Group Effort Growing Clear Returns
Active vs. Passive Property Investing: What’s the Difference?

Active vs. Passive Property Investing: What’s the Difference?

There’s a lot to learn when you first start thinking about investing in real estate and a lot of decisions to make. One of the very first decisions is whether you want to be an active or passive investor. To decide, you should know what each involves, as well as the pros and cons. Read on to discover which is right for you. 

What is an active investor? 

An active investor is in control of the property or properties and spends a lot of time ensuring everything is running smoothly. They are responsible for: 

  • Finding the property 
  • Securing financing for the investment 
  • Making a business plan 
  • Executing the plan 
  • Finding and managing the right team members 
  • Talking to property managers 
  • Managing the risks associated 
  • Putting things right when they go wrong 

If you have the required time, the idea of starting a new business excites you, and you want to be involved in every aspect of the day-to-day management of your investments, then being an active investor may suit you. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of being an active investor: 

Pros of Active Investing 

  • You are in full control 
  • You know every detail of what’s going wrong or right 
  • If you have sufficient resources, you can be the sole investor and receive all income or profit 

Cons of Active Investing 

  • You are responsible for everything 
  • You need to invest the time to learn what you need to know to make the right decisions 
  • You could make costly poor decisions if you don’t have someone experienced to guide you 
  • If you’re not available full-time, it can eat up all your spare time 
  • You are responsible for building the right team and replacing anyone as necessary 
  • If you’re seeking a significant amount of financing from others or institutions, you need to be able to prove why you are a good investment 
  • More of the risk typically rests with you 
  • Renovation budgets can get out of hand quickly, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience evaluating properties or if you get carried away with the finish of the property 
  • If you fail to correctly project your costs, you could end up with a much less healthy profit margin (or even none at all) 

What is a passive investor?

passive investor (also known as a limited partner) is someone who is happy to invest the money and let someone more experienced take on the day-to-day operations. Limited partners invest their money with someone knowledgeable, such as a multifamily syndicator (often referred to as a sponsor).  

You will see a return on your investment with little-to-no effort from you. You might compare it to investing in the stock market, where you invest your money in a certain company, but don’t have to deal with the day-to-day operations of that company.  However, the difference with multifamily investing is your investment is backed by a solid asset, and often the returns can be better.  

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons: 

Pros of Passive Investing 

  • You’re essentially hands-free 
  • Your money works for you while you live your life 
  • You can diversify through multiple syndications with the same sponsor or multiple 
  • Your sponsor is incentivized to make a return
  • Typically less personal risk
  • Developing a good relationship with a talented sponsor or syndication can result in many profitable investments for you 
  • In many cases, you will receive a “preferred return,” which means you’ll receive your return before the syndicator receives their money 
  • You’re trusting someone with more expertise rather than depending on your own research 

Cons of Passive Investing 

  • You have limited control over the business plan (instead, you choose to invest in one that appeals to you with someone you trust) 
  • A high level of trust in your sponsor is required
  • You need to be someone who knows how to delegate and let people do their work (ideal for busy business owners, doctors, those who have created and sold companies, CEOs, etc.) because you can’t micromanage your sponsor 

How Much Money Do I Need to Invest? 

If you’re going to actively invest, then that depends entirely on what model you choose. What class property are you looking at? Are you looking at single-family or multifamily properties? In some areas, you can get started for little (a down payment of around $10,000 for a single-family residence) if you are happy to have a large mortgage, though you do need to be aware that you should keep some money aside for emergencies and any periods without a tenant. Do your math meticulously to ensure you have a sound ROI. 

If you’re looking to invest passively, you should look to have $50,000 or more, again, depending on the specific properties, areas, and opportunities you’re considering. You won’t need to worry about additional costs, and most syndications aim to offer you a very healthy ROI. Why? Because they want you to invest with them again so they can make you – and them – more money in the future. 

So Which is Right for Me? 

You’re going to need to do your research, regardless of which style of investing appeals to you most. Obviously, if you plan to actively invest, you’re going to have to do even more because you’ll be making every decision. When you’re investing a lot of money, you need to ensure you’re getting it right. 

