5 Ways to Spot Fake Landlord References

One of the most crucial aspects in tenant screening is that of checking your prospective tenant’s landlord references, so here are 5 ways to spot fake landlord references.

Unfortunately, some tenants have been known to make up references or list friends or family members as previous landlords. There are even companies that hire themselves out to pose as landlords.

As a property manager, you are bound to receive landlord references day in and day out. Some are beautifully written testaments to the incredible nature of these individuals looking to rent, while others are simply fake, with bogus testimonials about the tenant.

5 ways to spot fake landlord references

No. 1 – Call the references yourself

For starters, on most landlord references, they will provide a phone number.

One of the first things you can do to tell if the reference is a fake is to call the number inquiring about a rental. If it is fake, the number either won’t work or will lead to a completely different person or place.

In rare instances, a fake number does lead to an individual, but they may seem to be either untruthful or not detailed in their answers.

No. 2 – Check up on the reference’s name

Go online and Google the reference’s name and look them up on social-media platforms.

Check to see if this person is tied to the potential tenant through tagged pictures and/or posts. If there is a lot of overlap in the people’s profiles, these individuals may have a personal relationship and not a tenant/landlord relationship.

No. 3- Look at tax records

The tax records for all property owners are in the public domain. All you have to do is look up the records for the address where the applicant claims to have lived.

The name on the tax record should match the name you’ve been given. Double-check that the property hasn’t been sold, but otherwise this is a great way to spot a fake.

No. 4 – Analyze a reference’s answers

It’s best to always fall back on your knowledge as a landlord and analyze the answers that the potentially fake landlord reference has given you.

If their answers are vague and don’t have details then it’s likely that they aren’t a real landlord and are instead a friend or family member of the person who is trying to rent from you.

No. 5 – Ask for advice from the reference

Landlords tend to have the same frustrations, interests, and problems.

It wouldn’t be at all unusual for you as a property manager to ask for some advice from another landlord while calling for a reference. Ask for their procedure for getting rid of a tenant who doesn’t pay, for instance.

A real landlord will have an actual answer, even if they’re not interested in spending much time on the phone with you. A fake, on the other hand, will likely have nothing specific to say. This can help you further determine whether the person on the other line is a real landlord, or someone just posing as such.

In conclusion

As a property manager, a significant part of your job involves filling properties with quality, long-term tenants. Including thorough reference verification as part of your tenant screening process, such as the strategies above, can help you avoid costly mistakes and keep you a few steps ahead of the game.

For Multifamily Commercial Real Estate Financing Contact Winston Rowe and Associates No Upfront Fee Commercial Loans

What You Need to Know About Emergency Plumbing Services

The plumbing system in your house is significant however relatively few individuals understand this until an issue has sprung up.

Preventing it is in every case superior to searching for an answer where there is as already an issue in the home plumbing systems which is the reason it is ideal to put in estimates that keeps your system fit as a fiddle.

By being cautious with what goes down your drain channels and routinely checking plumbing equipment and guaranteeing everything is in the right working order, you can avoid so many issues that the homeowner suffers from.

But, when the plumbing problem is already visible, there are emergency plumbing services to deal with the situation and get things back to normal. Contingent upon the issue you are confronting, you could have routine plumbing service done or you may think that it is important to get emergency services.

The two are somewhat different and there are facts that you need to know about emergency plumbing services.

They are essential for things you cannot deal with

The important fact is that there are plumbing issues that are minor and you can without much effort to deal with or monitor until you get an expert to help it out. Prior to call the emergency plumber, make sure that it is genuinely an emergency of an issue that is beyond you.

The emergency service covers various issues

Knowing when to call the plumbing services very crucial. Some of the problems that truly require the assistance of an emergency plumber include gas spills, pipes burst, running toilets or sewage issues.

This service is for issues that truly cannot hold up for a longer period because of the possible damage delay in rectifying the situation that may prompt.

In the event that your problem is presenting harm to your property and valuable or is posing a health risk, at that point it goes for an emergency.

Additionally, sometimes warranties act an important part here. If you claim for the Home warranty plan, it covers the plumbing issues too.

They are offered whenever quickly

The emergency services are often called emergency because of the fact that the plumbers are adaptable enough to deal with them when as soon as it occurs.

