Investors see hundreds of pitch books every year.
If you’re raising money for a private offering, your pitch book might be the only thing that investors ever see about you, your real estate syndication company, and your investment opportunity.
You’re a snowflake in an avalanche.
So how can you stand out from the crowd? And what are the primary components of a good Investment Pitch Deck?
I’m so glad you asked.
A real estate syndication pitch book is the primary marketing asset that syndicators use to get passive investors interested in their deals.
Our work at Investor Deal Room has given us some key insights into the genetic makeup of pitch decks that successful syndicators are using to effectively raise capital on their deals. We want to share some of that knowledge in this article.
Best practices for creating an investment pitch book
Before we jump into the key components of Investment Pitch Books, it’s important to understand a few fundamental ideas and best practices for crafting one.
1.) Have a Customer Avatar.
Just like any other businesses, you have to know the type of investor that wants to work with your real estate syndication company. The Investor is your customer. Your product is your investment opportunity.
Some investors won’t want anything to do with you, and that’s a good thing. Understand the desires and motivations of your ideal private investor, and block out all the rest.
The late Supreme Court Judge, Antonin Scalia, once said, “A man who has made no enemies is probably not a very good man.” By the same token, the process of creating a good customer avatar is by its very nature, limiting.
Of course, there’s no animosity in this. It’s simply focusing your efforts in a way that will fetch you the greatest return on your time.
2.) Know Yourself. Craft a One Sentence Summary of Your Company.
Who are you? What types of properties are you attracted to and what kind of strategies do you deploy regularly. Why should your ideal investor invest with you and not the next real estate syndicator?
No run on sentences. You do not need more than one sentence no matter how much you think that you do. Keep it short.
Give this process time. Write, rewrite, and repeat. It might take 50 edits, but once you have it, you’ll know.
There are entire workshops on this alone. PitchDecks.com provides one-liner development as part of their packages.
3.) Keep Your Investment Summary Concise.
Brevity is key here. Say what you need to say. Highlight your investment opportunity, but don’t dive too deep into the minutiae.
Some investors won’t even look at an investment summary that is more than 35 pages long. It’s possible to get capital using a 15 page Investment Pitch Book.
It’s important here to understand that the purpose of our investment pitch book is to cultivate interest, not to outline every aspect of your opportunity.
4.) Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.
No. I’m not talking about lip augmentation surgery. I’m talking about using 1% of what you’ll be trying to raise to create marketing materials that you’ll use to attract investments. If you’re raising $10M, set $10K aside for good design work from someone who knows your industry.
5.) Quality over Quantity: The Mortar That Holds It All Together.
How do you stand out from the large quantity of Investment Pitch Books that other sponsors are pitching? By emphasizing quality. Quality is how you can become a snowflake that stands out in an avalanche.
This is especially true for those just starting out, but it is also true any real estate syndicator.
It also helps if you have some really fantastic numbers on your side.
There are a lot of different items that could be included in an Investment Pitch Book, especially when it comes to financials. There are many different ways to present numbers. Some more detailed than others.
Each of these different types of analyses represents something that could be included in your Investment Pitch Book. Aside from financials, there are also many different flourishes and extras that you can include.
The individual components you will choose to compose your investment pitch book will even vary from project to project.
The point is, you will always have to make some decisions about what’s most important to you and your investors. If we covered every possible variation, we’d be here a while.
Below, I’m going to talk about the features that are shared by nearly all Investment Pitch Books. I’m including them in the order that I most commonly see them, but there is also some flexibility here.
Title Page, Disclaimer, and Table of Contents.
Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first. You’ll need a great featured image of your property to include on the title page. Here are some additional things to include:
- Asset Name, City, and State.
- Company Name, Contact Email, and Website.
- The one sentence summary about your company that you lost sleep over.
The disclaimer is usually pretty boiler plate. Please keep in mind that I am not an SEC attorney, and the following example is provide for purely educational purposes and should not take the place of a disclaimer provided by your attorney.
