Video: Real Estate Right Now | Syndication (Part 1)
July 11, 2022 | BY ALAN BOTWINICK & BEN SPIELMAN
Roth&Co’s latest video series: Real Estate Right Now.
Presented by Alan Botwinick and Ben Spielman, co-chairs of the Roth&Co real estate department, this series covers the latest real estate trends and opportunities and how you can make the most of them. Part one of our mini-series on syndication focuses on the use of a clause called a ‘waterfall provision.’
Watch our short video:
A real estate syndicate is formed when an individual, partnership or organization pools together outside capital and invests in real estate. The syndicator will do all the groundwork on behalf of the investors, or “partners”, and will research, locate, purchase and eventually manage the investment property. Although the syndicator puts in sweat equity, it doesn’t invest any of its own capital.
There are several ways that a syndicator can share in the investment’s profits, and the role that each player assumes in the real estate transaction will determine its share. Those roles are explained in the “waterfall provision” found in their partnership agreement.
A ‘waterfall,’ also known as a waterfall ‘model’ or ‘structure,’ is a legal term that appears in a partnership’s operating agreement that describes how and to whom distributions are made. The property’s profits from operations, or from a “capital event” (i.e. refinance or sale), are allocated to the investors based on the terms of the waterfall provision. In the example in our video, the investors agree to contribute $2 million towards the property’s purchase. They make it a 70%/30% split and decide on an 8% “preferred return” on their $2 million capital investment.
Here’s how it will play out: The syndicator keeps an accounting of the property’s cash flow over the course of their ownership and will wait until the investors have been satisfied as specified in the waterfall agreement. In our example, the agreement ensures that the investors earn 8% of their capital investment – that would be $160,000, or 8% in preferred returns – and recoup their original $2 million investment. The syndicator will benefit from the profits of the operation, or its sale or refinance, only after the investors have recouped $2,160,000, (the amount of their capital investment and preferred returns). When the terms are satisfied, the syndicator will earn its 30% share of any residual profits, and the remaining 70% will be shared among the investors. It’s a win-win.
When distributions are made based on the profits of a property’s operations, it results in steady payments over the life of the property. However, it’s very common, and often very profitable, for an ‘event’ to accelerate the waterfall process. If the property is sold or refinanced, profits are actualized quickly and monies are released for distribution quickly. In either case, real estate investment by syndication offers an investment model that can benefit investors at many levels and presents profitable opportunities for syndicators and non-real estate professionals alike.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, nor should it be relied upon for, legal or tax advice. If you have any specific legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, please consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.