If you’ve always imagined being an active investor but are worried about the time commitment and making a mistake, starting with passive investing can be a good way to dip your toe and start learning what to look for in the future. 

If active investing doesn’t really interest you, but you’ve been interested in property investing due to the security a physical asset brings, then passive is the perfect choice for you. It can offer you all the benefits of investing in real estate, without the steep learning curve or headaches of managing your own properties. 

The good news is that just about anyone can invest in real estate, but you need to choose the right investment strategy. If you choose to invest actively but realize it’s not for you, changing your mind can be costly, not to mention stressful. Unless you have prior experience working in real estate, passive investing may be the safer bet. Just ensure you work with a syndicator you believe in that is happy to answer all your questions. 

If you’re interested in learning more about investing passively or about our upcoming syndications, please don’t hesitate to contact us

Apartment Syndications vs. Single-Family Rentals: Which One Is Better?

Apartment Syndications vs. Single-Family Rentals: Which One Is Better?

Investing in real estate is an endeavor as rewarding as other investment vehicles such as stocks or bonds but can involve a lesser degree of management in monitoring your holdings (especially if you’re engaged in apartment syndications). So, what is the best way to generate income from real estate?

In this article, we will focus on rentals. Specifically, we’ll identify which type of real estate investment you might find better: Apartment Syndications or Single-Family Rentals.

First, let’s define these two. Apartment Syndications are, simply put, the pooling of money from numerous investors to buy an apartment complex which will then be fixed up, if needed, and rented out. This is a partnership where a manager handles the transactions of the rental property while you, along with other investors fund the endeavor.

Single-Family Rentals (SFRs) are self-explanatory—you buy single-family homes, fix them up for a cost if necessary and then rent them out.

Now, let’s differentiate between the two in terms of cost. Naturally, single-family homes are typically cheaper as a whole than multi-family apartments; although apartment complexes often  come out cheaper on a per-unit or “door” basis. So, if you’re simply looking at a $100,000 single-family home compared to a $1,000,000 apartment complex, the difference in the cost would be staggering. However, we’re talking about apartment syndication here, which means that the cost to acquire an apartment complex is divided among the investors, so, you won’t have to worry about shelling out as big of an amount.

Apart from acquisition costs, you also have to deal with repair costs. When buying any property,  repair costs are usually incurred. You want the place to be in pristine condition so that you can rent it out sooner and at a good price.

For both single-family rentals and apartment syndications, repair costs would naturally depend on the condition of the property when you bought it. The only difference between the two is how much of the cost you shoulder. With SFRs, you don’t have anyone to share the burden with, compared to joining apartment syndications, where the General Partner (GP) takes care of the arrangement, and you typically just pay a fraction of the cost.

Another thing you have to consider is maintenance expenses. In a typical lease agreement, renters do not shell out money for maintenance and upkeep, so these costs would all have to be shouldered by the lessor.

If you’re managing one or multiple single-family rentals by yourself, you have to pay for the costs out of pocket. Logistics would also have to be considered if you have to visit multiple properties all at the same time, just for maintenance. In apartment syndications, the partnership may bring in or hire a third-party property manager, who’ll take care of the maintenance, the cost of which will be spread among all investors.

Vacancies are where you have real leverage when it comes to apartment syndications. Suppose you only manage one single-family rental. What happens when that becomes vacant? Your cash flow will come to a halt until another tenant occupies it. In contrast, when a single unit in a multi-unit apartment rental is vacated, the partnership’s cash flow, including yours, will not be as affected since the other units are still generating income.

Economies of scale are something that we hear often when it comes to production. You exploit the inverse relation of increasing output versus the cost to produce said goods. But what does this mean in the real estate context?

Expenses and maintenance costs in apartment syndications are typically far less, compared to managing a portfolio of separate, single-family homes because in syndications all units are, quite literally, under one roof. As the number of rental units increases, net income is also increased as you reduce your cost, making it more cost-effective than managing a portfolio of single-family rentals.

Is Rental Still in Demand?

