Are Real Estate Syndications Too Good To Be True?

“Sounds great. So, what’s the catch?” This may be your first response after hearing how wonderful real estate syndications are and how passive investing works.

Receiving money for doing, (seemingly) nothing may seem too good to be true, and sometimes we worry that if something sounds too good to be true, it’s not legit.

It’s ok if this thought crossed your mind; in fact, that’s actually  a good thing! 

It simply means you’re not blindly jumping in. Instead, you’re thinking critically, asking questions and gathering more information.  You’re doing your due diligence and that’s a smart strategy before you invest in anything!

Do you want to know the  hidden risks of investing and behind the scenes of real estate syndications? Are real estate syndications really too good to be true? That’s exactly what we’ll cover in this article. Ready? Let’s do it.

What Are The Pros & Cons of Real Estate Syndications?

Just like for every purchase, investment, or decision, there are pros and cons to real estate syndications as well. Each one may matter to you … or not. It completely depends upon your investing goals, timeframe, and financial position.


  • No active responsibilities – You don’t have to worry about or deal with tenants, renovations, or midnight emergencies. 
  • Set it and forget it – Most syndication deals are several years in length. Once invested, you don’t have to make other decisions for that cash for 3-10 years.
  • Checks just show up – As a passive investor, your monthly or quarterly cash flow checks get automatically deposited directly into your bank account..


  • No control – As a passive investor, you’re hands-off. The sponsor team is 100% in charge of the day-to-day decisions and you don’t get a vote. 
  • Locked in long-term – Since most real estate syndications are 5 years or longer, you can’t just withdraw your capital willy-nilly.
  • The profit is split – As one of many investors, you’ll commonly receive a 70/30 split where 70% of the profits are divided between the passive investors (there could be hundreds just like you), and 30% is split between the sponsor team. 

You’ll learn more pros and cons as you dig into the details of investing in real estate syndications. We suggest keeping a running list and making notes around points that either excite or bother you.

Why Aren’t Real Estate Syndications for EVERYONE?

Not everyone has $50,000 or more in readily investable cash. Even if they do, is the timing right? Have they ever heard of real estate syndications? Are they well informed? Do they trust a deal with so many moving parts?

Life Events

Among other things, consider the challenges life events bring into the picture. What if an adoption, wedding, graduation, or college is on the horizon for your family? 

Those may be reasons someone might hesitate to invest $50,000 or more in an investment for 5  (or more) long years. Any major life change comes with an impact to your financial situation. 

Dependent upon your cash situation and life event timing, it may or may not be the best time to invest in a real estate syndication, regardless of what the market is doing.


As it stands, becoming an accredited investor is a pretty hefty barrier to entry. 

An accredited investor can invest in nearly anything they want. To qualify as an accredited investor, you must have either over $1mil net worth (excluding your primary home) or make $200,000 per year ($300,000 joint income), have done so for the past two years, and intend to make the same this year. 

Even if you haven’t reached accredited status yet, you can still invest in real estate syndications, although these deals may be much harder to find since they cannot be publicly advertised. 

How Trusting Are You?

Investing passively requires you to have mountains of trust in your sponsor team, the decisions they make, the people they hire, and the renovations they choose. If you’ve got a control freak gene deep down inside, this may not be the best investment for you. 

On the other hand, if you just want to chill while reading your monthly update while the checks roll in, stay with me here. 

How Could You LOSE Money Investing in a Real Estate Syndication?

So, let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, you could lose money investing in a real estate syndication. 

Real estate syndications are just like stocks, or mutual funds or any other investment vehicle and none of them come with a guarantee. If things go South, you could lose some or all of your original investment capital. 

Yep, there it is. The honest truth. 

If you invest right, that shouldn’t happen. The less experienced the operator and the less savory the submarket then the greater likelihood of losing money. But if you’re smart about the deals you invest in, that shouldn’t happen. Which brings us to my last point.

Why Smart Investing Isn’t Truly Passive

If you want to be a true passive investor, who’s able to relax as the sponsor team works on your behalf, then it’s imperative you learn to invest smartly. 

In order to maintain a level of trust in the investment and the sponsor team and truly enjoy the passive income without lifting a finger, you have to practice due diligence and critical thinking at the front-end of the deal. 

Pushing through the overwhelm of markets, metrics, interest, splits, accreditation, and everything you have to learn and understand before making an informed decision is imperative. There’s a TON of work you have to do upfront in order to attain the comfort level a true passive investor has. 

You wouldn’t just throw around $50,000 of your hard-earned cash without educating yourself about where it’s going first, right? Only after you put in the work, connect with the right people, and do your own research to attain a level of comfort toward your investment deal, will you be able to sleep soundly at night while your passive investment earnings get deposited. 


While real estate syndications are awesome, they aren’t perfect, and they are not for everyone. 

Real estate syndications have pros and cons, risks and rewards, and require lots of research and time invested upfront. 

If you’re willing to invest your time and do your research in order to facilitate wise investments on your part, I think you’ll find real estate syndication to be a fabulous experience. 

How Real Estate Syndications Hedge Against Inflation

Inflation has been rampant over the past couple of years with rapidly increasing costs for everything from groceries to appliances to travel.

Those rising prices lead to a decline in purchasing because your dollar simply doesn’t stretch as far as it used to.

We’re all feeling this same pinch at home as we face rising energy costs for the winter, and see the cost of food and clothing shoot upward for our families.

We all want to make sure our families are well-provided for, especially in challenging times.

Real estate investors, along with the rest of the world, are experiencing this inflationary environment as well.  Even investors with a diversified portfolio are looking for more ways to create an inflation hedge.

So how can you protect your money in an environment like this?

One of the best ways to hedge against inflation is investing in “sticky assets” such as real estate syndications.

Let’s take a quick look at our economic environment, the definition of “sticky” real estate, and then how specific types of real estate can hedge against inflation.

Rising Consumer Price Index and Interest Rates

The combination of the Covid pandemic, the war between Russia and Ukraine, and supply chain shortages across the globe have the world reeling under rising inflation.

In response to inflation, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates with the hope of curbing high inflation without stunting economic growth.

