Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Apartment Investment Final Analysis

First off, for those of you that were wondering, this is the apartment complex I was investing in.

My distribution check arrived yesterday. I got the return of my principle and all of the accumulated interest since the last payment. Looking back in my records, I see that I received five payments in the first year after we bought the property, then nothing until now, as the economy soured and investor distributions were halted. So, if I've done my math right, factoring in those previous payments with what I received today, I earned an annualized 9.05% return over the 6 years that I was invested in the property. Another way to look at it is I earned a 55.05% total return. That number may inch up a bit after the investment company is closed and the funds that were held back for expenses are released. (The number is slightly elevated from preferred 9% return because back in August 2008, we earned some interest while our funds were sitting in the bank waiting for the initial purchase to be completed.)

Our investment agreement with management specified that the investors receive a preferred 9% return. This means that, on sale of the apartments, all profits would go to the investors until they received an annualized 9% rate of return. After that, the profits would be split 50-50 with the investors and the management company we used (or 70-30 in the investors' favor if the property did not reach a specific ROI goal). When I first invested in the property, I did so with the intent that this was an investment more for capital gains, rather than the 9% return. Things obviously didn't go they way I planned in that regard, but that doesn't mean I'm disappointed. A 9% return is nothing to sneeze at - that is also the rate I earn right now on my hard money loans. Originally, I had hoped for a return in the 30% range and, had the economy not tanked, I think this was possible. Actually, with the way the property has been performing the last 9 months or so, I think if we held off on the sale for another year, we could have come close to that figure.

So why did we sell now? The main reason was that the majority of other investors wanted to sell. They likely got sick of the lack of quarterly distributions. Additionally, the property was getting to the point where additional funds would be needed to add improvements and do an overall facelift of the buildings - similar to what we did when we bought it. That would mean another cash call to investors and I don't think people were willing to pony up more money. In fact, I know the new buyers are planning on spending about $1 million on improvements.

For the sale, we had offers from two buyers. One was an unrelated party and the other was the current management company. The management company was the winner. I was a bit concerned about a possible conflict of interest here when I found out they were one bidder because, obviously, the management company knew the details of our investors agreement. This meant that theoretically, they could figure out exactly how much to offer to exactly meet our 9% return and not offer a penny more. Of course, it also meant that, due to the nature of the agreement, any amount they wanted to offer above that amount could basically be doubled - because they would get half of that amount back at closing due to the 50-50 split clause. This would make their offer much more attractive than another party's at a lower cost to them.

But in the end, that wasn't why they won. They got the sale because they were willing to assume our loan. The other party was not going to do that. Our loan had a $1.5 million early termination fee, so the assumption saved us a ton of cash. It was also what delayed the closing for a couple months. We had to get approval from the lender for the loan assumption.

All in all, I'm glad I made this investment. It was a great learning experience. Apartment investing is really more like investing in a business than real estate. I would definitely do it again in the future, but probably not soon. Right now, I'm more interested in cash flow and I think my hard money loans are providing a more consistent return.

1 comment:

oxford property agents said...

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