In today’s episode, which was originally released in November 2021, we feature Dan Bartholomew, a financial advisor and friend of Jim Pfeifer, who was new to passive investing in syndications. After listening to the podcast for a couple of months, he had accumulated a list of questions for Jim, which led to this informative episode where each question was discussed in detail. This is the perfect episode for those just starting out in passive investing and struggling to comprehend some of the common terms used in the LFI community. This episode is often used as a resource for new investors. This episode is being republished because all the topics discussed are still relevant today. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this throwback episode from 2021!
Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation:
- The difference between bonus depreciation and cost segregation
- Cash-on-cash return vs. IRR return
- How to screen out the metrics you don’t like
- Understanding the different types of deals
- Class A vs. Class B
- Why a triple-net lease makes sense
- Selling a property or holding it
[06:48] Bonus Depreciation vs. Cost Segregation
Cost segregation and bonus depreciation are both tax strategies that allow for accelerated depreciation of assets. Cost segregation involves conducting a study on a property to identify personal property separate from real property. This allows for the separate components to be depreciated over five, seven, or ten years, rather than the typical 27.5-year straight-line depreciation for residential properties and 39 years for commercial properties. On the other hand, bonus depreciation is a provision in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that allows for a 100% depreciation deduction in year one for assets that could only be depreciated at 50% or lower percentages. While this provides a large tax deduction in year one, it also leads to depreciation recapture when the asset is sold. This means that the deferred depreciation is added back to the gain from the sale and taxed at a higher rate of 25%. However, reinvesting the proceeds in a new syndication can offset the recapture and the tax deferral can continue, similar to a 1031 exchange.
[12:28] Cash-on-Cash Return vs. IRR Return
The cash-on-cash return for ATMs is 25%, which is higher than the typical 6-12% for most syndications. However, it’s important to note that ATMs are different from other assets because they don’t have any returns at the end as the asset depreciates and isn’t sold like an apartment complex. Cash on cash return is calculated by dividing the annual cash flow by the capital invested, while the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) takes into account the time value of money and looks at the total return on investment over time. In typical real estate deals, the IRR is higher because the annual returns are compounded over the life of the investment and there are sales proceeds that contribute to the return of capital. However, with ATMs, there is very little return on capital and virtually no sales proceeds, which is why the cash-on-cash return may be higher than the IRR. Overall, ATMs are an outlier in terms of their unique characteristics compared to other assets.
[34:48] Navigating Investment Priorities and Tax Advantages in Real Estate Syndications
Syndicators often prioritize either cashflow or appreciation in their deals, although it’s common to have elements of both. It’s worth noting that some syndicators utilize tax advantages such as cost segregation and bonus depreciation while others do not, so it’s important to ask about this when evaluating an investment opportunity. While taxes shouldn’t be the sole reason for investing, it’s vital to speak with the sponsor to determine whether the investment is geared towards cashflow or appreciation. Typically, if the pro forma shows a smaller early-year cash-on-cash return with a larger gain projected in the future, it’s an indication that the investment is focused on appreciation.