Absorption Rate

The rate at which vacant rental properties are leased in a certain real estate market throughout a specific time frame.

Accredited Investor

A person who meets one of the criteria for income or net worth and is eligible to invest in apartment syndications. The current qualifications for eligibility are a net worth of at least $1 million, either individually or jointly with a spouse, or an annual income of $200,000, or $300,000 for joint income, for the previous two years with the expectation of earning the same or greater.

Acquisition Fee

A general partner will charge acquisition fees to cover the up-front expenditures incurred in locating, underwriting, and conducting due diligence on a prospective commercial investment property. An example from our procedure is useful to demonstrate the amount of work required to do this.

Active Investing

The process of using one’s own funds to locate, qualify for, and close on an apartment complex as well as managing the business plan through effective execution.


The gradual repayment of a mortgage loan through regular principal and interest installments.

Angel Investor

The majority of real estate investors receive angel investment for their business expansion, as down payments for properties, or for simple acquisition and inventory growth. Because of their lending quantities, timeliness, and consideration of collateral in risk evaluations, angel investors are ideal for financing real estate.

Apartment Syndication

A short-term professional financial services alliance established to handle a major apartment transaction that would be difficult or impossible for the parties involved to execute alone, allowing businesses to pool their resources and share risks and rewards. A syndication in the context of apartments is often a joint venture between general partners (i.e., the syndicator) and limited partners (i.e., the passive investors) with the purpose of buying, running, and selling an apartment complex while splitting the profits.


The market value of a property is stated in a report written by a licensed appraiser. Cost, sales comparables, and an income approach serve as the foundation for the value.


An asset’s value increasing with time. Natural and forced appreciation are the two main types of appreciation that are significant to apartment syndications. When the market cap rate naturally declines over time, which isn’t always the case, natural appreciation happens. Forced appreciation happens when the revenue or expenses are increased while the net operating income stays the same. Usually, force appreciation involves improving the apartment’s functionality or boosting value through upgrades.

Asset Management

Asset management is a type of passive investing where the investor makes an investment but delegated the decision-making to another party. The decision-maker is the asset manager, who typically gets paid for their services.

Asset Management Fee

A recurring annual fee from the management of the property paid to the general partner.


Bad Debt

A bad debt is a sum of money owing to a creditor by a debtor that is unlikely to be repaid, as well as any outstanding rent payments from evicted tenants.

Basis Points

A standard unit of measurement in finance for interest rates and other percentages. Common abbreviations for basis points include bp, bps, and bips. A basis point is one hundredth of one percent, or 0.01%. One basis point is represented as 0.0001 (0.01/100) in decimal notation. Basis points (BPS), such as 1% change equals a change of 100 basis points and 0.01% change equals one basis point, are used to represent changes in the value or rate of financial instruments.

Break Even Occupancy

Breakeven occupancy is the point at which a commercial real estate investment property’s operational costs plus loan payments equal the amount of potential rental income the facility generates. In other words, the breakeven occupancy level is the point at which a property transitions from an operating loss to a profit.

Bridge Loan

A bridge loan is a brief loan taken out before someone or something pays off an existing debt or finds permanent financing. By supplying rapid cash flow, it enables the borrower to pay down current debts. Bridge loans typically feature quite high interest rates and are secured by some kind of collateral, like real estate or a company’s inventory.



A C company is a distinct taxable entity and is subject to corporate tax on its earnings. When a C corporation sells real estate that has increased in value, the profit is subject to tax at the corporate tax rate.

Capital Expenditures (CapEx)

The funds used by a company to acquire, upgrade and maintain a property. Also referred to as CapEx. An expense is considered CapEx when it improves the useful life of a property and is capitalized – spreading the cost of the expenditure over the useful life of the asset. CapEx included both interior and exterior renovations.

Capital Stack

The capital stack refers to the layers of capital that go into purchasing and operating a commercial real estate investment. It outlines who will receive income and profits generated by the property and in what order.

