I’m Joe Stampone. I work at Atlas Real Estate Partners (‘AREP’), a private real estate investment firm focused on value-add multifamily investments. ASotREG is a place where I share my thoughts on real estate as a career, technology, entrepreneurship, passive investing, and anything else that piques my interest.

Recent Posts

The State of Evictions and the Role of Housing in Poverty

If you work in multifamily real estate (especially workforce housing), you’ve probably spent a lot of your time recently monitoring collections, modifying payment procedures, and working with delinquent residents. You’ve been closely tracking the various eviction restrictions enacted by the CARES Act, state and local agencies, and the CDC, trying to make sense of what it all means and what adjustments you should be making at the property-level. You’ve likely lost sleep thinking about the impact the expiration of the additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits may have on collections...

What’s Going on with Multifamily – August 2020

As I write this, I’m sitting in my home office, working at full capacity. The S&P 500 is back near all-time highs and asset prices have remained high, driven by the reduction of interest rates to near zero and the liquidity that has flooded the markets. Things almost feel good. What’s happening in the economy, however, is a stark contrast. In Q2 we experienced the greatest setback in history (based on GDP decline), COVID-19 isn’t anywhere close to being under control, and a second spike is looming, complicating efforts to re-open the economy. In May, I wrote about the widely-held...

‘Co-Living meets #vanlife’

In my previous post, I discussed the concept of living-as-a-service, flexible housing models driven by technology which cater to young professionals who can work and live anywhere. The accelerated trend of remote work along with the growing passion economy is fueling these new housing models. While we’re seeing innovation within traditional housing models, we’re also seeing non-traditional housing models emerge such as Kibbo. Kibbo is a network of high-end RV parks which cater specifically to ‘remote-working, previously urban professionals (PUPs)’. For $1,000/mo. members get access to...

Living-as-a-Service

Multifamily real estate is shifting from an asset class to a business. What was once viewed as a ‘passive’ investment is becoming a sophisticated operation.   Accelerated by the Coronavirus pandemic, the preferences of today’s renters have changed. The one-sized-fits-all model of the past is dead. Knowledge workers expect flexibility. They’re not tethered to a single geographic location. They expect to access everything seamlessly through technology. And they expect great customer service. The game has changed, creating opportunities for nimble real estate firms and new entrants into...

Building more Middle-Income and Workforce Housing

At Atlas, we focus primarily on acquiring value-add workforce housing. A big part of our investment thesis is that you can’t build new middle-income housing, so supply is capped while the demand for high-quality middle-income housing keeps growing.  This is just a fact accepted by most real estate operators and as a result, capital has poured into workforce housing, cap rates have compressed, and returns are squeezed.  Few understand the dynamics at play which make it nearly impossible to build much-needed middle-income housing today. To better understand why we aren’t building...

This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for

I started my career in real estate in 2009. For the first 11 years, I enjoyed one of the longest expansions in history. I remember thinking in 2015 that assets were expensive and good opportunities were hard to come by. I’m not sure where that came from. Perhaps it was purely the fact that assets in 2015 were much more expensive than they were in 2011? Regardless, I never pretended to know where we were in the cycle. Here’s what I wrote in 2015: I have no idea “what inning” we’re in. Market pundits spend a lot of time talking about what inning we’re in and whether or not we’re in a...

What’s going on with Multifamily Collections?

If I were to tell you that ~40% of your residents were unemployed, what do you think that would do to rent collections? Would you believe me if I told you multifamily collections were more or less unaffected through May? Probably not. So what’s going on? One of the sad realities of the coronavirus is the disproportionate impact it has on those at the lowest income and education levels. Most wealthy individuals can work from home and escape areas most hard hit by the virus. The individuals putting themselves at risk by working are doing so because they must. A majority of those who have...

COVID-19 Impact on CRE: Accelerating Trends and Secular Shifts

There’s a lot of chatter and speculation in the commercial real estate community about what a post-Corona world will look like. Is business travel dead? Will consumers ever shop in malls again? Are we all going to be working remotely? Are people going to move out of cities and into the suburbs? Will we have to practice social distancing in restaurants and bars? What happens to gyms and fitness classes? Who knows. I think the world is going to look very different over the next few months, but we’ll eventually begin to act more and more like we did pre-Corona. It’s important to remember...

Reflections on Working from Home

Over the past few years, I’ve spent most of my time working remotely either on the road traveling to properties or out of my apartment. I’ve created an environment and workflow that’s conducive to remote work and I utilize technology to communicate seamlessly with the rest of my team. I’ve enjoyed the benefits of working from home; no commute, an asynchronous schedule, and the ability to hang with my daughter throughout the day. For me, remote work was a strategic choice and a luxury afforded to me. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all teams to adopt a remote working environment and...

Should I pay my rent?

Over the past 3 weeks, nearly 17 million people filed for unemployment. True unemployment at this moment is about 18%, compared with just 3.5% as of the first week of March. Many of these individuals rent apartments, have little in the way of savings, and find themselves in a difficult position. Thankfully, the government has taken swift action. The recently enacted CARES Act puts money in the hands of individuals so they can keep paying their bills, but the timing of the stimulus remains uncertain. The CARES Act also put a moratorium on evictions for any property financed with...

