6 Challenges in Tracking Your Real Estate Investment Portfolio
If you’re a real estate asset manager, portfolio manager, limited or general partner, or just about anywhere in the capital stack, you know the pain and complexity of managing a portfolio of real estate properties. Whether you own, manage or just invest, tracking property data is critical to understanding whether your portfolio is performing. Managing the data takes a lot of time, phone calls, emails, and number crunching just to keep your head above water.
Then, after the numbers are crunched, the real agony starts. Now you have to make sense of it all. It’s time for… (ominous fanfare)…reports! That involves collecting numbers from all over the place: different partners, different management companies, and different asset categories among various accounting systems and way too many file formats. It’s all enough to make you crazy.
Here are a few challenges that those who manage real estate assets face every quarter:
Not Enough Info
One of the basic complaints that investors have of their real estate asset reports is that they simply don’t have enough information. Whether you’re looking at financial reports or occupancy trends, sometimes there just isn’t enough information to make a decision. The unfortunate case is that, most of the time, the information is there. It just hasn’t been pulled together. Sometimes that’s because the data is missing or the team or person creating the reports simply doesn’t have enough time.
Not Enough Time
There’s always enough time, right? Of course not. If you’ve ever created a report for investors, clients, or management, you know the feeling of finding yourself at the end of a quarter, preparing reports, wasting days on the phone trying to get the numbers you need from partners or management companies. In the meantime, the world continues to spin. The longer it takes to collect the data, organize the information, present the results and then share them, the less time you have to see the “big picture” and manage your portfolio.
Different File Formats
If you’re a portfolio manager with more than one asset in your real estate portfolio, you’re likely to have more than one property management company working for you. And when more than one property management company runs your properties, you’re more than likely going to get different report formats from each—paper, PDF, email or whatever they choose to send. And you may need different applications just to read those documents. Or worse…
Different Accounting Systems
We all know that smart investors don’t put all of their eggs in one basket. And while diversification of real estate assets is critical to any successful real estate portfolio strategy, it also comes with a few headaches. Each market and asset category comes with its own unique set of requirements. For the investor, that often means different management companies with disparate accounting systems, each with its own chart of accounts. And while two plus two should always equal four, the numbers from different systems rarely look exactly the same. That could mean any hope you have for comparing apples and oranges will fall off the tree.
Too Many Asset Categories
Congratulations, your portfolio is diversified! You’ve got a little multifamily, some senior or student housing, a bit of retail, a splash of class A office, and maybe even a hotel or two. While you’re protected against the topsy-turvy market, you now have to stay educated across all of these different asset classes. And each requires its own set of metrics, rules and information. Unfortunately, sometimes getting all the right information is difficult. Because you’re growing.
Sure, you’ve got a handful of properties and you’re comfortable with your basic, tried-and-true system of spreadsheets. But you just closed a new fund. Soon those 10 properties become 25, and then 50. Can your spreadsheet system grow as your portfolio grows? Likely not. And when your team grows, you’ll have to teach them to understand your system. If you don’t, they’ll start using their own, and soon, nobody’s looking at the same numbers. With growth, comes change…
Be proactive! If you’re interested in meeting these and other reporting challenges, reach out to RealPage and learn more about Portfolio Asset Management solutions available to your business.