Now that we’ve discussed a few key points regarding real estate investing—rentals, in particular, let’s take a look at the demand for rentals. While some events or instances might influence families to move outside of the city and to the suburbs, potentially choosing to buy a property instead of renting, the demand for units located in key metropolitan areas will still be there.

Each city, district, and state have factors affecting the rental market, such as median household income, that may or may not hurt rental demand. A higher per capita household income may mean that more people in a certain area are able to buy homes instead of renting. However, it’s still more probable that a larger percentage may not be able to afford one and will continue to rent.

There are also commercial establishments that, due to the nature of their businesses, cannot afford to have their employees work from home. This is one thing that can contribute to steady demand in rental properties, especially in apartment complexes in key locations.

We’ve also seen instances where baby boomers who are approaching retirement, opt to let go of their large family home, and just choose to rent. Young families on the other hand, continue to rent as they save up enough cash to buy their first homes in the future. In both instances, the logical choice would be to choose a place that’s either near where they work or is in the vicinity of establishments they frequent.

Investing in apartment syndications certainly has its merits. People who have opted to invest in multifamily will tell you that it’s a worthwhile and relatively safe investment. We are (insert company name here), and we have been successfully providing our clients with professional guidance in the world of apartment syndications. If you would like to know more, schedule a call with us. We’d be more than happy to discuss details with you. We have a team of experts who can walk you through each step of the process in order to make this investment opportunity as easy as possible.

Balance Your Portfolio Through Diversification

Balance Your Portfolio Through Diversification

Current global events should motivate you to focus on certain pressing questions. Here is one of the most vital questions to consider:

Is my investment portfolio balanced and resilient enough to withstand market volatility or do I need to diversify more fully? 

This article will:

  • Give an overview of the importance of diversification
  • Encourage you to consider adding real estate investment to your portfolio to add stability
  • Explain how you can diversify your investments even within the sphere of real estate

Investment Diversification – An Overview

Why is diversification of your investments so important?

Diversification is the very best way to minimize risk. Every investor has different investment goals and it is important to have a clear view of your own, whether it is saving for retirement or for more short-term goals, focusing on your ultimate aims will enable success.

Of course, differing investment goals also means different risk tolerance which will have an impact on your investment portfolio.  Whether your investment goals allow you to tolerate slightly more risk or not, it is important to analyze risk reduction strategies.  Diversification is an excellent way to add stability and reduce risk while not affecting a portfolio’s wealth building capacity.

How does diversification achieve this risk reduction?

This is mainly achieved by ensuring your portfolio is spread across different types of investment that will each react differently to the same event.

The key with diversification is to try to limit the correlation between your investments. Simply investing in more financial assets does not mean better diversification if those assets are strongly related. For example, buying stocks in multiple companies of the same type is risky because a single event may cause all of those stocks to devalue. Due to globalization, asset classes are also becoming more correlated than in the past.

In view of the fact, that unexpected events can impact investment, you should certainly consider adding real estate to diversify and stabilize your investment portfolio. This reduces exposure to unsystematic risk by diversifying your investments and ensuring that they are not closely correlated to one another.

See the article, Investing In Real Estate Vs. The Stock Market

Add Stability to Your Portfolio by Investing in Real Estate 

Many investors shy away from diversifying their portfolio with a real estate investment because of their inability to liquidate that investment quickly. In actual fact, it is this illiquid quality of real estate investment that can anchor and stabilize your investment portfolio!

Real estate is a tangible asset and as such for many investors, feels more real. It is an asset that engenders confidence. A great appeal of this type of investment is its stability. For many millions of people, this kind of investment has generated consistent wealth and long-term appreciation.

See the article, Why Multifamily Investment Makes Sense

Real estate investment provides passive investors a very consistent and stable rental income. Having a home is a vital necessity for all people, and as a result, rental investors are relatively protected even during economic downturns.

As we have seen, your portfolio’s long term resilience lies in diversification across different asset classes.

Due to the different buying and selling dynamics of the private market, private real estate investment benefits from low correlation to the performance of stocks and bonds unlike publicly traded real estate investment trusts aka (REITs). That is why they are great options for diversification against unsystematic risk and are thus considered crucial to a clear strategy for diversification.

