So in this article, I want to share 5 important reasons for real estate investors to invest in multifamily real estate as part of their overall investing plan.
#1 Easier to Finance
Although multifamily investment properties are more expensive than single-family properties, they’re generally easier to finance, all things considered.
While this may sound counterintuitive, investors need to understand that multifamily properties pose less risk for a lender, because multiple families are living under one roof.
Vacancy relating to multifamily and single-family property is just one example of how multifamily properties are less risky for lenders. A vacancy with a multifamily property has less of a negative impact than with a single-family property, because it continues to generate cash flow from rents collected from the remaining families.
#2 Quickly Grow Your Portfolio
Investors can grow their rental property portfolio more quickly with multifamily investment properties than single-family homes.
For example, the time, energy, and expense of purchasing 300 single-family properties with 300 closings can be drastically reduced by purchasing one multifamily property with 300 units. An aggressive investor can grow his portfolio quickly with a few multifamily purchases, rather than taking years to purchase individual properties.
#3 Easier Property Management
Some real estate investors with single-family homes try to self-manage their properties in order to save money, especially when they only own a few properties. Of course, this usually does not bode well for the investor or tenants, and causes major stress for both parties.
Multifamily investment properties can be easier to manage because they produce the cash flow and income to reasonably afford the staff to manage the property.
Additionally, multifamily properties can be less expensive to manage because:
- Professional management staff work full time, and possibly live, on the premises.
- Units in a multifamily property are centrally located, and not spread out over a large geographic area.
#4 More Options for Forced Appreciation
Forced appreciation occurs when an investment property increases in value as a result of actions taken by the owner.
Multifamily properties inherently have more options for owner-driven appreciation, because a small change adds value affecting multiple families, not just a single family. Also, larger multifamily properties have large common areas and community amenities that can be enhanced to add value and force appreciation.
Finally, when breaking down the numbers on a per family basis, the cost per family for the improvements of a multifamily property are often considerably less compared to a single-family home.
Common improvements to multifamily investment properties that force appreciation include:
- Improving curb appeal.
- Updating common areas and individual units.
- Adding and improving amenities.
- Adding security features, such as a gate, security guards, etc.
#5 More Cash Flow
Multifamily investment properties have a greater opportunity to generate cash flow than single-family properties, because of the reasons we’ve discussed.
Higher profits are generated by lower expenses resulting from having multiple units under one roof, when compared to single-family homes spread great distances apart. Also, multifamily properties have centralized and consistent management teams that can generate profits by lowering expenses.
Cash flow is also generated with multifamily properties by consistently forcing appreciation, which results in higher rents, higher profits, and a stronger balance sheet.
While it is possible to buy and/or sell a commercial property yourself, a good Commercial Broker is often a great source of information.
A Commercial Broker is valuable to the Buyer and the Seller in a real estate transaction.
FOR THE BUYER
Buyers often fear that using a Commercial Broker will require they pay a fee. Generally (but not always) it is the Seller who pays the sale commission. Another frequent myth is that the Buyer can find a better deal by purchasing “For Sale by Owner” properties because the Seller is avoiding the Broker’s commission. However, in many cases, the selling price of the property ends up being equal or higher than those listed by Commercial Brokers.
Commercial Brokers can:
- Help determine an approximate price range
- Refer you to a lender with financing options best suited to your needs
- Provide access to many resource
- Information on a broader supply thru their resources including sources not available to the public
- Provide a market analysis
- Use their experience in negotiating
- Follow up on all of the contract details and closing process
FOR THE SELLER
When selling a property, the focus should be on:
- Getting the best price
- Selling the property with the least amount of hassle
Commercial Brokers can:
- Provide up-to-date information on what is happening in the real estate market, including financing changes and competing properties
- Serve as your marketing coordinator
- Suggest repairs to market for the highest and best price
- Providing access to Commercial Listing Services
- Marketing to other Commercial Brokers
- Pre-screen and show your property to qualified Buyers
- Guide the transaction to a successful close
HOW TO QUALIFY THE RIGHT COMMERCIAL BROKER FOR YOU
Some of the questions that can help you decide are:
- How will you keep us informed on the progress of the Sale?