Capitalization Rate (Cap Rate)

Capitalization rate (or Cap Rate for short) is commonly used in real estate and refers to the rate of return on a property based on the net operating income (NOI) that the property generates. In other words, capitalization rate is a return metric that is used to determine the potential return on investment or payback of capital.

Carried Interest

Carried interest is a share of profits earned by general partners of private equity, venture capital, and hedge funds. Carried interest is due to general partners based on their role rather than an initial investment in the fund. As a performance fee, carried interest aligns the general partner’s compensation with the fund’s returns. Carried interest is often only paid if the fund achieves a minimum return known as the hurdle rate. Carried interest typically qualifies for treatment as a long-term capital gain taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income.

Cash Flow

The revenue remaining after paying all expenses. Cash flow is calculated by subtracting the operating expense and debt service from the collected revenue.

Cash-on-Cash Return

The rate of return based on the cash flow and the equity investment. Also referred to as CoC return. Coc return is calculated by dividing the cash flow by the initial equity investment.

Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM)

A recognized expert in the disciplines of commercial and investment real estate. The designation is awarded by the CCIM Institute. A CCIM is a resource to the commercial real estate owner, investor, and user, allowing them to make the best investment decisions when it comes to real estate.

Closing Costs

The expenses, over and above the purchase price of the property, that buyers and sellers normally incur to complete a real estate transaction. These costs include origination fees, application fees, recording fees, attorney fees, underwriting fees, due diligence fees and credit search fees.

Commercial Lender

Commercial real estate lenders can be separated into two broad categories: cash flow lenders and equity lenders.


The credits given to offset rent, application fees, move-in fees and any other cost incurred by the tenant, which are generally given at move-in to entice tenants into signing a lease.

Cost Approach

A method of calculating a property’s value based on the cost to replace (or rebuild) the property from scratch. Also referred to as the replacement approach.

Cost Segregation Analysis/Study

A strategic process where a cost segregation consultant analyzes commercial real estate to determine whether identifying and segregating certain components of the property as personal property (Section 1245 Property) that are separate and distinct from the real property (Section 1250 Property) will produce any accelerated depreciation benefits for income tax purposes.

CRE Broker

Commercial real estate brokers (also known as commercial brokers) are professionals who assist their clients in buying, selling or leasing properties for commercial purposes. A real estate broker is similar to a real estate agent, but the broker is licensed to manage their own real estate business, whereas the agent must work with Real Estate Brokers.


A method for raising money for businesses and an easier way to access such ventures for investors. Crowdfunding utilizes the Internet and social media outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, to reach an audience of potential investors.
The idea behind crowdfunding is that many people are willing to invest a small amount, and when they do, large sums of money can be raised quite quickly.
Crowdfunding offers companies access to capital that they might never be able to raise. Crowdfunding offers investors the ability to become shareholders in a company or in a real estate property.


Debt Constant

The interest and principal payments of the loan obtained by or on behalf of Landlord (but not by Tenant) to finance any restoration or repair of the Leased Property pursuant to Sections 10.2 or 11.6 hereof, divided by the initial principal balance of such loan. Sample 1 Sample 2 Based on 2 documents

Debt Partner

If you’re a debt partner, you’re loaning money and getting the agreed-upon interest rate in return until the debt is repaid. Unlike an equity partner, you don’t have any ownership interest in the real estate, although you may end up with the real estate if the borrower defaults if it’s the collateral for the loan you made.

Debt Service

The annual mortgage amount paid to the lender, which includes principal and interest. Principal is the original sum lent to a borrower and the interest rate is the charge for the privilege of borrowing the principal amount.

Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR)

For commercial real estate, the debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) definition is net operating income divided by total debt service: For example, suppose Net Operating Income (NOI) is $120,000 per year and total debt service is $100,000 per year.

Deferred Sales Trust

A legal agreement between an investor and a third-party trust in which the investor’s real estate is sold to the trust in exchange for predetermined future payments, known as installments, made over an agreed-upon time period. Investors can defer capital gains taxes over time by using a “Deferred Sales Trust.”


