Apartments, Hotels, What’s the Difference!?

The way people are living, and traveling has fundamentally changed and the lines between apartments and hotels have blurred. Guests and renters are no longer constrained by a market flooded with watered-down options and brands dictating the experience.  Today, renters and travelers have nearly endless options, catering to any experience they seek.    I recently traveled to Nashville and I decided to test out Niido, an apartment community ‘powered by Airbnb’. It’s a traditional midrise apartment community that allows (encourages, actually) its residents to rent out their apartments...

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Bringing a Hospitality Mindset to Multifamily Development

We’re in the midst of a multifamily development boom. If you’ve been to any major city over the past few years, you see ‘stumpy’ midrise developments everywhere. The forgettable stick-frame buildings all look similar. They are relatively cheap to construct, go up quickly, and cater to a wave of demand from Millennials and Gen Z’ers delaying marriage, having kids, and buying or renting a home in the suburb. With the cost of construction and land at elevated levels, development yields are compressed, developers have little flexibility to physically differentiate their property from the...

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The Multifamily ‘Amenities Arms Race’ Shows no Signs of Slowing

Multifamily development has picked up considerably over the past few years, as the demand for high-quality apartment communities near major employment centers and entertainment has increased. Driven by demographics, couples getting married and having kids later, lifestyle choices, and pent-up demand, millennials, Gen Z, and some Baby Boomers are flocking to newly-developed class A communities. These individuals seek a lifestyle and expect way more than a nice place to live; they desire conveniences, technology, a robust resident event program and sense of community, and amenities. Lots of...

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Do We Need to Change the Way we Think About Homeownership?

My answer to the question posed in the title is ‘I have no idea’. However, I’m a firm believer that homeownership is not the best path for everyone and that the role of homeownership in the U.S. has been skewed in a way that is dangerous. The term ‘American Dream’ comes from James Truslow Adams ‘Epic of America’ who wrote in 1931, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with the opportunity for each according to ability or achievement regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.” The original term didn’t have anything to do with real estate but has evolved over...

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Heaps of Fun Exploring the Land Down Under

G’day. How ya goin’? I spent the past two weeks exploring Australia. It’s an incredible place filled with modern cities, unique animals, beautiful landscape, great coffee, and welcoming people. As I like to do, I wanted to share some of my observations (I did something similar with recent trips to Japan and Costa Rica).   For the past 14 days, I was largely disconnected from work, sports, and U.S. news. The time change (Australia is 15-16 hours ahead of the east coast) almost forced me to disconnect from the day-to-day news. I found it quite liberating and was a good reminder of how toxic...

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Who Says Workforce Housing Can’t be Sexy

Historically, class B/C garden-style apartment communities have been typified by dated 70’s/80’s architecture, uninspiring interior design, lackluster landscaping, and boring commodity amenities. Recently, the divide between class A and class B/C apartment communities has been exacerbated by the amenity arms race, with each new development looking to outdo its competitors. It’s common for new communities to include golf simulators, meditation rooms, indoor self-cleaning dog parks, rooftop pool/lounges, and generally over-the-top design and features, while class B communities still have...

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Aspects of the Real Estate Acquisition Process I find Frustrating

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been deep in a new value-add multifamily transaction. Acquiring real estate is cumbersome, complex, and opaque, yet we continue to complacently accept this reality. Part of the issue is that acquiring real estate is very fragmented, with different players collecting disparate data, requiring 3rd parties, and all profiting from different elements of the process.  This complexity is exactly where opportunity lies. Based on my recent experience, here are a few of the aspects of the acquisition process I find most frustrating. Deal Sourcing The deal sourcing...

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How to Make Apartment Features and Amenities Sounds Sexy

We recently embarked on a project aimed at improving the online marketing process for all our multifamily properties. The intent was to greatly improve our web presence, access deeper analytics, build a multifamily brand, and control the process from the ownership-level. Since we utilize 3rd party property management, each asset utilized a different website template, property management software, paid search marketing strategy, lead tracking process etc. From the ownership side, we had little transparency into the effectiveness of each marketing channel and were unable to make data-driven...

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Alturas Capital: Born to be a Real Estate Entrepreneur

‘Real estate is an entrepreneurial business’ is a phrase I throw around a lot on this site. It’s true, but what does it even mean? It’s a combination of two things; first, many real estate professionals get into the business to ultimately become entrepreneurs. Secondly, success in real estate, whether on your own or within a larger organization, requires entrepreneurial thinking. Blake Hansen, Managing Partner at Alturas Capital, is the quintessential ‘entrepreneur’ who stumbled upon investing at a young age. He started out at age 11 investing in stocks, growing...

