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Understanding the role of a sponsor in commercial real estate

Understanding the role of a sponsor in commercial real estate

For anyone interested in investing in commercial real estate, it is important to understand the roles of the parties involved. The sponsor plays an active part in the success of the investment, while the investor has a more passive role.

A sponsor is responsible for “finding, acquiring, managing, and eventually disposing of real estate property on behalf of the partnership [1] Sponsors own the property, run day-to-day operations, oversee the transactions, raise money from investors, and are accountable for the mortgage of the property.[2]  Due to the wide scope of responsibility, selecting the sponsor with credible experience and a successful track record is critical for the well-being.[3]

Wealth Migrate vets our sponsors in our marketplace in accordance with all security and legal compliance checks. This responsibility on our part makes it easier for our investors to focus on the process of investing.

We evaluate our sponsors according to the check list below:[4]

  • How much experience does the sponsor have in the local marketing and that asset class?
  • Have any of the sponsor’s development projects failed to meet expectations?
  • How capable is the sponsor in evaluating risks?
  • How does the sponsor identify other equity investors and secure debt?
  • What systems does the sponsor have in place to ensure proper management of the project? 

The sponsor is mainly responsible for the performance of the property as well as financial reporting, making payments to investors, and preparing tax statements during the tax season.[5] As the time and cost involved that goes into preparing to acquire a deal is quite substantial, an acquisition fee is usually charged to cover costs and compensate sponsors for their work.

Sponsors make money with an acquisition fee, through ownership in a deal that ranges from 5%-10% in total equity, and annual asset management fees.[6] Sponsors are also incentivised by performance with a promote structure and preferred return.[7] This means that an investor is guaranteed a full return of their initial investment amount for a preferred return. 

Due to the importance of the sponsor, individual investors will ordinarily have to thoroughly research a potential sponsor. A sponsor must be trusted, have credibility, a proven track record, connections to right financing and equity relationships, and other expertise in operations and management. In terms of Wealth Migrate’s service offering, our investors can trust that we have performed the required due diligence before we partner with any of our sponsors.

[1] Kennedy, K. (March 2019). ‘The Importance of a reputable property investment sponsor’. Retrieved from LinkedIn.
[2] McKenna, R. (May 2019). ‘ Insider’s guide to vetting a commercial real estate sponsor ‘. Retrieved from BiggerPockets.
[3] McKenna, R. (May 2019). ‘ Insider’s guide to vetting a commercial real estate sponsor ‘. Retrieved from BiggerPockets.
[4] Robinson, D. (July 2019). ‘ Real estate sponsorship and sponsor equity: The key to selecting a great sponsor’. Retrieved from Black Collie Capital.
[5] Kennedy, K. (March 2019). ‘The Importance of a reputable property investment sponsor’. Retrieved from LinkedIn.
[6] Frankel, M. (February 2021). ‘ What is sponsor promote in real estate? ‘. Retrieved from Millionacres.
[7] Frankel, M. (February 2021). ‘ What is sponsor promote in real estate? ‘. Retrieved from Millionacres.