A decrease or loss in value due to wear, age or other cause.

Director & Operator Insurance (Officer’s Insurance AKA E&O insurance)

Directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance is insurance coverage intended to protect individuals from personal losses if they are sued as a result of serving as a director or an officer of a business or other type of organization. It can also cover the legal fees and other costs the organization may incur as a result of such a suit.

Disposition Fee

Property Disposition Fee. The Company may pay the Advisor, Director, Sponsor or any Affiliate thereof a real estate disposition fee upon Sale of one or more Properties, in an amount equal to the lesser of Property Disposition Fee.

Distressed Property

A non-stabilized apartment community, which means the economic occupancy rate is below 85% and likely much lower due to poor operations, tenant problems, outdated interiors, exteriors or amenities, mismanagement and/or deferred maintenance.


Real estate distributions are funds paid to individuals as part of a real estate investment. The exact amount of distributions is dependent upon a number of factors including the rental income generated by the property and the operating expenses – property taxes, insurance, maintenance – incurred.

Due Diligence

The process of confirming that a property is as represented by the seller and is not subject to environmental or other problems. For apartment syndication, the general partner will perform due diligence to confirm their underwriting assumptions and business plan.


Earnest Money

A payment by the buyers that is a portion of the purchase price to indicate to the seller their intention and ability to carry out sales contract.

Economic Occupancy Rate

The rate of paying tenants based on the total possible revenue and the actual revenue collected. The economic occupancy is calculated by dividing the actual revenue collected by the gross potential income.

Effective Gross Income (EGI)

The true positive cash flow. Also referred to as EGI. EGI is calculated by subtracting the revenue lost due to vacancy, loss-to-lease, concessions, employee units, model units and bad debt from the gross potential income.

Employee Unit

An apartment unit rented to an employee at a discount or for free.

Equity Investment

The upfront costs for purchasing a property. For apartment syndications, these costs include the down payment for the mortgage loan, closing costs, financing fees, operating account funding and the fees paid to the general partnership for putting the deal together. Also referred to as the initial cash outlay or the down payment.

Equity Multiple (EM)

The rate of return based on the total net profit and the equity investment. Also referred to as EM The EM is calculated by dividing the sum of the total net profit (cash flow plus sales proceeds) and the equity investment by the equity investment.

Equity Partner

Equity Partner or “Equity Investor” means a limited partner or investor member who contributes capital to a limited partnership or to a limited liability company that will own and operate the low- income housing Project.

Equity Waterfall

When we purchase a property, we use a mixture of debt and equity to finance it. In return for their equity contribution, our investors receive a claim on the income and profits produced by the property. The terms of the “waterfall” dictate how the income and profits are divided between us and our investors.
The waterfall structure can — and does — vary from one transaction to another, so it is important to dig into the details for each transaction to determine if the split is fair and equitable for all parties involved. These details are outlined in a document called the operating agreement, which should be read completely and thoroughly prior to committing funds to a real estate syndication deal.

Exit Strategy

The general partner’s plan of action for selling the apartment community at the conclusion of the business plan.

Exit test (AKA Refinance test)

The Refinance Test evaluates a borrower’s ability to successfully refinance a balloon balance at maturity. We’re providing you with this tool to:
Make the test results transparent to you early in the underwriting process
Encourage discussion between you and our underwriting staff to assess your deal in relation to the test results


Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)

A non-governmental organization that serves as a self-regulatory body for securities companies doing business in the US. The goal of FINRA is to protect investors by safeguarding the integrity of the financial markets.

Financing Fees

The upfront, one-time costs incurred by the lender to provide the debt service. additionally known as finance costs.

Franchise & Excise Tax

You must register for and pay franchise and excise taxes if you are a corporation, limited partnership, limited liability company, or business trust that is qualified, registered, or chartered in Tennessee or conducting business there. The franchise tax is calculated using the greater of Tennessee real estate or tangible personal property book value or net worth. Based on net income or earnings for the tax year, the excise tax is calculated.