As consumers see their monthly payment go up in almost every area, investors are looking for an investment strategy that will work as an inflation hedge, provide real estate income, and create long-term cash flow if inflation hits even harder.

This is where the “sticky” asset classes of real estate come into play. Real estate prices continue to rise, but not all commercial real estate provides the same long-term value and rental income that you want from real estate investing.

Because you entered real estate to avoid the fluctuations of the stock market, maintain your level of purchasing power, and gain inflation protection, let’s define the term “sticky” and how such investments can work for you.

Defining “Sticky” Assets in Real Estate

“Sticky” real estate is the idea that the revenue stream of the property is consistent over the long term. Commercial real estate is valued by tenants and whether or not it is a piece of income-producing real estate.

Property values in private real estate like houses are often evaluated based on the location of the house. The improvements the neighbors do (or don’t) affect your home value too!

However, commercial properties are valued based on their revenue streams and the consistency of those revenue streams.

For example, an office space might have a 95% tenancy rate, but that rate alone doesn’t make it a sticky asset class. You also need to look at how likely the tenants are to stay in that building long-term.

Many office buildings do not fall under the umbrella of “sticky” real estate because of various factors such as remote work and ease of movement from one building to another. These office buildings find it difficult to raise rents because the demand is low. This keeps investors from having a higher rental income.

However, doctors’ offices and other medical buildings are often considered sticky because of the amount of money that goes into building the infrastructure for the building. The medical corporation, rather than the landlord, is usually investing millions in a specialized infrastructure that will keep them in the building for the long term.

These tenants will usually remain even if property prices go up because they would need even more money to invest in a new building. Such office buildings are considered “sticky.”

An investment strategy that focuses on “sticky” real estate investments has the potential to stay strong in the face of high interest rates, a steep inflation rate, and a fluctuating stock market.

So how does a real estate investment hedge against inflation?

Real estate investing in sticky asset classes can hedge against inflation and bolster your portfolio against a future that may see interest rates rise again.

Multifamily units are often in great demand during a period of high inflation and high interest rates. If families have to downsize their lifestyle as inflation rises, they often move into an apartment or condominium. This property sector often sees consistent income even during an economic downturn.

Storage units can be a good hedge against inflation. People who can’t find housing due to high demand or those who are moving into multifamily units due to housing prices often turn to storage units. They’ll put the majority of their belongings in storage while they live with the bare minimum belongings in a minimally sized apartment or with another family. These storage units often provide positive cash flow and passive income for a real estate investor.

Because real estate rental properties that fall under the “sticky” asset class are often in high demand no matter the economic situation, they are usually a strong source of passive income and a great hedge against inflation.

Real Estate Investment Trusts or Real Estate Syndications?

Real estate investment trusts work more like the stock market and may see fluctuations similar to stock prices. Real estate syndications, on the other hand, usually require more up-front investments but often provide a more stable source of passive income. Alternative investments like real estate syndications can offer you access to “sticky” assets that can hedge against inflation, even if you don’t have millions of dollars to buy commercial real estate on your own.

Face the Future with Confidence through Strong Investments

You can’t control the Federal Reserve or overall consumer prices. What you can do is pursue an investment portfolio that contains a commercial property with solid infrastructure, long-term tenants, and the potential for raising rents.

Even as inflation rises, your confidence can rise too knowing you are seeking sound investment advice by understanding how “sticky” assets can help you reach your financial potential during shaky economic times.

Your peace of mind will allow you to focus on your family and not on your worries about inflation, recessions, or any number of problems on the horizon. Allow investments in “sticky” assets to provide for your family and create a sense of security in an insecure world.

Five Strategies for Capital Preservation

2022 has been a roller coaster of a year. 

Between rising interest rates, inflation hitting a 40-year high and a war in Ukraine, leading economists have been forecasting a recession all year.

As investors, we all love good returns.  In fact, passive income is a key reason why many of us invest in real estate.

But the most important thing that we need to focus on in real estate syndications – regardless of what the economy is doing – is CAPITAL PRESERVATION. 

Put simply, how do we NOT LOSE OUR MONEY?

It’s still a great time to invest and capital preservation is all about mitigating risk.  As Warren Buffett puts it, there are two rules to investing: 

Rule #1: Never lose money

Rule #2: Never forget Rule #1

Here are the five strategies for capital preservation that will minimize risk in a real estate syndication deal: 

#1 – Raise money to cover capital expenditures upfront

Imagine the avalanche of problems that can accumulate when capital expenditures (like renovations) must be funded purely by cash flow. In this case, cash-on-cash returns, which vary based on occupancy and maintenance costs, would have to fund sudden HVAC repairs instead of unit renovations according to the business plan. In this case, the business plan falls behind schedule, units aren’t ready as planned, and vacancy persists. 

Instead, we ensure the funds for capital expenditures are set aside upfront. As an example, if we need $2 million for the down payment and $1 million for renovations, we will raise $3 million upfront. This means we have $1 million cash for renovations and won’t have to rely on monthly cash-on-cash returns. 

#2 – Purchase cash-flowing properties

One great option to preserve capital is to purchase properties that produce cash flow immediately, even before improvements. If units don’t fill as planned or the business plan isn’t going smoothly, just holding the property would still allow positive cash flow. 

#3 – Stress test every investment

Performing a sensitivity analysis on the business plan prior to investing allows us to see if the investment can weather the worst conditions. What if vacancy rose to 15% and what would happen if the exit cap rate was higher than expected? 

Properties look wonderful when they’re featured in fancy marketing brochures with attractive proformas (i.e., projected budgets), but stress testing those numbers helps us take a look at how the performance of the investment may adjust based on potentially unpredictable variables. 

#4 – Have multiple exit strategies in place

In any disaster or emergency, you want to have several ways out. In case of a fire, you want a door and window. The same goes for real estate syndications. 

Even if the plan is to hold the property for 5 years, no one really knows what the market conditions will be upon that 5-year mark. So, it’s important to account for contingency plans, in case you need to hold the property longer, and the possibility of preparing the property for different types of end buyers (private investors, institutional buyers, etc.).

#5 – Put together an experienced team that values capital preservation

Possibly the most critical strategy of all is to have a team that values capital preservation. This includes both the sponsor and operator team(s) and the property management team. All of these people should be passionate about their role and display a strong track record of success. 

