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Podcast Appearances

The Real Estate Mindset Podcast

How To Invest In The Real Estate Market From Overseas

Feat. James May & Tom Groves

The REI Concierge Podcast

James May Teaches Us About Syndications!

Feat. James May

The Conscious Investor Podcast

Maximize Your Investment Capital for Consistent Real Estate Cash Flow

Feat. Tom Groves

The REI Concierge Podcast

Expanding To
Multifamily Syndications

Feat. James May

The Embassy Wealth Podcast

Leveraging partnerships to acquire a multi-million dollar real estate portfolio 

Feat. James May

Afield Real Estate Masterclass

Big Picture Thinking in the Covid Era

Feat. Tom Groves

Afield Real Estate Masterclass

Multi-family Syndicate Investing Basics

Feat. James May

5 Ways to Increase Your Investing Potential for Beginners

5 Ways to Increase Your Investing Potential for Beginners

Do you ever think about life after retirement? Depending on where you are at in your career, the amount of time you spend thinking about your financial future may vary, but it is an important question to consider regardless. This article discusses five ways you can...

Active Income vs Passive Income

Active Income vs Passive Income

Why keep working hard, paying the highest amount of taxes possible when you can work smarter? The goal is to get your passive income to match, at some point in your career, your active income and that’s what we’re going to be talking about today….exactly how to do it....

So what is it that the wealthy know that the rest of us don’t?

So what is it that the wealthy know that the rest of us don’t?

They understand the incredible power of real estate. Real estate has the ability to generate passive income and provide a path toward building wealth. #1 – Cash Flow One of the biggest advantages real estate creates for earners is passive cash flow. Most of us go...

Why invest in multifamily real estate?

There are so many factors to consider when evaluating a potential investment and at times it can be overwhelming, especially for those who may be investing in their first real estate opportunity. Investing in real estate is not rocket science and sometimes it’s just about gaining a little clarity on what you are looking for. These are many of the things you should be taking into consideration when breaking down a multifamily investment:


  • High Cash on Cash Returns
  • Equity Through Financing Leverage
  • Forced Appreciation Through Effective Property Management and Asset Management
  • Hedge Against Inflation
  • Tax Advantage Through Depreciation Strategies
  • Growing Demand for Multifamily Niche
  • Economy of Scale
  • Wealth Creation and Control
What is a syndication?

Syndication is the pooling of investor money where the investor is typically a limited partner and the general partner, or active partner, puts the deal together and manages the business plan to provide a return for the benefit of all investors.

Tax impact

Apartment syndications are very tax efficient. As a partner in our limited partnership, you will benefit from your portion of the investment’s deductions for property taxes, loan interest and depreciation. We like to use a cost segregation strategy as well to accelerate depreciation. It’s not unusual on a $100K investment to return actual cash in your pocket of $8K while experiencing a paper loss on your annual K-1. That loss can then be used to offset other passive income. At time of sale the partnership gains are treated as long-term capital gains.


Here are the fees we use in our deals:

Acquisition Fee – A fee the Sponsor receives at the formation stage of the offering. The fee compensates the Sponsor for time, effort, and expertise used in obtaining the investment opportunity. Typically, the acquisition fee is stated as a percentage of the price of the property acquired. Generally, this method uses 2% to 5% of the price of the property.

Asset Management Fee – The Sponsor receives payment for managing the company, apart from managing the real estate which they may not actually do. Asset management fees may be based on the amount of money raised from investors. If the company raised $2 million dollars, the asset management fee might be 1% to 2% of that amount, paid annually. Many Sponsors also set the amount of the asset management fee as a fixed annual dollar amount, paid monthly or quarterly.

Disposition Fee – Typically charged for services rendered in an investment disposition, including sales marketing, negotiating and closing of the deal.

There are several other fees that can be charged, you want to look out for investments that are fee heavy, especially those that lean towards the Sponsor being paid first. That being said, you actually do want your Sponsor to get paid so there is an incentive for he/she to perform, just be sure that his/her interests align with yours and the Sponsor is not making money if the investment is not performing.


The next thing to look for in the offering is the investor returns and the splits between the Sponsor and the investors. There are too many ways that the splits can be structured to label them all here, but here are a few ways they may be structured to give you an idea.

