile environment and we are loss averse. Now that the stock market has moved higher and is bumping its head on all-time highs, why have we been dragging our feet in selling some stock? We are, again, subconsciously framed by what we have experienced recently and wanting to squeeze a little more juice before dialing back our risk.

If COVID or some other life event has prompted you to evaluate risk and draft your own investment policy, I suggest three things. First, find the sum of your investments both liquid and illiquid less liabilities (home equity/debt not included) then multiply that number by your age with a decimal in front of it. If your number for example is 1,000,000 and you are age 50, the product is $500,000. That number represents the value of your investments you may want to have in conservative/stable investments such as bonds or bond surrogates. Could a syndicated multifamily investment be considered a stable investment? Yes!

Second, identify the annual cash flow you would like to have in retirement and divide that annualized number by 4, then multiply that number by 100. That’s your target net worth when you start playing full-time instead of working full-time. Your job is to grow your net worth to that number without taking excess risk (this is where you take a metric ton of salt and remind yourself what you paid for this advice)!

Third, you need the number from step one to equal the number in step two. Maybe you are 29, have been maxing your 401K at work, and have grown it to $800k. Are you really smart, or were you just fortunate with your timing? Now that the Fed has inflated nearly everything (remember your ego is the most expensive thing you will ever own) it’s a wonderful time to reassess. Investors should focus on making incrementally helpful decisions, not hurtful decisions. Do not make huge or impulsive decisions, ever. Because bonds pay almost nothing currently, consider substituting part of your bond portfolio with a syndicated real estate investment. Individual position sizes of 2-10% of your net worth make sense to me. But don’t take my word for it, ask a trusted friend what they are doing. When making syndicated investments, plan to hold at least seven different investments. The law of averages will help you here, but take your time (several years) as you build that portion of the portfolio.

 

Don’t try to adjust by making big decisions

I started this article by sharing about the investment environment when I was young. Interest rates near 20% and the stock markets P/E ratio was less than seven. Now 40-some years later we have a near opposite environment. The stock market’s P/E ratio is near 30, rivaling the years 2000 and 2008, and interest rates are near zero. As investors, a balanced perspective is often the most helpful. To that end, I suggest reading Ray Dalio on a regular basis. If you are off track from your ideal financial plan, don’t try to adjust by making big decisions. Emotionally we can all be overly hard on ourselves because our crystal ball may look more like a shaken snow globe in the hands of a five-year-old during the holidays. All-or-none bets are scary, bad, and pure luck when successful. My proposition is this: make incrementally helpful and small but strategic changes to your portfolio. Keep in mind the age-old rule of thumb, that your age with a percent sign behind it is your ideal allocation to fixed-income investments. I again volunteer that syndicated real estate assets may be bond surrogates. You may be off track from your target asset allocation. If so, start this spring. Identify what your ideal investment allocation is and make incrementally strategic decisions. Eventually, you can adjust your allocation to reflect your risk profile, and there is nothing wrong with simply saving more.

 

About Ted Greene: 

Ted Greene is part of the Investor Relations team at Spartan Investment Group.  Spartan syndicates self-storage assets for investment. Ted has 24 years of experience in the financial services industry as an investment advisor and Chief Compliance Officer. Ted can be found on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/ted-greene-dontbeafraid or ted@spartan-investors.com.

 

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The Top 5 Questions to Ask Before Investing

Top 5 Questions to Ask Before Passively Investing

Ryan Gibson, CIO and co-founder of Spartan Investment Group, was one of the featured speakers at this year’s Best Ever Conference. In his presentation, he provided tips to passive investors about the most important questions to ask before investing with a commercial real estate operator. In this blog post, we will outline Ryan’s top five questions.

 

1. Are you an operator or syndicator?

One of the first things you want to know is the role the company you are investing with plays. They are either the operator or a syndicator.

The operator is the group who acquires and sells the investment, as well as implements the business plan. They may also raise a portion or all the capital required to close on the investment.

The syndicator might not actually operate the investment (although, operator and syndicator are oftentimes interchangeable). The syndicator may be a co-GP or owner of a fund who raises capital to invest with other operators.

Whether you are investing directly with an operator or indirectly through a syndicator, you want to know whether their compensation is aligned with the success of the project. That is, is the operator’s or syndicator’s compensation tied to the investment’s cash flow and value? Or it is based on something else, like an asset management fee, percentage of equity raised, etc.? Or it is a combination of both?

Since your return as a passive investor is based on the cash flow and/or value, you want the operator’s or syndicator’s compensation to be based on those same two metrics as well.

 

2. Tell me about a deal gone bad?

This is Ryan’s favorite question. Most of the material you receive about an operator and their investments will be 100% positive. No operator is going to include a section in their company or deal material about a time they lost money on a deal or when a deal went sideways. However, Ryan believes you can learn a lot about an operator from hearing about how they managed a difficult situation. It helps you judge their grit.

Additionally, if an operator says, “We have never had a deal go bad,” it indicates low experience or that they are lying.

 

3. What are your mission, vision, and values?

Having a well-defined mission, vision, and set of values is what Spartan attributed to being named one of the fastest-growing companies by Inc. magazine. The operator’s mission, vision, and values will tell you who they are and why they do what they do. The first thing you want to determine is whether they’ve defined their company’s mission, vision, and values because this indicates a higher level of credibility and professionalism. Then, you want to determine if their mission, vision, and values align with yours.

You will also want to make sure they don’t have a “say-do” gap – that they actually act on their mission, vision, and values. So, ask for a recent example of how they’ve recently used their mission, vision, and/or values to make a business decision.

 

4. Who is on the team?

The structure of their team will impact the success of their investments. The best operators aren’t a “one-person show” where one or a few individuals are wearing all the hats. They should have a deep bench of executives, directors, managers, analysts, assistants, and associates.

It is also beneficial if they are vertically integrated. The more work performed within the company and the less worked outsourced to third-party vendors, the better. That means in-house property management, compliance, construction, investor relations, marketing, underwriting, accounting, etc.

Another good thing to know is how much of the profits generated by the operator and their company is reinvested into hiring new team members and providing growth opportunities for their current team members versus how much is going into their own pockets.

 

5. What is your core business model?

This question may seem odd. Of course, their core business model is buying and managing office buildings, developing and managing self-storage facilities, adding value to apartment communities, etc.

However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, they may be buying office buildings, for example, while working a full-time, W2 job. Or they are focused on one aspect of the overall business model, like finding deals or raising capital. Or the majority of their income is derived from selling education or coaching. The point is, just because someone is involved in commercial real estate doesn’t mean it is their core business model.

Ideally, you are investing with a group who are full-time operators. They have a fully integrated company that buys, manages, and sells commercial real estate. It is okay if they are involved in other industries, like education, coaching, passive investing, etc., but it should be secondary to their core business model.

 

5 Questions to Ask a Commercial Real Estate Company Before Investing

When you are passively investing in commercial real estate, you are placing a lot of trust in the active operator. To ensure your capital is in good hands, here are the top five questions to ask before investing.

Are they responsible for acquiring and selling the investment and implementing the business plan, or do they play a smaller role? Also, is their compensation based on the performance of the deal?

Ask about a time a deal went bad to gauge the experience level, truthfulness, and grit of the operator.

What are their mission, vision, and values, and do they align with yours?

Are they a vertically integrated company that invests in attracting new team members and in the professional development of current team members?

Is their core business model operating commercial real estate?

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How to Add Value to Commercial Real Estate

How to Add Value to Commercial Real Estate

Many of the readers of this blog are multifamily investors or hope to be someday.  While multifamily investing has many positives to it, it is not the only asset class in commercial real estate.  Additionally, in this blog, I discussed the different risk profiles of real estate, and these risk profiles exist in all real estate asset types.  Today, I am going to be discussing what the value-add business plan generally looks like in the various asset types.

At a very high level, the value-add business plan is any business plan that, with minimal capital spent, the operator is able to increase the net operating income of the asset.  These assets will be cash flow positive from day one but have room to grow that cash flow.

 

Multifamily

The value-add multifamily business plan is often one of light renovation.  The previous owners did not choose to spend the capital to keep the property current to tenants.  Therefore, it feels aged and cannot achieve full market rent.

The value-add operator is buying the asset with capital allocated to renovate the units and exterior of the property, but typically in a very cosmetic way.  New cabinets, backsplash, counters, flooring, and fresh paint make up the common upgrade list.  The operator is doing the HGTV treatment to the units.  From time to time, the scope may be a little more intense, but any work is still limited to a single unit at a time, and construction timelines are typically less than two weeks of downtime.  Once the units are renovated, the operator anticipates achieving a higher rent per unit.

There are variations to this plan, but the light, cosmetic upgrades plan is the most common.

 

Retail

Often times the value-add retail business plan has to do with modest levels of vacancy.  The value comes from filling the vacant units and renewing near-term lease expirations.  The vacancy is not so high that it creates a challenging retail environment and will typically sit in the 10-15% range.

Because retail leases tend to be much longer than apartment leases (five to 10 years versus 12 months) even below-market rents are hard to overcome, as the operator is bound to the leases present with the property.  But, a focus on tenant mix is important for a successful retail center.

Like multifamily, there are often some deferred maintenance and capital items that need to be addressed.  The focus of capital improvements is on the common areas.  Common practices include restriping parking lots, installing better lighting, and dressing up pylon signage.

 

Office

Similar to retail, the office lease is longer in the term, so the business plan comes down to filling vacancies and renewing near-term lease expirations.  While tenant mix is not quite as pressing of an issue when compared to retail, office properties, particularly large office buildings, can benefit from a strong tenant mix.  Most properties will have their anchor tenant, and ancillary businesses to that anchor certainly assist in leasing efforts and overall demand.

Once you get into capital improvement, the focus is comparable to retail.  Common areas take precedent, with upgraded lobbies and elevators.  Other common practices are adding amenities for the office workers, like a café and fitness facility on site.

 

Industrial

Value-add industrial properties tend to stem from leasing efforts and below-market rents.  For large projects, filling vacancies is the most common focus on value-add projects.  When it comes to capital, the drivers of where to spend capital come down to renter demands.

Clear heights have grown in recent years.  So a low clear height that might be fairly inexpensive to increase is a great option, but this renovation is typically not financially feasible.  Improving access, parking lot capacity for more trailer storage, and adding technology to the property to aid in the movement and storage of products can help leasing efforts and increase value.

 

Hotel

Hotel and hospitality properties look most similar to multifamily.  Due to the management-intensive nature of hotels, the most common value-add play is to seek out under-managed properties and improve operating efficiencies.

Hotels are primarily a franchise business, with Hilton, Marriot, and Intercontinental owning a majority of the common flags you see.  Because of this arrangement, there are capital improvement components to the value-add play, especially if the existing franchisee does not have the capital to renovate their brand to current brand standards.  This would result in the existing owner either needing to sell, downgrade their brand within the franchisee structure or lose the franchise entirely.  As such, a value-add investor could acquire the operating hotel and begin the renovations to bring the property up to current franchise standards for that brand and thereby keep a higher income stream.