The more experience they have in successfully navigating tough situations, the better and more likely they will be able to protect investor capital.


While capital preservation may not seem very exciting, it is a key building block of a solid deal. Every decision and initiative by the sponsor team should be rooted in preserving investor capital.

The five strategies for capital preservation we use in our real estate syndication deals include:

  • Raise money to cover capital expenditures upfront
  • Purchase cash-flowing properties
  • Stress test every investment
  • Have multiple exit strategies in place
  • Put together an experienced team that values capital preservation

So, when you are browsing for your next real estate syndication investment, go ahead and admire the pretty pictures, daydream about the projected returns, and imagine how smoothly that business plan might go. 

Then, take a second pass, read between the lines, and look back through the deck with an investigative eye. Look for hints that capital preservation is as important to the sponsor team as it is to you. 

Taking the time to dig into the business plan will enable you to make an educated decision as to whether or not this particular project is right for you.

How to Stay Healthy During The Holidays

Thanksgiving Day officially kicks off the holiday season.  For many of us, the next few weeks will be filled with various holiday celebrations with family, friends and work colleagues.   In the midst of all this reverie, it’s important to take care of your mental and physical health so you can start the new year with clarity and energy.

So how do we navigate this season of celebration?

The best strategy is one word – moderation.

It’s great to celebrate this time with family and friends and if you are mindful of your health, you can stay fit during the holidays while still having a good time.

Here are five tips on how to stay healthy during the holidays while still participating in the fun and merriment.

Eat Wisely– The holidays are filled with rich, delicious foods and sweet treats but too much indulgence can wreak havoc on your blood sugar, not to mention your waistline!  Try eating a small meal prior to a holiday party so you don’t arrive on an empty stomach.  When at the party itself, it’s okay to enjoy a few rich treats but try to fill your plate with healthier foods like fruits and vegetables and eat slowly!  It can take your brain up to 20 minutes to realize that you are full. 

Don’t Skimp on Sleep –  Going out more and staying out later can cut into sleep time.  Research has shown that a good night’s sleep is linked to a myriad of health benefits including increased productivity, stress reduction, and clearer thinking. Getting the proper amount of sleep also lowers your risk for health issues like diabetes, heart disease and depression so aim for a minimum of 7 hours or more each night.

Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water, especially alongside alcohol.  Alternating a glass of water with an alcoholic drink is a good way to prevent overindulgence.  Staying hydrated is essential to good health.  Water delivers important nutrients to our cells, especially muscle cells, postponing muscle fatigue.  It also helps with weight loss, aids in digestion, hydrates our skin and flushes out toxins. 

Stay Active – Finding time to exercise can be challenging during the holidays so squeeze in fitness wherever you can.  Small choices like taking the stairs, walking around the block, or parking farther away from your destination can all help.  If you can’t make it to the gym, a short workout is better than no workout. Try a 10 minute burst of high intensive exercise like jumping jacks or aerobic exercise to get your heart pumping and your body moving.  Finding time for fitness will also decrease anxiety and improve your mood.

Quiet your mind – Holidays can be stressful and it’s easy to get caught up in all the hustle and bustle of shopping, parties, family gatherings, gift giving, house cleaning, etc. Make sure to set aside a small amount of time each day to quiet your mind – this can be done via meditation, prayer or even just listening to soothing music with your eyes closed.  Taking the time to slow down and just relax will help you calm your mind, manage your stress and improve your mood.

Most of all, remember what the season is about—celebrating and connecting with the people you care about.  Taking care of yourself and your health will allow you to be your best self for your family and friends and will enable you to truly enjoy this special time of year.

The Benefits of Investing in Short Term Rentals

Let’s face it.  It’s been a rough year for the economy.

Interest rates continue to rise and inflation is rampant.  

Investors are growing weary of the stock market’s volatility and turning to commercial real estate.  Multifamily and self storage have performed well over the last few years but as cap rates compress, many investors are looking at alternative asset classes such as short term rentals.

Now, when most people think of Short Term Rentals, they think of Airbnb or VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner). The majority of these properties are single assets with mom and pop operators.  But the demand for these properties is growing and the stability and passive income from STRs present an excellent opportunity for investors.

But before we dig into why we like this asset class, let’s talk a bit about why Airbnbs are so popular.

Back when my kids were younger, travel was a challenge.  We’d all share a single hotel room and when it was bedtime for the kids, it was bedtime for everyone!  Often, that meant lights out by 8pm.  No one had their own space and while it was fun to get out and see the world, I often needed a vacation from my vacation!

Short term rentals solve many of those problems by providing plenty of space plus the types of furnishings and features that travelers are used to enjoying at home. And many STRs are offering much more than just accommodations; they are redefining travel with many properties incorporating design and amenities to create a unique “experience” for guests.

Here are five reasons why you should consider investing in Short Term Rentals:

  1. Growth — Short Term Rentals is a growing asset class.  The number of customers using STRs has increased 12x over the last seven years and there has been a 300% STR growth in the last five years
  2. High Yield — STRs are money makers!  One STR can earn up to 4x the cash flow of a traditional long term rental (LTR). 
  3. Recession resistant  – STRs are evaluated based on revenue so their resale value is higher than traditional LTRs and rising interest rates have less of an impact on cash flow than other asset classes
  4. Demand Driven Pricing – In the STR space, the ability to price nights is directly tied to demand,  so prices can easily be adjusted up or down as needed to ensure no potential revenue is left on the table
  5. Increase in Remote Work – The percentage of people working out of the office is continuing to rise, providing complete flexibility regarding the location of remote work.  With the prevalence of strong WiFi, people can opt to spend a month working at the beach or in the mountains and in those cases, they are more likely to stay in a short term rental as opposed to being confined in a single hotel room.
  6. Less Competition – Once an asset class becomes flooded with institutional money, values tend to rise and cap rates compress.  But since STRs are still in growth mode and there are less portfolios of properties, the institutional investors are sticking with traditional multifamily and haven’t jumped in yet.  This leaves the field wide open for smaller investors.
  7. Operational efficiency – Using the same property management company for an entire portfolio of STRs saves on operational expenses.  In addition, the use of automation in both booking and customer access to the properties (via keypads) keeps costs down as well.  
  8. Additional depreciation –  Unlike traditional multifamily, depreciation may be applied to the property as well as it’s contents – including furniture, textiles, dishes, etc 
  9. Multiple Exit Strategies – Having multiple assets in a single portfolio provides a great deal of flexibility for divestiture as well.  Properties may be held indefinitely for cash flow; individual properties may be sold off as turnkey STRs to one-off investors; or the entire portfolio may be sold to an institutional investor looking to get into the STR space.

