Ask the Guys – Long-Distance Landlording, Property Management and More

Welcome back to an all-new edition of Ask The Guys!

Today, we’ll be answering listener questions. So listen in for our best real estate tips and tricks!

A disclaimer … we are not tax advisors or legal professionals. In our Ask The Guys series, we give ideas and information … NOT advice.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show you’ll hear from:

  • Your tipster host, Robert Helms
  • His tricky co-host, Russell Gray

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How do I find a property management company?

This question comes from Lee, in Bay City, Michigan. He wants to know whether we have any advice for finding—and vetting—management companies.

He says he’s investing in his area, but the only management companies he can find are run by real estate agents on the side. He has a day job, and doesn’t have time to manage on his own … so he wants to find a reputable company that’s up for the task.

He also asks whether he should move out of his local area, since there aren’t many management companies.

We always say you should invest where the numbers make sense … but you also need to invest in places where you can find a great team.

In the long term, your property manager is the most important person on your team. So if there aren’t any great property management solutions where you live … perhaps it’s time to expand your geographic investing boundaries.

Start by refining your personal investment philosophy, then look for a market that both matches your goals and has the management companies to fill your needs.

You don’t want single-point failure. Make sure the company you choose aligns with your philosophy. Ask them, “Who supports you, and how?”

You want to make sure their compensation model is aligned with your best interests. In other words, when you earn money, they do too.

And choose your property management company BEFORE you buy your properties. They can be an excellent resource for finding properties and asset class types that will work well for both of you.

Remember, you can’t scale up without putting the right team in place. Getting a great property manager on your team helps you find the professional distance you need to run your business properly.

How do Section 8 rentals work?

Laura, from Naples, Florida, wants to know how Section 8 rentals work and how she can acquire affordable housing in her investment market.

First, a few things about Section 8. Section 8 is housing subsidized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). But it’s administered by local public housing agencies, so it’s not always available and differs across the country.

Section 8 can be great because a portion of the rent is paid by the government. You basically have a guarantee you’ll get most of your rent on time, regularly.

But tenants in this housing can be a tough crowd … sometimes they don’t blend well with other, non-Section 8 tenants. For that reason, we like a property to be all Section 8 or none.

A great resource for learning about Section 8 is Mike McLean, who has published a book called the Section 8 Bible and has some great online resources, too.

Affordable housing can be a good place to be because of stagnant purchasing power … but make sure you’re playing close attention to the program from which funding comes.

And keep in mind … the devil is in the details. If you’re not managing the property yourself, make sure your property manager is well acquainted with Section 8.

Should I invest now, or later?

Casey, in Lehi, Utah, has been listening to the podcast, and now he has a pressing question.

Casey has saved up $100,000 to invest, but he wants to know whether he should invest now or wait until the market takes a dive. He mentions worries such as rising interest rates, an unstable dollar, and inflation.

Let’s start with a premise … markets will either do well or poorly in the future. We know that. We also know that when the market hits the bottom, you can only go up.

Real estate is a long-term, buy-and-hold business. But it is interest-rate sensitive, so you want to make sure you lock in long-term financing if you invest now.

It’s also good to keep some liquidity for if and when the market does go downhill.

Something we like to say is, “Opportunities are like busses. Another one will always come along … but you have to get on the bus at some point.”

The way we see it, Casey has a few options …

  1. Invest in things that are likely to do well, even when the market is bad, particularly mid-level rentals and below. There will always be demand for housing, especially mid-range housing.
  2. Invest in a forced equity situation … a neighborhood or property that has room for improvement, which you can force upward in value. This will help you mitigate downward pressure to the dollar.
  3. Invest in a bigger market … this provides stability, as these markets have more ballast during tough times.
  4. Step in on the debt side of the market by lending money to other investors.
  5. Work with an experienced syndicator who is more likely to get investments right, even when times are more precarious.

Remember, when you’re in property for the long haul, most of the time you’ll be fine. The key is to structure deals so you can weather the ups and downs.

Another thing to consider … the price only matters when you buy and when you sell. In between, it’s all about cashflow.

Real estate is one of the best inflation hedges if you structure the financing properly relative to cashflow … but you can’t fledge against inflation if you don’t do anything at all!