As you can see, every asset class has its own nuances of the value-add business plan, but at the end of the day it boils down to the same thing.  Spend money to take an outdated asset and bring it back to what is currently in demand, thereby increasing the overall income of the asset and the value.

 

About the author:

Evan is the Investor Relations Consultant for Ashcroft Capital.  As such, he spends his days working with investors to better understand their investment goals and background.  With over 13 years in real estate, he has seen all sides of real estate from acquisitions, to capital raising on the equity and debt side, to operations, and actively invests himself.  Please feel free to connect with Evan here.

 

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Big-Picture Financial Strategies to Fuel Your Wealth-Building Machine

Big-Picture Financial Strategies To Fuel Your Wealth-Building Machine

The general consensus out there, and I think you and I would agree, is that school didn’t teach us bologna about managing personal finances. It’s been widely publicized that instead of learning physics and pre-calculus in high school, they should be learning how to balance a checkbook and spend within their means. 

It’s an institutional, generational problem that explains why our parents struggled to maintain middle-class status, not knowing any better than trading their time for money. Passive income wasn’t even on their radar, much less were concepts like infinite banking or syndications. 

Since you’re reading this post, I can tell you’re one of the lucky ones – the sole ostrich in the flock who daringly pulled his/her head out of the sand to seek a better solution. For that, I’m proud of you. Keep reading for the five big-picture concepts that have the power to catapult your financial situation to the next level. 

Personal Finance In Four Stages

One way of stepping back and seeing the big-picture cash flow journey is to break it down into “four pillars” as M.C. Laubscher from Cashflow Ninja calls it. He teaches cash creation, cash capture, cashflow creation, and cash control. 

In the first stage, Cash Creation, you pursue endeavors that create money. This includes getting a degree, finding a great job, creating connections with industry peers and seniority, starting your own business, finding a mentor, and hustling to make bonuses and get raises. You’ve got to earn an income to survive in this world, so this stage is critical to all the other stages. The funny/not funny story, though, is that this is where most people get stuck!

The next stage is called Cash Capture, and this is where you create a buffer between how much you bring home and how much you spend. This is where you’re continuously watching the budget and ensuring you’re saving a portion of your take-home income and hopefully increasing that percentage as quickly as possible. This “gap” between your income and your spending is where you seize the opportunity to capture cash and use it to fund your investments, purchases of appreciating assets, and your infinite banking strategy (I’ll explain this in a little bit.). 

Once you have emergency funds in place, generally have a grasp on your budget and savings, and are consistently capturing that gap, you move on to the cashflow creation stage. Now notice this is Cashflow Creation – very different from the first stage of working for cash. In this third stage, you learn how to use the money you’ve saved and the relationships you’ve nurtured to invest, generate additional cash flow, earn interest, and create income independent from your day job. 

Honestly, you’re probably in this third stage now, actively seeking investment opportunities and leveraging your earnings toward a diversified wealth-building machine inclusive of insurance policies, stocks, REITs, bonds, residential real estate, and appreciating assets like those found in real estate syndication opportunities

The final stage isn’t really a final stage at all (curveball!) but more of an ongoing life-long focus to protect and tailor your overall financial strategy in alignment with your goals. This Cash Control stage involves creating a will, pursuing estate planning, maintaining life and disability insurance policies, and ensuring your finances are set up for longevity. You didn’t learn this stuff in school, so it’s up to you to intentionally learn and refine your financial plan toward protecting your assets from creditors, taxes, and lawsuits and providing a legacy for your loved ones. 

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “making your money work hard for you” thrown around, and in a nutshell, focused action in each of these stages throughout your life will do precisely that!

Infinite Banking Strategy

This big-picture strategy also called “becoming your own bank” and “private family banking strategy” is where you use a whole life insurance policy to become your lender, borrower, and beneficiary all at once. This concept blew my mind when I first heard about it, so hang with me. 

Look at the typical bank. They accept people’s deposits in exchange for a “safe” place to store the cash promising minimal interest earnings. The bank loans that money out to others and earns a much steeper amount of interest off the loan. All along, if someone defaults, they are the beneficiaries via collateral, collections, etc. Why deposit your hard-earned cash into a bank for minimal interest and then borrow other money at a higher interest rate? It just doesn’t make sense! 

Here you flip the institution on its head, buck the system, and do your own thing. If you followed the four stages above, you captured cash and have significant savings ready to invest in creating passive cashflow. With this cash, you buy a dividend whole life insurance policy from a mutual insurance company. When written correctly, your policy will allow you to fully fund it quickly and borrow a large portion of that money from inside the policy within the first year. 

Now before your head spins, let me explain. When you fund the policy quickly, you become eligible for dividends and earnings inside the policy itself. When you borrow against your policy at a low rate, you’re still earning interest on the full value, AND you get to reinvest that borrowed money into a real estate syndication. 

Boom! You’ve taken $1 and invested it into two places at the same time, AND now you have an insurance policy too! There are many other details to this, which I’ll save you from right now, but just know this is one tax-advantaged option for creating a wealth-building machine.

Buy Your Time Back

Another wealth-building machine that’s often overlooked is your ability to recapture your most valuable resource – time. When you start out, your focus is to create cash, and it’s highly likely one might spend 40-60 hours a week doing so. 

That’s not a sustainable life/happiness model, though, right? At some point, you want to have captured enough cash and begun to invest in lucrative deals so that you could reduce the amount of time you have to put in and instead spend it doing things you enjoy.

This is where you buy your time back. Maybe that means hiring an assistant to keep you organized and run little errands for you, or perhaps that means hiring household services like laundry, a maid, and a landscaper. In all areas of life, I encourage you to explore the activities you do, their worth, whether you like doing them, and how much of your time and energy they take. When you conclude that specific actions are not worth your time or energy, hire them out and, in exchange, use your time to learn about and pursue the next level of wealth-generation. 

Another way you can fast-track your wealth-building machine is to intentionally surround yourself with people who inspire you. Find connections ten steps ahead of you, who are doing things you wish you could be doing, and then find ways to infuse their lives with value. Use your knowledge and expertise to support them and further develop a positive rapport with them. 

You’ve probably heard the quote by Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Well, recent research shows that who you are is even affected by your friends’ friends and those friends’ friends! This emphasizes how imperative it is to seek masterminds, mentors, and relationships with those you admire. 

When you surround yourself with these valuable connections and adequately nurture the relationship by infusing support into their lives, they will inadvertently share advice and higher-level concepts, giving you the “in” and accelerating your wealth-building journey with fewer mistakes. 

Continuously Break Parkinson’s Law

Finally, the greatest, most valuable high-level advice I can provide is that you have to break Parkinson’s Law over and over again. Parkinson’s Law is the concept that the more income you have, the more you spend. 

You and I conceptually know that you have none to save or invest if you spend everything you make. However, this is the conundrum that most people find themselves in. Each raise or bonus allows them to afford something they’ve been eying and craving for a while, and eventually, they look back and wonder why it feels as if they can never get ahead. 

You, my friend, are ahead of the curve, though, and with the four cash stages, buying your time back, and infinite banking knowledge, you are destined to succeed. You’re keenly aware of how to thrive in that Cash Capture step and ensure your expenses are much less than your income. 

But that’s not enough! You have to continually refocus and reevaluate your cash capture strategies to ensure you always have more and more to invest, fueling your wealth-building machine. With each raise, cashflow check, and bonus, you have to remain conscious of the temptation to spend more and break that cycle again. 

 

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How to Leave Your W2 Job Through Real Estate Investing

How to Leave Your W2 Job Through Passive Real Estate Investing

Whether you’ve been working in a job that you don’t like or find that your career doesn’t have many opportunities for advancement, it’s possible to leave your W2 job and still accrue money to live on by engaging in passive real estate investments. Before you make this kind of move, it’s important that you understand exactly what these investments involve and how you can use them to replace the income that you received at your W2 job. This guide offers a detailed look at what passive investments mean, the types of investments you can make, and how you can leave your current job completely to start investing.

What Is Passive Investing?

Passive investing is a popular investment strategy that involves performing less buying and selling when compared to active investment strategies. The purpose of a passive investment is to hold on to an investment on a long-term basis. Over time, the investment should increase in value, which will allow it to bring in a high ROI. While there are many different types of passive investments that you can make, likely the most common option for passive investors is to place their money into real estate, which can include residential and commercial real estate properties.

When it comes to passive real estate investing, many investors place their money in properties that can be rented out. Along with the property increasing in value over the course of the investment, it’s also possible to obtain income by collecting rent from tenants. Unlike active real estate investments, you won’t be acting as a landlord when you purchase a property. Instead, these investments can be made via real estate funds, real estate investment trusts (REITs), online crowdfunding, and syndication.

When you want to leave your W2 job to start making passive real estate investments, there are two basic methods – direct investing and indirect investing. Direct investing means that you will purchase a portion of a property or the entire property before the place is rented out to tenants. At this point, someone else will be brought in to manage the property, which allows you to handle the investment as a passive investment. There are many reputable property management companies that will take care of collecting monthly rent payments, screening prospective tenants, and performing everyday maintenance on the property that you’ve invested your money in.

As for indirect investing, this occurs when individuals invest their money into a real estate investment trust or another kind of mutual fund that relates to real estate. This type of investment is known as an indirect investment because the property doesn’t need to be managed on a day-to-day basis in order for you to obtain returns on the original investment. Along with returns, you can also gain dividends from funds.

Benefits of Making Passive Investments

The passive form of investing has a number of benefits to it, the primary of which is that you can use this kind of investing to replace the income that you received from your W2 job. While active investments can also provide you with high returns, passive investing is a way to accrue returns without needing to directly manage the investments that you make. Instead, you can travel the world or spend more time with your family.

It’s also important to understand that you don’t need to stop working altogether. In many cases, passive income won’t completely replace the wages that you earned at your main W2 job. At the start, it’s possible that your investments will bring in returns that amount to 25-30 percent of your previous W2 wages, which means that having a side job may still be necessary. Some of the additional benefits that come with making passive investments include:

  • The ability to minimize taxes by reducing the amount of buying and selling that occurs
  • Lower expenses compared to active investing
  • Holding your investments will help you improve your discipline, which could pay dividends for future investment strategies.

Popular Passive Investment Options

As touched upon previously, the main techniques that are used by passive investors who are making investments in real estate include real estate funds, apartment syndication, online crowdfunding, and real estate investment trusts. Before you leave your W2 job, it’s highly recommended that you identify which investment techniques are right for you and your portfolio.