Of course, there are factors to consider with regards to the location of the properties as well such as seasonality, driving distance to major metropolitan areas, close proximity to tourist attractions and purchasing property in municipalities that are friendly to STRs.  

In Conclusion

Short Term Rentals are an asset class that continues to grow so don’t sleep through this opportunity to get in early and grow your portfolio!

5 Key Reasons to invest passively in real estate syndications

The Benefits of Investing in Real Estate

If you’ve ever experienced owning single-family or multifamily homes, you know that these investments require time and energy. 

Investing in residential real estate can be challenging because, typically, you as the investor wear many hats throughout the seemingly never-ending process. Responsibilities include finding the property, negotiating and funding the deal, renovating the property, interviewing tenants, and even performing maintenance.

The trouble is, it doesn’t stop there. You have to repeat most of the process over again when your tenant’s lease is up.

Actively Investing in Small Multifamily Rentals Can Be a Lot of Work

Small multifamily rentals have some advantages over single-family homes. For example, if one tenant moves out, the tenants in the other units are still there to help cover the mortgage. Plus, it’s much easier to manage one property with multiple tenants than to manage multiple properties with one tenant each. 

But, even with a property manager on board to help with your rentals, bookkeeping, strategic decisions, and maintenance/repair costs are still your responsibility. You’re basically running a small business, which can be challenging if you’re working a full-time job.

The Case for Passive Real Estate Investments

On the flip side, there are fully passive investments in commercial real estate. These are professionally managed and operated investments so you don’t have to deal with any of the three T’s  – Tenants, Toilets, and Termites.

Once investors begin to understand passive commercial real estate investments, it’s common for them to move toward syndications. Here are 5 key reasons why investing passively in real estate could work for you:

1. Minimal Time Required

Have you heard the phrase “set it and forget it”? In a syndication deal, you put money in, collect cash flow during the hold period, and receive profits upon the sale of the property.

You won’t be fixing toilets, screening tenants, or handling maintenance. The sponsor team and the property management team expertly attend to those things so you can sit back, enjoy the returns, and focus on living life.

2. Opportunity for Diversification

It would be unreasonable for anyone to attempt to become an expert in every phase of the property investment process, and even more so when it comes to different markets. 

By investing with experienced deal sponsors, you can easily diversify into various markets and asset classes while resting assured that the professionals are taking care of business. This allows you to quickly and easily scale your portfolio while also mitigating risk.

3. Tax Benefits

Similar to personally owned rentals, you get pass-through tax benefits when investing in real estate syndications. You’ll be able to write off most of the quarterly payouts, which means you basically get tax-free passive income throughout the holding period.

You will, however, likely owe taxes on the appreciation income you earn upon the sale of the property.  Always check with your own CPA on your personal situation.

4. Limited Liability

When you invest passively through real estate syndications, your liability is limited to the amount of your investment. If you were to invest $50,000, your biggest risk would be losing that $50,000. You wouldn’t be on the hook for the entire value of the property, or the loan to buy the property, and none of your other assets would be at risk.

5. Positive Impact

With small multifamily homes, you make a difference in two to four families’ lives. But with real estate syndications, you have the chance to change the lives of hundreds of families and whole communities with just one deal.

Each syndication creates a cleaner, safer, and nicer place for people to live and impacts the community and the environment positively. And that’s something you won’t get from stocks and mutual funds.


If you’re on the fence between active and passive real estate investments, the experience you gain from owning small rentals is irreplaceable. But personally owning rental properties is not a prerequisite to commercial real estate syndications.

Either way, investing in real estate is a great way to diversify your portfolio and mitigate risk. It gives you an opportunity to have a positive impact on the families who will live in your units, as well as a positive impact on the environment and community.

What Is Real Estate Professional Status (REPS) And How You Can Benefit From It?

It’s no secret that you got into real estate investing because you saw it as a way to get ahead. Real estate syndications provide Wall Street-independent diversification opportunities, an income opportunity beyond trading your time for money, and, of course, passive income and appreciation in exchange for your well-invested capital. 

However, if you’re a high-income earning family, it’s possible that real estate is more than just another investment, but that it’s a way to reduce your tax liability significantly. Sure, you can max out your retirement accounts, donate thousands to charity, and be creative about write-offs. Still, as your income increases, tax deductions phase-out, leaving you with an ever-increasing tax bill and a lot of frustration. 

Whether you or your spouse is a physician, attorney, engineer, tech professional, or other high-income earning professional, you may have noticed that as promotions and bonuses are achieved, your taxes keep increasing too!

One reason could be that large companies directly employ these high-profile positions instead of them being independent, self-employed individuals with their own practices. Hospital management firms employ physicians; Google, Facebook, and Apple employ engineers and tech professionals, and nearly every large company has in-house attorneys. The difference in being a W-2 employee vs being self-employed with your own practice means reducing deductions available to you. 

Enter REPS – real estate professional status. 

In this article, you’ll discover what REPS is, how it may help you drastically reduce your tax liability, and why, in this case, it’s beneficial to have one spouse manage the family’s real estate investments full-time while the other leans into their high-income earning career. So if you or your spouse is a high-income earner, and you’ve been looking for a way to impact your tax liabilities even though deductions are phasing out, you’re in the right place!

About Real Estate Professional Status

Anyone can claim real estate professional status (REPS) as long as:

More than half the personal services you performed in all trades or businesses during the tax year were performed in real property trades or businesses in which you materially participated. 

You performed more than 750 hours of services during the tax year in real property trades or businesses in which you materially participated. 