How do I create residual income with little savings?

Jeff, in Fountain Hills, Arizona, says he is in an interesting situation.

He doesn’t have any income, but he has enough cash to live on for 24 months. In the meantime, he wants to figure out how to create residual income that will pay for his living expenses going forward.

Jeff is looking at building a balance sheet of passive income sources.

But right now, he has time, labor, and energy he can put to work. And since he’s not holding on to a chunk of cash, the active investor route is a good one.

Some options …

  1. Force equity by fixing and flipping.
  2. Earn cashflow by fixing, holding, and renting.
  3. Become a syndicator and use other people’s money to make great investments. It’s our favorite way to go full-time, fast.
  4. Try wholesaling.

Basically, what Jeff needs to do right now is to build up his investment capital so he can start getting some cashflow.

But before he does that, we suggest he invest in education and build relationships. Get the right tools in your toolbox and the right advisors at your back before you go big.

Can you recommend turnkey management companies?

Keith hails from East Sandwich, Massachusetts. He recently bought a home through Mid South Homebuyers and is ready to buy another.

The problem? He’s on the waitlist at Mid South. In the meantime, he’s looking for another turnkey company that manages the houses it sells.

One disclaimer … we don’t know anybody quite like Terry Kerr at Mid South.

But we do know lots of other great folks.

The idea of a turnkey provider is that they do the whole thing … find the properties, get them in great shape, put tenants in, and manage the rentals.

But before you look for a provider, think about the type of property, market, and team you want.

Then go ahead and search our provider network for someone who can help fill your needs. We don’t guarantee anyone on the list, but we do promise we’ve spent a lot of time with them on the ground and have seen enough to trust them.

Should I attend Secrets of Successful Syndication now, or later?

Gene, in Boston, Massachusetts, is an investor who owns two duplexes. He wonders whether he should attend our signature Secrets of Successful Syndication conference now, or later in the year when he has more experience.

We’ve gotta say, we really think the key is for investors to come early and often.

This conference is designed for investors who already have a portfolio and are ready to take the next step.

But even if you’re just starting out, it’s a great way to get around what we call “evidence of success” and learn the power of networking.

Experience is something you can accumulate through other people. And syndication is all about having the experience to make good investment decisions.

So, for those who want to move forward, we recommend you start as soon as you can.


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Finding Opportunity in Comeback Markets

Job creation is up. Even better news … the jobs being created are blue-collar jobs, many in the reviving manufacturing industry.

This means more wages, more workers … and more folks who can pay rent.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, we talk to an entrepreneur who has built a real estate business in an off-the-radar market.

The truth is, the hot markets you always hear about … San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles … don’t make sense for investors.

On the other hand, markets with not-so-great reputations might get you the best bang for your buck, depending on where they’re at in the market cycle.

Our conversation today delves into what makes a market make sense … and what it takes to make a profit in sensible markets.

Listen in … you’ll hear from:

  • Your reputable host, Robert Helms
  • His bad-reputation co-host, Russell Gray
  • Bryce Keesee, founder of Great Lakes Capital Solutions

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Riding the market waves

Let’s start with a quick real estate investing lesson.

Many people generalize the entire real estate investment category. They think real estate is overheated … so there’s no opportunity anywhere, for anyone.

That’s just plain wrong.

Real estate is NOT an asset class. It’s NOT a market. It’s an investment category with MANY different markets, each of which is in its own unique place in the market cycle.

But smart investors don’t look at averages. They take the time to do research, look for clues, kick the dirt, and meet people in individual markets.

When you’re looking for great markets, one excellent option is the comeback market.

Markets go through phases …

  1. Growth.
  2. Stabilization.
  3. Deterioration.
  4. Revitalization.

Catching a market as it hits step four is the key to riding an up-wave.

You don’t want to get in before things have started looking up … but you do want to get into markets that are turning upwards before the crowd.

Case study: Cleveland

Our guest Bryce Keesee got into real estate in southern Florida 15 years ago … but he has since switched to a market in the midst of MAJOR revitalization.

The market? His hometown … Cleveland, Ohio.