Even within the percentage of your portfolio that includes real estate investment we encourage further diversification subsequently reducing risk even further.

Diversification in Your Real Estate Investments

How can you create a diversified real estate investment portfolio?

There are three main areas where we encourage diversification. These are:

  1. Geography
  2. Asset Class
  3. Operator

Geography Diversification

Although the risk is relatively small, having all your real estate investments in one geographic location is like having all your eggs in one basket.

A real estate investment in a certain area affected by extreme weather for example, might typically perform well, but would it be wise to have all of your real estate investments in that one area?

Aside from weather issues, there are economic factors such as one area being heavily dependent on one particular employer or one particular type of employer. 

Although it would likely be wise to invest in that area in certain circumstances, if there is some major issue that affects that one industry or employer then that area might become vulnerable.

For these reasons, it is wise to spread your investments in real estate over a wide and varied geographical area as your portfolio grows.

Asset Class Diversification

When it comes to investing in multifamily properties, certain asset classes perform better in a growing economy while others weather a downturn more effectively.

See the article, Multi-Family Property Classifications and Your Investment Strategy

As your portfolio expands try to diversify as much as possible within the range of risk that you are comfortable with. (Some asset classes such as hotels may be too high risk for your liking.) The goal is for your cash flow/returns to remain consistent.

Operator Diversification

As a passive investor in a multifamily syndication, you are putting trust in the operator of the deal. Since the day to day running of the operation is taken care of by the operator this leaves you free to diversify and invest in multiple syndication deals. By doing so, you will not have 100% of your real estate investment capital with any one operator.

To summarize, advanced diversification affords investors the opportunity to increase return potential and reduce portfolio volatility. This is particularly true when diversifying into investing in real estate and when investing across various geographical locations as well as different asset classes and with more than one operator. While the details of the diversification are down to you, it is sure that the more advanced and carefully planned the diversification, the stronger and safer your investment will be!

Finding the Best Passive Investment Opportunities: What You Need to Know

Finding the Best Passive Investment Opportunities: What You Need to Know

Are you searching for the best passive investment opportunities? Passive multifamily real estate investing is a tried-and-true method that lets you take advantage of real estate’s stability without the direct responsibilities of being a landlord. Steady cash flow and tax advantages are just a few of the great things about investing passively! 

However, not all investments are equal, and many investors don’t know how to evaluate the quality of a passive investment opportunity. 

When looking at properties, many people tend to only look at returns – but there are other parts to the puzzle! Here is our top advice for finding passive investment opportunities that will serve you well for years to come. 

Know how to mitigate risk 

Real estate is generally considered to be a low-risk investment in most cases. Property values can generally be trusted to increase year after year, and multifamily has historically performed better than many other asset classes during recessions.

That being said, no investment is devoid of risk, even if you’re working with a company that does everything it can to protect investors. So, what are the specific risks of the deal that you’re considering? And what is the operator of the deal doing to mitigate the risks? 

There are different styles of underwriting, from aggressive to conservative. It’s often a good idea to work with a company that underwrites its deals conservatively. This gives you a margin of safety so that you can make more realistic plans. It’s smart to be conservative when it comes to debt structure, income projections, and budgeting for capital expenditures. This is far better than working with a company that will overpromise and underdeliver. 

Understand cap rates

When looking for conservative underwriting, the capitalization rate – or cap rate – is one of the most important numbers to look at. This number helps to determine the value of the multifamily real estate property. Cap rate is calculated by dividing the property’s net operating income by its current market value. 

The cap rate will depend heavily on how the market is doing, so it is subject to change over time. In many markets, the cap rate will be around 6%. Most likely, the cap rate will hold steady, but good financial projections will usually build in a margin of safety by projecting slightly lower cap rates in the future. Be wary of financial projections that show a steady cap rate 5 years in the future. While this is likely, it should not be promised. And, be especially wary if the cap rate is even lower in the financial projections.   

Ask about reserves, cash flow management, and rent growth 

Always make sure that there will be reserves at closing. In other words, make sure that there’s plenty of cash left at closing for renovation costs and a “safety net” for any unforeseen circumstances.