Regardless of whether the firm is active or inactive, if you are incorporated, domesticated, qualified, or otherwise registered with the Secretary of State to conduct business in Tennessee, a minimum franchise tax of $100 is due.


General Partner (GP)

An owner of a partnership who has unlimited liability. A general partner is usually a managing partner and is active in the day-to-day operations of the business. In apartment syndications, the general partner is also referred to as the sponsor or syndicator and is responsible for managing the entire apartment project.

Gross Potential Income

The hypothetical amount of revenue if the apartment community was 100% leased year-round at market rental rates plus all other income.

Gross Potential Rent (GPR)

The hypothetical amount of revenue if the apartment community was 100% leased year-round at market rental rates. Also referred to as GPR.

Gross Rent Multiplier (GRM)

The number of years it would take for a property to pay for itself based on the gross potential rent. Also referred to as the GRM. The GRM is calculated by dividing the purchase price by the annual gross potential rent.


Hard Money Lender

A hard-money lender provides short-term loans to individuals purchasing residential or commercial real estate. This financing is also available for land purchases. Investors use hard-money lenders to acquire investment properties relatively quickly.

Holding Period

The amount of time the general partner plans on owning the apartment from purchase to sale.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

If you need cash and have equity in your home, a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC) can be an excellent solution. But the tax aspects of either option are more complicated than they used to be. Interest on a HELOC may be tax deductible—but there are conditions. There are two types of home equity lending: a fixed-rate loan for a specified amount of money, or a variable-rate line of credit. Depending on your need for the funds and how you plan to use them, one option may work better than the other. Interest paid on either loan, like the interest on your first mortgage, is sometimes tax deductible.


In Escrow


Income Approach

A method of calculating an apartment’s value based on the capitalization rate and the net operating income (value = net operating income / capitalization rate).


Incorporating a legal real estate business entity helps you save money on taxes. It enables you to enjoy the benefits of tax deductions. Without incorporating a business, you’re not eligible to deduct operational expenses such as office rent, insurance, and employee salaries (if any).

Interest Only Period (IO period)

Sometimes investment firms or dealers take a debt obligation or pool of obligations—mortgages, Treasury bonds, or other bonds—and after separating their principal and interest portions, sell them as distinct security products to investors, thus creating what’s known as a strip bond. An interest only strip is one of these separated securities—the part that consists only of the interest portion of the monthly payments. Although interest only strips can be created out of any debt-backed security that generates periodic payments, the term is usually associated with mortgage-backed securities (MBS)

Interest Rate

The amount charged by a lender to a borrower for the use of their funds.

Internal Rate of Return (IRR)

IRR, or the internal rate of return, is defined as the discount rate at which the net present value of a set of cash flows (ie, the initial investment, expressed negatively, and the returns, expressed positively) equals zero. In more simple terms, it is the rate at which a real estate investment grows (or, heaven forbid, shrinks).


Joint Venture

When two or more investors pool their funds for a real estate investment or development, this is known as a joint venture. Even if they are working on a deal together, each side keeps their own distinct business identity. Consequently, despite seeming similar to a partnership, a joint venture is slightly different.



Lead Magnet

Lead magnets are a marketing phrase for a free good or service that is offered in exchange for contact information; examples include trial subscriptions, samples, white papers, e-newsletters, and free consultations. Lead magnets are used by marketers to generate sales leads. Marketers may choose to promote unrelated products or services to sales leads in an effort to turn them into paying clients of a particular good or service.


A formal legal contract between a landlord and a tenant for occupying an apartment unit for a specified time and at a specified price with specified terms.

Lease Option

A contract between the lessor and the lessee permitting the latter to optionally purchase the estate during or after the lease period ends. It aids both entities in managing a mutually beneficial property agreement. The purchase lease option is a lawful method in real estate for buying a home, workplace, or personal property like cars.

