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

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....

My Experience with Seth Godin’s altMBA: Trust the Process

This past May I participated in altMBA, an intensive, 4-week online workshop designed by Seth Godin for individuals from around the world who want to "level up and lead". The 4-week sprint, conducted entirely online through Slack, Wordpress, and Zoom, included 12 project prompts (3 each week) covering topics such as goal setting, business models, decision-making, empathy, change agents, leverage and constraints, opportunity costs, and boundaries. Each prompt built off the lessons learned in the previous one. It was the most challenging 30 days of my life. There was an overwhelming amount...

Landing Your First Analyst Job in Commercial Real Estate

Having conversations with industry experts and talking as little about yourself as possible is the best way to learn. It's why I love the blog format so much - I get to engage with interesting people and invite them to share their experiences with all of you. I love being the less knowledgeable person in the conversation and asking the simple questions. In this post, Spencer Burton, a co-author of Adventures in CRE (A.CRE), shares his experiences and thoughts on landing your first analyst job in commercial real estate. Although this is a topic I've written about...

Why You Need an Informational and Analytical Edge in Real Estate

One of my favorite podcasts is ‘Invest Like the Best’ hosted by Patrick O’Shaughnessy. He has a mix if incredible guests from all ends of the finance world (venture capital, authors, researchers, portfolio managers), and recently did an episode on quantitative investors. Institutional investing is becoming increasing quant-driven and firms are utilizing all sorts of tools and data-sets to produce alpha. To a layman, the sophistication of these shops is almost unimaginable (you quickly realize it’s impossible for a retail investor to compete!). Investors are...

How to Source Off-Market Real Estate Deals

Real estate is both a local and relationship-driven business. When looking for operating partners, Atlas seeks teams who exhibit niche business strategies in well-defined geographies, local connectivity, micro-market knowledge, and a proven track record of successful execution. The local focus and niche strategy enable operators to source coveted ‘off-market deals’. In this post, I want to explore some of the strategies around off-market deal sourcing. Before I get into the actual techniques, let me reiterate that these are only effective if you have a niche...

Juniper Square: the Real Estate Investment Management System Designed to Scale

Over the past 7 years, the Atlas portfolio and investor network has grown exponentially. What started as an intimate group of friends and family, has ballooned to a robust network of 400+ individual high-net-worth investors. Over time, the administrative burden of managing 1,200+ investor positions across 30+ deals making quarterly distributions became overwhelming. Here’s what our quarterly reporting process looked like: Draft a 3-5 page quarterly summary for each deal in MS Word, plug in an income statement in Excel, convert the document to PDF, and email to each...

My Thoughts on the Massive Impact Autonomous Cars Will Have on Real Estate

I still think autonomous cars will create more billionaires in real estate and retail than in tech or manufacturing. Just as cars did. — Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) August 29, 2016 Autonomous cars will be pervasive in the next 5-10 years. They will be safer and more efficient than human drivers and they’ll all be electronic. There’s no doubt autonomous cars are coming soon and the impact on the real estate industry will be massive. However, very few in the real estate industry is talking about it and even less are preparing for the impact it could have on their...

How Origin Investments Raised $10 Million of Equity in 1 Week: Part 2

In September, Ben Harris, head of investor relations for Origin Investments, shared the approach that enabled Origin to raise over $4M of capital online in a single week. Ben walked through the keys to building trust with investor’s online and aligning interest with investment partners.  However, what resonated with me most, was Origin's focus on the ‘long game’. When investing in private real estate deals, investors are often making a 10-year commitment, and sometimes longer. With that time-horizon in mind, the integrity of the people you’re investing with far...

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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.