You might not initially think of Cleveland as a great investment market. That’s part of what makes it so great.

Bryce says the market offers many benefits … good price points for properties and rents, a steady flow of dependable tenants, stable worker incomes, and best of all … high cash flow.

Let’s get into what makes Cleveland so great.

First of all, a revitalized manufacturing industry only adds to the wide variety of blue-collar companies in the city.

Steel manufacturers join other major employers like Lincoln Electric, Progressive Insurance, several Amazon warehouses, and the renowned Cleveland Clinic, just to name a few.

This variety offers stability … and provides blue-collar jobs that keep rent prices steady.

These jobs are one reason Cleveland has a reputation for affordability.

Bryce is a fan of blue-collar workers because they tend to be long-term tenants. Many of these workers don’t plan to buy a home. Purchasing a property is “off the list” of goals for many people.

Dive into the details

We asked Bryce to give us the low-down on his typical rental property.

Bryce says properties are slightly different depending on location.

The east side of Cleveland has been abandoned for many years, although it’s starting to see growth now. So price points are a bit lower.

Bryce says single-family homes on the east side sell for $60-65,000. Monthly cashflow is $750 a month, on average … well above one percent.

The west side, on the other hand, has slightly higher price points and rents. Homes sell for 70-75,000, and rents are in the $900 range.

It takes 30-60 days from closing to repair and refurbish properties so they’re ready to rent.

The rehab process doesn’t follow a cookie-cutter template. Bryce and his partners have standardized the contractors and materials used, but each property gets an individual evaluation.

He wants well-functioning, desirable rentals that will save the company time and maintenance costs in the long-term.

That keeps tenants happy. Bryce also works to keep tenants happy by building relationships with tenants via his property management company.

“Our tenants love us,” Bryce says. A big reason is great communication from his property management team, with whom he has a 10-year relationship.

What about the general atmosphere of the Cleveland market? Ohio is extremely landlord-friendly, says Bryce. The law allows for a 3-day notice to vacate for non-paying tenants. The eviction process is only 10 days.

That doesn’t mean Bryce follows those timelines … he says his response is to establish a relationship with tenants and make sure the lines of communication are open. Yet another reason why property management is so important!

Investors interested in the Cleveland market should listen in to get access to a special report by Bryce that includes even more details!

Ohio Field Trip

Bryce really loves Ohio, and he thinks other investors will too.

Cleveland has great sports teams and the second-largest performing arts district outside of New York City.

But it’s also experiencing a revitalization that you can only really understand by kicking the dirt.

That’s why we recommend the Cleveland Field Trip.

You’ll get a chance to tour Cleveland with Bryce. But you’ll also learn about the investment model Bryce uses … an excellent education even if Cleveland isn’t right for you.

We live in an era of over-saturated markets. It’s hard to find markets that make sense. But some markets are just starting to get hot.

The very best way to get in on these markets is to learn from someone who has boots on the ground. Because remember, you’re not looking for a property, or even just a market … you’re looking for a TEAM.

And a field trip is the best way to meet the people … who know the market … and can help YOU build your own brilliant team.


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The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.


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Creating Consistent Cashflow with Retail Real Estate

Most people in the real estate investing world tend to gravitate toward a specialty … a market about which they know ALL the ins and outs.

On our latest show, we’ll talk to someone who has made a particular market his bread and butter … the retail market.

Wait … isn’t retail dead? No!

In this episode we’ll talk with a 30-year veteran of the retail investment industry about WHY the retail market is still completely viable … and HOW you can get started in the wide world of retail.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show you’ll hear from:

  • Your seasoned host, Robert Helms
  • His senior co-host, Russell Gray
  • Retail investor and developer Michael Flight

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Why retail?

Michael Flight has been involved in shopping center development since 1986. His business, Concordia Realty has been adding value to shopping centers since 1990.

In his 30-year career, Michael has seen the retail industry change a lot. Change is one constant in the industry, he says.

Several decades ago, the Sears catalogue made a big splash and replaced the business of many local merchants. Today, Sears is going downhill quickly … due to the popularity of online shopping sites like Amazon.

But smart investors have found ways to make brick-and-mortar retail thrive.

