Market guides

Apartment buildings for sale – where to find them

Investing in an apartment building can be a highly profitable way to diversify your portfolio. But one of the big difficulties is finding the right investment; apartment buildings aren’t as easy to find as single-family fix-and-flips.

Internet platforms

You may be lucky and find the right apartment building on Loopnet or one of the other internet platforms for commercial property, such as Showcase.com or CREXi. Trulia also handles multi-family properties, though its focus is primarily single-family residential. But often, the best deals are snapped up by savvy investors before they ever hit Loopnet. While the platforms are a great place to start researching and to gain knowledge about the market, they’re not always the best place to find deals.

Real Estate Agents

If you’re serious about getting the right investments you’ll want to get to know commercial real estate agents in the areas you’re interested in. Before you make contact, make sure you have defined exactly what you want in an investment and how much you are willing to invest, as well as how much risk you’re willing to take. Identify particular sub-markets, not just a city.

The more defined and realistic your requirements, the more likely the agent is to call you when they have something of interest. You may well get access to deals before they’re put on the market. That’s particularly the case if you’re willing to consider properties that have been mismanaged and need stabilizing, properties that require improvement, or properties in economically challenged areas – not all investors are prepared to take these on.

Business Brokers

You might also want to contact business brokers. They often have properties as well as businesses on their books and as with commercial real estate agents, they tend to sell through their network of contacts.

While brokers are a great source for deals, you should expand your networking further. Get to know property management companies; often, they’re the first to know if a building owner is contemplating a sale, and their staff also have a good feel for how well a property is being run and whether returns could be improved (or whether it needs a lot spent on it). Appraisers, real estate attorneys, and even small town bankers, can also be good sources of leads and may well be able to put you in touch directly with a seller. That can save you 6-10% over using a broker.

When you’re contacting brokers, arrange to meet in person so you can establish a real personal relationship. That will give you an edge over the guy who just emails in a list of requirements. Even if you’re “the short bald guy who wants multifamily refurbs” you’re way more memorable – and more likely to be called – than someone who just emailed and said they want to find an investment in Pittsburgh at a 10% cap rate!

Commercial Real Estate Events

Attending commercial real estate events can also be a great way to network; check out Real Estate Investment Associations in the areas where you want to invest. You can benefit from educational seminars and workshops and build your professional network at the same time as looking for that elusive deal.