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It’s Better in the Crest

Growing up, I spent every summer on the Jersey Shore. My parents have a house on Sunset Lake in Wildwood Crest, the last exit off the Parkway before hitting Cape May. I’d spend my weekends between baseball and soccer games, ‘down the shore’, fishing, boating, doing water sports, biking the boardwalk, hanging on the beach, and going out for ice cream. Each evening we’d gather for a family dinner and witness the most beautiful sunset, watching as the colors of the sky changed from a bright yellow/orange to deep reds and purples. As a kid there was nowhere else on...

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A Day in the Life at a Boutique Real Estate Development Firm

Over 2 years ago I published a post outlining a typical day for me at Atlas. Re-reading the post, it's amazing how little has changed. Yeah we're doing larger deals and my daily responsibilities have broadened, but every day is still filled with calls, meetings, and a million little projects. I enjoy the fact that each day is different and I have the flexibility to run with my own projects. It provides the opportunity to make a significant impact on the success of the firm and be involved in all aspects of a transaction. I love it! The small firm environment is...

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ASotREG Interview: Dr. Peter Linneman on Real Estate Careers

Last week I had the honor of interviewing Dr. Peter Linneman for the blog. For the few who may not be familiar with Dr. Linneman, he is one of the top minds in the real estate business. He has a unique perspective grounded in both the academic and professional world. He’s the Chairmen of the Wharton Real Estate Program, on the board of a number of public real estate companies, and founder of Linneman Associates, a premier real estate consulting and research firm. I reference Peter’s work a lot on the blog; his textbook Real Estate Finance & Investments is one...

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MM Partners – Revitalizing Historic Brewerytown

One the great things about the authoring this blog is that it gives me an excuse to reach out to and connect with smart guys who are doing interesting things. One such group is MM Partners. Based in my hometown of Philly, MMP is revitalizing underused spaces in the historic Brewerytown neighborhood. MMP isn't just doing cool deals, they're creating a vibrant neighborhood by emphasizing good design, sustainability, and giving back to the community. I asked principal, David Waxman, to share MMP's story, unique social media strategy, and what he's most excited about today. Enter David: Tells...

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The Transfer Station – Co-Working, Co-Retail, Collaboration, and Education All-in-One

When people talk about real estate investment they often discuss things like the basis, deal capitalization, and asset management. However, a major aspect of value creation is about conceptualizing a space that fits the evolving needs of the target end user and culture of an area. In office properties, that means creating a space that will allow a company to run and grow its business, in residential properties it means creating a space that tenants want to live in that enhances their lifestyle. Over the past few years I’ve seen the emergence of a new asset type designed for communities of...

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The Streets of Philadelphia

I spent this spring-like afternoon wandering the streets of Philadelphia. Although I grew up in the Philly suburbs, I don’t know the city particularly well. Living in New York City for the past 3 years and studying real estate has given me an appreciation for urban design so aimlessly meandering through city streets has become a new favorite activity. You never know what you’re going to stumble upon; a cool urban park, new ground-up development, historical rehab, or a unique streetscape. This afternoon, just southeast of City Hall, I noticed an interesting automated parking garage concept...

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Wildwood Crest, NJ – An Example for Potential Real Estate Opportunities in Beach Towns

Growing up in the Philadelphia area, summers were spent down the Jersey Shore or just "the shore". For me, that meant weekends with friends and family in Wildwood Crest. Having spent the last few days down the shore, I decided to write a locally-focused post. I'm not too in-tune with the local market, however I've spent the last few days biking through town and I've made a number of observations. From a real estate standpoint the Crest is characterized by classic Victorian-style architecture and Doo-Wop motels. However, over the last 10 years, the Crest experienced an unprecedented amount...

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Jim Chaffin – Advice For Students and Would-Be Developers

Jim Chaffin is cofounder and president of Chaffin/Light Associates, a firm that specializes in resort and recreational communities (http://chaffinlight.com/). He provided the following advice for would-be developers and students, the excerpt is taken from Real Estate Development: Principals and Processes. Advice For Would-Be Developers - "I think a liberal arts education with a graduate degree in business or law or real estate is most beneficial to a developer for several reasons. Developers have to be able to communicate well. They have to be interested in the entire planet and must be...

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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.