Straight Equity Split – These splits can range anywhere from 60/40 to 70/30 to even 80/20 with the investor getting the greater of the two and the Sponsor with the lessor. In the example of a 70/30 split the investor gets 70% of the equity and the Sponsor the remaining 30%.

Preferred Return w/Equity Split – This is a scenario where the investor receives the “preferred return” before the Sponsor gets paid anything. If the investment does not hit this preferred return (let’s say 7%) then the remaining balanced is accrued until that payout is caught up. At that point there would be a split of equity as decided in the PPM.

Waterfall – These splits can be structured in many different ways. One of these ways is as the investment hits identified markers the returns adjust. For example, you could have an 8%, 12%, 15% waterfall where once the 8% is achieved the split turns more in favor of the Sponsor, and again at the 12% and 15% marks. Although this seemingly does have a performance piece tied to it and your interests are aligned with the Sponsor, be careful with these. This falls under the same category of having too many fees. Typically, the more experienced and senior Sponsors are able to pull these off.

Every Sponsor will have a different structure and none of them are better than another. Ultimately, it comes down to the returns of the deal and whether there is a sound operator and business plan in place to achieve those returns. Do not overthink the splits, again it’s about the return on investment. Here is another thing to think about when taking a look at the returns:

Cash on Cash vs Overall Return on Investment – Be careful that the investment is not backloaded. Meaning you receive very little returns during the meat of the investment and only make the majority of your return upon sale. The sale is speculative as the Sponsor is not able to tell you where the state of the market and the investment will be in 5-7 years, so there is an assumption made here. These assumptions are well thought out and backed by data and several key factors. However, you want to be sure that your returns are made throughout the life of the investment and not just at the sale to ensure a stable, prudent investment.

When you look at the returns of an investment it comes back to your goals and why you are investing in the first place. If you are not sure what type of returns you want to make then you are probably not quite ready to invest yet and need to educate yourself a bit more. Once you have a goal and a target return in mind you can go out and shop these investments and find the best one that fits what you are looking for.

Business Plan / Operating Agreement

What is the business plan? Meaning how do they plan on getting the investment to perform the way they have projected? There are many types of investments from buy & hold turnkey, light, medium and heavy value add to ground up development. Each of them comes with their risks and rewards but typically buy and hold along with light value add would be on the more conservative side where as heavy value add and ground up development is more high risk. So back to the business plan. Multifamily is great because it literally is a business. If you operate it more efficiently than the one next door then your property will sell for more. The greater your Net Operating Income (NOI) the more the property will sell for, which is why having an experienced and focused operator is so important. So how do you increase the NOI? There are countless ways but typically it is by managing the property more efficiently (saving in expenses) or improving the property and increasing the incomes via rent increases or other income streams like charging for utilities, laundry, vending machines, etc.)

When looking at the Sponsor’s business plan you need to ask yourself if it makes sense. Can they really get the rent increases and the expense savings to where they say? There are several resources at the end of this document that can help you research some of these items but they will vary deal by deal. You can also call brokers, property management companies and other investors that are local to that area. Bigger Pockets and Facebook Groups are also a great resource for asking these types of questions.

Next thing to look at is who the property management company (PM) is that the Sponsor has selected, is it 3rd party property management or do they provide their own in-house? Neither is bad, you just want to be sure that the PM being used has a good track record and has experience in managing the type of asset that is being purchased. For example, if the subject property is a class C value add project then you want a PM that has prior experience with this type of asset and work. A PM who only focus’ on buy and hold class A properties would not be a good fit here.

Next is the exit strategy. Are there multiple? What happens if there is a recession and the plan was to sell/refinance in year 3 and now that’s not possible? What are the back up plans? At the very least there should be 2 exit strategies. Whether that is refinancing after stabilization and returning capital back to the investors, stabilizing and selling in year 5, or holding long term and taking advantage of the cash flow. It boils down to not putting all of your eggs in one basket, there needs to be multiple exit strategies just in case things do not go as planned.

Along the same lines as exit strategies, one thing you will want to know is the CAP rate a re-sale or reversion CAP rate. This is the speculative piece we talked about earlier. The reversion CAP rate is the rate that is used to derive reversion value which is what the Sponsor expects to receive as a lump sum at the end of an investment. I know, fancy right! Basically, that is a fancy way of saying where does the Sponsor think the market is going to be when they plan on selling the asset or what does he/she expect to sell the property for. Again, this is all speculative which is why you want to be sure that the Sponsor is being conservative or has a very good reason for his/her assumption. There are so many variables at play here so a rule of thumb is not possible, just be sure to check with credible resources and ask the question of whether the CAP rate at re-sale is justified.

Lastly, you need to make sure the business plan follows the 3 rules of Multifamily real estate investing.

1.) Be sure the property cash flows

2.) Be sure the Sponsor has raised sufficient funds to cover the cost of ALL capital expenditures, emergency reserves and working capital

3.) Be sure the Sponsor is securing long term debt, preferably 10+ years

Private Placement Memorandum (PPM)

A private placement memorandum (PPM) is a legal document provided to prospective investors when selling stock or another security in a business. It is sometimes referred to as an offering memorandum or offering document. A PPM is used in “private” transactions when the securities are not registered under applicable federal or state law, but rather sold using one of the exemptions from registration. The PPM describes the company selling the securities, the terms of the offering, and the risks of the investment, amongst other things. The disclosures included in the PPM vary depending on which exemption from registration is being used, the target investors, and the complexity of the terms of the offering.

The following are some questions you should be asking yourself as you read through the PPM.

  • Do I have to stay in the deal the entire time or can I sell my interest?
  • What happens if the project needs more capital?
  • What happens to your money if the lead Sponsor passes away?
  • What happens to your money if you pass away?
  • What are the voting rights?
  • Can the lead Sponsor be removed if they are severely underperforming?
  • What is the compensation structure?
  • What are the terms of the loan?
  • What is the funding and payout schedule?
  • How will I be updated on the project after closing?

Make sure you read the entire document! You are giving your hard earned money towards this investment so you better understand all of the risks that come with it. These are just some of the many questions that should be asked before going into an investment. As mentioned earlier, if these questions cannot or will not be answered by the Sponsor then that is a clue and you should run for the hills!

Does the investment fit your goals?

After you’ve done your due diligence the last question you should be asking yourself is does this investment fit my goals? Just because everything looks like a “good deal” does not mean it’s the right investment for you. You have to take a look at where you are in your life and what your 1, 3, 5 and even 10 year goals are. If the investment fits your goals then great! If not, then pass and try to find one that does. Here are a few more things to think about when asking yourself if this investment fits your goals.

  • What is the minimum investment?
  • How long will my money be tied up for?
  • Do I trust the Sponsor?
  • Do I believe in the business plan?
  • Do my interests align with the Sponsors and their vision for the investment?
  • Will this investment bring me closer to achieving my goals?
  • Do I feel comfortable with the risks outlined in the PPM?

Investing in real estate is not difficult. And you can build great wealth with it as a vehicle. However, you need to be educated and prepared just like you would with any other investment. Otherwise, it is just speculation and gambling. And when you play that game the house always wins!

What are the financial risks?

Risks are outlined in the Private Placement Memorandum. That said, here are a few data points. In 2009, at the bottom of the financial crisis, delinquency rates on single family homes was 5% vs 1% on MF apartments. Additionally, vacancies in Class C and B (older properties where value-add syndicators play) remained steady at 8%. We further mitigate risk by targeting proven assets where current owner is generating good cash flow (our due diligence includes auditing the trailing 12-month financials, bank records and tax returns). Additionally, lenders will not loan millions of dollars unless we are experienced, have a good business plan, conservative underwriting (banks will underwrite the deal as well), have adequate insurance, and have an inspection completed by outside experts.

Key takeaways
  • Be sure you know who are you investing with
  • Be sure the Sponsor has a solid and trustworthy team with a positive track record
  • Be sure your goals align with both the Sponsors and the investment itself
  • Educate yourself
  • Do your own due diligence, trust but verify!
How do I know if working with Passport REI is right for me?