Retail facilities have evolved from single-purpose buildings to multi-function facilities (think shopping malls with restaurants, entertainment, and a wide variety of stores).

Businesses like Amazon need space to store and fill orders … another place where real estate folks come in.

Michael calls his specialty “de-mall-ing” … that is, taking a struggling mall and changing out the tenants and revitalizing the complex for modern shoppers.

We’ll explore the nitty gritty of how to get into the retail market, but first, a few great reasons investors should consider retail as part of their investment strategy:

  • One of America’s favorite pastimes is shopping … in person. Although online shopping is increasing in popularity, it’s still only 10 percent of the retail market. And customers flock to big-box stores for necessities like clothes and shoes that are harder to buy online.
  • Investors don’t have to deal with two of the major problems of apartment investing … vacancy and turnover. Tenants typically sign long-term leases ranging from 5 to 40 years to very stable tenants. Michael says many tenants will be national brands who offer lots of equity and will advertise FOR you.
  • Low day-to-day involvement … tenants are responsible for their own maintenance and sometimes even build their own stores. With a triple-net lease, tenants are responsible for real estate taxes, insurance (both property and liability, plus the contents of their store), and maintenance, including common-area maintenance like plowing snow and maintaining lighting.

How does the retail market work?

What does it take to purchase a small shopping center? Michael says potential investors must answer a few questions first …

  • What’s the neighborhood like? Is the property located in a good location?
  • Is there an adequate local population to support retail stores?
  • Is there a good travel path? That is, is the center accessible to cars and located near homes and other businesses?

Once you’ve made sure those criteria are satisfied, you have to look at what kind of tenants are already there … and what kind of tenants you need.

Shopping centers should have an anchor tenant … a grocery store or drug store or other big brand that will draw customers to the shopping complex.

When you’re negotiating, anchor tenants often have a lot of power to negotiate terms. But if you have a really great location, that gives YOU more leverage.

And you have to make sure customers are going to come.

The threat from online retail is real, but that doesn’t mean brick-and-mortar retail stores are failing … it just means investors have to get creative.

That might mean integrating omni-channel options … warehouses that provide last-mile delivery and stores that offer online order pick-up, for example.

But the big question investors have to look at is how can we get more people here … and keep them here longer?

For example, don’t build a shopping center without integrating great places to eat and rest … you’ll get more customers who stick around, and a more successful investment.

Michael emphasizes that investors need to know about retail itself, from how retailers do business and which retailers sell what, to merchandising … putting the right tenants in the right spots.

That means making sure tenants are complimentary. Have a couple clothing stores? Make sure you look for a shoe store as well.

The fine details of retail investing

We asked Michael what he looks for when he is figuring out finances.

He said he wants the loan-to-square-foot amount to be $100 or less.

After that part is figured out, he does underwriting based on a 10-year lease.

Lenders range from big lenders to banks or private loans for turnaround situations.

“We really like to play in the 1 to 20 million dollar range,” says Michael. This puts him below big institutional facilities … but above the mom-and-pop shops.

How long does it usually take to rehab a distressed retail asset? Nothing ever goes as planned, Michael says, but three years is typical to execute a solid business plan.

Retail is a LOT different than single-family homes and apartment complexes, so we asked Michael to explain some of the big differences.

In retail, tenants typically get a retail improvement allowance.

Owners will offer a white box … drywall, drop ceilings, concrete floors, and bathrooms. They often offer an allowance to build out the store to the tenant’s specifications.

When tenants have very specific construction specifications, Michael says a good option is offering money or free rent so the tenant can deal with construction on their own.

Why should the investor pay for modifications to the retail space? It’s the standard … and investors want to draw in tenants that will stay for 5 or 10 years, or longer.

Remember, if you’re not ready yet to take on an entire shopping mall, working with a syndicator is always an excellent way to dip your toes into retail.

To dive into ALL the details, listen in for access to Michael’s special report on retail investing. He covers the HOW and WHY of retail real estate in depth.

Listen to experts!

You can’t fake 30 years of expertise.

Our mission is to find subject matter guides who know what they’re talking about and can educate our audience … YOU.