So, whether it is on an end of the week or an occasion or the wee hours of the night, the emergency plumbers will come to help you.

This is why it is important to ensure that you call in just when it is a genuine and important issue that essentially cannot wait.

They will, in general, be increasingly costly than general services

Plumbers essentially drop everything else to take care of emergency calls and will come to where you are at any given time and day.

For this, the emergency plumbers will cost you more than the standard general administrations that can hold up somewhat longer to be dealt with.

This is one more reason regarding why you ought to guarantee that your pipes issues are extremely an emergency before proceeding to call in the experts.

Benefits of hiring an emergency plumbing service

  • A plumber will find a permanent solution
  • When any plumbing emergency happens, people always get panic. But, instead, hiring professional plumber will assess the situation and get a permanent solution out of it.
  • Hiring an emergency plumber will save you money
  • It is a onetime investment. It can be expensive for the first time but it is reliable and can save you for the long haul.
  • An emergency plumber has professional training in handling various emergencies

As mention “professional”, they are the hero in plumbing services. They are well trained and can work with proper fixing.

Getting a professional plumbing contractor can keep you safe from issues

Carrying out plumbing tasks at your home, especially in the emergency period can be risky. As a professional plumber are well trained with safety equipment, they can keep you safe from dangerous situations

The plumbers are constantly prepared to offer help and ensure your plumbing system turns back to its functionality.

Emergency administrations will spare you the stresses and efforts and in turn very valuable and quite beneficial.

It is essential to keep contacts of dependable and trustworthy plumbing contractors offering emergency and professional plumbing services so you can get instant help when the situation is terrible.

You can review Winston Rowe and Associate

EBIT and EBITDA – Shortcut to Cash Flow

EBIT and EBITDA – Shortcut to Cash Flow

While there are several factors that go into qualifying for a variety of business loans, there is one metric upon which banks heavily rely, but is unfamiliar to most applicants.

It is the Fixed Charge Coverage ratio (slightly modified for pass-through entity accounting), and it measures your projected ability to pay back the loan with interest better than any other calculation or ratio.

EBIT and EBITDA – Shortcut to Cash Flow

The bank wants to know how many times your cash flow can cover your loan payments. The way they determine cash flow is EBIT, or calculating your earnings before interest and taxes.

Your may have heard of EBITDA, which adds Depreciation and Amortization back to EBIT, and I have always contended that this is the lazy man’s formula to derive free cash flow.

The investment and banking community have established this standard.

Pass-Through Entity Hides Cash Flow

But the problem with EBIT, or even EBITDA, is that it leaves out a significant decrease in cash flow inherent to S-corps and most LLCs — owner draws or dividends.

Due to tax and other reasons, owners of and partners in S-corps, and most LLCs, often receive a large portion of their income as draws or distributions, for which EBIT and EBITDA do not account.

A bank, therefore, is possibly seeing a prospective borrower too favorably without accounting for this form of owner compensation.

Modified Fixed Charge Coverage Ratio

Banks have gotten smart. They have taken the Fixed Charge Coverage ratio, which was derived to more accurately determine a company’s wherewithal to make its loan payments than the Interest Coverage ratio, and added the owner draws/distributions to the formula.

It is focused on assessing all of the company’s fixed financing commitment, in which fixed distributions to owners should be included. Here is how it works:

[EBIT + Lease Expense + Owner Draws]

[Interest Expense + Lease Expense + Owner draws]

Don’t feel overwhelmed by all of the inputs into the formula; it’s not that hard to pull together.

What’s good?

A ratio of exactly one means the business is running on tight cash flow but it will be able to make all of its obligations.

A ratio greater than 1.2 is a comfortable place for a bank to lend, and a ratio over 3 means the company may not be using leverage to its maximum potential.

Here’s an example:

Saul’s Deli generates EBIT of $80,000 annually. Saul has fixed leases in place of $20,000 and takes another $60,000 out of his company every year as a dividend (he is an S-corp). He pays $15,000 per year in interest. Here is his Fixed Charge Coverage ratio:

[80,000 + 20,000 + 60,000]

[15,000 + 20,000 + 60,000]



Fixed Charge Coverage ratio = 1.68

This means that Saul’s Deli can cover his existing debt and obligations by 1.68 times.