This is, of course, lined out in detail in IRS Publication 925, but basically, real estate has to be your primary job. You wouldn’t have much time in a year beyond the 750 hours required for anything besides maybe a part-time job. You don’t need any degree, certification, or license to designate yourself as REPS, and, for a married couple, only one spouse needs to qualify. 

REPS allows couples to divide and conquer – one high-income earning spouse gets to lean into their profession while the other claims the REPS designation and assumes responsibility for managing all real estate investments’ day-to-day activities, qualifying the couple for significant tax benefits. 

Tax Advantages Of REPS, Plus An Example

Cost segregation studies, accelerated depreciation, and other fancy real estate occurrences often produce on-paper losses for investors, which result in reduced tax liability. Cool, right?

Well, suppose you’re a married couple filing jointly, and you make over $150,000. In that case, you can’t use passive real estate losses to reduce your taxable income because there are no “special allowances” according to the IRS for these high-income families. Those suspended passive losses carry forward until you have a year of passive gains from your real estate investments since passive losses can never offset active income like that from a W2. 

That is unless one of the spouses in this theoretical $150K + earning family designates themselves as a real estate professional and meets the qualifications above. 

As an example, let’s look at Samantha and her family. Her husband is an executive of a well-known entertainment company, and she manages the household, raises their two-year-old, and oversees the couple’s investment strategy. Her husband, Barrett, makes $250,000/year plus bonuses while Samantha manages the day-to-day activities of their real estate investments, which has quickly turned into her full-time job. 

Even though her properties are cash flow positive, Samantha generated $150,000 in losses from her real estate business. Here’s where it gets interesting…

Suppose Samantha has designated herself as qualifying for real estate professional status as a couple. In that case, they can deduct all $150,000 in (passive) losses from Barrett’s $250,000 (active) income, leaving only $100,000 reflected as taxable income and dropping them into a lower tax bracket. 

However, if Samantha does not qualify or doesn’t designate as a REPS, the couple is taxed on all $250,000 of income, approximately doubling the value owed to their taxes. 

Without a REPS designation, Samantha’s $150,000 in passive losses must be carried forward until she has passive gains against which she can apply them. Meanwhile, the couple is taxed on Barrett’s total income, likely for several years. 

Why pay more than you have to? Especially considering that any tax savings can be flipped into your next investment opportunity, potentially moving you toward your financial and investing goals faster. 

How To Achieve REPS

Now that you can see the benefit of one spouse being the designated real estate professional in the family, you need a plan to put this into action. 

First, you’ll need to decide which spouse will become the real estate professional. For some families, this is easy because one spouse is already the primary breadwinner and the other is a homemaker. 

For other families where both spouses are working, the choice may be a little more challenging. Beyond each spouse’s current income, consider things like career trajectory, passion for career, passion for real estate, other assumed roles as the real estate professional (child care/homemaker?), and each spouse’s ability to handle organizational and management activities.

No matter which spouse chooses to become the real estate professional, they need to be serious about treating real estate investment management activities as a business. 

In addition, we suggest discussing this with your CPA so that you can coordinate timing, real estate purchases, designations, and more. From there, set aside funds to invest, start shopping for your first several investment properties, and track your real estate business activities closely. 

Use separate bank accounts, an accounting program, a separate email address, and other business-like systems with your real estate investments to further separate and clarify investment management activities from any personal activities. 

Making REPS Benefit Your Family

Successfully operating real estate investments and achieving REPS status may look different for every family, so let’s look at a couple of scenarios for clarity: 

Scenario 1: Two working spouses, one working full time and leaning into their high-income earning profession, and the other working part-time while materially participating (actively involved) in managing the couple’s real estate investments. 

Scenario 2: One working spouse and one homemaker who decides to make managing real estate investments their primary job. 

In both scenarios, the spouse managing real estate needs to commit to (and be able to prove) their material participation in the day-to-day decisions regarding their real estate properties, accumulating 750 hours or more of tracked time and activities over the taxable year. 

For most, it would be challenging to spend 750 hours on just a few properties. So if you accumulate several properties quickly, track your time and business activities managing them, and treat your investment properties as a business, you’re more likely to achieve all the qualifications for REPS. 

Treating investments like a business means having formalities and systems in place, deciding when to raise rents, renew leases, buy, sell, renovate, and more. If you’re constantly approaching your day intending to maximize profit while simultaneously improving your tenants’ experience, tracking your time and activities (a Google Calendar is an excellent tool for this!), and coordinating with contractors toward successful renovations, you’re on your way!

Usually, the 750-hour requirement is per real estate property, but you can combine all of your real estate management activities from several properties into one by including the following language in your tax returns: 

Under IRC Regulation 1.469-9(g)(3), the taxpayer hereby states that they are a qualifying real estate professional under Code Sec. 469(c)(7), and elect under Code Sec. 469(c)(7)(A) to treat all interests in rental real estate as a single rental real estate activity.

That phrase “taxpayer hereby states that they are a qualifying real estate professional” is critical. 

Each family will need to work out their own beliefs and opinions about which spouse should work and about the division of labor and responsibilities between the two spouses. Still, if one spouse can hit these requirements, coordinate with tax professionals, and find joy in managing real estate investment assets for the family, REPS can be a huge advantage!

Is Real Estate Professional Status For You Or Your Spouse? 

If you’re part of a married-filing-jointly relationship and have an income over $150,000, you may have been feeling increasingly frustrated by your high tax liability. You’ve likely looked into real estate searching for tax benefits, and maybe you are already invested in a few properties. 

However, if you want to apply your on-paper losses to your household’s active income, achieving real estate professional status may be the answer. Otherwise, you may be stuck carrying passive losses for years to come. 

As always, we’re not here to give you tax or life advice. Instead, take this article and the things you’ve learned here as inspiration for more research, an open discussion with your spouse, and food for thought as you further examine the most efficient way to move toward your lifestyle and investment goals.

7 Steps To Investing In Your First Real Estate Syndication

Most of us are fairly familiar with the process of buying a home.