Ask about cash flow management and be sure that the company operating the deal operates above the line. In other words, ensure that they calculate the net operating income with plenty of room to take money out without hurting the bottom line. Keep in mind that this will reduce returns on paper, but it’s actually a good thing! You want to be wary of returns that seem too high to be true. 

Also inquire about rent growth. When you’re investing in multifamily, the goal is to increase profit over time by improving the property and raising rental rates accordingly. Rent growth is definitely something that you’ll want to count on. Just be aware that it will take time. There’s no way to promise rent growth within the first year, because that would involve kicking out all the tenants and renovating the building instantaneously… which is clearly not realistic! Expect rent bumps to start no earlier than year two or three

Work with a trusted syndicator

If you have already found a company that you want to work with, does the operator or syndicator of the deal have the chops for property management and passive investing? It takes a team of knowledgeable people to manage properties and make solid investment decisions. Make sure to find a team you can rely on with confidence!

Ask the syndicator questions. What’s their strategy for picking a good market, finding great deals, and operating multifamily properties to their highest potential? Will they conduct thorough due diligence? Do they take a scientific approach to real estate investing? Do they have good references from mentors or from real investors in their syndication? How will they work to protect their investors?

A trustworthy operator or syndicator will often put their money where their mouth is by passively investing in their own deals. You may want to consider working with someone who trusts their process well enough to invest in it themselves. 

If the company is a large group of partners or a joint venture, then you may want to find out who has the bulk of the decision-making power in the group and determine whether they have a good track record. Property managers, attorneys, and board members are all important parts of the team.

And lastly, it is very important that the sponsor is willing to guide you through the passive investing process and answer all your questions with transparency. This will help you decide whether this is the right deal for your specific needs. If you’re putting your hard-earned money into the venture, you deserve to understand the process fully. 

Go forward with confidence! 

As you can see, the best passive investment opportunities will always come down to the syndicator of the deal. There’s no substitute for finding a good syndicator who will answer all your questions, make smart and educated decisions, and work to protect their investors. 

A little bit of knowledge goes a long way when it comes to selecting a long-term partnership with a multifamily syndicator. When you’re prepared to ask questions and delve into the financials, you can confidently select the investment that is right for you!

How a General Partner (Sponsor) Makes Money in an Apartment Syndication

How a General Partner (Sponsor) Makes Money in an Apartment Syndication

Apartment syndication has been a strong buzzword in society, especially since the JOBS Act passed back in 2012 that boosted real estate crowdfunding. All in all, apartment syndication is an inked transaction between a general partner/sponsor and a group of passive partner investors to adequately fund a property that holds high credibility to drive optimal financial gains. Now, as clear-cut as this process may seem on the surface for all parties involved, there is one leading and fully justified question that arises amongst potential passive investors – how do general partners make money from this deal?

In summary, the answer to this question is quite dynamic, as there are several ways general partners can (and do) make money from apartment syndication. To offer more insight and clarity within this area, below is a comprehensive overview of the diverse streams a general partner has that allows them to get compensated for their role. 

1. Distributions 

First are distributions, which is an umbrella term that consists of operations, refinancing, and the sale of the property. Depending on the written contract and how much everyone invested will determine what the split and payout will be. For instance, the profit split could be a clean 50/50 between a passive partner and the general partner, or it could be as tilted as 90/10. As long as everyone agrees, the profits can be split equally, or each person could obtain a different return based on the X/X ratio listed. 

Example: If a passive partner with an 8% preferred return invested $2,000,000 into a property that earned an annual cash flow of $200,000, they would receive $160,000 along with an additional $20,000 if the contract was a 50/50 split. That scenario would leave the general partner with $20,000 to take. 

2. Percentage Ownership 

Another primary way, which is also linked to the distribution point above, is making money through percentage ownership. Again, depending on how much personal investment the general partner chose to invest and how much the property refinanced or sold for will determine the outcome of this profit. An example for this one is the general partner owning 30% of the property and the passive partners owning 70% of it. The only underlying issue with this one is that it does not usually offer steady cash flow over time, but it could deliver large lump sums in the end if the value of the property rose significantly. 