Thoughts on COVID-19 and the Impact on Workforce Housing: March 22nd, 2020

I started my career in the real estate business in 2009, the bottom of the Global Financial Crisis. It’s been a historic 10+-year run for the multifamily sector. The combination of economic growth, organic rent growth, compressing cap rates, and sustained low interest rates lead to great returns. That’s easy to say looking backward. There were many moments over the past 10 years where it felt like pricing was frothy and the music was ready to stop. My career has always been underscored by the risk of a recession driven by an unknown catalyst. I graduated from college in 2008 and saw...

3rd Party Property Management: Far from a Set it and Forget it Solution

Many multifamily operators (Atlas included) utilize 3rd party property management to oversee the day-to-day management of their properties. It’s great in many ways. You can maintain a lean team, utilize the resources of a large institutional management firm, and make a change if they’re not performing up to your standards. That said, implementing a 3rd party to oversee your deals is hardly a ‘set it and forget it’ solution. Multifamily properties require aggressive hands-on asset management and certain tasks must be handled at the ownership level. In my experience, here’s what 3rd party...

Lifestyle Brands Physical Real Estate Strategy Extends Beyond Retail

The way lifestyle brands approach their physical real estate strategy is changing. As sales have shifted online, brands have begun to utilize their physical presence to deepen their relationship with the consumer, share their story, showcase their products, and ultimately fuel (online) sales. This strategy is not just being deployed across conventional retail space, we’re beginning to see consumer brands in multifamily, hospitality (hotels/restaurants), and the condo business as well. Multifamily, until recently, was a relatively commoditized product that competed on price and location....

The Game has Changed: The Importance of Connecting with Residents

Direct to consumer brands (think Harry’s, Warby Parker, and Casper) have stolen market share from the incumbents. Their success isn’t because they have a slightly better product, it’s because they are obsessed with connecting with the customer. Real estate owners/operators can learn a lot from the success of digitally native DTC brands. In the apartment industry, there is little brand awareness and almost no brand loyalty, so residents are up for grabs. Owners who resonate with prospects, offer a great value, and cater to their lifestyle will ultimately win. I spend a disproportionate...

Two Multifamily Myths Debunked

The demand for multifamily remains strong, but the drivers of demand are often different than what most people think. Tell me if you’ve heard these two narratives: Millennials are moving more often so they prefer the flexibility of renting.Millennials have a shifting preference toward renting over buying. I’ve heard these from many smart real estate professionals who typically use anecdotal evidence to support their claim. While Millennials are staying in the renter pool longer, it’s generally not because of the reasons noted above. Let’s start with the first myth that increased mobility...

10 Multifamily Predictions for 2020

I hope everyone had a great holiday and enjoyed some quality time with friends and family. I was able to disconnect and spend a week in FL with my family. The time off is great, but I’m eager to get back to work and tackle the big initiatives and goals I have for the year ahead. In my first post of 2020, I want to make some predictions and point out the trends I see continuing within the multifamily space over the next 12 months.   Here are my 10 multifamily predictions for 2020. The End of the ‘All White’ Kitchen: How many value-add projects do you see with the same ‘all-white’ look?...

Why Syndicators Should Always Over Raise Equity

Moses Kagan is the founder of Adaptive Realty which focuses on heavy value-add multifamily projects throughout the LA area.  I really enjoy his views on the real estate business which he shares often over on his blog. In his most recent post, he discusses a concerning trend he’s seeing utilized by syndicators who raise capital via crowdfunding sites. In order to attract investors to their deal, syndicators must market deals with both current cash flow and high IRR’s. However, in today’s market, it’s nearly impossible to have both, so syndicators are over-raising capital to be used to make...

When Knowing Too Much Makes you a Bad Investor

Over the past 10 years, we’ve executed nearly $75M worth of renovation work across 20+ value-add multifamily projects.  Over that period, we’ve experienced many of the unexpected things that can go wrong when executing these deals; hidden physical issues, larger than expected tax reassessments, tenant lawsuits, crime, resident delinquency issues, and submarket challenges like unanticipated new supply or poor policy decisions, to name a few. It’s like Farmers Insurance, “we know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two”.  While being educated on all the potential risks of a deal...

Routine Replacement Expenses: “Multifamily’ s Dirty Little Secret”

I was talking with a multifamily fund operator who’s been in the business for 30+ years. His firm started out buying class C multi deals and scaled up over time to raise a fund with institutional capital to acquire higher-quality, light value-add multifamily assets. The primary driver of the movement upstream was the capital-intensive nature of older vintage apartment properties. The ongoing capital needs make it difficult to hold these assets long-term and require holding significant reserves. In real estate, ‘cap rate’ is used as a crude metric for valuation and is simply a measure of...

The Challenge of Holding Multifamily Assets Long-Term

In my previous post, I talked about the value of compounding which results over holding multifamily real estate assets long-term. While that’s great in theory, it’s difficult to hold older vintage multifamily assets long-term (longer than 10 years). At Atlas, our business plan typically entails renovating and repositioning assets to bring them in line with other recently upgraded communities in the area. We rebrand the property, correct operational deficiencies, clean up deferred maintenance, improve curb appeal, and upgrade amenities and unit interiors; all of which typically result in...

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Views expressed in “content” (including posts, podcasts, videos) linked on this website or posted in social media and other platforms (collectively, “content distribution outlets”) are my own and are not the views of Atlas Real Estate Partners, L.L.C. (“AREP”) or its respective affiliates. The content should not be construed as or relied upon in any manner as investment, legal, tax, or other advice. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment.