6 Highly Common Reasons Real Estate Syndicators Fail

by | BiggerPockets.com

Why do so many real estate deal sponsors fail — while others seem to effortlessly raise and close deals?

In my experience, these are some of the catalysts that have caused sponsors, real estate syndications, and crowdfunding campaigns to fail (or at least not meet projected expectations).

1. Not Structuring Deals Correctly

There are many ways to structure syndicated or crowdfunded real estate deals and partnerships. There’s donation based, debt, and equity crowdfunding opportunities. There are Regulation A, D and A+ filings and other variations. Sponsors can make their money in a variety of ways and choose to offer a variety of different returns. Just make sure it is structured well, competitively, and in an appealing way that your target investors will understand. If not, the market will let you know. I encountered this on my second syndication, in which I had to restructure the deal to complete the raise.  

Related: The Benefits and Challenges of a Real Estate Syndication

2. Real Estate Syndication Software

Today sponsors can choose to try to raise money manually offline, leverage existing third party real estate crowdfunding portals (if you qualify and can stomach their fees), or launch their own portals online with white label syndication software.

The more efficient you can make the process for your prospective investors and your in-house team, the better things will run. You’ll be able to attract more money from the right investors, put it to work effectively, and deliver on your promises.

3. The Legal Stuff

This is a really dangerous game to be in if you don’t know the laws and have the paperwork right. The SEC, feds, and CFPB do not play around. A good law firm with experience in this area — and the right software — can greatly simplify this and help streamline everything.

Be sure you have an attorney who is a specialist. And make sure you’ve budgeted for their legal fees, which may be substantially more than your expect, depending on how you will file with the SEC. Be sure to know the cost upfront so you can structure your ask and raise correctly.

4. Not Offering Enough Deals

Investors can get impatient. You’ve got to keep their attention and offer enough options to retain them, convert them while they have the capital to invest, and keep them and their friends coming back to you.

If you only have one deal and it isn’t really a match for their needs or tastes, you may never get the opportunity to win their business again. Yet, having a consistent deal flow and well-rounded menu of opportunities can make all the difference in making it and surviving as a sponsor.

Related: What is Real Estate Syndication – Really?

5. Not Raising Enough Money

Having too much money can seem like its own crisis sometimes. Yet, it is far better to have too much than to go back to your investors to ask for more cash at a later point. There can be a lot of additional costs involved in syndicating real estate deals. Especially if you don’t have a good, well-consolidated internal system. These costs can range from legal work, research, and marketing to staffing, servicing investor clients, payment processing fees, accounting, property renovations, and more. The last thing you want after you’ve done all the work and raised the money is to realize those costs mean that you can’t deliver on your promise.

6. Poor Marketing

Technology has made it easier than ever to raise money online. It also means there is more noise and competition out there than ever. You can’t just post an investment opportunity on a website and expect the world to find it and fund it in a flash. Sponsors need a good branding and marketing budget and a strategy to get in front of people with capital, follow up, and to convert them too.

Did I miss anything? What are some other reasons real estate syndicators fail?

Share your opinion below!

About Author

Sterling White

With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling currently manages over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $26MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments and single-family homes. Through the company he co-founded, Holdfolio, he owns just under 400 units. Sterling was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single-family investing and apartment investing to wholesaling and scaling a business.

10 Comments

  1. Krishna Chava

    Good article, Sterling. Communication with investors is another place that gets neglected. I used to think that as long as everything is running good, investor communication is the low priority. Learned along the way that a Quarterly report makes a huge difference instead of waiting for the yearly report.

  2. Darryl Toomer

    Great article Sterling! Marketing deals is important. Especially when raising money face to face. It’s an unmatched experience but it’s almost an art form when your potential partner has questions and you’re able to answer them and show you’ve done your due diligence before asking for money.

  3. James Hill III

    I appreciate the attention given to tech and software in the new age of syndication.

    In any industry, tech often is an aid to the service side of that industry.

    As a steward of your investors capital, serving them at the highest level is imperative!

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