I’m Joe Stampone. I work at Atlas Real Estate Partners (‘AREP’), a private real estate investment firm focused on value-add and ground-up 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.

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Recent Posts

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...

New ASotREG eBook – 19 Real Estate Investors Share their Top Passive Real Estate Investing Tips

Cash-flowing private real estate deals can make great investments. However, with the space being highly unregulated and access to deals/sponsors fragmented, there’s a belief that investors must be real estate experts to make educated investment decisions. I think those expectations are crazy and the narrative prevents many individuals from investing in private real estate deals. Instead of expecting investors to be real estate experts, I believe investors should know just enough about real estate to ask the right questions, assess a Sponsor, and make informed investment decisions. Of...

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...

How to Win Marketed Multifamily Real Estate Deals

In real estate acquisitions, you seek the coveted off-market deals. These deals are more likely to be mis-priced, creating an attractive risk-return structure for operators with a track record for executing a specific investment strategy. However, fully-marketed deals can also be attractive opportunities. The challenge with marketed deals, however, is that you can spend a lot of time and money underwriting a deal, with no guarantee of being selected as the buyer. Contrary to common belief, the group that bids the most is not the group that necessarily wins fully...

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...

Value-Add Multifamily Deal Screening Checklist for Passive Real Estate Investors

Passive investing in private real estate deals remains one of the best investment opportunities for long-term focused investors. Until recently, these deals were accessed through closed networks and executed entirely on a trust basis. As these deals have become more accessible, operators are forced to become more transparent and investors must learn to scrutinize sponsors, deal structure, and the opportunities themselves. While one approach to selecting deals is to simply pick the best sponsor, I think it’s extremely important for investors to know enough to ask the right questions to...

The Many Futures of Urban Living

It’s no secret that most young professionals today prefer a 24/7 live/work/play environment. More than ever, talent is clustering in dense, urban areas. However, as jobs and people have moved back into cities in droves, urban housing has become too expensive for the average worker. As rental rates and housing prices in urban areas has skyrocketed, innovative real estate developers have stepped in to create more affordable living environments. We have micro-units, co-living, macro-living, temp living, and several technology platforms that support the new urban lifestyle. Let's dig in to...

How being an Expert Generalist will Help you Succeed in Real Estate

I spend a lot of time talking with college students interested in entering the real estate business. When they ask for advice, I try to steer them in the right direction by advising they work for a firm with access to a large volume of deal flow, focus on who you’ll be working with (not just the firm reputation), and become an expert modeler (every firm needs one, but few are willing to put in the work). However, the piece of advice I find most important is aspiring to be an ‘expert generalist’. This phrase, made popular by Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairmen Charlie Munger, refers to...

The Challenge (and Benefit) of Quarterly Reporting in Real Estate

In the wake of new regulation and rise of real estate crowdfunding platforms, there’s been significant growth in private real estate syndications where operators pool capital from a group of high-net-worth investors to acquire a property and execute a specific investment strategy. In the past, real estate syndications were done on a trust-basis; operators would go out to a handful of their buddies to raise the capital. Under this structure, reporting was less important. If things didn’t go as planned, operators had to deal with their uncle, best friend, and golf...

5 Things I learned in 2017 and 5 Goals for 2018

Happy belated, New Year! I hope you enjoyed the time off with friends and family, and took a much-deserved break from the daily grind of work. I used the down time to reflect on the accomplishments from the past year and think about the year ahead. 2017 was another great year for the blog. Although the posts were less frequent, engagement and all key metrics improved. I’m incredibly humbled and appreciative of everyone who has given me their attention. It inspires me to do everything in my power to give you a great experience. The following posts were the 3 most...

The Real Estate Software Powering Our Growth: Featuring Dealpath

Over the past 7 years, Atlas has acquired 45 properties with a total deal value of ~$800M. Over that time, we’ve grown from 3 guys in a 100 SF shared office, to an integrated team with 5 operating platforms. It’s been a wild ride full of exciting expansion, but along with rapid growth comes growing pains. To continue to scale our acquisition process, we needed to put processes in place to efficiently manage investor reporting, asset management, acquisitions, and company operations. Luckily, real estate-specific software companies have sprung up to bring efficiency...

Reflections from Japan

As I write this, I’m on my flight back from an incredible two-week trip around Japan. We spent our first day in Osaka before embarking on a three-day hike of the Kumano Kodo trail. From there, we spent a few nights exploring Kyoto and Hiroshima with day-trips to Wiyajima, Naoshima, and Takamatsu. We wrapped it up with three nights in Tokyo before flying back to NYC. It was a trip of a lifetime, filled with many eye-opening cultural experiences. Here are just a few of my many reflections from the visit.  ‘Omotenashi’ Omotenashi is the spirt of Japanese...

Why we Prefer Value-Add Deals and Long-Term Holds

Real estate firms and investors each form their own investment strategy based on their risk-tolerance, desired hold period, expertise, and target returns. Some prefer core or core-plus investments which are typically high-quality assets in primary markets with little unrealized upside, while others prefer opportunistic investments such as ground-up development. Here at Atlas, we target primarily value-add transactions where we can execute a specific strategy with the aim of refinancing upon stabilization and holding long-term.  Value-add transactions possess upside...

Real Estate Tech Funding: What and Who to Know

“The real estate industry is slow to adopt new technology”. How many times have you heard that statement? While there may be some truth to it from a relative perspective, there are so many exciting things happening in the world of real estate technology today. I recently had a call with David Danesh, a real estate tech enthusiast and aspiring angel investor. I was blown away by his knowledge of the real estate tech landscape and specifically the venture capital firms fueling the explosive growth of real estate tech companies. Real estate tech adoption is driven...

What’s Your Moat? 4 Forms of Sustainable Competitive Advantages at Atlas

The key to success in real estate investing (and business) isn’t simply finding a competitive advantage, it’s having a sustainable advantage that others are unable to replicate. Warren Buffet popularized the term economic moat, which refers to a “business’s ability to maintain competitive advantages over its competitors in order to protect its long-term profits and market share from competing firms.” As real estate becomes more institutionalized, the typical competitive advantages are arbitraged away; Informational advantages, even in secondary and tertiary markets, are not sustainable....