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Taking Care of Your Investors

Taking Care of Your Investors
A top-notch investor relations program is critical when foraying into multifamily investments. And when doing so, one might want to prioritize customer service as well as sound investment opportunities. Unfortunately, it's not completely unheard of for some multifamily firms to treat their investors as if they are fortunate to simply be along for the ride. They will provide investors with the required reporting, but not much else. When I think about what investor relations should look like, I think back to the pizza shop my father owned and ran while I was growing up. He never took a customer for granted. He realized they always had a choice in where to spend their money and so he made it a point to offer more than just a meal. He provided a warm, engaging customer service experience that left his patrons knowing they had been listened to and appreciated. This created a steady stream of return customers and positive word of mouth.  Obviously, today's investors want strong risk-adjusted returns. But they are after more than that, too. They want consistent and clear information from you. They want to know they can talk with someone at the company on short notice and that their voice will be heard. With that in mind, here are some general recommendations for good investor relations. Communicate clearly and often. Investors want and deserve more than the required reporting. Provide regular updates on the performance of the assets they're invested in. At Ashcroft Capital, for example, our investors receive......
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Creating Value in Today's Value-Add Properties

Creating Value in Today's Value-Add Properties
It's the goal of many multifamily owners and investors: Buy an apartment community in need of upgrading, perform the needed renovations, boost rents accordingly and drive impressive returns. But just because apartment companies frequently undertake value-add projects, it doesn't mean success in these endeavors is easy. On the contrary, a value-add community that attracts residents and produces the targeted returns is the end product of an almost never-ending amount of diligent research and careful strategic planning.  Below are some of my general tips for success in the value-add arena. Dig into submarket data. This may seem obvious, but it's such a critical step that it merits placement here. A successful value-add project depends on a submarket that can support the rents and the investment returns you're seeking. Once you know what metro you're looking to invest in, thoroughly research the area's submarkets to pinpoint where your best investment opportunity may be. What are the submarkets where the population is increasing, employment opportunities are growing and rents are rising? Be prepared to go through all the data sources you need to make this vital, fundamental determination. Visit a property you're considering buying. Statistics, spreadsheets and databases are of course indispensable when evaluating a value-add opportunity. But don't ever underestimate the value of setting foot on a property and seeing it in person. As the great and wise Yogi Berra once said, "You can observe a lot by just watching."On a personal note, I was recently tempted – because of an extremely hectic s......
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The Benefits of Vertical Integration

The Benefits of Vertical Integration
If you were to ask my take on vertical integration in an apartment company, in a nutshell my response would be something like this: "If done correctly, the benefits are enormous. But you have to do it for the right reasons. Otherwise, it's easy to mess it up." Over the years, I've seen too many apartment owners create their own property management and construction divisions for the wrong reasons. Maybe they simply want to be able to tout their vertical integration to help them raise big money. Or perhaps they're just focused on maximizing the revenue streams these entities may create.  If you're an owner with these motivations, I'd strongly recommend against launching an in-house property management and/or construction company. The chances are, things will go wrong before they go right.  But if your focus is on building in-house divisions with the proper expertise and experience in place to optimize the performance of your own portfolio, then you and your investors can reap significant benefits from vertical integration.  For starters, when you have your own property management team running your apartment communities, they're bound to be extra motivated to do all they can to boost property performance and the bottom line. Plenty of third-party managers out there do great work – I'm not saying they don’t – but a fee manager's compensation structure might not necessarily result in them doing everything they can to maximize a property's revenue and performance. Stated another way, you're (hopefully) going to look after your own child......
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