Michael Flight is a great example of someone who walks the talk. He is an expert in this area … and we hope your curiosity about the retail market has been piqued.

For more wisdom from experts, check out our Future of Money and Wealth video series … or meet some of the best minds in the investing world at our annual Summit at Sea™.


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.


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Real estate just got a BIG boost …

Something BIG is happening for real estate … and while it’s not a surprise, it’s a development every real estate investor should be aware of.

Here’s some context …

First, remember real estate investing is essentially a business of managing debt, equity, and cashflow.  

That’s YOUR job.  You can get your property managers and team to handle most everything else.

Equity (the difference between the value and the debt) comes from savings (down payment), the market (value increase), or amortization (pay down of loan).

Cashflow is a function of rental income, operating expenses, debt service, and taxes.

Debt is like the air in a jump house.  When it’s flowing in, it props everything up.  When it stops, everything deflates pretty fast.

That’s why real estate investors (should) pay close attention to debt markets.

The 2008 financial crisis devastated the supply chain of debt into real estate. Mortgage companies failed in droves. We know. We owned one.

Real estate went from too-easy-to-finance to nearly impossible.  Lack of lending crashed real estate prices and created a big mess.  The air came out.

It’s why we became such outspoken advocates for syndication.  There was (and still is) a huge need and opportunity to aggregate capital for real estate.

Banks and Wall Street had been the primary channels for capital aggregation and distribution.  But they were broken.  Main Street needed to be empowered.

The government agreed.

So in 2012, the JOBS Act passed. And since September 2013, regulations are in place which make raising private capital MUCH easier.  We like it.

But while the JOBS Act helps investors raise EQUITY …

… earlier legislation (the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act) actually impedes lending … especially at the local level.

But now that’s changing … and it’s an EXCITING development!

You may have seen this headline …

Trump signs bipartisan bill rolling back some Dodd-Frank bank regulations – Los Angeles Times, 5/24/18

“ … with the key support of some Senate Democrats, the legislation focuses relief on small and medium-sized banks …

 “‘This is a great day for Main Street in rural America, and a big testament to what’s possible when members of Congress put partisanship aside and work together to help our communities grow and thrive,’ [Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)] said in a statement after the signing.” 

Community banks, which enjoy broad support among Republicans and Democrats, will be freed from Dodd-Frank’s mortgage rules if they make fewer than 500 mortgages a year.”

Even in today’s highly charged political environment, this bipartisan effort shows Main Street real estate is very important to politicians.

The Dodd-Frank rollback aims to improve the flow of money into real estate, which is awesome for real estate investors.

Of course, just because politicians aim at something, doesn’t mean they hit it.  Politicians are notoriously bad shots.

So what do LENDERS think of the Dodd-Frank rollback?

Local bankers say reforms to Dodd-Frank are welcome – Herald-Whig, 6/5/18

“Mark Field, president and chairman of Liberty Bank, said most of the benefits from the recent reforms … involve mortgages.”

“… allows banks to give automatic qualified mortgage status to customers they know if the banks are using their own money for loans.”

“‘Character and knowing people counts for something again,’ Field said.”

This is GREAT news … and although time will tell (after all, this is very recent) … we think it will open up capital flows into real estate.

Of course, as we’ve said before, we think more money will be finding its way into real estate lending.  It’s both inevitable and reassuring.

For individual investors and syndicators alike, this new playing field promises to open up new sources of lending … and terms.

Because even though lending has loosened since the depths of the recession …

… it’s remained tight for borrowers and projects that didn’t fit into the tightly-regulated box created by Dodd-Frank.

Not to get too far in the weeds, but the 2008 credit crisis had its roots in Wall Street’s casino mentality.

In its zeal to create more poker chips, Wall Street cast aside sound lending practices because they could bury the risk in complex securities and sell them to unsuspecting investors.

Wall Street didn’t really care if loans went bad … because they wouldn’t be holding them when it happened.

So Dodd-Frank created strict rules attempting to prevent the bad behavior of Wall Street and big banks.  (Good luck with that.)

We could go on … but the point is that Dodd-Frank took professional judgment out of lending … from EVERYONE … including community banks, credit unions, and other portfolio lenders (those who hold loans instead of flip them).