Letter of Intent (LOI)

A document declaring the preliminary commitment of one party to do business with another. The letter outlines the chief terms of a prospective deal. Commonly used in major business transactions, LOIs are similar in content to term sheets. One major difference between the two, though, is that LOIs are presented in letter formats, while term sheets are listicle in nature.

Limited liability corporation (LLC)

A popular business structure for real estate companies involved in the business of buying, selling, or renting commercial or residential real estate.

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

A limited partnership is usually a type of investment partnership, often used as investment vehicles for investing in such assets as real estate. LPs differ from other partnerships in that partners can have limited liability, meaning they are not liable for business debts that exceed their initial investment.

Limited Partner (LP)

A partner whose liability is limited to the extent of their share of ownership. Also referred to as the LP. In apartment syndications, the LP is the passive investor who funds a portion of the equity investment.

Loan Guarantor

A guarantor is a financial term describing an individual who promises to pay a borrower’s debt in the event that the borrower defaults on their loan obligation. Guarantors pledge their own assets as collateral against the loans. On rare occasions, individuals act as their own guarantors, by pledging their own assets against the loan. The term “guarantor” is often interchanged with the term “surety.”

Loan Guarantor Fee

Loan Guarantor Fee means a fee equal to 1% of the total loan amount paid to loan guarantors at loan inception of each loan. Sample 1 Based on 1 documents

Loan-to-Cost Ratio (LTC)

The ratio of the value of the total project costs (loan amount + capital expenditure costs) divided by the apartment’s appraised value.

Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV)

The ratio of the value of the loan amount divided by the apartment’s appraised value.

London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR)

The London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) is a benchmark interest rate at which major global banks lend to one another in the international interbank market for short-term loans.
LIBOR, which stands for London Interbank Offered Rate, serves as a globally accepted key benchmark interest rate that indicates borrowing costs between banks. The rate is calculated and will continue to be published each day by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), but due to recent scandals and questions around its validity as a benchmark rate, it is being phased out.

London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR)

A benchmark rate that some of the world’s leading banks charge each other for short-term loans. Also referred to as LIBOR. The LIBOR serves as the first step to calculating interest rates on various loans, including commercial loans, throughout the world.

Loss-to-Lease (LtL)

The revenue lost based on the market rent and the actual rent. Also referred to as LtL. The LtL is calculated by dividing the gross potential rent minus the actual rent collected by the gross potential rent.


Market Rent

Based on the rent charged at comparable apartment complexes in the region, the rent amount that a willing landlord might fairly expect to earn and a willing tenant might reasonably expect to pay for tenancy. Usually, a rent comparable study is used to determine the market rent.

Marketing (REI)

Marketing, especially in the real estate industry, is one of the most important things a business can do. Without any deals in your actual pipeline, all of the passion in the world won’t get you anywhere. On the other hand, too many investors make the mistake of thinking that any marketing will do. You need to have a clear plan of what you want to achieve, and how you will get there. Fortunately, there are many subtle, but important, things that can help you maximize your real estate marketing results. If you want to separate yourself from the pack, there are several things you can do to get noticed.

Master Lease Agreement

A master lease is an agreement by which a Tenant leases a property a period of time from an Owner of a commercial property who may be inclined to relinquish control of the asset. The agreement provides the Tenant with the ability to then sub-lease portions of the property to other individual tenants.

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)

A geographical region containing a substantial population nucleus, together with adjacent communities having a high degree of economic and social integration with that core. Also referred to as the MSA. MSAs are determined by the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Mezzanine Debt

Mezzanine debt is when a hybrid debt issue is subordinate to another debt issue from the same issuer. Mezzanine debt bridges the gap between debt and equity financing and is one of the highest-risk forms of debt—being subordinate to pure debt but senior to pure equity.

Model Unit

A representative apartment unit used as a sales tool to show prospective tenants how the actual unit will appear once occupied.


A legal contract by which an apartment is pledged as security for repayment of a loan until the debt is repaid in full.