A bank would likely feel comfortable with this ratio if he meets the other loan underwriting criteria and the new loan does not decrease this ratio too much. Interestingly, the interest coverage ratio would have come back over 5, not nearly as realistic as the fixed charge coverage ratio in determining Saul’s ability to service his existing and potential new debt.


Applying for a loan can be intimidating. You should know your ratios, including your fixed charge coverage ratio, before you even start the application.

Not only will the EBIT and EBITDA coverage ratio, along with the modified fixed charge coverage ratio help you think like a banker, but it will also help you determine if asking for a loan will help or hurt your business.

Investing In Single Family Rental Homes

Investing In Single Family Rental Homes 

If you’re a newcomer to single-family rental investing, one way to think about it is like an inflation-adjusting bond with an equity kicker.

The rental income fewer operating expenses generates current distributions — like the coupon on a bond — and rents can be adjusted annually, providing inflation protection.

Finally, the equity “kicker” comes in the form of building wealth as your tenant pays down your mortgage for you while the property can grow in value over time. It’s entirely possible to get a nice double-digit overall return on your equity over an extended holding period.

Purchasing and owning a single-family rental home is simpler than you might imagine.

Here are five tips to get you started:

1. Know your investing criteria first

With any investment, be it stocks, bonds or real estate, you need to know what your objectives are.

If you’re focused on safety and security, consider exploring low-risk investment homes that generate steady, reliable yield.

An example of this may be a more expensive investment property in a good school district.

You’re going to get a lower yield, but you may see better downside protection and less volatility. If you have a longer-term horizon or you’re seeking higher returns, you may want to take on a little more risk.

Often, lower-priced homes will be riskier, but you may get higher yields and potentially higher long-term returns.

2. Don’t limit your investment property search to where you live

Consider this: If you lived in Atlanta, you wouldn’t buy Coca-Cola stock simply be
cause its headquarters are local.

The same principle applies to real estate investing. If your primary residence, income property, and job are all located in the same area, you have a lot of concentrated risk and are more vulnerable to the swings of the local economy.

Diversification is just one reason to expand your investment property search. Another is access: If you live in an expensive urban or coastal area with relatively high home prices — the San Francisco Bay Area, for instance — finding an income property that’s cash-flow positive is going to be challenging, to say the least.

You won’t be able to find a great income property for $100,000 in Seattle, Denver, or Oakland, Calif., but you can if you focus on the Midwest, South, and Southeast.

3. Separate investing from operations

One of the appeals of investing in single-family rental homes is you can hire strong local property management firms to handle day-to-day management tasks of rent collection, repairs and maintenance, and leasing.

Over the past several years, property managers have adopted new technologies and business processes to manage homes more effectively for owners.

While some people do choose to self-manage, hiring a property manager can save you a lot of time and potentially money in the long run.

While property management companies typically charge between 7% and 8% of the rent, they manage properties for a living and can work to ensure the property is leased, in good condition, and the tenants are happy.

Additionally, using a local property manager effectively allows you to buy properties outside of where you live, as self-managing is difficult if the property is not nearby.

4. Real estate investing is a marathon, not a sprint

You might be familiar with the house-flipping reality TV shows in which a person buys a home, fixes it up, and sells quickly for a profit.

While that can be an effective way to make a one-time profit, it’s the exact opposite of how you should approach single-family rental home investing, which is about building long-term wealth. Instead, treat it like a nest egg.

In addition, don’t be overly influenced or reactive to short-term fluctuations in your rental property portfolio.

You may own a home for a few months and have to deal with a tenant moving out unexpectedly, but the next tenant might reside there for several years before you have another vacancy.

Look at this investment over a multi-year horizon and consider your overall outlays and inflows over that long time span.

If you buy a decent house in a decent area, the returns tend to be quite attractive over time and can add a nice counterbalance to other types of investments.

5. Take advantage of the tools and resources available to you

The single-family rental home industry currently totals $3 trillion, with 1 million homes trading hands among investors every year.

The investment opportunities are ripe, and never has it been less complicated for investors to buy and own homes outside their geographic location.