Even though the financial crisis had its roots in Wall Street, not Main Street … Dodd-Frank took many Main Street lenders off-line.

The Dodd-Frank rollback intends to take the shackles off local lenders.

There’s a HUGE difference dealing with a local lender on a PERSONAL basis … one who’s going to hold the loan … and can consider the many factors which don’t fit into some bureaucratic one-size-fits-all checklist.

And while we need to do more research, a side-benefit for syndicators may be that setting up lending funds might get easier too.

In any case, now that local lending laws are loosening, let’s take a look at moves you can make to take advantage of the changes …

Build relationships with community bankers.  If you’ve only been investing since 2008, this is a funding source you’ve probably ignored.  It’s time to fix that.

Open accounts with community banks in markets where you invest. Establish a personal relationship with the bankers.  It’s a VERY different experience than doing business with a too-big-to-jail bank.  You’ll like it.

Use professional selling skills to find out what the banker’s goals and objectives are.  What makes the relationship a win for the banker?

Present yourself as the IDEAL client for the banker.  Do some deals … even if you don’t really need the money.  SHOW the banker you’re a person of character and capability.  Build TRUST.

It’s even BETTER if you’re a syndicator because you can bring bigger deposits, bigger loans, more transaction volume, and maybe even more referrals.

In fact, one of the secrets of successful syndication is having your individual investors make deposits in the community bank you’re borrowing from.

Go with the flow …

When the rules change, so does the flow of money.  Sometimes it works against you.  Sometimes it works FOR you.

And while there are certainly some long term economic trends every investor … real estate or otherwise … should be concerned about …

… this is a development which should have real estate investors smiling.

We think these updates to Dodd-Frank will work FOR real estate investors … at least those careful to pay attention and take effective action.

Of course, you’ve read all the way to the bottom, so you’re already ahead of the game.

Until next time … good investing!


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Going Bigger with Syndication

In this episode, we’ll be discussing the age-old question … what’s the next step for investors who’ve run out of capital but want to keep growing?

Our answer? Syndication.

Syndication allows investors to move their focus away from earning and saving money toward raising money.

And if you’d rather not spend your time doing deals, syndication is a great option for putting your cash to work … while you do what you love.

But we’ll be honest … syndication is a lot of work.

You need to build an investing plan, understand your market, vet your investors, and know what could go wrong … and right … with a deal.

You need to understand not only the business side of each deal, but the legal side.

That’s why we invited an experienced securities attorney to chat with us about the ins and outs of syndicating.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show you’ll hear from:

  • Your secure host, Robert Helms
  • His insecure co-host, Russell Gray
  • Securities attorney, Mauricio Rauld

Listen



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What is syndication? What is a security?

Mauricio Rauld is the founder and CEO of Premier Law Group. A long-time acquaintance of ours, he’s worked with us to vet many syndication deals.

We’ve watched Mauricio evolve into an experienced securities attorney, and we trust him to answer all our syndication-related questions.

Let’s start with the basics.

First, what is syndication? Any time you are pooling resources … usually money or capital … to do a deal, you’re involved in syndication.

Next, when does securities law come in? If you’re the one running the deal, the minute you take a check from someone, your transactions fall under the realm of the securities law.

The structure of the deal doesn’t matter … you could write out a profit-share agreement or simply shake hands with your investors, and you’d STILL be dealing with a security.

We asked Mauricio what investors need to be aware of when it comes to securities law and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).

He said that when dealing with a security syndicators have three choices:

  1. Register the security with the SEC.
  2. Find an exemption so you don’t have to register.
  3. Avoid the two options above and go the illegal route.

Needless to say, we don’t recommend the third option!

Most investors are able to choose the second path because the SEC offers multiple exemptions. To get your mind around the major exemptions, Mauricio recommends working with an experienced securities attorney.

An attorney will help you catch any mistakes … before you’re head-deep in a deal and it’s too late to fix your errors.

Like the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

If you’re going into a syndicated deal as an investor, there are some preventive steps YOU can take as well. Mauricio names two main steps:

  1. Do your due diligence when it comes to the deal sponsor. Check their track record and make sure they have some successful deals under their belt.
  2. Review the sponsor’s documentation and paperwork. Missing items can be a huge red flag, Mauricio says. A sponsor who doesn’t give you the appropriate disclosure documents is cutting corners.