Mortgage Wrap

In real estate, a wrap-around mortgage is a sort of junior loan that wraps around, or encompasses, the current note due on the property. The wrap-around loan will include the previous loan balance plus an amount to meet the property’s new purchase price.


Net Operating Income (NOI)

All of the property’s earnings less operational costs. additionally known as the NOI.

Non-Recourse Loan

Non-recourse loans are often used to finance commercial real estate ventures and other projects that involve a long lead time to completion. In the case of real estate, the land provides the collateral for the loan. They also are used in the financial industry, with securities used as collateral.


Passive Investing

Placing one’s capital into an apartment syndication that is managed in its entirety by a general partner.

Performace Hurdle (ref: Equity Waterfall)

The return hurdles are the rates of return at which the cash-flow split between the GP and the LP changes. They are structured to incentivize the GP to manage the property as profitably as possible. The higher the return that a property produces, the more money the GP stands to make relative to their initial investment.

Permanent Agency Loan

A long-term mortgage loan secured from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Typical loan terms lengths are 3, 5, 7, 10, 12 or more years amortized over up to 30 years.

Physical Occupancy Rate

The rate of occupied units. The physical occupancy rate is calculated by dividing the total number of occupied units by the total number of units at the property.

Preferred Return

The threshold return that limited partners are offered prior to the general partners receiving payment.

Prepayment Penalty

A clause in a mortgage contract stating that a penalty will be assessed if the mortgage is paid down or paid off within a certain period.

Price Per Unit

The cost per unit of purchasing a property. The price per unit is calculated by dividing the purchase price of the property by the total number of units.

Private Lender

A person or entity that is providing funding for investment purposes. This can be to the likes of real estate investors who are wanting to purchase investment properties.

Private Placement Memorandum (PPM)

Also known as a private offering document and confidential offering memorandum, is a securities disclosure document used in a private offering of securities by a private placement issuer or an investment fund (collectively, the “Issuer”). From an investor’s point of view, the purpose of the PPM is to obtain needed information about the Issuer and its securities, both good and bad, to make an informed decision about whether to purchase the security. The investor wants to know the parameters of investing in the Issuer and the potential rights, risks, and rewards of its investment. For the Issuer, the purpose of the PPM is to provide the necessary disclosures about the risks, strategies, management team, investment criteria, and other information about its securities to protect itself and its managers against claims of misstatements or omissions.


The projected budget with itemized line items for the revenue and expenses for the next 12 months and five years.

Profit and Loss Statement (T-12)

A document or spreadsheet containing detailed information about the revenue and expenses of a property over the last 12 months. Also referred to as a trailing 12-month profit and loss statement or a T-12.

Property and Neighborhood Classes

A ranking system of A, B, C or D assigned to a property and a neighborhood based on a variety of factors. For property classes, these factors include date of construction, condition of the property and amenities offered. For neighborhood classes, these factors include demographics, median income and median home values, crime rates and school district rankings.

Property Management Fee

An ongoing monthly fee paid to the property management company for managing the day-to-day operations of the property.

Prospecting (REI)

Real estate prospecting is the process of initiating new business opportunities by targeting potential real estate clients. This involves personal outreach, time, and leveraging real estate technology to build a sales pipeline. From choosing a real estate niche to asking for referrals and joining community events, our 18 real estate prospecting tips below will empower you to consistently attract and identify prospective clients. This helps you build a strong pipeline of leads to fuel your real estate business in the long term.



Quitclaim deed: Used when a real estate property transfers ownership without being sold. No money is involved in the transaction, no title search is done to verify ownership, and no title insurance is issued. A quitclaim deed real estate transaction sometimes occurs between family members.


Ration Utility Billing System (RUBS)

A technique for estimating a tenant’s utility use based on occupancy, unit size, or a combination of the two. Following calculation, the tenant is billed for the sum.


The right of the lender to go after personal assets above and beyond the collateral if the borrower defaults on the loan.