“The following information is an investment summary provided to prospective investors and others. This information is not an offering to sell either a security or a solicitation to sell a security. At the request of a recipient, the Company will provide a private placement memorandum, subscription agreement and the limited liability company operating agreement. The Managing Member in no way guarantees the projections contained herein. Real estate values, income, expenses and development costs are all affected by a multitude of forces outside the managing member’s control. This investment is illiquid and only those persons that are able and willing to risk their entire investment should participate. Please consult your attorney, CPA and/or professional financial advisor regarding the suitability of an investment by you.”
A table of contents is optional, but is standard for most Investment Pitch Books over 20 or so pages.
The Executive Summary
Time for the first course. The Executive Summary is your chance to make a good first impression. Its purpose is to highlight and curate the most lucrative aspects of the deal.
An Executive Summary includes a brief synopsis of the offering alongside some key metrics and projected returns.
Many sponsors also like to include 2-3 bullet points as “Investment Highlights,” to further focus the investors attention on desirables.
Design-wise, it’s the first chance your Investment Pitch Book has to present a consistent theme to your prospective investor. Because of this, it’s hugely important that the information is hyper relevant and organized well.
The Property Overview (for goodness sake, include images)
The property overview is your opportunity to introduce the investor to the asset they’ll ultimately be investing in. Similar to the Investment summary, the property overview should include a short paragraph that summarizes and showcases information about the property such as proximity to locations of interest.
Metrics such as unit count, occupancy rate, and others can be organized into a spiffy graph to keep everything nice and neat. Icons can be used to describe amenities such as a weight room, pool, designated dog area, etc.
Market and Sub-Market Analysis
This is your opportunity to highlight how the location improves the investment opportunities.
Market analysis will vary in length depending on which aspects you choose to highlight.
It’s common to include economic statistics as well aerial photos that show locations of interest.
Below are some potential things to highlight in your Market and Submarket analyses. However, your location will almost entirely determine your highlights. Consider things like:
- Projected Wage Growth
- YOY Rent Growth
- Job Growth/1M People
- Relevant Job Markets and Growth
- Rent Percentage of Income
- AVG. HH Income.
- Unemployment Rate
- Distance from Hospitals, Attractions, etc…
- AVG Home Value
- Top Job Providers and Number
- Renter Population/(mile or million)
- Number of Jobs Created/Year
- % White Collar Employees (within given radius)
- Other Economic Metrics and/or Accolades
This part should be relatively self explanatory. If you’re raising capital, you already know what a business plan is and how to write one.
Specifically, what are your strategies for increasing cashflow and equity for your investors?
The Business Plan portion of the investment pitch book, most commonly consists of two things. An outline of the acquisition, renovation, and buyout, and a renovation budget. Again, this will vary depending on what your strategy is.
I see a lot of value-add propositions in my line of work, so this is what I feel most comfortable writing about.
The Business Plan outline is commonly represented as steps or phases, but can be put into timeline format if it better fits your theme and preferences.
Income and Expenses
A quick note about seller disclosed financials: Include them here if you have them.
There are all types of financial analysis and reports that can be included here. The more experience and knowledge you gain, the more you might want to include.
For instance, a Sensitivity Analysis is a way of exploring how the different aspects of your deal impact each other.
Regression analysis compares your property to other similar properties in the area.
Sometimes, Investment Summaries dedicate an entire section to Regression Analysis in the form of Rent and Sales Comparables.
The most consistent thing that all Investment Pitch Books share, is projected Income and Expenses. If you include nothing else, at least include this.
This is a brief list of your financing details about any loan you’ll be taking out to help secure the property.
- Lender Name
- Interest Rate and Type
- Interest Only Period
- Repayment Terms
- Loan Amount
- Any Special Loan Terms
- Necessary Financial Disclaimers (such as, “These terms are subject to change.”
If you don’t have a portfolio, don’t fret. Skip straight to the next section.
If you do have prior properties or experience, include them here.
This doesn’t have to be a deep dive into previous properties.
Provide your total AUM, and a list of each relevant property including:
- Featured Image
- And a brief blurb (50 – 100 words).
The purpose of the Team section is to highlight the Founding, Managing, and Strategic Partner responsible for facilitating the offering. Some Teams also include relevant Attorneys and CPA’s. Include a photo for each, as well as a short blurb (50 – 150 words). This short bio should include personal experience, education, and professional accolades. You might also include your Property Management Company, if you already know who will be managing the company.
How To Put It All Together
That was a lot of information and expository writing. Kudos to you for making it this far. Pat yourself on the back.
Now that we’ve covered best practices, and the key components, it’s time to talk about the actual process of creating an Investment Pitch Book.
What options do I have for production?
How can I create my own Investment Summaries?
All in good time, dear reader. You’ve made it this far. Don’t turn back now.
There is only really two main options for creating an Investment Pitch Book:
- Hire Someone Else
There are a few different ways to go about hiring a designer. Whatever you choose, you’ll probably be looking for someone who has specific expertise in page layout and design.
Other specialties are fantastic, but Page Layout and Design is the main thing that’s going to help create an awesome investment pitch book.
Let’s start with the cheapest and work our way towards more tried and true methods.
All in all, Fiverr is a pretty cool service. It’s a website for freelancers with a specific set of skills to advertise them to potential clients.
The flip side of it is that you get to go through as a client and search for someone to do work for you.
You can buy all sorts of services from psychic readings, to dog walking. There was even a gentleman who gained a certain amount of internet notoriety several years back for making recordings of the Happy Birthday song and selling them by the each.
The cool thing about Fiverr is that prices range from $5 to several thousand. So, no matter what, you can find someone in your price range.
This is a step up from FIVRR. The format is quite a bit different, but the premise is the same.
Upwork does have the option for freelancers to create profiles that can be perused by clients looking for specific skills. However, it’s more typical for the freelancer/client relationship to work in reverse.
Usually, the client posts a job listing and then freelancers apply for the job. Prices are generally a bit higher.
There are thousands of design firms on the internet vying for your business. They’re probably (almost certainly) going to charge more than freelancers on Upwork or FIVRR, but the quality of work is also (probably/hopefully) going to increase.
Design firms offer the added benefit of having a whole team of designers creating content.
It’ll also be loads easier to find design firms that specialize in multifamily real estate.
You probably know someone already who has a go to designer or design firm that is looking for extra work. Ask around. Feel free to reach out to other sponsors if you like their design work.
You might end up paying more, but you’ll also end up with someone who has industry specific knowledge and comes with a recommendation.
Odds are, you’re going to get much better content from a designer or firm that specializes in multifamily real estate than someone who does more general work.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention www.pitchbooks.com.
Created by The Family Office Club, PitchDecks cover all types of marketing services and provide market analysis and networking options. They truly are the complete package, and have years of experience both in private equity industries, and with people who make over $100M a year.
They’ll help with every aspect of your business. You’ll have to register for a quote (and expect this to be one of the more expensive options), but you’ll get a veritable boatload of value.
If you’ve got the upfront capital to afford their service, the Family Office Club will more than make it worth your while.
Do It Yourself
For a long time, Powerpoint was the industry standard for creating presentations. Originally released on Mac in 1987, Powerpoint became Microsoft’s first big purchase with a price tag of 14M.
Since then it’s been bundled as part of the Microsoft Office Software Suite.
Powerpoint is available for free online (so long as you have an office account). It comes with all the standard tools you’ll need to design a great investment pitch book for your next capital raise. Powerpoint also has a wealth of templates to choose from to give you a head start towards having a completed investment pitch book.
And if you’re used to Microsoft Office, that’s an added bonus. You’ll have a much easier time adapting to Powerpoint than any of the other options below.
Google, Google, Google. Everything is Google. My two year old knows how to say, “Hey, Google.” It’s no surprise that Google is another application real estate and multifamily syndicators use to craft investment pitch books.
You’ve probably used Google Docs at one time or another. You might have even used Google Sheets. Google Slides is the G-Suite presentation software.
Google Slides offers all the typical features you’d expect of a presentation application plus, it offers an easy integration with Google Drive and cloud storage so you can access your investment pitch book from anywhere.
Google uses themes instead of templates, which function in a similar way.
If you’re a more creative and design oriented type, you might find Google’s themes a bit lackluster. That’s not to say that they’re bad. It’s just to say that Google Slides emphasizes integration, ease of access, and a sort of plug and play approach.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to waste time on design, but want something that works right out of the cloud, then Google has you covered. It’s really easy to get the information out and share it with your potential investors.
If you’re a seasoned Mac veteran like myself, you’ll probably recognize the name right away.
For those of you who have made questionable technological decision (I’m only joking), Keynote is the presentation software for Mac and iOS systems. Keynote is a free application, but if you’re a Windows user, you’ll likely want to explore other options.
It is possible to run Keynote through logging into iCloud on a PC. However, you’ll have reduced functionality and performance.
Like other Apple apps, Keynote puts a strong emphasis on the kind of sleek, minimalist design that Apple has become synonymous with.
You’ll of course have access to all the tools you’ll need to design your own presentation, but you’ll also have access to a library of polished templates at your fingertips, that you can easily use to create modern, high quality Investment Pitch Decks.
If you have a Mac, Keynote is probably already installed on your device. But if you need a free download, you’ll find it HERE
I’ve saved my personal favorite for last (sorry Apple).
First off, Canva isn’t a presentation software/application like Powerpoint, Google Slides, and Keynote. It’s a design application. Because of this, it really feels like a completely different program and can have a steeper learning curve. Because of this, it really might not be the best option for a lot of real estate syndicators.
I will say, that every sponsor I’ve turned on to Canva has absolutely loved it. I personally see a lot of untapped potential for Canva to be used in Real Estate Syndication to create not just high quality investment pitch books, but high quality marketing materials in general. So, even if you choose to go another route with your Investment Pitch Book, you should still check Canva out just to see all of the other ways it might be able to help you.
Canva comes with hundreds of free online templates for all number of different projects, not the least of which are Investment Pitch Books. You can design brochures, newsletter, facebook banners, business cards, the list goes on.
Canva is definitely better for someone who enjoys design and has more of an eye for it, or especially someone who has vague experience with Adobe InDesign or other design softwares. You’ll be moving around individual text boxes, images, etc, and you’ll have access to a number of free design elements that you can easily drag onto your Investment Pitch Book to spiffy it up.
Some items are hidden behind a paywall, but the good news is that Canva Pro is only $12.95 a month.
Regardless of whether you choose to hire someone to do design work for you, or create your own investment pitch book for your next capital raise, your investment summary might be the only chance you get in some situations to pitch to private investors.
Investment Pitch Books are hugely important pieces of marketing collateral that can help your capital raises sail the high seas, or sink them before they ever leave the harbor.
Even if you are already using a real estate syndication software like Investor Deal Room, that tool only helps to amplify your pitch book and make everything look more professional. You still need an epic Investment Pitch Book to hook private investors.
It can sometimes feel like you’re a snowflake in an avalanche of potential sponsors. Even though you know you’ve got a good investment opportunity, how do you stand out from the crowd? I hope this article has helped you get well on your way towards understand Investment Pitch Books for Real Estate Syndicators.
I’ll be writing some more in depth articles about good design practices and tips for a more “do it yourself” approach, so check back periodically to see what new stuff we’ve added. And don’t forget to sign up for our company newsletter so that your always notified when release new, helpful content.
If you like content like this, and would like to see me do a deep dive into a different subject, please leave a comment below with your suggestions. We might feature your article in a future newsletter.
As always, thanks for reading!