Success Strategies For Commercial Real Estate Investing



There are two different types of real estate investors: those that are speculative and take higher risks and those that are more conservative and desire safe, long-term investments.
While speculative investing can be fun and exciting, it can also result in financial ruin. It is necessary that speculative investors thoroughly analyze investments before committing to property purchases.

The most common formula used in commercial real estate investment properties is the capitalization rate. Otherwise simply known as CAP, this rate compares a property’s annual income, factoring in operating and vacancy expenses, and ultimately equates this in net operating income (NOIP) terms, comparing sales price ratios. The CAP rate does not reflect the individual investment’s return percentage, but if no financing is involved, the CAP rate will be relatively close in number.

The CAP rate can be found by dividing the NOI by the price or value of the property. This number is expressed as a percentage. Many banking institutions and hard money lenders focus on the CAP rate when lending money to investors.

If a property investment has long-term tenants, lengthy leases and limited commitment for landlords (low building maintenance costs and repairs), then it may be sufficient for an investor to accept a lower CAP rate. If a property, however, has unstable tenants and a volatile local real estate market, a higher CAP rate is reflected. A higher CAP rate reflects a higher investor risk.

There are five factors that define good commercial real estate investments.

Income – Commercial properties produce income. Stockholders only see income when stocks are sold; however, real estate investors receive income through rent payments.

Capital Appreciation – This financial concept revolves around if rent prices increase, then property values by default also increase.

Leverage – With nearly 70- to 80-percent of commercial property funding in the form of mortgages, investors are able to free up other capital for additional investments.

Security – While stocks are based on the simple price-to-earning concept, real estate is based strictly on demand.

Diversity – Commercial properties often house diverse tenants, ranging from grocery stores, clothing vendors, restaurants and gift shops to retail businesses. This allows landlords to diverse their holdings, not putting all of their eggs in a single basket.

Review of Winston Rowe and Associates Commercial Real Estate Financing

Free Book Review

Announcing , The Free eBook Commercial Real Estate Finance published by Winston Rowe & Associates  discusses the fundamentals of the different types of commercial property, the various options that are included with properties and the capabilities that you will have as a commercial property investor.

It will enable you to make the right decisions when it comes to commercial properties. After you have read this book, you will be able to successfully choose a commercial property for your real estate business.

This book will help you to figure out everything that has to do with commercial properties. Also included with this book are different ideas on what you can do to make sure that you are getting the best financing possible. You will be able to truly enjoy the opportunities that come along with financing and with the different options that you have.

It’s loaded with all the check lists you’ll need to conduct your due diligence to avoid a bad investment. There are detailed descriptions of the various types of capital sources and how to prepare and submit your financing proposal.

You will need to make sure that you can secure financing but it is not a cut and dry experience for everyone. The tips that are included with this book will give you the best chance at getting financing.



How to Become a Success in Real Estate

How to Become a Success in Real Estate

Create a Strong Real Estate Team:

Though it is possible to have some success in real estate as a one-person business, you’ll eventually need to build a team around yourself in order to scale up.

Your team of people can include direct employees to find and negotiate property sales for you, as well as well-liked contractors to handle repairs on the properties you acquire.

By surrounding yourself with talented and driven people, you will be able to focus in on only the most important aspects of your real estate investment business.

Balance Flipping and Rental Properties:

In real estate investment, there are two basic ways to make money.

The first is to realize a large sum by buying a property, improving it in some way and then reselling it for a higher price.

The second method is to create a flow of passive income by acquiring and then renting out properties.

Though both of these are great ways to make money in real estate, truly successful investors typically include both in their businesses. By flipping and renting at the same time, you will be able to create a more stable financial situation for yourself and your business.

Commercial Insurance Options That Apartment Owners Should Consider


Having the right knowledge and some basic management skills are essential, but even seasoned landlords might be missing out on some crucial coverage.

You can minimize some of the risk by requiring your tenants to carry renter’s insurance; however the bulk of the insurance side of things is squarely on your shoulders.

Winston Rowe & Associates, a national advisory firm that structures apartment and multi-family financing solutions nationwide.

Commercial Loan Due Diligence Review


Winston Rowe & Associates utilizes a best efforts approach to perform the necessary due diligence for their clients, pursuant to our executed Letter of Interest.