The replacing of an existing debt obligation with another debt obligation with different terms.

Refinancing Fee

A fee paid to the general partner for the work required to refinance an apartment.

Rent Comparable Analysis (Rent Comps)

The process of analyzing the rental rates of similar properties in the area to determine the market rents of the units at the subject property.

Rent Premium

The increase in rent demanded after performing renovations to the interior and/or exterior of an apartment community.

Rent Roll

A document or spreadsheet containing detailed information on each of the units at the apartment community, including the unit number, unit type, square footage, tenant name, market rent, actual rent, deposit amount, move-in date, lease-start and lease-end date and the tenant balance.

Return on Cost

A property’s Return on Cost is similar to the Cap Rate, but it is forward looking and takes into account potential changes to Net Operating Income. Return on Cost is calculated as Purchase Price plus Renovation Expense, divided by Potential Net Operating Income.



An S-Corp is a pass-through entity, meaning the corporation’s earnings and losses pass through to the owner’s tax return. It offers many benefits for real estate agents who decide to incorporate. Let’s take a look at each one.

Sales Comparison Approach

A method of calculating an apartment’s value based on similar apartments recently sold.

Sales Proceeds

The profit collected at the sale of the apartment community.

Self Directed IRA

A self-directed individual retirement account (SDIRA) is a type of individual retirement account (IRA) that can hold a variety of alternative investments normally prohibited from regular IRAs. Although the account is administered by a custodian or trustee, it’s directly managed by the account holder, which is why it’s called self-directed. Available as either a traditional IRA (to which you make tax-deductible contributions) or a Roth IRA (from which you take tax-free distributions), self-directed IRAs are best suited for savvy investors who already understand alternative investments and want to diversify in a tax-advantaged account.

Seller Financing

Seller Financing is a real estate agreement in which the seller handles the mortgage process instead of a financial institution. Instead of applying for a conventional bank mortgage, the buyer signs a mortgage with the seller. Owner financing is another name for seller financing. It is also called a purchase-money mortgage.

Sensitivity Analysis

A sensitivity analysis is a useful method of assumption, one that many investors use before they purchase a property to determine if a commercial property is likely to meet their investment goals. It is a visual what-if analysis of the unknown variables and how they can change throughout the life of the investment.


A simplified employee pension (SEP) is an individual retirement account (IRA) that an employer or a self-employed person can establish. The employer is allowed a tax deduction for contributions made to a SEP IRA and makes contributions to each eligible employee’s plan on a discretionary basis. Additionally, under the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, enacted on Dec. 20, 2019, small employers get a tax credit to offset the costs of starting a 401(k) plan or SIMPLE IRA with auto-enrollment. That’s on top of the start-up credit they already receive.

Solo QRP / Solo 401k / Owner 401k

The term independent 401(k) refers to a tax-advantaged retirement savings plan available to individual small business owners and their spouses. It is a variation of the 401(k) plan that many large employers offer their workers. Since it is a small business owner 401(k), the employer and employee are one and the same, which means that the retirement contribution limits are higher than traditional plans. The contributions made as an employer are tax-deductible, which can save the sole proprietor a great deal in taxes. Independent 401(k)s are also called one-participant 401(k)s, solo 401(k)s, indie Ks, or self-employed 401(k)s.

Sophisticated Investor

A sophisticated investor is a classification of investor indicating someone who has sufficient capital, experience and net worth to engage in more advanced types of investment opportunities.

Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV)

A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is a separate legal entity created by an organization. The SPV is a distinct company with its own assets and liabilities, as well as its own legal status. Usually, they are created for a specific objective, often to isolate financial risk. As it is a separate legal entity, if the parent company goes bankrupt, the special purpose vehicle can carry on.

Subject Property

The apartment the general partner intends on purchasing.

Subject To

The term “Subject To” is often used in reference to a property that is sold subject to an existing loan. The seller’s existing mortgage remains in place after the property is sold, while the new buyer continues making payments for the remaining life of the loan.