Once you’ve decided to make this (literal) move, you think about the neighborhoods and the type of home you’d like to purchase.  You might make a list clarifying your must-haves vs your nice-to-haves.  You’ll consult with a lender to discuss your loan options and how much money they’re willing to lend you, and as a result of that meeting, you might make some changes in your must-have or nice-to-have items you get your lender’s pre-approval letter.  Then, you’ll tour properties until you find the home of your dreams, submit an offer that fits into your budget but is also agreeable to the seller and live happily ever after!

By extension, the traditional types of real estate investing that involve buying a house and making some sort of profit on it, are also fairly easy to grasp. 

Fix-and-flip: buy a house, renovate it, sell it for a profit. 

Buy and hold: buy a house, rent it out, get monthly rent checks.

Beyond that, it gets a bit more complex, especially when you start talking about things like group investments (aka, syndications), in which you invest passively alongside several, sometimes hundreds of, other investors to purchase a large asset, like an apartment building.

In this post, I’d like to take you through that process from start to finish, so you have a clear understanding of all the steps involved in investing passively in your first real estate syndication.

While the timeline can vary with different deals, the overall steps of investing in a real estate syndication are largely the same:

1. Decide whether to invest in real estate, period

2. Determine your investing goals

3. Find an investment opportunity that fits

4. Reserve your spot in the deal

5. Review the PPM (private placement memorandum)

6. Send in your funds

7. Relax and enjoy your passive income

I tend to think of this process as a funnel, each step of which helps you gain a little more clarity on what you want and helps you get a little closer to your goals of finding and investing in a specific deal.

Step #1 – Decide Whether to Invest in Real Estate, Period

This is perhaps the most important step of all, the decision of whether you want to invest in real estate, period. After all, there are many other things you could invest in, from gold to coffee plantations to stocks to crypto.

This is a decision that is personal to each investor.  You’ll need to look at your overall portfolio, reflect on your goals, and determine whether investing in real estate can help you reach those goals.

I can’t make those decisions for you.  What I can tell you, is how I got into real estate investing.

For me, it was all a matter of timing.  I had taken the traditional route – gone to college, landed that great corporate job and worked my way up to a VP title and the corner office.  I was making great money, but I had zero work life balance. I was barely seeing my family; I had no time for exercise and I just felt exhausted all the time.

Then, a trusted colleague told me about syndication.  

I didn’t jump in at first; in fact, it was close to two years until I made my first investment.  But I spent that time watching and learning and acquiring as much knowledge as I could.  And when I finally did invest in my first syndication, I saw firsthand the power of passive income. Since then, I have invested passively in over 2,100 doors as an LP and I continue to invest today.  

Real estate taught me about people and relationships, leverage, tax benefits, and passive income.  And I’ve seen firsthand that it’s a powerful strategy for building wealth and creating a lasting legacy.

Of course, every person’s situation is different, so you’ll need to do some research, thinking, and reflecting to decide if real estate investing is for you.

Step #2 – Determine Your Investing Goals

Once you decide that you want to invest in real estate, think about what you’re hoping to get out of it. Are you looking for a long-term or short-term investment? Are you hoping for a lump sum fairly quickly, or a steady stream of passive income over time? How much do you have to invest, both in terms of money and in terms of time?

If you’re not afraid to roll up your sleeves and put in some sweat equity, or you want to choose your own tenants or cabinets or flooring, you might consider trying a fix-and-flip, or buying and holding a small rental property.

If, on the other hand, you want more of a set-it-and-forget-it type of investment, a real estate syndication might be a better fit. You can invest your money alongside other investors, then have an asset manager take the helm, manage the asset, and carry out the business plan to update the units and maximize impact and returns.

Step #3 – Find an Investment Opportunity That Fits

If, at this point, you’ve decided that a real estate syndication is the best fit for you, the next step is to find a syndication opportunity that works for you. Just as there are a variety of different real estate assets you can invest in personally, there are a variety of real estate syndication projects available as well, from ground-up construction to value-add assets, and even turnkey syndications.

To help investors learn about investment opportunities, deal sponsors typically provide some variation on the following materials:

  • Executive summary
  • Full investment summary
  • Investor webinar

These are the core materials that will give you a full 360-degree view of the asset, market, deal sponsor team, business plan, and the projected financials.

Personally, when I review these materials, I’m looking first and foremost at the team who’s running the project. I want to make sure they have a solid track record and that they’re good people. As you know, you can give a great project to a terrible team, and they’ll drive it into the ground. On the flip side, you can give a struggling project into a terrific team, and they’ll turn the whole thing around.

Beyond the team, I look to see if the business plan makes sense, given the asset class, submarket, and where we are in the economic cycle. I do my own research on the market, looking at job growth, population growth, and other trends. I look at the minimum investment amount, projected hold time, and projected returns. I look to make sure that the team has multiple exit strategies in place, in case their Plan A doesn’t pan out. I look for conservative underwriting. I attend or review the investor webinar and ask tough questions.

I essentially look for any reason NOT to invest in the deal.

If, after all my research and analysis pans out, I consider investing in the deal.

But again, this is my personal philosophy and methodology. As you review different investment summaries, you’ll come up with your own criteria of what you’re looking for. The more you review, the better you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for.

Step #4 – Reserve Your Spot in the Deal

One thing to note about real estate syndications is that the opportunity to invest in the deal is on a first-come, first-served basis.

This can be especially important for deals in hot markets with strong deal sponsors.

I’ve seen multi-million-dollar investment opportunities fill up in just hours.

That’s why it’s important to do your research ahead of time, to know how much money you want to invest, and what you’re looking for in an investment opportunity.

That way, when the opportunity opens up, you can jump on it.

Often, there will be an opportunity to put in a soft reserve amount. This is to hold a spot for you in the deal while you take some time to review the investment materials. If you decide to back out or reduce your investment amount later, you can do so with no penalty.

The flip side is, if you don’t hold a place, but then later decide you want to invest, there may no longer be room for you in the deal, and you’ll have to join the backup list.

Not every deal offers a soft reserve, but when there is one, and I think I might be interested, I always put in a soft reserve to buy myself some more time to think about the deal, review the materials, and do my own research.

For deals with a soft reserve, this step and the previous step #3 might be flipped or more fluid, so I tend to review the executive summary, reserve my spot in the deal, then review the rest of the materials.