Real Estate Funds

Real estate funds are similar to mutual funds in that they can be passively or actively managed. These funds will usually be invested in real estate operating companies and REITs. A small number of real estate funds invest their money directly into the properties. Short-term income is rare with a real estate fund. Income is usually obtained by allowing the fund to appreciate in value over an extended period of time. The three separate types of real estate funds include:

  • Private real estate investment funds – These funds are professionally managed and focus on investing in real estate properties. You can only invest in one of these funds if you are a high-net-worth investor who is accredited and who is able to make a large investment.
  • Real estate mutual funds – As mentioned previously, these funds can be passively or actively managed and can operate as an open-end fund or closed-end fund.
  • Real estate exchange-traded funds – These funds invest in shares of REITs and real estate corporations. They can also be traded on major stock exchanges.

Apartment Syndication

An apartment syndication is a kind of investment that involves pooling money together with other investors to purchase and eventually manage an apartment building. A syndicator will raise money from various investors before buying apartment buildings that they believe will generate decent returns. The syndicator is also responsible for managing the investment, which means that you can sit back and enjoy the returns generated from the investment without needing to worry about the particulars of collecting rent or maintaining the building.

Online Crowdfunding

Online crowdfunding has become very popular among passive investors who want to invest in commercial real estate. There are many reputable crowdfunding sites available that you can join before investing your money. The money that you invest will then be pooled together with the money from other passive investors to purchase properties.

You can invest in multiple properties without taking on the hassles that can occur when financing, owning, and managing the property. Keep in mind that most crowdfunding platforms have minimum investment requirements that you must meet before you can continue. These requirements can be anywhere from $500-$25,000.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

Real estate investment trusts are highly appealing to passive investors who want to bring in a high return. There are many different REITs that you can select from, which extend to residential REITs and office REITs. When looking specifically at the FTSE Nareit REIT index, the average annual return from 2010-2020 was around 9.5 percent, which indicates that real estate investment trusts are among the best-performing passive investments that you can make.

The REIT that you place your money into can invest in properties or real estate debt. If the trust invests in a property, you can gain returns from management fees and rental income. By investing in real estate debt, income is generated from the interest on the loan.

Tips for Leaving Your W2 Job to Engage in Passive Real Estate Investing

If you believe that passive real estate investing is right for you and that the benefits far outweigh the risks, it’s important that you know how to leave your W2 job by engaging in this form of investing. The first and most important step is to get your finances in order. Financial freedom is difficult to obtain if you still have an ample amount of debt that must be paid off. Try to make steady payments on your credit card debt and any other debt that you owe to significantly reduce or eliminate your current debt, after which you should try to build your emergency funds. Once you’re in a good financial position, it will be easier to move from your W2 job to passive real estate investing.

As mentioned earlier, there are four basic types of passive investments that you can make. In the beginning, try to focus on just one type of investment before growing your portfolio. Passive investments in real estate tend to generate average returns of 6-8 percent per year along with additional income once you sell the property after 5-10 years. The best aspect of making passive investments is that you won’t need to hire numerous team members to manage the properties that you invest in.

If you join a real estate investment fund or a crowdfunding platform, all of the finer details will be handled by someone else. If you join a crowdfunding platform, consider making a smaller investment before delving into larger ones, which should allow you to learn more about the process before you invest a large sum of your money. With these tips in mind, passive real estate investing should be relatively simple.

Why You Should Seek Financial Independence

If you’re no longer satisfied with your job, it’s never been easier to seek financial independence by making passive investments. When performed correctly, you can live off of your passive income and have more time to do the things in life that really interest you. Gaining financial independence through passive real estate investing gives you the opportunity to take more risks in your career, retire early, or spend more time with your family. You’ll also have the freedom to work and live on your own terms, which isn’t feasible with a 9-to-5 job.

Passive real estate investing is a great and proven way to replace some or all of the income that you lose by leaving your W2 job. While you might not earn as much as you did before, you’ll have much more freedom to live your life the way that you want to. Even though making passive investments in real estate isn’t easy, there are more options at your disposal than ever before. If you perform extensive research on an investment opportunity before investing your money, you should be confident that you’re making the right decision.

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What Financial Reports to Send to Passive Apartment Investors

After closing on an apartment syndication deal, one of the responsibilities of the general partners (GP) is to provide the limited partners with ongoing updates on the investment.

Here is a blog post where we outline all the GP’s duties after acquisition.

One aspect of this passive investor communication is providing financial reports on the asset. Not all general partners provide financials to limited partners. However, when they do, there is an increase in trust between the GPs and LPs, which is the number one reason why passive investors chose to invest with one operator over another.

The purpose of this blog post is to outline the process of providing your investors with deal updates by sending them financial reports.

What Financial Reports to Send to Passive Investors

The reason to send passive investors financial reports, aside from increasing transparency and trust, is so that they know what is going on with the investment. The information provided in monthly or quarterly recap emails is a good start, but a spreadsheet with hundreds of data points paints a more detailed picture of the asset’s operations.

Ultimately, how often you send financial reports and the types of financial reports you send is up to you and the preferences of your investors.

The two most relevant financial reports to send to passive investors are the rent roll and the T-12.

A rent roll is a document or spreadsheet containing detailed information on each of the units at the apartment community, along with a variety of data tables with summarized income. The rent roll provides passive investors with a current snapshot of the investment’s revenue.

A T-12 is a document or spreadsheet containing detailed information about the revenue and expenses of the apartment community over the last 12 months. Also referred to as a trailing 12-month profit and loss statement, the T-12 provides passive investors with current and historical revenue and expenses.

A best practice is to send financials at least once a quarter.

How to Obtain Financial Reports

The first step in the process starts before you even have a deal. Most likely, the financial reports will be generated by your property management company. When interviewing property management companies, make sure you set expectations. First, ask them what type of property management software they use and if it can generate custom financial reports. Ideally, they provide you with a sample rent roll and T-12. If they do, how detailed are the reports? Is the T-12 broken down into specific line items? Does the rent roll list out all of the important metrics?

Here are examples of how detailed a rent roll and T-12 should be.

Assuming they generate the right reports, the next question to ask is “will you send me financial reports upon request” and “what is the lead time?” In doing so, you will know if they are willing to send you financial reports and how quickly (or slowly) you can expect to receive them.

How to Send Financial Reports to Passive Investors

One approach is to include links to download the financials in the monthly or quarterly recap emails.

Create a Dropbox folder for each of your properties. Each quarter, upload PDF versions of the rent roll and T-12 to the property’s respective Dropbox folder and include the links in the recap email. For example, include a sentence like, “Also, you can download the quarterly financials (current rent roll and profit and loss statement) by clicking here,” and the wording “clicking here” is hyperlinked to the financial reports.

Another more advanced and efficient option is to upload the financials to an investor portal. Rather than linking to the financials in your recap emails, you can direct the passive investors to the portal.

Before sending the financial reports, make sure that your resident’s and investor’s personal information is removed. Sometimes, the investor distributions will be included at the bottom of the T-12. Only include the line items above the net operating income. Also, make sure you remove the variance column from the T-12. Your property management company’s software may include a column that has the difference between the actuals and the project (i.e., the variance). To avoid confusion, remove the variance column and only send to investors upon request. Consider removing the names of residents for the rent roll too.

How to Handle Passive Investors’ Questions About Financials

Like any questions received from investors, if you know the answer, reply in a timely fashion. If you don’t know the answer, reach out to your property management company.

The most common question you will receive from investors will be about how the T-12 actuals compare to the projections you provided in the PPM. If you are not hitting your projections, speak with your property management company to determine why there is a variance and what is being done to solve the issue. The best responses to investor’s questions include a diagnosis of the issue as well as the solution which should already be implemented.

 

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Recognizing the Risks in Real Estate

In my previous blog, I outlined the 5 main risk classes of real estate. In this follow-up blog, I want to outline some scenarios where those risks materialize.

Core:

Because Core assets are newly built assets in strong markets, these exhibit the least risk. However, when we look at where the returns are truly derived, we can find that there is risk. Core assets draw a bulk of their return from cash flow. So, the risk materializes from impacts to that cash flow.

Back in the financial crisis of 2009-2011, Core assets were hit particularly hard as companies and people started cutting expenses. In the multifamily space, there was a lot of uncertainty about employment at all levels of an organization. Because of this, the high earners that would typically live in the nicer apartments began looking for ways to cut living costs and moved into cheaper, Class B properties.

With the onset of COVID, a different scenario happened with the complete upheaval of the professional workforce moving to work from home, sometimes indefinitely. As a result, Core multifamily projects are experiencing higher vacancy rates and reduced rental rates as city center residents move to the suburbs for more affordable, larger units.

Core Plus:

Similar to Core, Core Plus asset returns are primarily driven by cash flow. Therefore, the same examples listed above still hold true. Although, these assets present a couple unique risks as well. Core Plus can either be a newly built property in a Class B area, or a Class B property in an A or B area.

When talking about Class B areas, by way of comparison, your rents will be lower than new construction in a Class A area. Your tenant base will likely have a lower income than in Class A areas, and therefore likely have a slightly higher risk of layoffs or impacts to earnings.

Beyond the slight increase in tenant risk relative to the typical Core asset, you often have an older asset. While these assets are remodeled with most deferred maintenance addressed by the prior owner, there is additional capital expenditures relative to new construction. The maintenance costs with the Core Pluss asset are higher than Core, and there is the increased chance of large ticket repairs.

Value Add:

Value Add assets generate their returns from both cash flow and appreciation. The same risks that effect cash flow outlined above can occur with Value Add assets as well. Similar to Core Plus, since these assets are dated, they tend to be lower rent options and therefore may see a higher-risk tenant base.

Value Add assets tend to require a reasonably significant amount of capital to be spent to renovate the property. Therefore, construction costs become a risk. Whether this be timeline or cost, both can affect the returns of the asset. A real-world example of this is the current situation with COVID, which is causing a significant increase on construction material costs. While the Value Add operator is typically not doing major construction relative to redevelopment or new development, these cost overruns can still impact investor returns.

Often times, a significant portion of the overall return of the asset comes from appreciation, which carries its own risks. Markets can shift dramatically over an operator’s hold period, meaning the asset cannot be sold at a favorable price. Often in multifamily syndications, approximately half of the overall return to the investors comes from profit at sale. Market shifts effecting the long-term value of the asset can create significant volatility in the overall returns.

Opportunistic:

Opportunistic deals or Redevelopment deals create the most risk of any existing class. Since these assets often are cash flow negative through significant vacancy and require significant capital to bring back to leasable, the risks are immeasurable. From unexpected construction costs to longer lease up timelines, there are many moving parts and little to no revenue to offset these potential issues.

Real world examples of these risks include the current increase of all construction materials. Geopolitical issues have been known to effect steel and drywall costs dramatically in a short amount of time. Other renovation risks and cost overruns happen all the time simply by opening up walls and realizing major systems are not to code.

Real risk, also, comes with the overall timeline of an opportunistic investment, specifically as it related to changing tastes of your tenant base. While changes in taste tend to evolve over time, the COVID pandemic has proven that sometimes demand can shift quickly. The longer you have an asset with little to no income, the more pronounced the effects of those shifts can be. Examples of changing tastes range from location preferences to amenities on the property to paint colors.