3. Fees 

Next involves general partner fees. In short, there are typically a few different fees involved in an apartment syndication agreement, one of which is an acquisition fee. Almost all general partners will charge this one-time upfront fee, usually around 1-5% of the total purchase price. This profit will again be strongly determined on the potential of the property, the qualifications of the team, and the scope of the project as a whole. Why do you, as a passive partner, need to pay this? Because it covers the time and money spent by the general partner on their efforts involving deal development, team building, marketing analysis work, finance securing, and other aspects involved to make the project a successful and seamless one. Other fees that a passive partner can expect to pay and how general partners get paid for their time include:

  • Asset Management Fee: An annual per unit fee ranging from about 2-3% and is used to cover aspects within the business plan such as interior/exterior renovations. An important thing to note here is that this percentage is based on what the collected income is, meaning the lower the income, the lower the percentage will be. 
  • Organization Fee: The majority of the time, most apartment syndication contracts do not list an organization fee as it is built into the acquisition fee. However, if it is separate, then a general partner will likely ask for a 3-10% upfront fee based on the total money that has been raised to organize and orchestrate the project team fundamentals. 
  • Refinance Fee: A refinance fee goes to a general partner for their time involved in refinancing a property. Perhaps the value increases as time goes on, and they are able to refinance with a better interest rate and terms. Refinancing is not always applicable, but if it is, there may be a 1-3% fee collected based on the total loan amount.
  • Loan Guarantor Fee: This is another one-time closing fee (that a general partner may or may not ask for) which is collected to guarantee the loan. This one had a larger percentage range falling anywhere from .5% to 5%, depending on the risk involved and if it is a recourse loan or not. Diving deeper into the risks, a recourse loan is red on the risk chart because it allows the lender to collect the general partner’s assets (home, car, credit cards, etc.) even after the collateral has been taken to collect the debt owed. On the other hand, a nonrecourse does not allow the lender to collect assets other than the collateral. In those circumstances, the loan guarantor fee will be lower since there is less risk on the general partner. 
  • Loan Interest Fees: Regardless of the size of the loan being taken on to carry out the property renovating objectives, there is going to be interest involved. Because of this, there might be an 8-12% loan interest fee as part of the apartment syndication deal. This fee is to help cover that said interest incurred from the loans made to the company
  • Construction Management Fee: Lastly, a construction management fee is typically an on-going 5-10% fee to support the general partner in optimizing the project pipeline efforts. This percentage is calculated on the total renovation budget, but keep in mind that it is often intertwined with the asset management fee to maximize passive partner returns. 

4. Brokerage Commissions (If Licensed A Broker in The Same State as The Property)

If a general partner happens to be a licensed real estate broker in the same state as the property they are investing in, then they could earn compensation for that area of business as well for performing brokerage activities to the syndication. For instance, they may earn a commission for purchasing the property initially and potentially a resale commission if selling the flipped property is part of the big picture agenda. As a final comment here, if a general partner is not a licensed broker, then onboarding one will be part of their team building process, as they are the main link between the buyer and seller and helps ensure that the entire acquisition process will go smoothly. 

Conclusion – Ready to Invest Passively? 

From finding and underwriting deals, securing finances, negotiating, executing business plans to investor communications, general partners are essentially the drivers when it comes to apartment syndication. Because of that, it stands to reason why many people looking to invest passively stop and ask how do general partners make money as their role significantly differs from theirs. After reviewing the list of streams above, hopefully you now have a better understanding of how the process works on that side of the spectrum and have a concrete idea of what to expect if you choose to opt for this investing avenue yourself. 

With that being said, passive investing is one of the leading ways to obtain the advantages of owning an apartment property without having to put in the full time, commitment, and funding needed to execute the project. Now, this is certainly not a get rich quick scheme, but it is one that can hold monumental value that builds over time. Remember, when a multifamily property you invested in earns a profit, so do you! Overall, if you are ready to have your money work for you and invest passively in multifamily real estate, then contact us today, and we will be happy to help you get the process started.