The 1-2-3 of Multifamily Investing: A Guide to Protecting Your Capital

“Loss of Capital’ is a phrase that strikes fear in the hearts of those involved in real estate syndications. It signifies the unfortunate scenario where your investment vanishes due to unforeseen circumstances, leading to the property’s foreclosure by the bank. In such cases, there’s often insufficient equity remaining to reimburse the investors, resulting in a total loss of funds. Naturally, this is a situation you’ll want to steer clear of, as there are no positive outcomes once it reaches this point. To help you avoid such a predicament, here are three crucial steps you can take before you invest in a syndication.

1. Know Thy Operator

The term ‘Operator’ is crucial in this context. Often, investors are unaware of who the operator is. The operator refers to the company or group responsible for the day-to-day management of the property. These individuals are not the property managers but the asset managers who oversee the property managers. They are the ones who actually acquire the property. In larger syndications, you might find yourself dealing with a company that’s solely focused on fundraising, while the operating company is different. It’s essential to know who the operator is and their track record. At Old Money Capital, we serve as both the operators and the fundraisers for our properties. It’s important to either meet the operator in person or virtually. Researching the operating company by Googling its name to check for any past bankruptcies or pending lawsuits is crucial. Never entrust your hard-earned money to unknown entities online without thorough knowledge; otherwise, the outcome may be dire!

2. Understand the Financials

When venturing into real estate syndications, it’s imperative to have a grasp of the fundamental numbers. Here are some key figures you should be familiar with:

Purchase Price: Understand the total cost of acquiring the property.

Capital Raised: Know how much money is being collected, and how it’s allocated towards the down payment, closing costs, and property improvements.

Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratio: This indicates the percentage of the property’s value that is financed through a loan. A lower LTV signifies less risk, as there’s more equity in the property.

Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR): This measures the property’s ability to cover its debt obligations. A DSCR of 1 means the property’s income is equal to its debt payments, while a higher ratio indicates a better cushion.

Financial Cushion: Assess whether the operator has set aside sufficient reserves to handle unforeseen challenges, such as a sudden increase in vacancy rates.

Understanding these numbers will give you a clearer picture of the investment’s financial health and potential risks.

For those who want to delve deeper into the numbers, ‘The Hands-Off Investor‘ by Brian Burke is an excellent resource. This book provides a comprehensive overview of how to evaluate and understand the financial intricacies of real estate syndications.

3. Asses the Asset

Familiarizing yourself with the qualitative aspects of the property is essential. Here are some factors to consider:

Location: The adage “location, location, location” holds true in real estate. The property’s location can significantly impact its value and attractiveness to potential renters.

Property Class: Determine the class of the property (Class A, B, C, or D), which reflects its age, amenities, and condition. This classification helps in understanding the type of tenants it will attract and the expected rental income.

Tenant Demographics: Assess the type of renters likely to occupy the property. Are they young professionals, families, or students? Understanding the tenant demographic is crucial for ensuring the property meets their needs and preferences.

Regional Support: Check if the operator has a strong presence and a good track record in the region where the property is located. This can provide insights into their local market knowledge and operational efficiency.

It’s also important to consider the economic and social factors of the city or town, such as employment rates, crime rates, and proximity to amenities like schools, hospitals, and shopping centers. These factors can influence the desirability of the property and its potential for long-term success.


In conclusion, safeguarding your investment in multifamily real estate syndications requires diligent attention to three key areas: understanding the operator, grasping the financials, and knowing the property. By thoroughly vetting the operator’s track record and transparency, familiarizing yourself with the essential financial metrics, and assessing the qualitative aspects of the property and its location, you can significantly reduce the risk of loss of capital. Remember, informed decisions are the foundation of successful real estate investments.

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