Syndicators need to draft and publish a private placement memorandum before doing a deal. This document essentially names all the ways a private investor could lose their money.

Private placement memos are specific to each individual deal. To draft one, syndicators need to work with an attorney, who will evaluate all the ways a deal could go wrong.

This documentation is critical whether you’re the syndicator or the investor.

If you’re the syndicator, make sure your lawyer sits down with you and gets specific details about the deal so they can list every possible risk in the memo.

If you’re an investor, it’s wise to review this document and the deal itself with your lawyer so you are aware of possible risks before you put your dollars in.

How should syndicated deals be structured?

There are two parts to syndicating a deal.

First you have to raise money, find the deal, and make sure you’re in compliance with securities law … and then you have to figure out what you’re actually doing with the money you earn.

We asked Mauricio to talk about how syndicators can structure syndicated deals.

He said that first, syndicators have to look at whether they’re structuring a deal for equity or for debt. Syndicators should also look to see what their investor pool is looking for.

And syndicators should keep in mind that a deal may be structured differently while there’s cashflow versus after the property is refinanced or sold.

When it comes to structuring your deal, Mauricio reminds syndicators to ALWAYS disclose, disclose, disclose. Any way you or your spouse are compensated needs to be disclosed to the SEC.

This is where a securities attorney comes in handy, says Mauricio. If you’re a syndicator, a good specialized attorney will spend the time up front to understand your deal and help you structure it … while making sure you disclose the proper info.

Now on to specific deal structures.

The most basic deal structure is to split the profits between syndicator and the investor pool.

The standard split is 80-20 … 80 percent for investors and 20 percent for the syndicator. But that percentage is malleable depending on the deal itself.

Another option is a “preferred return.” This means a certain percentage of the original amount invested is set aside for the investor … say, 7 percent, for example. The investor gets all the profits up to that percentage, and the syndicator gets anything beyond that.

You can also do a “waterfall.” This means setting up different tiers … up to a certain amount, the profit is split 60-40, and then after that, 70-30, and so on.

Whichever deal structure you choose, there are two basic guidelines you should follow, says Mauricio:

  1. Keep it simple. A waterfall structure with 10 different tiers is more work for you and more complicated for investors to understand.
  2. Keep it fair. Evaluate the deal structure based on how much work you’re putting in versus how much capital investors are contributing.

One of our favorite things about syndication is that there are basically unlimited options for the type and structure of deals you do!

Interested in building a syndication business but not sure where to start? Mauricio recommends starting by farming for potential investors so you have an investor pool to pick from when you’re ready to do a deal.

He also recommends making sure your entity and asset protection structure is in place. This can be done BEFORE you find your deal.

Want more information? Click here to check out Mauricio’s exclusive webinar, Practicing Safe Syndications. And consider attending our Secrets of Successful Syndication Seminar, where Mauricio is a staple speaker annually.

We wish you safe syndicating!


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Why Now May Be a Great Time To Invest in Dallas Real Estate

Finding a strong market to invest in is as simple as looking for population growth, job growth, and a diverse economy. That’s why some of the smartest minds in real estate are focused on the long term strength of Dallas, TX.

POPULATION GROWTH: The Dallas-Fort Worth area’s population has grown by nearly 1.3 million from 2000 -2009.  That is more than any other metropolitan area in the United States.  The Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington MSA is the largest metropolitan area in Texas, the largest in the South, the fourth-largest in the United States (SOURCE: Wikipedia on DFW).

The Dallas, TX metro is forecasted to add 4 million new people from 2010 – 2040 according to the Texas Data Center  and the North Texas Water Board.   That’s one new person every 4 minutes!!! In 2009, the population of Texas grew by 231,539.  That is more growth than Florida, Arizona, California, Nevada and Colorado, combined.

A demographer at the Brookings Institution attributes the population growth to a more diversified economy in Texas and more conservative lending practices during the real estate boom. When combined with the state’s steady growth earlier in the decade, Texas is projected to receive three new seats in Congress.  (SOURCE: Recession Cuts Migration to Sun Belt, New Figures Show 
New York Times).