We’re squarely focused on building wealth for service members and their families, and providing opportunities for those stationed abroad to connect with resources back home. If you’re looking for a way to generate passive income through investment, and excited to learn more about the field, we want to work with you. Schedule a call with us anytime – we’re here to talk you through the process and help evaluate your needs and goals.

Are you exclusively working with Foreign Service / Military members or veterans?

The primary focus of Passport REI is to provide investment opportunities to these individuals and their families, especially those who are stationed overseas and looking for a way to reconnect with a network at home and diversify their income. However, feel free to reach out if you don’t fall into these categories – we’re always growing our network, and can likely point you in the right direction to find what you’re looking for!

What am I investing in?

Real estate syndications are group investment opportunities. As a limited partner/passive investor in a real estate syndication, your capital is invested alongside other investors in a single commercial asset (i.e. a 240 unit apartment complex in Atlanta, Georgia).

The best part about passively investing is you don’t have any other responsibilities – you get to leave the hard work to us! Passport REI alongside other General Partners in the deal will actively manage the asset and execute the business plan.

How often do you offer multifamily investment opportunities?

These types of deals are unique and highly sought after. We spend a lot of time underwriting deals and submitting offers – but very few of them end up going to contract. We typically offer 3-5 investment opportunities per year to our Investors.

Once a deal is live, how long do I have to make a decision?

Every deal is different in how quickly it “subscribes” and closes to investors – much of that depends on the market, returns, and the size of the capital raise. On the aggressive side, we’ve seen deals fill up in a couple of weeks while others are available for 30-60 days.

Keep in mind these investment opportunities are being sent out to thousands of investors to evaluate, and there’s only space for 60-80 total investors on the average deal.

The quicker you can act in your evaluation and reach out to us with questions, the more likely you’ll be able to participate before it fills up.

What is the investing process?

As soon as we have a deal under contract, we’ll send you an email with high-level details of why we love the deal, business plan objectives, and the potential returns.

You’ll be invited to participate in an investor webinar that’s typically a couple of weeks after we initially notify you of the deal. So be sure to block off time on your calendar and attend this live to ask questions. Once the webinar is completed, we’ll email out a recording with the slide deck that includes all the business plan details and a link to review the documents in the investor portal.

If you love the deal and want to invest, you’ll complete the documents in the investor portal and wire your funds with the instructions provided. (And don’t worry, we’ll walk you through each step when it’s time and make it super simple!)

What types of accounts can I use to invest?

You can invest through cash (wired funds from your account), Self-Directed 401K or IRA, personally or through an entity like an LLC or Trust, and individual or joint- registration with your spouse.

How do I get started and access investment opportunities?

Due to SEC regulations and our unique partnership structure, we must have a pre-existing, substantive relationship with our investors before we’re able to send live investment opportunities.

Getting started is simple – simply fill out our investor form, and schedule a call with our team HERE.

What types of investors do you accept?

We accept both accredited and sophisticated investors (see definitions below). You can also invest through your self-directed 401K, IRA, and QRP funds.

What are sophisticated and accredited investors?

Accredited Investor: Your individual income has been $200,000 or more in the past two years, and you have a reasonable expectation of reaching the same income level this year, OR your joint income with your spouse has been $300,000 or more in the past two years, and you have a reasonable expectation of reaching the same income level this year, OR your individual net worth (or joint net worth with your spouse) exceeds $1,000,000, excluding your primary residence.

Sophisticated Investor: You have sufficient knowledge and experience in financial and business matters to make you capable of evaluating the merits and risks of the prospective investment.

Are there tax benefits from investing in multifamily?

Yes. As a multifamily investor, you can get the tax benefits of property ownership, including accelerated depreciation through cost segregation, which can help lower the taxable passive income you receive. Cost segregation identifies costs that would typically be depreciated over 27.5 years and reclassifies them to permit a shorter, accelerated depreciation method. This segregation model leads to substantial tax savings for the investor versus the standard depreciation model. Every year, you’ll receive a Schedule K-1 tax form for your tax filings. This form will report your income and losses for the investment. There is an opportunity to apply the losses against your ordinary income if you are a real estate professional.

Upcoming Events

Aug, 2 – Wealth Tank Meetup : Click here for more details 

Sept 14-16 – Pay It Forward Mastermind – Santa Fe, NM