Winston Rowe & Associates initial due diligence is a client driven process. It’s important that requested supporting documents be submitted in a timely manner.

Prospective Client’s must request a transaction summary, from Winston Rowe & Associates that must be submitted via email in a MS Word format for Winston Rowe & Associates to consider you as a client.

Incomplete transaction summary documents will not be processed.

It’s important to note that if you are a broker, consultant or intermediary submitting a transaction, that it includes the prospective clients contact information.

Without it, Winston Rowe & Associates will not process your transaction.

Upon acceptance of the transaction summary, the ensuing steps are an overview of the process.  Please note; private equity transactions require different engagement and due diligence procedures.

Step 1 Transaction Summary:

Upon receipt of the transaction summary, it will be reviewed by Winston Rowe & Associates. If the proposed transaction appears to meet Winston Rowe & Associates pre-determined capital source(s) lending criteria it will be submitted for review.

Step 2 Processing & Due Diligence:

If there is an interest from the pre-determined capital source, Winston Rowe & Associates will schedule a conference call and then provide to the prospective client a list of supporting documentation needed to begin the initial processing and due diligence to prepare the proposed transaction for underwriting.

The initial due diligence will include the collecting and analyzing the supporting documentation pursuant to the transaction.

Winston Rowe & Associates utilizes a global approach during the initial due diligence. This approach includes the review of all business and personal financial documents.

If it is found that there is a material misrepresentation of the transaction by the client’s representative or the client. The transaction will be terminated.

Step 3 Submissions For Underwriting:

Once Winston Rowe & Associates completes the initial due diligence of the proposed transaction it will be submitted to the pre-determined capital source for underwriting.

During the underwriting phase of the the proposed transaction. Winston Rowe & Associates may require additional supporting documentation.

Upon completion of underwriting the pre-determined capital sources will issue general terms and conditions defined within a Letter of Interest or conditional Commitment Documents.

Step 4 Commitment Documents, Reports & Loan Closing:

The client will be placed in direct contact with the capital source to finalize the transaction.

Once the proposed transaction has completed underwriting; property reports are then ordered.

These reports are paid for directly prior to funding by the prospective client which include; appraisals, surveys and studies. Report types vary according to real estate type.

When the necessary property reports are completed. The title work is ordered and a closing is scheduled.

Seniors Housing Investors Work to Grow Portfolios as Occupancies and Rents Continue to Rise


The 2012 sales volume of seniors housing properties will fall well short of matching the near record level of activity that was reached last year. But, that decline in transaction volume is by no means indicative of waning investor interest.

Exclusive results of a fourth quarter survey conducted jointly by NREI and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.–based Senior Housing Investment Advisors Inc. (SHIA) show that seniors housing pros remain optimistic about improving fundamentals and continued activity across all segments of the industry, including acquisitions, construction and financing. Just more than three-fourths of investors (76 percent) expect construction on new projects to increase during the next six months, while 65 percent of respondents expect that investment activity will grow. In addition, more than half of respondents (58 percent) anticipate that financing will be more available during the next six months

“The fundamentals and performance in this sector are compelling. Capital continues to aggressively seek out opportunities, and that will continue in 2013,” says Mel Gamzon, president of SHIA, a national real estate advisory firm that specializes in seniors housing transactions.

In considering the outlook for seniors housing, respondents believe the industry is in a slow recovery phase. Most expect new construction, available financing and acquisitions volume to increase somewhat in the next six months. The outlook has been generally consistent from respondents compared with two previous surveys.

Real estate transaction activity in the past year has been consistent, but not as robust as 2011. During the first three quarters of 2012, sales volume of seniors housing and nursing care facilities topped $5.2 billion, which is a fraction of the roughly $27.4 billion that occurred in all of 2011, according to New York–based real estate research firm Real Capital Analytics.

Sales velocity dipped in 2012 primarily because there have been fewer large portfolio transactions this year after a big year for portfolio deals in 2011 when REITs in particular were active buyers. Portfolio sales alone accounted for about $11.5 billion in investment volume in 2011, according to RCA. “2011 was so massive because of the REIT acquisitions. It was very difficult to keep pace with that level of transaction volume,” says Gamzon. “What we now have is a more normalized market dynamic for real estate transactions in this industry.”