Step #5 – Review the PPM

Once you’ve decided to invest in a deal, the first “official” (aka, legal) step is the signing of the PPM (private placement memorandum).

This is a legal document, often quite lengthy, that goes into detail about the investment opportunity, the risks involved, and your role as an investor in the project.

The PPM is certainly not the most fun document to review, but it’s very important that you read through it, so you fully understand all aspects of the investment opportunity, including the risks, subscription agreement, and operating agreement.

As part of signing the PPM, you’ll also need to decide how you want to hold your shares of the entity that’s holding the asset. Often, you can also specify whether you want your cashflow distributions sent via check or direct deposit.

Step #6 – Send in Your Funds

Once you’ve completed the PPM, the next step will be to send in your funds (aka, the amount you’re investing into the deal).

Typically, you will have the option to either wire in your funds or to send in a check. I’ve used both methods before and have had no issues with either method.

Pro tip: Before wiring in your funds, be sure to double check the wiring information, and let the deal sponsor know to expect your funds so they can be on the lookout.

Step #7 – Relax and Enjoy Your Passive Income

By this point in the process, you’ve done your due diligence on the investment, reserved your spot in the deal, reviewed all the legal documents, and sent in your funds.

That means you’re done with all the active parts of your role as an investor. If we’re using the syndication-as-an-airplane-ride analogy, that means you’ve picked your destination, bought your ticket, checked your bags, reviewed the safety information, buckled your seat belt, and now you’re ready for a cocktail and a movie.

The next piece of communication you’ll likely receive is a note once the property has closed. 

After that, expect monthly updates on the project, more detailed quarterly reports on the financials, quarterly cash flow distributions, and an annual K-1 for your tax returns.


So, there you have it. Hopefully, the process of investing in a real estate syndication is a bit clearer now, and perhaps, a little less intimidating.

Real estate syndications are more of a set-it-and-forget-it type of investment, so most of your active participation is up front. After you decide to invest in a syndication, you review the investor materials (executive summary, full investment summary, and investor webinar), reserve your spot in the deal, review and sign the PPM, and send in your funds.

The first time you do it, it might seem a bit confusing as to what to expect and what questions to ask. However, as you review and invest in more deals, the process will become second-nature.

How To Evaluate a Deal?

Investing in real estate can seem like a whole new world with new terms and new asset classes.

To help you through this process, most operators will put together investment summaries to explain to potential investors the key points of the opportunity – why they like the deal, what they plan to do with the asset, and how much the investors stand to gain from participating in the investment.

They are essentially an all-in-one business plan / underwriting explainer / photo gallery / why-you-should-invest-in-this-deal packet for every commercial real estate syndication deal.

They contain A LOT of information and no two are the same.

Some investment summaries consist of gorgeous graphics and iconography, professional photos and clear tables. Others are written like textbooks and include haphazard low resolution phone pictures someone probably threw in at the last minute. Sigh.

And while it may be hard to resist the urge to judge a book – or in this case, the investment summary – by its cover, you have to be able to swallow your initial impressions (good or bad) and look past the glossy photos and fancy charts.  The best strategy is to focus on the numbers and business plan for what they really are.

If you decide to invest because the investment summary looks pretty, you may be putting yourself at risk, if you haven’t done proper due diligence on the deal and the partnership team.

Likewise, if you write off a deal because the investment summary looks like your Aunt Ida’s tax returns from last year and causes your eyes to glaze over, you might be missing out on a great opportunity.

So what exactly should you look for? Good question.

Let’s take a look at a sample investment summary. I’ll walk through my thought process when I first look through an investment summary, so you’ll know what to look for the next time one lands in your inbox.

Please note: For simplicity’s sake, I’m using a one-page executive summary for this example, rather than a full-blown investment summary, which could be dozens of pages long.

Investment Summary At A Glance

Even though every investment summary is different, there are some basic elements that are pretty common across all multifamily real estate syndication investment summaries:

  • Project name (often the name of the apartment complex)
  • Photos of the property and area
  • Overview of the submarket
  • Overview of the deal
  • Details of the business plan
  • Projected returns and exit strategies
  • Detailed numbers and analyses
  • Team bios

In a one-page executive summary, you get bits and pieces of each of these elements, though you would need the full investment summary to get all the details.

If this executive summary landed in my inbox, here’s what I would do. I’d start by skimming through the whole thing.

In skimming this executive summary, here are the things that would jump out at me:

  • Off-market
  • Value-add
  • Track record
  • Strong submarket
  • Proven model
  • Equity multiple
  • Unit count


When an asset is acquired off-market, it means that the seller chose not to list the asset publicly. Maybe the seller didn’t want the tenants to know that the building was being sold (this is quite common). Maybe the seller needed to sell within a set timeline. Or maybe the seller already had a buyer in mind.

Regardless, off-market is almost always a good thing. This means the deal sponsor team did not have to compete with other potential buyers on price. Thus, there’s a good chance that the purchase price is low, or at least very reasonable.


A value-add investment is exactly what it sounds like – an asset that presents an opportunity to add value in some way. Maybe the rents are significantly below market rates because the previous owner hasn’t raised rents in 10 years. Maybe the kitchens are still from the ’90s and could use some updating. Maybe there’s an opportunity to add some brand new additional units.

Whatever the case may be, value-add means more control is in the hands of the deal sponsor team. Rather than relying solely on market appreciation, there are things they can do to create additional equity, even if the market stagnates.

One of the most common value-add scenarios is one in which the units need to be updated. Let’s say the apartments haven’t been updated in 10 years, and the rents are $1,000 per month. Even if the team were to stay the course, that $1,000 per unit would still be able to cover the mortgage and fetch a modest profit.

But, who here is looking for modest profits? Not me.

Because there’s a chance to add value and improve the living conditions, as well as the returns for the investors, this is a true value-add. The team will go in, complete the renovations, then rent out the updated units for, say, $1,200 per month.

When you add up the $200 per month increase across all 250 units, that creates a ton of additional equity in the building, not to mention a ton of value for the residents who live there. Once residents see the updated spaces, they’re often happy to pay the higher rents and start to take more pride in their community.