A geographic subdivision of a market.

Subscription Agreement

A document that is a promise by the LLC that owns the property to sell a specific number of shares to a limited partner at a specified price, and a promise by the limited partner to pay that price.


A real estate syndication is when a group of investors pools together their capital to jointly purchase a large real estate property. Apartments, mobile home parks, land, self-storage units and other real estate assets are some of the investment opportunities available through real estate syndications.

Syndication Attorney

Doing your legal due diligence is crucial when you’re using other people’s money to buy property. A real estate syndication attorney is there to help the syndicator with everything involving the law along the way.
They can provide appropriate guidance for syndication structure and advise which type of partnership would be ideal in a specific situation. They can also assist with putting the deal together for the investors.


1031 Tax Exchange

You should be aware of the 1031 tax-deferred exchange if you own investment property and are considering selling it and purchasing another one. Through this process, the owner of investment property can sell it and purchase similar property while postponing paying capital gains tax. You can obtain an overview of the main principles and meanings of the section 1031 exchange on this page if you’re considering starting a transaction under this section.

Tax Defer

Tax deferral refers to instances where a taxpayer can delay paying taxes to some future period. In theory, the net taxes paid should be the same. Taxes can sometimes be deferred indefinitely, or may be taxed at a lower rate in the future, particularly for deferral of income taxes.

Tax Offset

A tax offset reduces the tax you pay (known as your tax payable) on your taxable income. Your taxable income is your total income minus any deductions you claim.


Under Contract

When a buyer submits an offer on a potential home, they often work closely with their own real estate agent to craft a competitive offer and to produce the preapproval letter that demonstrates their ability to acquire the property. Using this information, the agent will draft a “offer letter” or “offer to purchase and contract” to be sent to the seller’s agent. When purchasing a home, purchasers have a lot of needs, and anything can go wrong. However, the transaction is officially “under contract” after the seller accepts the buyer’s offer.


The procedure of assessing a complex of apartments financially in order to establish expected returns and a bid price.

Underwriting Stress Tests

Stress testing for real estate loans is a risk management tool designed to analyze current and emerging risks and vulnerabilities by assessing the impact of changing economic conditions on a borrower’s performance to determine future loss rates.

Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT)

Unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) is income earned by a tax-exempt entity that’s not related to the tax-exempt purpose of the entity. More precisely, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines unrelated business taxable income for most organizations as “income from a trade or business, regularly carried on, that is not substantially related to the charitable, educational, or other purpose that is the basis of the organization’s exemption.”

Unrelated Debt-Financed Income (UDFI)

Unrelated Debt Financed Income, or UDFI, occurs when an IRA or LLC in which an IRA has an ownership interest, borrows money to purchase real estate. (This is also known as using leverage or debt-financing.) The net profits attributable to the leveraged portion is considered UDFI and is subject to tax.


Vacancy Loss

The amount of revenue lost due to unoccupied units.

Vacancy Rate

The rate of unoccupied units. The vacancy rate is calculated by dividing the total number of unoccupied units by the total number of units.

Value-Add Property

A stabilized apartment community with an economic occupancy above 85% and has an opportunity to be improved by adding value, which means making improvements to the operations and the physical property through exterior and interior renovations in order to increase the income and/or decrease the expenses.



A short-term business technique known as “wholesale real estate” allows investors to profit quickly and consistently from the real estate market.
In wholesale real estate deals, the distributor signs a purchase agreement with the seller of a house in exchange for a modest earnest money deposit. The contract specifies the price at which the wholesaler will sell the asset as well as the time frame within which it must be sold.



Yield Maintenance

A penalty paid by the borrower on a loan is the principal is paid off early.

Yield on Cost (AKA Development Yield)

Yield on Cost Definition Yield on cost is a real estate financial metric that helps investors quantify the risk taken to purchase an asset. Yield on cost is calculated as a property’s stabilized Net Operating Income (NOI) divided by the total project cost.