JOB GROWTH: “Diversified industry and relatively stable housing fundamentals have provided local residents with comparatively secure standards of living. Cities where home prices don’t fluctuate wildly are particularly well-positioned to ride out this recession, because they were spared the domino effect of foreclosures, lost jobs and lost productivity. Rather than chasing rising home prices or apparently plentiful jobs in one-industry towns, families looking for long-term economic stability should seek spots where industry is diverse and housing price shifts are benign.”  (America’s Fastest Recovering Cities
 – Forbes Magazine)  According to the US Bureau of Labor & Statistics, Dallas job growth is twice the national average.  An educated populace and a cost of living below the national average, make Dallas enticing to companies seeking a lower cost but highly qualified workforce.

DIVERSE ECONOMY: The Dallas economy is primarily based on banking, commerce, telecommunications, computer technology, energy, and transportation.  North Texas has 28% of the state’s workforce, employing more than 350,000 in healthcare, 225,000 in high-tech and 68,000 aviation-related jobs.  North Texas has 20 colleges and universities, 17 graduate schools, 3 medical/dental schools, 2 law schools and 20 community college campuses (SOURCE: North Texas Commission).  The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is home to over 10,000 corporate headquarters making it the largest concentration of corporate headquarters in the United States.  The Dallas metro area is home to 25 FORTUNE 500 company headquarters and 7 FORTUNE Global 500 companies which bring more than $819 billion in revenue to North Texas. (Source: Fortune Magazine 2009)

  • WORLD CENTER OF AVIATION
    • DFW International Airport is the third busiest airport in the world
    • There are more than 850 aviation-related businesses in North Texas – more than any other area of its size in the world
    • There are more than 68,000 documented aviation-related jobs in the region
  • LOGISTICS HUB
    • DFW is a major logistics hub and has the lowest distribution costs to the top 50 U.S. consumer markets of any region
    • Since the passage of NAFTA, DFW trade to Mexico and Canada has more than doubled – in large part due to the proximity of Interstate 35 – the NAFTA Superhighway
  • FINANCIAL AND BANKING CENTER
    • North Texas is a major financial center and is home to one of 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks, as well as several regional bank offices and corporate headquarters to Comerica
  • HIGH TECHNOLOGY CENTER
    • North Texas is a national and global leader in the high-tech sector, and 8.3% of the region’s total 2.7 million labor force is employed in high-tech fields, according to the Metroplex Technology Business Council
    • North Texas’ 225,000 high-tech workers account for 52% of Texas’ total technology workforce, and North Texas boasts 6,215 high-tech firms
    • Although the high-tech industry employs 8.3% of the North Texas workforce, the high-tech sector accounts for nearly 13% of wages paid to North Texas workers – indicating the relatively high-paying nature of these sophisticated jobs
  • RETAIL CENTER
    • North Texas is the 10th largest retail market in the country. Dallas Market Center, the world’s most complete wholesale marketplace, hosts approximately 50 markets each year attended by more than 200,000 retail buyers from all 50 states and 84 countries, and conducts more than $8 billion in wholesale sales annually
  • HEALTH CARE EXCELLENCE
    • North Texas is known for its extensive state-of-the-art health care facilities with more than 90 major hospitals and two major medical schools
    • Health care is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the Dallas-Fort Worth region with more than 350,000 health care jobs

LOW TAXES:

  • No personal or corporate state income tax
  • Maximum state and city sales tax of 8.25%

QUALITY OF LIFE:

  • North Texas features world-class athletes, teams and sports facilities, including the new Cowboys Stadium, host of the 2010 NBA All Star Game, 2010 World Series, 2011 Super Bowl XLV, and the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2014
  • The region is growing as an arts hub with 7.9 million people attending arts and culture events annually
  • Low cost of living
  • Affordable housing
  • Plentiful water
  • Public transportation and excellent highway system
  • Strong k-12 schools and universities
  • Centrally located
    (SOURCE: North Texas Commission)

For more information about Dallas, visit our Dallas Market page or find a local market expert in our Resource Network.