Development:

The riskiest of all asset classes is development. Again, the same risks are true for Development compared to Opportunistic assets. However, there are some risks that Opportunistic assets won’t encounter; primarily, entitlements.
Entitlements, in general, are all of the sign offs and approvals you need. If you want to change the use of a plot of land, you either need it rezoned or a variance. If you want to put 200 apartment units in an area, you need approval from the sewage department to confirm the sewer system can handle the additional demand, or from the school district to determine if all the new residents will have space in classrooms. You need approval from neighborhood councils, that your design fits into the look and feel of the neighborhood.

At the end of the day, all of the approvals needed to put a new building up create significant risk, as not receiving a single approval can stop a development in its track. While seasoned developers will not acquire a property until they are reasonably confident all approvals can be obtained, if the approvals are not obtained, it can dramatically affect the value of the property, as future developers may be less inclined to even pursue the property knowing the prior developer was not able to obtain the necessary approvals.

As outlined, here and in my prior blog, all investments come with risk. Our job, as investors, is to pursue investments where we feel the risks associated are worth the reward.

About the author:
Evan is the Investor Relations Consultant for Ashcroft Capital. As such, he spends his days working with investors to better understand their investment goals and background. With over 13 years in real estate, he has seen all sides of real estate from acquisitions, to capital raising on the equity and debt side, to operations, and actively invests himself. Please feel free to connect with Evan here.

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REIT vs Private Real Estate Fund

In my life in Investor Relations, I get asked daily: “Is a Fund the same as a REIT?”. Let’s break it down.

What is a REIT, technically speaking?

A REIT is a specific tax structure created in 1960 and has very specific guidelines under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). A REIT must invest at least 75% of total assets in real estate, cash or US Treasuries. A REIT must derive at least 75% of its gross income from rents, interest on mortgages of real property, or real estate sales. A REIT must pay a minimum of 90% of taxable income in the form of shareholder dividends.

And that brings us to our first big difference. But I will continue with the definitions first.

A REIT must be an entity that’s taxable as a corporation (number 2 difference). A REIT must be managed by a board of directors or trustees. A REIT must have at least 100 shareholders after its first year of existence. And a REIT must have no more than 50% of its shares held by five or fewer individuals.

So, now that we know the technical rules of a REIT, what types of REITs are there?

The most common REIT that people think of is the publicly traded REIT. These are the most visible and any retail investor with a Robinhood app can buy shares. But not all REITs are publicly traded. There are Non-traded REITs. These are companies that publicly report financials and are available to all investors, through licensed Broker Dealers, but do not trade their shares on any exchange. And lastly, there are Private REITs. These are commonly private equity funds with individual or institutional accredited investors, with exempt offerings through a Private Placement.

What is a Private Real Estate Fund?

A Private Real Estate Fund is a private offering, or placement, and issuance of securities. The proceeds of which will be used to invest directly in real estate. Frequently, these funds will buy multiple assets and commingle the funds. There is no specific structure of a Private Real Estate Fund, but they are most commonly structured as a Limited Partnership.

How is a REIT the same as a Private Real Estate Fund?

Most commonly, both will own a diverse portfolio of income producing property. Technically, either could own a single asset, i.e. the Empire State Building is a single asset REIT structure, but portfolios are more common.

How is a REIT different than a Private Real Estate Fund?

The biggest difference for many investors is the tax treatment. Your tax form from a REIT investment will be a 1099-DIV. Your tax form from a Private Real Estate Fund will commonly be a K-1, assuming it is structured as a Limited Partnership.

What is the benefit of a REIT?

While this isn’t a comparison to a Private Real Estate Fund, the single biggest benefit of REITs is the mitigation of the corporate double taxation. Any corporation has to pay corporate taxes first, distribute dividends from after-tax earnings and the shareholders have to pay taxes on the dividends, creating the double taxation. Under the IRC for REITs, if all requirements are met, there is no taxation at the corporate level, only on the shareholders, thereby creating a favorable tax treatment.

What is the benefit of a Private Real Estate Fund?

For many investors, it is the tax treatment through the K-1. Losses can be passed through directly to the Limited Partners on a K-1, which is not available in a REIT and 1099.

Please note: I intentionally kept this blog high level. There are significant differences between a publicly traded REIT and a Private Real Estate Fund in regards to liquidity, access for investors, transparency of reporting, etc. The intent is to outline that a REIT can take many operational forms, but will always have the same tax treatment, which varies significantly from the tax treatment of a Limited Partnership.

About the author:

Evan is the Investor Relations Consultant for Ashcroft Capital.  As such, he spends his days working with investors to better understand their investment goals and background.  With over 13 years in real estate, he has seen all sides of real estate from acquisitions, to capital raising on the equity and debt side, to operations, and actively invests himself.  Please feel free to connect with Evan here and message him through LinkedIn with any questions.

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Planning for the End

All new relationships start with a bit of nerves, a lot of excitement and typically, big hopes for the future. Whether it is a new marriage, a new friendship or a new business partner.

For the Passive Investor, we are focusing on the business partner. As you are interviewing sponsors, often times the focus is on their business plan, track record and overall experience. But, how much time are you focused on the end, the exit, the divorce? Particularly in real estate investments, the exit is a primary driver of overall returns, whether it be core, value-add or a development deal.

Let’s take a look at an example:
A core asset is purchased for $160,000,000. This is a luxury asset in a very good, high income area with strong population growth. The purchase price is about $400,000/door. The sponsor is projecting a 6% average annualized cash on cash return, 15% IRR and 2.5-3x equity multiple over a 10 year hold. This sponsor offers a straight 80/20 profit split from day 1 with no preferred return.

These numbers allow us to get a rough estimate of what the terminal sale value must be to achieve these numbers. Saving you the boredom of my simple excel model, the sales price in year 10 would have to be $261 million dollars, or 61% more than the purchase price, accounting for a year 2 refinance. This equates to $652,000/door.

Is this sale price achievable?
As investors, we are all speculating as to where values are going. Whether the hold is 1 year or 10 years, if I invest today it is because I believe values are going to rise over that period. The point is to ask the question and confirm the sponsor has thought this through.

Of course, there are a multitude of factors that can affect the terminal value of the asset. Some simple questions that I ask sponsors when assessing the projected sales price:

  • Are there comps today that support that price in total dollars?
  • Are there comps today that support your terminal cap rate?
  • Are there comps today that support that price per door?
  • Who is the likely buyer?

Notice I focus on CURRENT comparable properties, as my crystal ball is realistically no better or worse than anyone else’s. If a sponsor is projecting to sell a deal for $100,000,000 at a 5.0% cap rate and $250,000 per door, I will want to see comps showing that the sale of the asset I am invested in is not going to be a record breaker in two out of three of those areas, and ideally all three. As for the last question, while no sponsor can speak to who the specific buyer of an asset will be in 5-10 years, the purpose is to better understand that a) the sponsor has thought about the reality of an exit, and b) better understand if buyers exist in the market at that price.

At the end of the day, each investment is a balancing act of risk. Asset classes, property types, business plans, sponsors, leverage, time horizon are all pieces of the equation that need to be addressed, and many of these are commonly asked in my dealings with investors. But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters to most people is WILL I MAKE MONEY? Understanding where that money is coming from and assessing the feasibility of those results is imperative to answering that question.

Check out other red flags to look for when vetting sponsors here.

About the author:
Evan is the Investor Relations Consultant for Ashcroft Capital and Active and Passive Real Estate Investor. As such, he spends his days working with investors to better understand their investment goals and background. With over 13 years in real estate, he has seen all sides of real estate from acquisitions, to capital raising on the equity and debt side, to operations, and actively invests himself. Please feel free to connect with Evan here.

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How Passively Investing Can Make You a Better Real Estate Investor

If you would like to make more money as a real estate investor, consider the benefits of a good investment. Investing passively is a smart way to make more money and give yourself more free time. You can start a passive income plan no matter if you have not done real estate before or if you have your own business. Learn about this approach and how it could make sense for you over the long run.

Active Versus Passive

If you want a solid wealth building plan, knowing the difference between passive and active investing is a critical part of the process. An active investment is when you go out and look for properties to buy and sell all the time. To maintain your income, you need a steady stream of new homes to buy and sell.

With a passive investment, you keep making money over the long run. You invest in a property and rent it for the best results. You keep your income stream as long as you maintain your property and follow the proper steps.

Passive Investments Increase Your Wealth

Passive investments are a great way to build your portfolio. You can only buy and sell so many properties at a time, so you will reach a profit cap if you are not careful. If you don’t want to face that problem, get passive investments that make the most sense for your bottom line.

Passive investments involve buying properties that people want to rent. Once you buy the property and set up the paperwork, you continue earning a profit without too much effort. If you want to get the most from your effort, invest in vacation rentals.

How to Get Started as a Passive Investor

Learn how to get started as a passive investor. You need to have a plan before you begin and to know how much you are willing to spend. Look at properties in your area to get an idea of what you should do next. Each investment property you buy boosts your profit and takes your business to a whole new level, and you will see the difference in no time.

If you don’t know why passive investments work so well, do as much research as you can. You can find a lot of information online if you know where to look. Also, buy books on passive investments online. This takes your experience to the next level. Learn different passive investment strategies if you would like to succeed over the long run.

When you educate yourself before you begin, you reduce the number of mistakes you make and enhance your projected profitability. It does not take as much as you think to become a passive investment expert.

 

Keep an Eye on the Market

Keep an eye on the market to understand what investment makes sense for you. Look at local prices to see how much profit you can expect. Local rental prices rise and fall over time, so you can’t just look at current prices. Look at past and projected profits to discover what path is right for you, and you will be happy you made the effort.

Watching the market shows you what prices people are willing to pay. Even after your investment properties are in place, you should still watch the market for important changes and updates. Doing so keeps you in the loop and lets you maximize your profits.

 

Try Getting the Best Deal

Try getting the best deal possible to save money. When you look into different investment options, you find a good investment at a fair price. Write down different properties and their prices until you find one that stands out to you more than the rest. You must keep a record of different deals.

Also, some people charge more for the property than they expect you to pay. If you don’t want to pay the full price, negotiate to get a better deal. Speaking with a real-estate professional is another option worth considering. Your expert will help you get the best price possible so that you don’t end up overpaying for your property. A passive investing plan works well no matter your long-term goals.

 

Look for Future Investments

If you get enough passive investments, you won’t have to keep making additional investments if you don’t want to do so. Many people buy old homes or apartments and fix them. They then rent them out for a profit. You can keep doing that each time you get another apartment up and running, or you can stop making investments once you are happy with the money you make.

No matter your situation, always keep an eye on future investment opportunities to keep your options open. Even when you are done buying properties, you can still find deals worth making. Never overlook a good investment opportunity when it presents itself, and you will make the most profit possible for your situation.

Your wealth plan depends on you having the right strategy for the situation. Your wealth building strategy works much better when you keep an eye on the future, and you will know you did the right thing.