- Where do you feel that your strengths lie?
- How did you arrive at the suggested listing price?
- What is your marketing plan?
- Can you give me references of past clients?
- How long have you been practicing Commercial Real Estate?
- Are you a full time Broker?
- Are you an investor yourself?
- How many sales did you have last year?
- How many Buyers/Sellers are you currently working with now?
- How “available” do you make yourself?
- How does someone contact you?
- Are you familiar with the type of property involved?
- What is the average transaction that you did last year?
Recently I was showing a potential Leasing Client spaces for a Med Spa usage. While some of the potential locations were in good shape and clean; we walked in the to perfect location that was filthy, had an unflushed toilet if you know what I mean-even a broom would have made a difference. Leasing agent called before during and after the showing; it is too bad that if she was so motivated (she told me to bring ANY offer) that she did not at least bring out a broom herself or strongly encouraged the Landlord to bring out a cleaning crew. Windows were so dirty that you could not even look in. This had me thinking on Commercial Space. A couple of years ago I sold a beautiful office condo-in a very competitive market. But while it was vacant; the owner lightly staged (for Commercial) and my showings were very positive. I certainly had property brochures onsite along with CCRs.
One of my favorite television channels is HGTV. I love the Property Brothers, Love it or List it, Design on a Dime, and Flip or Flop.
Given my vocation, this is predictable as I do a similar thing for a living – although not residentially.
One thing universal in all of the HGTV offerings – the condition of a house during showing is critical. If the house shows poorly with outdated colors, visible repair needs, oversized furniture or evidence of residents – your purchase price will suffer as potential buyers will discount their offers to deal with the shortcomings.
OK, I get it! But, is there a parallel in commercial real estate?
My answer is a resounding YES! Staging your commercial real estate is not as easy as a few v-dinted pillows and strategically placed sofas, however. Staging commercial real estate involves the condition of the building and how it shows to prospective tenants and buyers.
If the condition of your commercial real estate is tantamount to achieving maximum value, what improvements should you consider before selling or leasing?
Leasing improvements: If your goal is to lease your commercial real estate quickly and for an above market lease rate, you must invest some dollars placing the property in “rent ready” condition. The carpeting in the office should be replaced or at a minimum removed so that a prospective tenant knows that new flooring is in the plans. A fresh coat of paint throughout the office and warehouse brightens things and adds an air of new. All of the systems – plumbing, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, roof, sprinkler system, loading doors, electrical panels, fire alarm system should be checked and certified. The outside of the building is important as well. Remember, if your commercial real estate lacks curb appeal, the tour might hop-scotch your building for one that looks good. Paving, landscaping, and truck loading areas should be shored up and maintained during the vacancy. Most potential tenants have a limited imagination or patience for the way “things could be”. Therefore, delaying the above could cause an occupant to bypass your building for another that is move-in ready.
Sale improvements: If your goal is to sell your commercial real estate for top dollar, you want to plan your refurbishment wisely. If you cannot justify a 100% return or greater – question the investment. Said simply, if you repaint the building at a cost of $20,000, that investment should translate into a $20,000 increase in value. In my experience, the items in a building purchase that give buyers the greatest heartburn are the condition of the roof and air conditioning. I generally advise my clients to perform an inspection of these systems. We then know if any issues exist and can plan accordingly.
Biggest mistake: Some owners will adopt the attitude of “waiting until the occupant appears before investing in any building refurbishment.” Certainly, there are reasons for this position – no available funds for investment is the most common – but the downside is steep. If a prospective occupant perceives the owner is not “open for business”, he will scatter like ashes in a Santa Ana wind.
Showing condition: If the property is vacant during showings – and your broker is not present during showings – complete literature should be available to prospective occupants.
If you decide to invest in real estate, particularly if for residential or commercial rental use, you have essentially gone into business and there are many tax benefits to owning such a business.
First, it is important to consider all of the possible forms of ownership and the tax benefits of each. You can own a business as any of the following:
- Sole Proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)