Real Estate Syndications Are A Team Sport – Each Role Defined

by | Mar 8, 2021

These days you can fly from Bogota, Colombia to Miami, Florida in just three and a half hours. What an amazing world we live in!

During my last trip, I looked around at the flight attendants, replayed my brief “¡Hola!” to the pilot in my mind, and mentally recounted the many airport staff that played a role in my successful travel experience. And then it hit me: An airplane ride is a perfect analogy for a real estate syndication! 

The pilots, passengers, flight attendants, mechanics, and more all play important roles in getting 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.

People in a Real Estate Syndication

Here are the key roles that come together to make a real estate syndication happen:

  • Real estate broker
  • Lender
  • General partners
  • Key principals
  • Passive investors
  • Property manager
  • Fincapital Equity

Real Estate Broker

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.

Lender

The lender is the biggest money partner in a real estate syndication because they provide the 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.

General Partners

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.

Key Principals

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.

Passive Investors

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!

Property Manager

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 renovation projects 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.

Fincapital Investments

In a real estate syndication, Fincapital Investments is part of the general partnership. Our main role is to lead investor relations, review conservative underwriting criteria, and help raise the equity needed.

We serve as advocates for investors by ensuring that the sponsors’ projections are conservative, deals are structured favorably toward investors, that multiple exit strategies exist, and that capital will be preserved and grown.

After the property is acquired, we become the liaison between the sponsor/operator team and the investors by providing updates, financial reports, and other important information between parties.

Conclusion

By working with a team of like-minded investors, you have the potential to grow larger, faster, and since a real estate syndication, by definition, is a group investment, what a great community to be part of! Through pooling resources and coordinating, real estate syndications can be a lucrative, stable way to preserve and grow your legacy.

In addition to the key roles discussed here, there are inspectors, appraisers, cost segregation specialists, CPA, legal team, insurance agents, and more, who work in the background to make sure that the syndication gets off the ground and becomes successful. Each team member’s role is different but equally valuable to the success of each syndication investment. We invite you to explore your role in a real estate syndication by joining the Fincapital Investor Club. We look forward to learning more about your investment goals, your journey toward financial freedom, and how we can help you live a more vibrant life!

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