One of the best analogies for a real estate syndication is to think of it as an airplane ride. There are pilots, passengers, flight attendants, mechanics, and more, who all work together to get the plane safely to its destination.
In this analogy, the pilots are the sponsors of the syndication, and the passengers are the passive investors. They’re all going to the same place, but they have very different roles in the process.
If unexpected weather patterns emerge, if an engine has issues, or any other number of surprises, the pilots are the ones who are responsible for the flight.
The pilots will likely update the passengers (“Just to let you know, folks, we’re experiencing some turbulence at the moment…”), but the passengers don’t have any active responsibilities in making the decisions or flying the plane.
A real estate syndication is much like this. The passive investors, sponsors, brokers, property managers, and more, all share a vision to invest in and improve a particular asset. However, each person’s role in the project is different.
In this article, we’ll talk about exactly who those players are, as well as their respective roles in a given real estate syndication.
Here are the key roles that come together to make a real estate syndication happen:
The real estate broker is the person or team who surfaces the property for sale, either as a listing or as an off-market opportunity (i.e., not publicly listed).
Having a strong real estate broker is crucial, as they are the main liaison between the buyer and the seller throughout the acquisition process.
If you’re not paying all cash for a deal, then you will need a lender who will help you finance the property and provide a loan for the property. The lender performs their own due diligence, underwriting, and gets a separate appraisal to make sure the property is worth the value of the loan requested.
In the airplane analogy, neither the real estate broker nor the lender are aboard the plane. They have important roles in bringing the project to fruition, but they are not part of the purchasing entity, nor do they share in any of the returns.
The general partners synchronize with the real estate broker and lender to secure the loan and acquire the property in addition to managing the asset throughout the life of the project, which is why they are often also called the lead syndicators.
The general partnership team includes both the sponsors and the operators (sometimes these are the same people).
The sponsors are the ones signing on the dotted line for the loan and are often involved in the acquisition and underwriting processes.
The operators are generally responsible for managing the acquisition and for executing the business plan by overseeing the day-to-day operations. Operators guide the property manager and ensure that renovations are on schedule and within budget.
For a commercial loan, the sponsor is required to show a certain amount of personal liquidity. This reassures the lender that the sponsor can contribute additional personal capital to keep the property afloat if things were to ever go wrong.
One or more key principals may be brought into the deal to help guarantee the loan if the sponsor’s personal balance sheet is insufficient.
A real estate syndication’s passive investors have no active role in the project. They simply invest their money in exchange for a share of the returns. Like the passengers on an airplane, they get to put their money in, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
What a great position!
Once the property has been acquired, the property manager becomes arguably the most important partner in the project because they are the “boots on the ground” who execute any renovations or maintenance on the property according to the business plan.
The property manager works closely with the operator (i.e. the asset manager) to ensure the business plan is being followed and that any unexpected surprises are addressed properly.
In a real estate syndication, Rooster Equity is typically part of the general partnership. Our main role is to rigorously assess potential relationships, ensuring we collaborate with top-tier teams. By fostering robust partnerships, we secure access to a broad spectrum of investments, even in a constantly evolving marketplace.
Once a deal has been identified, our main priority is to act as a primary liaison for investors about the deal, review conservative underwriting criteria and help raise the equity needed. We also advise on ongoing acquisition and management that help steer the business plan toward success.
We serve as an advocate for investors by evaluating that the sponsors’ projections are realistic, deals are structured favorably, tenants are high quality and that multiple strategies exist to risk-adjust your investment.
After the property is acquired, we act as the liaison between the sponsor/operator team and the investors by providing updates, financial reports, and other important information between parties. Our relationships with our investors is a top priority and we are there for you each step of the way.
If you’re on the fence between active and passive real estate investments, the experience you gain from owning small rentals is irreplaceable. However, 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 in the world through each investment,
Here at Rooster Equity, we provide multiple ways to leverage the power of real estate syndications in your investment portfolio so you can take advantage of real estate’s cash flow, equity, appreciation, and tax benefits.
If you’re accredited and looking to deploy capital, we invite you to sign up for our Investor Club to get access to our current or upcoming opportunities.