Hey there, folks! Today, I want to dive into a topic that’s been buzzing in the world of real estate investment – Debt Funds and Debt Deals. This is a fundamental aspect of real estate that doctors, investors, and potential investors should have a grasp on. So, let’s get started!


The Capital Stack: The Backbone of Real Estate Financing

First things first, let’s talk about the capital stack. In simple terms, it’s how the money is structured in a real estate deal. Think of it like your own home. You have two main parties involved – the bank and yourself. The bank typically provides around 80% of the property’s value, leaving you with the remaining 20% as your down payment.

This 20% is commonly referred to as “common equity,” and it’s a key element in most real estate deals. The majority of syndication deals follow a similar structure, involving senior debt (the mortgage) and common equity, which represents the investments made by individuals like us.

Things become more intricate when other players enter the game. For instance, you might have mezzanine loans, which are secondary loans that come after senior debt. They usually carry higher interest rates because they are subordinate to senior debt, meaning they are repaid only after senior debt is satisfied.

As we ascend the capital stack, we find preferred equity, which sits between debt and equity. I’ll delve deeper into the benefits and drawbacks of each shortly. Finally, common equity, which is us, the investors, holds the highest position in the stack. We invest the down payment and take part in property ownership.


Breaking Down the Components of the Capital Stack

Let’s explore the four main components within a typical capital stack:

  • Senior Debt: Historically, senior debt has offered lower returns compared to other investment options. Even with the recent rise in interest rates, it still remains lower than what’s typically expected from equity investments. The trade-off is that senior debt carries the least amount of risk. It’s the first to get paid and often comes with the added benefit of a significant discount if you need to take over the property.
  • Mezzanine Debt: This falls between senior debt and equity in terms of risk and return. Mezzanine debt lenders usually offer higher interest rates because they are junior to senior debt. They come into play when additional financing is needed.
  • Preferred Equity: Preferred equity occupies a unique place in the capital stack. It combines features of both debt and equity. You receive regular “hard pay” returns, similar to debt, and also participate in the property’s potential upside. However, preferred equity returns are capped.
  • Common Equity: This is where we, the investors, come in. Common equity is the riskiest but potentially most rewarding layer. You don’t have a return cap, and your income depends on property performance.



The Tax Advantage of Equity

One important thing to note is that debt, unlike equity, is taxed at your regular income rate. That can make it less tax-efficient for high-earning individuals. However, a strategy to mitigate this is to place debt investments in your retirement account, such as a self-directed IRA or a solo 401(k). This can help optimize your returns.


Debt Funds vs. Debt Deals: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to debt in real estate, you should consider whether you’re entering a debt fund or a debt deal.

  • Debt Fund: This is typically a pooled fund where capital is raised and lent for various real estate purposes. It can be specific to a particular project or more general.
  • Debt Deal: In a debt deal, a loan is secured for a particular property. This loan may come from banks or investors, depending on the situation. These are more specific and focused.

Navigating the Current Real Estate Landscape

Lately, there’s been a surge in available real estate deals. Yet, with inflation and the looming possibility of a recession, we’re proceeding cautiously. Our approach involves meticulous due diligence and an exploration of various asset classes.

We’re particularly interested in medical office investments and alternative financing strategies, such as debt and preferred equity deals. The shifting financial landscape is making these options more appealing, as their returns become increasingly competitive with traditional equity investments.


Stay Informed and Secure Your Financial Future

That’s the lowdown on debt funds, debt deals, and the ever-changing world of real estate investment. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting out, understanding the capital stack and staying informed about the latest market trends is crucial. In our pursuit of providing you valuable insights, we’re here to keep you in the know.

The real estate market is evolving rapidly, and we’re dedicated to continuing our journey of learning and adapting to these changes. So, stay tuned for regular updates on our investment approach and risk management strategies.

Investing in real estate has its challenges, but it also has the potential for significant rewards. With the right knowledge and strategies, we believe you can navigate the ever-changing landscape of real estate with confidence.


Until next time, 

The Ascent Team

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