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

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...

Hold Real Estate Forever, Reinvest, Compound, Don’t Pay Taxes, And Get Rich Slow

Real estate is a long-term, get rich slow business. That’s something you hear a lot, but the math and reasoning behind it is rarely illustrated. At Atlas REP, our investment strategy centers around buying cash-flowing value-added multifamily properties and holding long-term (10+ years). I believe multifamily real estate investing is most attractive over a long time horizon given the strong and consistent cash flow combined with significant tax benefits. To illustrate these benefits, I wanted to show the equity growth and cash flow of a $100k real estate investment over 30 years. This was...

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...

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...

The Key to Multifamily Asset Management: Controlling Costs and Creatively Adding Value

Every so often I scan through the real estate forum on Wall Street Oasis and I recently came across an interesting thread titled ‘Contrarian Thesis: Acquisitions is the Least Interesting Job in Real Estate’.  The post argued that acquisitions is a repetitive job wrought with frustration and best-suited for young analysts who are hungry and proficient with the latest technology. Asset and portfolio management, on the other hand, tend to be the most valuable and interesting roles. The asset managers recognize the value-add upside, know what it cost to renovate, have intimate knowledge of...

The Bearish Case for Multifamily

Multifamily has been the darling of the recovery and remains one of the most sought-after asset classes. And why wouldn’t it be? We’re constantly bombarded with the case for multifamily; there’s a secular shift toward renting, millennials are getting married and having kids later, baby boomers are downsizing and seeking an urban lifestyle, multifamily construction was well below historic norms coming out of the recession, many 18-34-year-old’s live at home and will eventually enter the renter pool etc. etc. It’s a compelling case. Some of these are real, while others are overblown. In...

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...

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...

The Key to an Effective Value-Add Strategy: Hands-On Oversight

In my role at Atlas, I oversee our value-add multifamily strategy. We buy 1970’s – 1990’s class B value-add properties and seek assets that are priced below replacement cost and comparable sales, where we can add value at then property level, and that are in markets we like long-term. Adding value is hard. It requires a hands-on approach, local market knowledge, creative-thinking, and great management skills. At Atlas, we’re a lean team and hire 3rd parties to assist with property management, construction management, design and architecture, and marketing. As such, my role is largely...

What’s Driving the Demand for Apartments and why I’m Bullish Class B Multi

Multifamily, class B in particular, has been one of the best performing asset classes over the past decade. Demand has outpaced supply, leading to sustained rent growth and significant investor interest. As of March 2019, the average apartment vacancy rate was near all-time lows at roughly 6.5%. While the demand drivers for apartments is somewhat obvious, I want to dig into the statistics/fundamentals in more depth. It’s important to first understand the size of the market. There are 120M households in the U.S. totaling 317M total people. Of the total households, roughly 43M are...

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...

The Only Information Needed to Make Multifamily Investment Decisions

The real estate community has become obsessed with data. In the multifamily space alone, there are countless sources for all sorts of ‘relevant’ data; Costar, Axiometrics, REIS, Reonomy, RCA, MPF Research, Yardi Matrix, etc.  The access to data has brought transparency to the space, but has led to better decision-making or just more noise? There’s been several studies which have concluded that more information doesn’t necessarily lead to better investment decisions and oftentimes, having more information can be harmful because it leads to over-confidence and fuels confirmation bias....

5 Things I learned in 2018 and 5 Goals for 2019

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you're able to unplug and enjoy quality time with family and friends. I find that time off, completely disconnected from the day-to-day grind of daily work is key to regaining focus and igniting the spark of creativity. 2018 was another productive year on ASotREG. I rolled out a site redesign (ASotREG 3.0), launched a new eBook on passive real estate investing, and published 14 new posts. I’m incredibly humbled and appreciative of everyone who has given me their attention. Your time is the most valuable asset you have, so it inspires me to do everything I...

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...

I Write to Discover What I Think: The Power of the Quarterly Investor Letter

“I write to discover what I think. After all, the bars aren't open that early.” This is a well-known quote from American historian Daniel Boorstin and it’s exactly why I write this blog. I write about topics I find interesting, and the writing process enables me to tighten up my thinking. Some of my favorite posts such as the future of urban living, the impact autonomous cars will have on the built environment, and how to be an entreployee within your firm were ideas that I was interested in and wanted to vet further. I have a deep passion for unique housing models, I’m fascinated by the...

What Happens to Class B/C Apartment Investments During a Downturn?

I'm a firm believer that real estate is best held long-term with great local teams on the ground. At Atlas, our model (deal-by-deal syndication) enables us to acquire assets that we can hold for 20+ years and control the repositioning with great local teams. From an asset class perspective, we focus primarily on acquiring value-add class B/C garden-style apartments. Although valuations may swing wildly across cycles, cash-flow remains relatively stable.  By having full controls, we can exit/refi at optimal times, while maintaining conservative leverage and cash reserves to weather any...

The One Book Every Student of the Real Estate Game Must Own

A key tenet of ‘A Student of the Real Estate Game’ is to never stop learning. In my day-to-day as a real estate professional, I spend a majority of my time in the weeds, acquiring and asset managing value-add multifamily real estate in a few specific markets. One day may be spent negotiating a Purchase and Sale Agreement for a new acquisition, the next may be spent working with our onsite GC to trouble-shoot renovation issues, and others may be spent on calls and meetings with brokers and property management staff.  While I enjoy every aspect of the job, this leaves little time for...

Integrating Data Across the Real Estate Life-Cycle

As the real estate industry becomes more institutionalized, there is greater demand for quality data. Data is the key to making informed decisions. Having a solid grasp of the current cap rates, financing markets, vacancy rates, rent growth projections, construction costs, population, employment, and income growth, are all critical to accurate deal underwriting and execution. However, most real estate professionals (myself included) only have access to select data-sources, providing limited data which may or may not be out-of-date. The data we maintain internally...

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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.