Final Thoughts

Look at different passive income plans to understand what path is right for you. Your passive income plan takes your results to another level and empowers you to reach a level of success you never thought possible. Make sure you know what you are doing and that you have a plan.

The right plan will take your real-estate investments to a whole new level, and you will be happy with the outcome you get. Learn as much as possible about active and passive investing as you can to boost your profitability. You will soon have a steady source of income that keeps working for years to come.

Vacation rentals are a powerful investment when you want to earn money passively. The amount you earn depends on many factors you must consider. When you put a plan into action, you will be thrilled by the outcome you achieve. Being a wise investor takes your profit to where you have always wanted it to go.

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5 Risk Profiles of Real Estate

Real estate can generally be broken down into five risk profiles. But what do these categories mean?

  • Core
  • Core Plus
  • Value-add
  • Opportunistic
  • Development

Core

Core assets are generally the A quality asset in the A market.  These are viewed as the lowest risk because of their age, condition and market dynamics.  Because of the low risk, they often also generate the lowest returns.

The returns from these assets are typically from cash flow and long term, market driven appreciation.  The buyers of these assets tend to be institutional and carry low leverage with the intent of holding 10+ years.

 

Core Plus

The next tranche in risk is Core Plus. Compared to Core, these assets are older and/or in a less desirable market, although still in strong markets and sub-markets with strong population growth, low crime, and good schools.

For simplicity, these assets will be fully renovated assets with little or no deferred maintenance. When talking about apartments, the units will be recently renovated and achieving full market rents. In regard to market risk, these assets will typically fall into Class A or B submarkets, within major primary and secondary MSAs.

The returns of these assets are, like Core, derived primarily from cash flow with long-term, market-driven appreciation. Leverage is still fairly low, but slightly higher than Core.

 

Value-Add

Value-Add assets, like the name suggests, are existing, cash-flowing assets that have the opportunity to increase the value. The business plan can vary but will always boil down to increasing the income of the asset.  Most commonly in multi-family, the income increase is created through unit renovations.  These assets tend to fall in the B to C range, and can be found in, most frequently, in A, B and C markets.

These assets will frequently have some deferred maintenance that needs addressed, and often times are outdated aesthetically or operationally.  These assets will often require a capital investment to be brought to market standards.

In connection with the large amount of work and capital infusion, the returns in this class jump pretty significantly from Core Plus.  The returns often come from cash flow and forced appreciation but skew more heavily to appreciation.

 

Opportunistic

Opportunistic assets are the riskiest of the EXISTING asset class. These assets often have severe deferred maintenance, high vacancy, and very little, if any, existing cash flow. Most commonly, significant construction is performed to cure the deferred maintenance and bring the property to market standards to begin backfilling the vacancies. Many times, the property is repurposed within its existing structure; for example, converting a vacant warehouse store to self-storage, or a hotel to apartments.

Relative to the purchase price, leverage is often high for Opportunistic assets. The returns are generated through forced appreciation.

 

Development

Development is the riskiest of all asset classes. Typically, developers are buying vacant land, but may also buy existing properties with the intent to demolish the existing structure and build something new.

Returns for developments are created through forced appreciation.

In the cyclical nature of all things, it is interesting to note that many Core buyers are buying newly constructed assets from developers.

In the follow-up blog, I will be diving into the risks of each profile.

About the author:
Evan is the Investor Relations Consultant for Ashcroft Capital.  As such, he spends his days working with investors to better understand their investment goals and background.  With over 13 years in real estate, he has seen all sides of real estate from acquisitions, to capital raising on the equity and debt side, to operations, and actively invests himself.  Please feel free to connect with Evan here.

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Investing in Apartments Has Been Life-Changing

Investing in Apartments Has Been Life-Changing

In my opinion, multifamily real estate (apartment investing) can be one of the best ways to grow your wealth. So much so, that my wife and I decided to sell our primary residence years ago and put 100% of our equity into apartments, along with the majority of our investment portfolio.

For those of you who follow Robert Kiyosaki and the Rich Dad Poor Dad philosophy, you know that Kiyosaki is famously quoted for saying “your house is not an asset” meaning your primary residence is not an investment, because it doesn’t produce cash flow each month — quite the opposite in fact as you pay for expenses, taxes and upkeep. That is, unless you house hack, which is topic for another day.

Not only does an owner-occupied home leave you less mobile, it also ties up your money so you can’t use it for investments. In other words, the more you pay down your mortgage, the more you trap your investable cash.

 

A few thoughts on multifamily real estate in 2021: 

  • 75 million+ Baby Boomers are retiring
  • Many of today’s apartment complexes can be converted to retirement communities
  • A large number of millennials aren’t buying homes
  • Institutional and main street investors are searching for yield in today’s low interest rate environment

Multifamily investing can be a great way to build wealth, while helping fill the need for affordable housing, senior living and millennials choosing to rent by lifestyle choice.

 

 

HOW WE INVEST

My wife and I partner with experienced multifamily firms and invest in what’s called a real estate “syndication” or a real estate private placement. This means we, along with other investors, “pool” our money together to purchase large assets that we otherwise would not be able to afford on our own; a 300-unit apartment complex for example. The general partner (or multifamily firm) and their teams will manage the property and renovate the building by adding modern updates and improved amenities such as, in-wall USB ports, smart thermostats, storage lockers, improved landscaping, updating the clubhouse, gym, pool, or covered parking spots; depending on what the property is needing. The goal is to modernize the apartment building to today’s standards and increase the rents to the market level throughout the process.

The value or price of an apartment building is primarily derived from the NOI (net operating income), which is the total collected rents and income minus expenses to operate the property. When the net operating income increases, the value of the complex increases at a multiplier of this number. For example, let’s say you increase the annual net operating income on a property by $100,000 a year and a property in that market sells around a 10x multiple of the NOI. A $100,000 rent increase can bump the purchase price up by approximately one million dollars. This could be higher or lower depending on the market.

 

EXAMPLE

Let’s take a 300-unit apartment building as an example. Rents increase by $28 a month, per unit x 300 units ($28 x 300 = $8,400 monthly x 12 months = $100,800). For resale purposes, these $28 rent increases implemented across all units, could result in the property value increasing by nearly one million dollars. This type of value-add is much more scalable compared to a single-family home renovation.

Whether you invest individually in multi-family or with reputable firms, it can be a great way to generate cash flow, while helping improve communities along the way. My wife and I have dedicated the past 6 years to investing primarily in this asset class for these reasons. Cash flow investing can provide the ability to focus more on what you love and the freedom to focus less on what you don’t enjoy. At the end of the day, we all deserve to focus our time and energy on what makes us happiest.

 

To Your Success,

Travis Watts

 

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Beth Azor on Thriving Today with Retail Centers

These unprecedented times have hit retailers hard, but the news rarely highlights the fallout for smaller landlords. Retail shopping center investor Beth Azor shares the inside story on a Joe Fairless Best Ever Show podcast. Investing in commercial properties catering to retail is ideal for the active investor who enjoys hands-on management.

About Beth Azor

Beth owns Azor Advisory Services, a retail real estate development, management, and education company. She has over 30 years in commercial investing and currently manages a portfolio of retail shopping centers worth $80 million. Based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Beth owns six local shopping centers. She has adapted to competition from online selling and the current pandemic and has tips on thriving in this market.

Why Retail Shopping Centers?

Beth enjoys active investing and the variety of working with different types of businesses in this challenging sector. She also appreciates that managing commercial properties means dealing with companies instead of individuals as tenants. Beth prefers not to be responsible for an individual or family losing their home because they could not afford rent. Though evicting anyone is always uncomfortable, she finds it a little easier when it’s a business and not, as she puts it, a person losing a bed.

When asked about the perk of receiving discounts from her retail tenants, Beth stresses she forbids the practice. Accepting a concession or freebie means the retailer might leverage a quid pro quo situation and not pay full rent on time. Though tenants often try to offer breaks to Beth’s employees and family, the potential fallout is not worth it.

Manage the Rent Rollercoaster

Like many other landlords during COVID-19, Beth spends considerable energy on obtaining rents from distressed tenants. She learned the hard way that the time and emotion involved could overtake her week. She also discovered that small business owners behaved differently than national retailers and needed a different approach.

As a result of these insights, Beth started blocking off set times each week to work with both types of tenant. She reserved Tuesdays and Thursdays for small businesses and Mondays and Wednesdays for national companies.

Mom and Pop Struggle to Survive

The pandemic has shut down many smaller stores reliant on in-person traffic for sales. Beth has her share of these tenants and tries to work with them to persevere for mutual benefit. She finds that these businesses are often unable to pay full rent due to being effectively closed. The owners are understandably upset but eager to discuss options.

When evaluating the best recourse for a distressed tenant, including payment programs, Beth considers several variables. One factor is how easily she expects to lease the space if vacated or when the lease is up for renewal. Other considerations are whether the tenant has significant infrastructure installed or exclusive rights to sell a specific service, such as nail care. Sometimes a business will retain the rights to services but not offer them. If the tenant leaves, the landlord can recruit another retailer in that same popular niche.

Beth notes that she and many retail landlords prefer to grant rent deferrals rather than outright waivers. For example, a struggling tenant might pay half rent for two months and allow the landlord to take the difference out of the security deposit. The tenant agrees to pay any remainder the following year when in-person shopping presumably recovers. Beth avoids moving the balance to the end of the lease as she wants to encourage the tenant to renew at the market rate.

As part of giving back to her local community, Beth interviews small businesses for her YouTube channel and website. The increased exposure raises their profiles and helps bring in more customers. Beth does this marketing work gratis and finds it very rewarding.

National Tenants Play Hardball

Working with national retailers presents different challenges. These tenants quickly adapted to pandemic conditions by offering online, pickup, or delivery services and associated customer incentives. Though their revenues have fallen, deep corporate pockets will keep most of these businesses solvent and able to pay rent.

However, Beth finds many of her national tenants demand forbearance and aren’t always polite about it. Their message is, “I can pay this month’s rent, but I’m not going to.” The nationals often have representatives tasked with delivering the harsh news to landlords and other business partners.

Beth has dealt with real estate managers, lawyers, and CFOs in her quest for resolution. Perhaps because they feel ambivalent pushing for potentially unfair concessions, some representatives communicate unprofessionally. Negotiating with them is time-consuming and often unpleasant, and so Beth siloes time each week to do so.

To illustrate, Beth notes the national coffee retailer that sent well-publicized letters to landlords demanding rent deferrals for a year. What observers may not realize is that many commercial landlords are small investors such as Beth. These owners have far less financial backing than the nationals, and a drastic cut in rents could prove catastrophic.

Hold ‘Em: A Retail Portfolio Strategy

Beth favors a hold strategy for her portfolio. She bought her oldest holding in 2008 and has averaged an acquisition every two years. She then focuses on developing the new center, sometimes from scratch. As one example, Beth bought and demolished a vacant former strip club and built a shopping center in its place. The new center has five tenants, including Starbucks, Verizon, and Blaze Pizza.

In another transformative move, Beth bought a dated office building from the 1970s, razed it, and built a shopping center featuring a Starbucks on one side of the land. She is holding the other half to develop when the opportunity is right.

Beth’s holdings are a mix of anchored and unanchored developments. Anchored shopping centers are those with a well-known tenant to drive traffic, such as a supermarket. The anchor tenant typically pays less rent while the smaller tenants pay more to benefit from proximity to the anchor.

Unanchored shopping centers feature tenants of similar size where no one business draws significantly more customers than the others. For example, one of Beth’s developments boasts Verizon, Starbucks, Blaze Pizza, Select Comfort, and an ice cream store.

Prospect on Social Media

When prospecting for tenants, Beth has found that smaller businesses respond well to social media outreach. Unlike national retailers with marketing departments, small business owners usually monitor online channels to keep tabs on customer satisfaction. Beth has had particular success with high response rates on Facebook and Instagram.

For example, Beth might direct message business owners on Facebook and receive a 40 percent response rate within a day. Out of that pool, about 10 percent will express interest in her properties. This return is excellent compared to the old world of knocking daily on numerous company doors.

Prospecting national retailers requires a different approach that relies on networking. These large companies work through exclusive tenant representatives, local market experts who broker deals between landlords and tenants. The landlord pays the broker for a successful match.

If Beth has a vacancy and a tenant in mind, she reaches out to that company’s rep about doing a deal. She likely would not even meet the corporate real estate manager until a property walk-through.

Fund Managable Deals

Beth chooses to focus on smaller deals that she can personally fund. Her sources include income from other properties, personal assets, or funds from friends and family open to passive investing.

As is common in commercial investing, Beth used to work with institutions. She stopped this practice after a major deal funded by BlackRock went south.

Beth cautions not to let one stellar success blind you into overconfidence. Giddy investors can quickly become wedded to one perspective at their financial peril. In her case, she and a partner were doing a BlackRock-funded deal and leased one space to Staples for a pricey $20 per square foot. Emboldened, she and her partner decided to hold out for $15 for the remaining space, even though Walmart expressed strong interest at a lower rate. They ended up losing the property and $5 million.

How to Get Started in Retail Investing

You may be wondering how to break into the business of retail shopping centers, especially if your background is in passive investing. First, keep in mind that this niche is best suited for the active investor who enjoys operations and social interaction. Your best bet, says Beth, is to shadow a property owner to learn the ropes.

Beth started as a leasing agent with a real estate license, a path she recommends for those interested in active investing. Owners are looking to fill vacant suites, so be the person who can deliver the tenants. If done well, this role is gold.

Beth cautions against starting at a brokerage as you must obtain your own listings, which is extremely difficult. If you shadow an owner, you may land an internship and possibly a paid position. The upside of this apprentice approach is that you can trial the work while maintaining your current activities. Even if you are a seasoned real estate investor, a firsthand look at the dynamic retail world is well worth your time.

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Commercial Real Estate For Sale | 9 Ways to Find More Deals

Need help generating more commercial real estate leads?

You have come to the right place. From basic strategies like using a commercial real estate broker to generating leads through the landscapers (yes, that is correct!), this blog post is an ultimate guide for finding commercial real estate for sale.

Let us get started by first talking about the two different types of commercial real estate for sale – on-market and off-market.

On-market vs. off-market commercial real estate for sale

The tactics for finding commercial real estate for sale are simple. You don’t need a Ph.D. in commercial real estate or a 160IQ to find commercial real estate for sale. However, uncovering the best deals – that is, the deals with the most “meat on the bone”, upside potential and built in equity – require will a higher time investment.

In general, of the two types of commercial real estate, on-market deals are easier to find.

On-market commercial real estate for sale are deals that are listed by commercial real estate brokers. These are the easiest deals to find because they are heavily marketed by brokers. Consequently, there typically isn’t as much “meat on the bone” compared to off-market deals (of course, there are exemptions).

In fact, an on-market deal selling above market value is not uncommon. Since the on-market commercial real estate for sale is heavily marketed, many more commercial real estate investors will submit offers, which can result in a bidding war and an increase purchase price.

Also, on-market commercial real estate for sale may take longer to close on. Generally, the offer process for on-market deals includes a touring period, a call-to-offers date, a time range for the seller to review all of the offers, a best-and-final offers round, and a best-and-final sellers call before the deal is even placed under contract.

However, these potential drawbacks can be minimized or avoided entirely by a commercial real estate investor who has a strong track record of closing on similar deals in the past and/or has a pre-existing relationship with the listing broker. At the end of the day, the seller’s main motivation is closing. Therefore, on-market commercial real estate for sale can be advantageous for commercial real estate investors who are (rightly) perceived as closers. They will get awarded more on-market deals, even if they don’t submit the highest purchase price.

Off-market deals is the other category of commercial real estate for sale. Off-market deals are not listed by commercial real estate brokers. However, commercial real estate brokers can be good sources for off-market leads (more on this later in the blog post). Therefore, generating off-market commercial real estate leads requires more proactive effort.

Experienced and reputable commercial real estate investors will close more off-market deals because this isn’t their first rodeo. The sellers know they are operating a well-oiled machine and the likelihood of the deal closing is high.

Who would you rather have perform open-heart surgery on a loved one? A freshly minted medical school graduate, or the top heart surgeon in the state who has complete thousands of successful procedures? (Rhetorical question). Therefore, a seller is more confident signing a contract with an experienced commercial real estate investor who has a history of closing rather than a brand-new investor with no deals under their belt.

The main benefit of off-market commercial real estate for sale is the potential for the juiciest piece of “meat on the bone” at closing. It is common for commercial real estate investors to secure a contract on an off-market deal at a purchase price that is 1%, 5%, 10%, or more below the appraised value. This means that at closing, the investor has instantly generated 1%, 5%, 10%, or more in free equity. The reason is because there is less, or no competition. Usually, there is only one buyer, so bidding wars are avoided.

Also, if the seller is highly motivated, the closing process can be fast. However, it is also possible to have an extremely long closing horizon. A negotiation period lasting multiple months – even up to a year or longer – isn’t uncommon with off-market commercial real estate deals.

As I mentioned previously, a commercial real estate investor can secure the deal at a better price because there is less competition. However, this is not always the case for large commercial real estate deals. Larger commercial real estate for sale is likely owned by a sophisticated investor. They will know the market value of their asset and will not accept a lowball offer (unless they are motivated to sell because they are distressed – more on this later in the blog post). In fact, it is possible to pay above market value for an off-market deal. Since the seller isn’t receiving multiple offers, the market won’t set the price. Therefore, unsophisticated commercial real estate investors may get a sucker price.

Lastly, the commercial real estate investor can work directly with the owner in order to determine their unique needs for selling, which means that there is more opportunity for creative financing.

Overall, both on-market and off-market commercial real estate for sale have their pros and cons. Therefore, the best approach is to pursue on-market and off-market deals.

So, how do you find on-market and off-market commercial real estate for sale?

Let’s start with how to find on-market commercial real estate for sale.

How to find on-market commercial real estate for sale

On-market deals are always widely marketed by commercial real estate brokers. Therefore, they are very easy to find.

1. Commercial Real Estate Brokerages: Most of the larger commercial real estate brokerages list their deals for sale on their websites. If you simply Google “commercial real estate brokers in (city)”, you will be presented with a long list of commercial real state brokerage. However, I recommend being more specific by searching for commercial real estate brokers who focus on your niche. For example, if you are looking to find apartments for sale, Google “commercial apartment brokers in (city)” or “commercial multifamily brokers in (city)”.

Each commercial real estate brokerage’s website will have a section where they list commercial real estate for sale.

For example, when I search “commercial apartment brokerages in Chicago”, SVN Chicago Commercial is a top result. On their website, they have a property search function with a list of all their commercial real estate for sale:

 

One approach is to visit the commercial real estate brokerage’s website each week to look for new opportunities. The more efficient method is to subscribe so that new offerings are sent to your email inbox automatically. Locate the “subscribe” function on the brokerage’s website and input your contact information.

Repeat this process for as many commercial real estate brokerages as you want, and you will receive commercial real estate for sale in your email inbox every day.

2. LoopNet: Another way to find on-market commercial real estate for sale is on LoopNet. LoopNet is an online listing platform where commercial real estate brokers can list commercial real estate for sale.

Every large commercial real estate brokerage in a market should have a website where they list commercial real estate for sale. But some of the smaller commercial real estate brokerages may not have a website, or their website isn’t easily found on Google. Smaller brokerages do, however, list commercial real estate for sale on LoopNet.

LoopNet is also very easy to use. Simply select a property type and market, and you will be presented with a list of all the commercial real estate for sale.

Usually, most of the commercial real estate for sale on LoopNet are a repeat of deals listed on commercial real estate brokerage’s websites. However, others will be brand new deals you’ve never seen before (listed by smaller brokers who lists you aren’t subscribed to).

How to find more off-market commercial real estate for sale.

Finding off-market commercial real estate for sale generally requires more effort compared to on-market. Unlike on-market, there isn’t a website with a list of off-market commercial real estate for sale.

The overall idea behind off-market deals is to find an owner who is motivated to sell their commercial real estate before that owner has enlisted the services of a commercial real estate broker.

There are three main ways an owner can be motivated to sell their commercial real estate.

The most common reason why an owner is motivated to sell is because they are “distressed” in some form or fashion. There are literally countless ways an owner of commercial real estate can be distressed. Here a few examples:

  • Delinquent on taxes
  • Delinquent on mortgage
  • Building code violations
  • Health code violations
  • Liens
  • Facing foreclosure
  • Natural disaster damaged the property (i.e., fire, hurricane, tornado)
  • High vacancy, usually due to evictions
  • Recently experienced a large increase in taxes
  • Mismanaged by their property management company
  • Lots of deferred maintenance
  • Falling out with business partner
  • Personal reasons (i.e., divorce, death in family, divorce, illness, etc.)

A second common reason why an owner would be motivated to sell is if they are at the end of their business plan. For example, the typical hold period on a value-add apartment deal is 5 to 10 years. The apartment is acquired, renovations are performed over 12 to 24 months, the property is held for cash flow for another 3 to 9 years and is sold. The motivation is to sell so that they and their investors can realize the gain in equity and reinvest into a new opportunity.

The third common reason why an owner would be motivated to sell is because they are tired of being a landlord. They’ve owned the commercial real estate for 10, 20, 30 or more years and are ready to cash out to retire.

As I mentioned previously, the overall idea is to implement market strategies that target these types of motivated sellers, or people who know these types of motivated seller. I have previously created a detailed blog post that outlines how to create a list of motivated sellers – 7 free and paid online services to generate off-market apartment deals.

Now what do you do with this list?

3. Direct mail: Probably the most common strategy for finding off-market commercial real estate for sale is direct mail. A direct mail campaign consists of sending out a batch of letters to a list of motivated commercial real estate owners with the purpose of sparking a conversation that results in the acquisition of their property.

I have previously written a blog post that outline how to use direct mail to find off-market commercial real estate for sale – the ultimate guide to a successful direct mailing campaign. Overall, the strategy includes creating a list of motivated commercial real estate owners, creating a marketing piece to send to the owners, screening incoming calls and qualifying deals, and ultimately negotiating an offer price.

Direct mailing campaigns can be used to target all three types of motivated sellers – distress, at the end of the business plan, and tired of being a landlord.

4. Cold calling/cold texting: An iteration of the direct mail approach is cold calling and cold texting. After a list of motivated commercial real estate owners is created, rather than sending a marketing piece, pick up the phone and call and/or text the owner.

For example, click here for a story about an investor who was able to find two apartment communities totaling 340 units by texting motivated apartment owners.

The extra step required for this strategy, depending on the service used to generate the motivated seller list, is skip tracing. Most of the free and inexpensive list generating services only output an owner’s mailing address. Therefore, to acquire the owners phone number, you must “skip trace” the list. Here is a list of skip tracing services investors who have been interviewed on my podcast use:

Like direct mail, cold calling/texting can be used to target all three types of motivated sellers.

5. Thought leadership platform: A more creative and indirect approach to is to use a thought leadership platform to find commercial real estate for sale. A thought leadership platform offers unique information, insights, and ideas that will position you as a credible and recognized expert in your industry.

Common examples of thought leadership platforms are podcasts, blogs, YouTube channels, newsletter, publishing books, hosting conferences, and meetup groups.

Click here for an in-depth blog post on the process for how to create a thought leadership platform.

With a thought leadership platform, you will build new friendships and business relationships. It allows you to stay top of mind of commercial real estate entrepreneurs and professionals because you are constantly providing valuable, free information. Essentially, you can continuously network with people on a global level 24/7.

Now, what did I write earlier about how to find off-market deals? You must communicate with motivated owners and people who know motivated owners.

Well, with a thought leadership platform, your following (readers, listeners, views, etc.) will consist of both parties. Some aspect of your thought leadership platform should let your following know what types of deals you are looking to purchase. This can be as direct as saying “send me deals” or as indirect saying “I am a value-add apartment syndicator.” Assuming you have a website and a “contact us” function, your followers can reach out if they or something they know are motivated to sell their commercial real estate.

Something I also mentioned earlier about both on-market and off-market deals is that the stronger your track record, the more likely you will be awarded a deal. The main weight of your track record is your previous commercial real estate experience. However, having an established thought leadership platform will also increase your credibility in the eyes of owners and commercial real estate brokers.

“This guy/girl has a massive following on YouTube. He they must know what they are doing!”

Therefore, not only is a thought leadership platform a great way to find off-market commercial real estate for sale, but it will also help you get awarded more deals.

Unlike direct mail and cold calling, a thought leadership platform isn’t typically a direct approach to finding commercial real estate for sale. The exception would be if you created a meetup group to find commercial real estate for sale. Click here for a blog post I wrote about real estate investors who directly sourced deals through a meetup group. Therefore, I do not recommend using a thought leadership platform as your only approach to finding commercial real estate for sale. It should be used in tandem with other strategies on this list.

6. Call “for rent” ads: Another creative approach to finding commercial real estate for sale is to calling “for rent” and “for lease” ads.

As I mentioned previously, an owner may be motivated to sell their commercial real estate because of vacancies. Therefore, when you see a “for rent” or “for lease” ad, you know that they are experiencing some level of vacancy at their commercial real estate. You have immediately identified a potential pain point.

Depending on the number of vacancies or length of the vacancy, they may be at the point where they are willing to sell.

This strategy works better for smaller commercial real estate. It is unlikely that an owner of a 300-unit property, for example, will sell based on 10 vacant unit. Whereas an owner of a 10-unit property would be motivated to sell if all 10 units were vacant.

Additionally, with larger commercial real estate, the contact information provided in the “for rent” or “for lease” ad is likely a leasing agent and not the owner.

However, don’t let that stop you from trying this strategy on large commercial real estate. Maybe, once they are ready to sell, they remember you (especially if you consistently follow up) and give you a first look at the deal before going to market.

7. Nearby apartments: For every on-market commercial real estate for sale you come across, reach out to the owner of surrounding properties and attempt to purchase two deals: the on-market deal and an off-market deal.

This is an approach I used in the past to find commercial real estate for sale. Click here for the full story on this strategy in action. In short, our commercial real estate broker reached out to the owner of an apartment across the street from an on-market deal. The owner happened to be interested in selling, so we put both deals under contract.

At the time, the market was very competitive, and the on-market deal entered into a bidding war. However, because of the economies of scale and complementary nature of the off-market opportunity, we were able to pay a little bit more for the on-market opportunity, ultimately coming out as the victor of the bidding war.

8. Commercial real estate brokerages: As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, commercial real estate brokerages can also be one of the best ways to find off-market commercial real estate for sale. However, there is a caveat.

Before commercial real estate brokers bring a property to market, they may send the opportunity to commercial real estate investors who they know can close on the deal. This is either to give them a chance to actually purchase the deal prior to going to market or to, at minimum, give them a head start.

The key phrase above is “who they know can close on the deal”. Therefore, unless you have the established track record I’ve mentioned multiple times in this blog post, you likely won’t have access to off-market deals from commercial real estate brokers.

When a commercial real estate investor first speaks with a commercial real estate broker, the broker will ask questions to gauge how serious the investor is.

“Are they able to close on a deal or are they a tire kicker who is wasting my time?”

If they don’t think you are capable of closing on a deal, there is zero percent chance they will send you off-market commercial real estate for sale.

I interviewed a top commercial real estate broker in Washington, DC, and he provided me with the five questions he asks investors to determine if they are serious and capable of closing. You can read the full blog post by clicking here, but the five questions are:

  • Have you completed a deal before?
  • Can you send me examples of what you’ve done?
  • Do you understand the market?
  • How would you finance a potential deal?
  • What are your goals?

If you haven’t completed a deal, cannot answer simple questions about the market, don’t have the cash and/or financing capabilities, and don’t have a vision, no broker is going to send you off-market commercial real estate for sale. However, the exception would be if someone else on the team does have the required track record. When that is the case, your reply to each question would be “well, my business partner has…” or “my property management company has…”

9. Commercial Real Estate Vendors

Anyone involved in the rendering their services to commercial real estate, like electricians, carpet installers, roofers, plumbers, HVAC professionals, pool repairman, lawn mowing companies, landscapers, etc. can be your own personal “birddoggers”, generating motivated seller commercial real estate leads with zero competition.

One of Joe’s family members owns a lawn mowing company. One of their clients was behind on their payments. They asked Joe, “do you know why a property management company wouldn’t pay a contractor for services?” Joe replied, “well, it’s not the property management company but the owner who is the problem. They likely have liquidity issues and cannot pay the bills.”

Just like a commercial real estate owner who isn’t paying their taxes or mortgages, one that isn’t paying their contractors may indicate motivation to sell. Therefore, to generate potential commercial real estate for sale, form relationships with local commercial real estate vendors and ask for a list of clients who are in arrears.

Simply calling up random lawn mowing companies may not be the best use of your time (although it might work). The better approach is to use a vendor’s service first and then ask them to notify you of local apartments who are behind on their payments.

Conclusion – How to Find Commercial Real Estate For Sale

These are eight ways to find more commercial real estate for sale.

Which strategies should you pursue?

I recommend everyone who is interested in finding more commercial real estate for sale to implement to the two on-market strategies – subscribing to commercial real estate brokerage’s listings and searching on LoopNet.

Next, I recommend starting a thought leadership platform, for both the credibility and networking benefits.

Then, of the remaining off-market commercial real estate lead generation strategies, I recommend starting with one. Test is out for six months and analyze the results. If it works, great – keep doing it. If it isn’t working, select a different strategy to test for another six months.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-sized fits all approach to finding commercial real estate for sale. The strategy or strategies that work best depend on the market, the overall economy, your business plan, and your level of experience.

However, a commercial real estate investor somewhere out there has been able to find commercial real estate for sale using each of the eight strategies in this blog post.

The key is consistency!

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BEC 2021 Goes Virtual During Pandemic

Well folks, we have to acknowledge that COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere…at least not anytime soon. As a result (and as you may have noticed), BEC 2021 will be held virtually, for the first time, due to COVID-19. And, while we are disappointed not to be together in person, we are excited to funnel all our efforts into a virtual networking experience like no other. Seriously. As soon as you sign up, you will start reaping the benefits.

What do I mean? We really had to think out of the box on this one. The big question was: How can we make a networking event successful in a virtual environment? The Best Ever Real Estate Conferences are great because they provide attendees with the opportunity to network with fellow investors and industry influencers from around the world. That is it’s greatest benefit and we know how critical that is to you and your business.

In order to offer all attendees the opportunity to share business strategies, meet high net-worth individuals, and learn something new, we came up with a solution, several in fact, that I think you will love.

We’ll have video conferencing and chat rooms dedicated to hundreds of different networking topics. If you want to meet like-minded folks from around the country, if you want to find a partner, deal, or money from the comfort of your home office, or if you just want some good old fashioned new conversations in a world devoid of connections, then this virtual event is a can’t miss.

Exclusive to this year’s virtual event, when you sign up you will be thoughtfully placed into a Mini Mastermind group with your fellow attendees of groups no bigger than 8 people. No other conference provides you the opportunity to connect so intimately and learn as thoughtfully from your fellow attendees this far in advance from the actual date of the event. We’re making the virtual networking easy for you this year. The Mini Mastermind groups start as soon as you sign up, so make it count and register now.

Additionally, in the months leading up the conference, we’re offering all of our ticket buyers free access to exclusive monthly webinars discussing topics such as the current political climate and how the incoming Biden administration‘s decisions on a range of issues could impact the commercial real estate market and industry directly.

So, while 2021 has presented us with challenges from uniting in person, we are going to continue building the essential dialogues and connections in the world of real estate. We are looking at this as an opportunity to expand our network to include those that normally would be unable to attend and offer exciting new elements made possible by the virtual environment.

To find out more about BEC2021, visit www.bec2021.com.

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Kevin Riordan Shares Bold Insights on Institutional Investing

You may face a day when the funding needed for your target real estate deal merits an institutional investor. Though this is a sign of success, it can be daunting if you are unfamiliar with raising institutional equity. Real estate investor and longtime pension fund executive Kevin Riordan explains how to begin. As a guest on the Joe Fairless Best Ever Show podcast, he summarizes institutional raising and what entrepreneurs seeking equity can expect.

About Kevin Riordan

Kevin has deep institutional expertise stemming from extensive business and Wall Street experience. He took a commercial mortgage REIT, Crexus Investment Corp., public in 2009 and knows the process firsthand. A full-time professor of real estate at Montclair State University, Kevin grounds his investing in accounting and finance mastery.