The seniors housing sector continues to shed the lingering effects of the slow economic recovery and the slumping single-family housing market. The majority of respondents (88 percent) said that the state of the U.S. economy has had a negative effect on seniors housing occupancies in the past year, while 66 percent also believe the state of the U.S. housing market has produced a negative effect on occupancies.

That being said, occupancy levels continue to trend higher as the sector recovers. Overall, the average occupancy rate for seniors housing properties in the third quarter of 2012 was 88.8 percent, which is an increase of 0.8 percent from a year earlier, according to NIC MAP, a data analysis service of the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry (NIC). The seniors housing average occupancy rate has risen consistently during the past 10 quarters and is 1.8 percent above its cyclical low of 87 percent in the first quarter of 2010. Year-over-year rental rates also grew at a rate of 2.2 percent, according to NIC.

Survey respondents are reporting even stronger performance with occupancy levels that average 91 percent. Among those respondents who own and/or operate seniors housing properties, the majority (54 percent) own fewer than 600 units.

Respondents also are optimistic that occupancies will continue to rise. About half of respondents (53 percent) expect occupancy levels within their seniors housing properties to increase over the next six months [Figure 2]. Those that do predict a further increase in the coming six months expect occupancies to rise an average of 74 basis points.

Just more than half of respondents expect that occupancy will increase at seniors housing properties in the next six months. That sentiment is slightly more optimistic than the first quarter, when only 43 percent of respondents expected a rise.

“The fundamentals, the demographics and the lack of new supply are all creating opportunities for us to invest in a sector that we view as having very favorable growth over the next several years,” says David Hegarty, president and COO at Newton, Mass.–based Senior Housing Properties Trust. The firm expects to close on about $230 million in seniors housing aquisitions.

REITs dominate buying

REITs such as Chicago-based Ventas Inc. have been exhibiting a voracious appetite for seniors housing properties. The REIT is currently the largest owner of seniors housing properties in the United States. Year-to-date through October, Ventas has invested roughly $1.7 billion in acquisitions primarily in seniors housing properties and medical office buildings. Although that is a fraction of the more than $11 billion the firm invested in 2011, it still represents a significant outlay for the firm.

“We have been very strategic and focused about diversifying our business,” says Lori Wittman, vice president of capital markets at Ventas. The REIT has been rapidly growing its portfolio of both seniors housing and medical office properties with an emphasis on increasing its private pay business and improving its balance sheet. For example, Ventas announced in April that it would acquire 16 private pay seniors living communities totaling 1,274 units from Sunrise Senior Living Inc.

When looking at the various sectors, respondents said that the greatest growth in demand will take place in the independent living/assisted living segment followed by memory care. In contrast, no respondents expect the skilled nursing sector to grow in the next six months.

“Of late, we have bought mostly independent living,” agrees Hegarty. “Independent living was the sector that was impacted the most by the downturn in the economy. So, as things started to improve, they are rebounding the most,” he adds.


Although both independent living properties and assisted living properties are averaging occupancies of 88.8 percent in the third quarter, the average occupancy rate for independent living is now 2.0 percentage points above its cyclical low, while occupancy in assisted living is 1.7 percentage points above its respective cyclical low, according to NIC.

Competition among the REITs to capture portfolios with top quality assets is putting some pressure on pricing. However, cap rates in the broader seniors housing industry have remained relatively stable over the past year.

Financing gap improves

Although access to capital is continuing to improve, the market remains bifurcated. REITS have good liquidity and access to capital in the public markets, as well as open lines of credit. At the same time, other buyers can get financing, but it is not as easily accessible as it is for the public players.

This is an issue because deals require a significant equity commitment, which can be a deterrent even to institutional buyers. Smaller private buyers typically have to rely on obtaining financing through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or HUD, which can take time and also has its restrictions. For example, Fannie and Freddie won’t allow a second loan to be put on the same property. That rules out a lot of potential bidders. “I think people are trying to figure out ways to play in this space, but just because of all of those factors involved, it limits the number of real bidders out there,” Hegarty says.

That being said, banks are selectively providing financing. Capital markets have been bolstered by solid fundamentals within the seniors housing market. As a result, investors have access to multiple sources of capital. When asked what types of debt financing respondents are considering for acquisitions and new construction, more than half of respondents, 55 percent, said they are considering local/regional banks for debt financing. Respondents also are exploring a variety of options with top picks including national banks (40 percent); HUD (39 percent); and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (31 percent).

Another bright spot in the financing sector is a booming refi business. The ability to refinance through the GSEs and HUD at extremely low interest rates is driving a significant level of lending activity. For example, Cleveland-based KeyBank has placed $1.4 billion in the seniors housing market year-to-date through September, either in direct lending or through participation in providing financing through syndicated deals and agency financing with the GSEs and HUD. About one-third of KeyBank’s total volume, $500 million, has involved property refinancing through the GSEs.

HUD, Fannie and Freddie are offering fixed-rate loans at 3.5 percent and lower for terms that range from five to up to 35 years in the case of HUD. “It is very attractive for owner-operators to lock in to those long-term rates. So you see a lot of folks capitalizing on this low rate environment,” says Michael Lugli, executive vice president and national manager of the KeyBank Real Estate Capital Healthcare team.



Spikes in renovation

Renovation and repositioning of older properties is expected to gain traction in the coming year. Competition among newer class-A properties is forcing some buyers to look at viable options among class-B and even class-C properties. Owners also are looking for ways to boost yields by renovating under-performing seniors facilities or enhancing program services.

As the costs to develop new seniors housing facilities increase, 64 percent expect that the acquisition, renovation and repositioning of older projects will become increasingly attractive to investors and operations. Twenty-one percent of respondents did not expect renovation to become any more attractive, while 15 percent of respondents said they were unsure

SHIA is currently marketing a portfolio in the western United States that offers significant upside for a buyer that is willing to convert the existing independent living facilities to assisted living and partial memory care. “Investors are chomping at the bit to acquire those types of assets that can be acquired based on current operating performance,” says Gamzon.

Development is beginning to return, albeit on a very selective basis. More than half of respondents (61 percent) have new construction ventures planned in the next six months, which is up from the 51 percent that were reportedly planning new seniors housing properties in the first quarter survey. The largest percentage of respondents (41 percent) is planning independent living/assisted living projects. A variety of other projects are in the works, including memory care (30 percent); age restricted communities (13 percent); skilled nursing (9 percent); and CCRC at 9 percent.

“There is demand for new properties, and you are starting to see an increase in construction as banks are more willing to look at doing that financing,” says Lugli. As the market has recovered and occupancies have improved, owners also are more confident and more willing to commit their own equity to projects, he adds.

For those seeking construction financing, experience remains a key component. An overwhelming majority of respondents (88 percent) rated having an experienced management team as a high priority (rated four or five on a five-point scale), while 86 percent also rates having an established track record as a developer as an important factor when seeking construction financing.

Respondents believe that acquiring, renovating and repositioning older properties will be increasingly attractive to investors and operators.

Whether it is renovation or new construction respondents do expect the industry to focus on providing more affordable options. “There is very little targeting what the lower middle class can afford,” says Hegarty. “I think there is an opportunity out there for people who can build properties that can attract that niche.” Half of respondents expect the industry to focus more attention on investor opportunities in the affordability marketplace, while 26 percent did not think that was the case and 24 percent were not sure.

What’s ahead for 2013?

Although investment sales in the broader market declined in 2012, there is still an abundant supply of for-sale properties on the market. “We have unbelievably strong fundamentals between demographics and policy shifts and a consolidating industry—all things that are really a strong base of growth for the future of the industry,” says Ventas’ Wittman.

Demand for seniors housing properties remains high, which will encourage some owners that have been on the fence to put their properties on the market. Both U.S. and foreign investors are continuing to focus on seniors housing properties as a viable need-based real estate investment platform. In addition, investors are seriously looking at not just core assets but value-add opportunities where repositioning of existing facilities programmatically will represent a major trend for the business over the coming six months.

Ultimately, seniors housing tends to be a more defensive, needs-based real estate sector that will continue to perform well amid slower economic growth. “The overall improvement of the economy will enhance this business,” says Gamzon. “If there is a dip in the economy, this sector is not recession proof, but it is recession resistant. We have seen this over the past five years as compared to other real estate sectors.”