Track Record

The next thing that catches my eye is, “Similar to Beta Apartments (acquired just last year and currently undergoing renovations)…” This tells me that this is not this team’s first time at the rodeo. They’ve done this before and are currently in the trenches with another asset nearby.

I also see, in the Investment Highlights section, that they’ve started implementing their business plan at Beta Apartments and that they’re surpassing their original projections. This tells me that their business plan is working and that they would likely be able to continue to strengthen their track record through Omega Apartments.

Further, this tells me that they’ve likely built up a strong reputation in the area, amongst brokers, property managers, and other apartment owners. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been awarded this off-market deal.

Strong Submarket

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to invest in an apartment building, I want it to be in a growing and developing area.

The fact that this submarket is the “#1 fastest growing” within this fictional metropolistan area tells me that things are moving and shaking here. I would likely open a new browser tab and immediately google that metro area and that particular submarket, to learn more about them.

What am I looking for? Things like proximity to major employers in the area, shopping centers, decent schools, any news about developments in the area, what it looks like on Google street view, what nearby houses are selling for, and anything else I can find.

Much of this will be in the full investment summary, but I always like to do a little research on my own as well.

Proven Model

Did you catch it? “Ten units have already been updated and are achieving rent premiums of $150.” Jackpot.

Why is this so important? This takes all the guesswork and assumptions out of the value-add proposal. The previous owner already created the proof of concept. They updated a set amount of units, and they were able to fetch higher rents.

This is great news. This means that all we have to do is go in and continue those renovations to achieve those same rental increases. To me, this signals much lower risk in a value-add opportunity.

Equity Multiple

There are certainly lots of numbers in any investment summary, and they can be overwhelming. Percentages, splits, projected returns…what do they all mean?

One metric I’ve come to rely on is the equity multiple. In this case, the projected equity multiple is 2.1x. This means that during the life of this project, my money will be more than doubled.

That is, if you were to invest $100,000, you would come out of this project with $210,000 by the time the property goes full cycle.

This $210,000 would include your original $100,000 investment, as well as $110,000 of profits. This $110,000 would include the quarterly cash-on-cash returns you would be getting as long as the asset is held, as well as your portion of the profits from the sale of the asset.

Everyone has a different threshhold for an equity multiple.  Typically, I look for an EM of at least 1.8x or higherequity multiple around 2x, so this one passes my test.

Unit Count

I always like to know how many units I’m investing in. In this case, Omega Apartments consists of 250 units. This is a pretty decent size. This means that the team would be able to take advantage of economies of scale (i.e., increasing efficiencies by leveraging shared resources across the many units).

I will typically look at anything above 50 units. Ideally, to maximize economies of scale, I like to see over 100 units so this one passes the test, too.

Next Steps

Now that I’ve taken my initial look through the executive summary, my immediate next step would be to decide whether or not to request the full investment summary.

In this case, I would go ahead and request the full investment summary, as this opportunity ticks off most, if not all, of the things I look for in a multifamily investment opportunity – strong team, strong submarket, and opportunity to add value.

In the meantime, I would do some more research on both the submarket and the deal sponsor team. I would definitely google Alpha Investments and read about the core people on their team, learn about other assets in their portfolio, and see if I can find any negative reviews or stories out there about the individuals or the team.

Move Quickly

Once you find an investment summary that meets your investment criteria, it’s critical that you move quickly. Why? Because these opportunities fill up on a first-come, first-served basis.

Chances are, if this investment opportunity met your criteria, it likely met others’ criteria as well. Be ready to make a soft commitment to reserve your spot, then take time to review the investment summary in detail.

Pro tip: There’s no penalty for backing out of a soft reserve n investment down the road, so it’s to your benefit to reserve early, to ensure you get a spot in the deal. If you wait around to be 110% sure, others will have jumped in front of you in line, and you may be left on the backup list.

Request a Full Investment Summary Sample

If you’re interested in seeing a sample of a full investment summary, or to gain access to the deals in our pipeline, consider signing up for the Noblivest Investor Club.

We are here to support you in your investment journey and will never pressure you to invest. Our goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to invest with confidence (whether in our deals or not), so that together, we can change the world, one investment at a time.


There’s no doubt about it.  We are in a time of economic uncertainty.  The Feds keep raising interest rates in an effort to curb inflation and the stock market continues to be volatile.

During these turbulent times, the wealthy focus on three main areas:

  • Passive Income
  • Capital Preservation
  • Tax Savings

Passive Income

Unless you are one of the lucky few that love their job, most people spend their days working at a job that they can’t wait to leave.  Escaping their W-2 is a major factor for many of our investors and by investing in real estate syndications, Noblivest can help you achieve that goal.  Passive income can be created through cash flow and equity multiples which can eventually replace your W-2 income.  

And when that happens, you can stop working for money and let your money work for you!

Capital Preservation

When stocks are in a bear market, it can be painful to even check your account. In the span of a single day, your stock portfolio can take a nosedive, decreasing your net worth dramatically.  

At Noblivest, the number one thing we focus on when putting together or investing in a real estate syndication is making sure that, above all else, we don’t lose money. Even if we don’t hit our expected returns, we want to be sure, at the end of the day, we at LEAST get our original investment back.

So when you are investing during turbulent times, make sure to invest in stable, recession resistant investments to preserve your capital and then ideally, to grow it!

Tax Savings

Two things are certain in life, death and taxes.”  Benjamin Franklin

Most of us know this quote from Ben Franklin but I prefer this response from an uncited source:  “Death and taxes may be certain, but we don’t have to die every year!

For many people taxes are by far their biggest expense and it’s not just income tax.  There are property taxes, sales taxes, conveyance taxes, capital gains taxes, inheritance taxes… and the list goes on.

For high income earners working a W-2 job, there’s not much you can do about payroll taxes.  But what you can do is focus on investing your capital to create passive income, which can trigger a variety of tax savings.  For example, when investing in a real estate syndication, depreciation may be used to offset your gain, thus reducing your taxable income.  And when exiting a deal, you can utilize a 1031 exchange to roll your profits directly into a new investment, thus deferring your taxes to a later date.

Interested in learning how you can weather this economic downturn and still come out ahead?  Let’s discuss how we can help!  Book a call