I know from experience that real estate group investments can produce substantial profits. 

Private equity funds, put simply, are group investments where several (maybe hundreds of) investors contribute capital as limited partners to purchase a hand-selected group of properties, renovate and reposition them, and then sell them for profit. There are serious amounts of cash moving through the commercial asset during a period of time and a strong focus on management efficiencies, maintaining full occupancy, and driving appreciation.

In general, investment minimums are between $50,000 and $100,000. So, naturally, your first question will be the most common question I get asked about commercial real estate funds: “What kind of returns can I expect?’

That’s an excellent question! You’re in the game to create passive income for your family plus leave a positive impact on the world. 

Once you know more about how projected returns are calculated and the various factors to consider as you review returns projections, you can confidently decide if syndications or funds are the best route or if you should invest elsewhere. 

To help answer your questions about returns, I’m sharing projected figures. The returns discussed in this article are projections based on our analyses and best guesses, but they aren’t guaranteed, and there’s always risk associated with any investment. The examples herein are only meant to provide some ballpark ideas to get you started.

In this article, let’s explore the 3 main criteria you should look into when evaluating projected returns on a potential commercial real estate deal:

  1. Projected hold time
  2. Projected cash-on-cash returns
  3. Projected profits at the sale

Projected Hold Time: ~5 Years

Projected hold time, perhaps the easiest concept, is the number of years we would hold the asset before selling it. What this means for you is that this is the amount of time that your capital would be invested in the deal.

A hold time of around five years is beneficial for a few reasons:

  1. Plenty can change in just five years. You could start and complete a college degree, move, get married, or …you get the point. You need enough time to earn healthy returns, but not so much that your kids graduate before the sale.
  2. Considering market cycles, five years is a modest stint in which to invest, make improvements, allow appreciation, and exit before it’s time to remodel again.
  3. A five-year projected hold provides a buffer between the estimated sale and the typical seven- to ten-year commercial loan term. If the market softens at the 5-year mark, we can opt to hold the asset for a longer period of time, allowing the market to rebound.

Projected Cash-on-Cash Returns: 7-8% Per Year

Next, consider cash-on-cash returns, otherwise known as cash flow or passive income. Cash-on-cash returns are what remain after vacancy costs, mortgage, and expenses. It’s the pot of money that gets distributed to investors. 

If you invested $100,000 and earned eight percent per year, the projected cash flow would be about $8,000 per year or about $667 per month. That’s $40,000 over the five-year hold.

Just for kicks, notice the same value invested in a “high” interest savings account (earning 1%).  That would return $1,000 a year and a measly $5,000 over a 5-year period.  

That’s a difference of $35,000 over the span of 5 years!

Projected Profit Upon Sale: ~40-60%

Perhaps the largest puzzle piece is the projected profit upon sale. Typically, we aim for about 60% in profit at the sale in year 5.

In five years’ time, the units of each property have been updated, tenants are strong, and rent accurately reflects market rates. Since commercial property values are based on the amount of income generated, these improvements, along with market appreciation, typically lead to a substantial increase in the overall value of the asset, thus leading to sizable profits upon the sale.

Determining Projected Returns is as Simple as You Make It

Simple enough, right? Typically, in the deals we do, we are looking for the following:

  • 5-year hold
  • 7-8% annual cash-on-cash returns
  • 40-60% profits upon sale 

Sticking with the previous example, you’d invest $100,000, hold for 5 years, collect $8,000 per year in cash flow distributions paid out monthly (a total of $40,000 over 5 years), and earn $60,000 in profit at the sale. 

This results in $200,000 at the end of 5 years – $100,000 of your initial investment and $100,000 in total returns.

Again, these results are not guaranteed, and each real estate fund is different, but this should give you a rough idea of what to expect.

In my experience working on solo real estate investments, funds and syndications, I’ve had the opportunity to compare tenants’ and investors’ experiences in each. When it comes to commercial real estate, I’ve enjoyed raising funding, seeing those funds drastically improve the properties and the community around each of them, and then celebrating with investors as they reap the returns of their money, working as hard as possible for them instead of the other way around. I know the possibilities that syndications and funds have to create more stability for your and your family. 

With these kinds of returns, commercial real estate funds have the potential to be one of your strongest wealth-building vehicles in the upcoming years.