Kevin’s career spans 30 years of institutional investing, focusing on raising capital for commercial real estate. As a young CPA, he moved from the accounting group to real estate at work after hands-on experience making transactions. At age 30, he moved to TIAA CREF, a pension fund for educational institutions, and broadened his investment analysis and real estate deals experience. Kevin leveraged 20 years there to create initiatives merging public capital with commercial real estate.

Kevin sees two sides to the business of providing institutional capital for equity. One side is through joint ventures with property developers handling the operations. The other aspect is funding entrepreneurs planning to buy or develop properties.

We Are the Money: The Equity Side

During his tenure at TIAA CREF, Kevin formed many joint ventures with real estate operators. The total project costs ranged from $12 million to $30 million, and the institution would cover up to 100 percent of the funding.

A typical partnership structure has the equity investor receiving a preferred return until reaching a hurdle rate. A hurdle rate is the minimum acceptable rate of return that an investor expects. At this point, the property developer receives a promote, which is an amount above the developer’s contribution. The contract should contain the exact terms agreed to.

Project costs vary with the type of property built. Kevin recalls one apartment building with 210 units in a quaint northern town that cost about $14 million. In contrast, a downtown Atlanta development with some construction challenges ran closer to $29 million.

The project begins with a construction loan to start operations. The institution uses its capital to pay off the loan and shares ownership with the developer. This arrangement grants the institution a preferred return on investment and access to the property’s initial cash flow.

Kevin provides an example of how these transactions typically work. If you put up capital of $1 million at a 6 percent return, your preferred return would be $60,000. The property’s first $60,000 return goes to you, and you and the developer split subsequent gains.

Funding Entrepreneurs: The Buy Side

What if you are a multifamily property investor seeking additional funding and not a real estate developer? Kevin speaks to this situation, too. Many investors start by using their financial resources and then raise funds from friends, family, and professional networks. They may top out and need to raise more capital to pursue their target transaction. Individuals often reach this point when they’ve rolled proceeds from multifamily properties into larger projects and face steeper equity requirements to continue growth.

When institutions invest in these types of projects, the funding is typically in the form of a mortgage instrument that allows the entrepreneur to buy a property or begin development. In return, the investor acquires a coupon or share of the mortgage debt.

If you plan on approaching an institution for capital, you want to present yourself and your business plan in the best possible light. Serious potential investors will conduct due diligence on you as a candidate and on your proposed projects. Kevin shares tips on how to prepare.

Document Your Track Record

A potential investor will first ask you, “What have you done?” The institution’s top concern is that you have a successful track record. Document and quantify your achievements and be prepared to discuss them.

Here are some foundational questions to be ready for:

  • Which transactions have you done?
  • What was your role in each?
  • How did each investment perform?
  • How were the deals structured?
  • Who were the other partners?

As in a job interview, expect to walk a serious investor through your process on at least one deal.

Create a Detailed Plan

Kevin describes his experience taking Crexus Investment public and meeting with major institutional investors for the first time. He had worked for a large pension fund and was now on the other side, taking his first company public. When visiting Fidelity Investments, BlackRock, and other large players, he found their concerns shared a common thread. In addition to his track record, they wanted to see a detailed and thorough plan.

Kevin stresses that despite differences in scale, multifamily property buyers and institutions must perform similarly to succeed. Nonetheless, the transaction must meet a minimum equity threshold for institutions to consider it. He notes that a $500,000 deal, a hefty commitment for most individuals, is too small for institutions.

Approach Investors at the Right Time

If you are considering institutional equity for your next project, should you approach investors before or after entering a transaction? Kevin suggests working with investors first to secure funding. At this point, they will evaluate you based on your track record and business plan. Ideally, you’re proposing adding one or two zeros to a solidly performing portfolio.

The alternative is to proceed with a deal on a contingency basis. One drawback of this strategy is that you may sacrifice some credibility with partners who prefer to have funding locked first. Another potential issue is not obtaining equity in time or being denied altogether. Lining up institutional financing first is a cleaner strategy.

Prepare for Due Diligence

Let’s assume you have passed an institutional investor’s due diligence, and you have the green light to put together a deal. The institution will draft a profile of your project, and funding is contingent upon meeting the requirements. Your job is to find or develop a suitable property and to check all the associated boxes, as Kevin puts it.

The institution will expect your project to satisfy given criteria such as:

  • Property location
  • Asset type
  • Expected rate of return
  • Deal structure

After analyzing the target project in depth, you should be prepared to meet the checklist. However, institutional investors also vet your company’s suitability for executing the project and managing it for the long haul.

Kevin emphasizes that investors assess a company holistically, looking for breadth as well as a compelling investment story. They want to understand how your business’s core people and operations will drive the project’s success. To do this, they look at history as well as current circumstances. For example, did your company triumph over a setback, such as a regional downturn or sudden loss?

Kevin suggests preparing for an evaluation of your past and present operations and any principals besides yourself.

Areas of scrutiny include:

  • Accounting systems
  • Reporting
  • Operating agreement or articles of incorporation
  • Other company principals
  • Financial history
  • Response to adverse conditions
  • Plan for operating the new property

How to Find Institutional Investors

Suppose you have your CV, company, and investment plan in place but have no institutional contacts. How do you reach out to these large equity investors?

Kevin suggests you partner with an intermediary such as a real estate consultant or mortgage broker. Many of these professionals arrange equity as well as debt and can facilitate the right introductions. When contacting mortgage brokers, for example, ask whether they work with institutional equity.

You and the institution will benefit from an intermediary’s services. Institutions prefer this approach because it weeds out the deluge of nonstarters and helps identify quality prospects. As an entrepreneur new to the process, you will gain valuable guidance from a high-caliber consultant or broker.

Make Your Bold Move

What is Kevin’s best advice for real estate investors new to institutional equity? Paradoxically, it is to act boldly while sensibly mitigating risk.

Kevin refers to a personal lesson learned. Following the Great Recession, he could have purchased $2 billion of Barclays Bank mortgage debt. Instead, Kevin bought only $750 million and left a significant profit on the table. He attributes the decision to caution over boldness.

If you haven’t already, you will eventually encounter a deal that seems like a fortune-changer. You will probably need to move quickly and irrevocably. According to Kevin, the key is to balance bold action with a clear understanding of the risks in a given investment opportunity. These decisions are always challenging, but isn’t that the fun?

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Real Estate Investing Advice from 7 US Military Veterans – Happy Veteran’s Day

Many former US military service members become real estate investors after transitioning to civilian life.

Discipline, a strong work ethic, loyalty, collaboration, leadership, effective communication, problem solving and many more skills obtained in the military are also beneficial to growing a real estate business.

Additionally, because of their background, they bring a different perspective to real estate investing – things that civilians like me may not have thought of. Fortunately for you and me, many veterans have come on the podcast to share these unique insights.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, here is the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever from 7 US military veterans interviewed on the podcast.

1. Think Big, Act Small

Seth Wilson: Founder and Managing Director of Clarity Equity Group

Military experience: Four-time combat veteran of 14 years, and currently serves in the Missouri Air National Guard as a pilot of the C-130 tactical airlift aircraft

Episode: JF2208 Veteran To Founder

Best Ever Advice: Thing big but act small. When setting goals, always aim high. But make sure that you paying attention to the details and taking massive intelligent action every single day in pursuit of your goal.

2. Get Out There and Take Risks (That Won’t Destroy You)

David Pere: Founder of From Military to Millionaire

Military experience: US Marine Corps since 2008

Episode: JF2102 From Military to Millionaire

Best Ever Advice: Just get out there, do it, and take risks. Having a safety net (in David’s case, his job in the military) can give you more confidence to take greater risks. But, David did put a ceiling to the level of risk one should take – if you take a risk and fail, it shouldn’t utterly break you. That is, you should be able to mentally and financially dust yourself off, recover, and get back in the game. The greater risks you can take, the larger the payoff.

3. Find Your Own Unique Niche to Reduce Competition

Phil Capron: Multifamily investors and Senior Mentor with Michal Blank

Military experience: Naval Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewman

Episode: JF1984 From the Military to Multifamily

Best Ever Advice: When in the military, Phil’s smaller special ops unit did the missions other crews weren’t able to. The other, bigger units lacked the tactics, training, equipment, or personnel. Similarly, Phil pursues deals and strategies that other, large operators aren’t willing or able to do.

Whatever the big operator’s investment criteria is his is the opposite. As a result, he has access to deals that they don’t have access to, which has allowed him to do deals in competitive markets.

Therefore, if you are having a hard time finding a deal, ask yourself what you can do differently to create a niche for yourself with minimal to no competition.

4. House Hacking and the Real Formula to Success

Eric Upchurch: COO and Co-Founder of Active Duty Passive Income and Senior Managing Partner at ADPI Capital

Military experience: Army Special Operations

Episode: JF1890 From Military Life to Civilian Work & Real Estate Investing

Best Ever Advice: First is to use the VA loan if possible (the similar option for civilians is the FHA loan). Zero (or minimal) money out of pocket for a cash flowing asset. Target a four-plex, live in one unit for at least one year and one day, and repeat. You will live rent free(ish) and/or generate cash flow each month.

Second was Eric’s real formula to success: “Learn, network, add value, take action. If you do those things over and over again, success will hunt you down.”

5. Always Follow Through with Commitments

Jamie Bateman: Founder of Labrador Lending

Military experience: Captain in Army Reserves

Episode: JF2224 Note Investing Strategies

Best Ever Advice: Jamie’s best ever advice was three-fold. First is to focus on your strengths and outsource your weakness to others. Second is to consistently think about how you can add value and contribute to something bigger than yourself – both in business and your personal life. Third is to just do what you say you are going to do. Keeping your word is very important. There are many people who make a commitment to do something and then disappear, never follow-up, or follow-up too late.

6. Set 10X Goals Based on Your Potential, Not Current Abilities

Vincent Gethings: Co-Founder and COO of Tri-City Equity Group

Military experience: 14 years in Air Force

Episode: JF2204 Investing While Overseas

Best Ever Advice: Set goals based off of your potential and not your abilities. Many people have limiting beliefs, which force them to set goals based on what they think they can accomplish based on their current experience, education level, relationships, etc. As a result, they set the bar extremely low. They use the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based); Vincent hates SMART goals because of the R, realistic.

Instead, Vincent is more of an adherent to Grant Cardone’s 10X rule. Set big, scary, audacious goals, and then take massive action toward them. Don’t be realistic, because that doesn’t give you any chance to grow.

7. SHUT UP!

Bill Kurzeja: Owner and Founder of Professional Success South

Military experience: 8 years of service as a Sergeant

Episode: JF2155 sales Skills to Improve Your Business

Best Ever Advice: Shut up and listen. We have two ears and one month, so use them accordingly. In sales, most of the time people will tell us exactly what they want and how to win them over. We just need to listen, use the information, and apply it back. This starts by setting the table – that is, proper preparation beforehand, which includes research and practice.

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