What is The Capital Stack? 

What is The Capital Stack?

If you’re an accredited investor looking to invest in multifamily syndications, then you’ve likely heard the term “capital stack”, and it is essential that investors have a good understanding of what it means and how it works. Here’s what you need to know about capital stacks in multifamily syndications. 

What is a Capital Stack?

A capital stack is the way that capital is layered in a real estate investment. In a multifamily syndication, this includes all of the money from different sources that are used to finance the acquisition and operation of the property. This money can come from many different sources, including debt financing, preferred equity, and common equity.
The capital stack also shows the order in which investors are paid out profits, and who gets paid first in the event of a default.

In most cases, each layer in the capital stack is prioritized according to how much money each investor contributes to the project upfront and how much return they expect for taking on more risk than other investors at lower levels in the stack.

For example, debt providers will always be paid back first from funds generated by profits from a property before any payments are made out to others lower in the capital stack.


The various layers that comprise a typical capital stack in a multifamily syndication include:

– Debt providers – Debt providers make up the bulk of financing for a syndication deal with most debt providers being banks or other financial institutions such as conduit lenders or life companies. The debt provider’s loan will be secured by a mortgage on the asset, with their interest rate and repayment terms based on market conditions, loan size, collateral quality, and other factors. Debt providers generally are paid first.

– Mezzanine lenders – This form of financing often comes in second place after Debt Financing but before equity investments. Mezzanine lenders usually have substantial experience in real estate finance and they generally offer higher interest rates than conventional Debt Financing. 

– Debt Financing -Debt financing typically consists of loans such as mortgages or construction loans. These are usually structured with amortization over a long period and often come with high interest rates and fees depending on the type of loan product used. Debt financing may also include bridge loans or other forms of short-term financing if quick cash is needed for repairs or renovations on the property. 


– Equity investors – These investors bring  capital into the syndication deal and may include Preferred Equity and Common Equity- see below. Equity investors receive ownership interests in the property as well as cash distributions from profits. 


– Preferred Equity  is another important part of any capital stack. This type of equity provides investors with higher yields than common equity but usually comes with fewer decision-making rights than common equity holders have. Preferred equity holders also get priority over common equity holders when it comes to distributions, meaning they will receive their returns before common equity holders do.  

– Common Equity consists of funds provided by investors who are purchasing shares in the joint venture entity that was created for the purpose of owning and operating the asset being purchased through syndication. The return on these investments will depend on various factors such as management fees and operational costs incurred by running the asset efficiently and profitably, so there is potential for investors to make large profits if everything runs smoothly during their ownership period.  


The capital stack plays an important role in any multifamily syndication investment opportunity and should be carefully considered before investing in any opportunity. Knowing how each layer works together helps investors understand how funds are allocated across different types of investments and what kind of returns they can expect from each one. 


Investors should always do their own due diligence when evaluating an opportunity before investing to ensure they understand all aspects involved in creating a successful investment strategy for themselves. 



By understanding what goes into making up a capital stack, investors can make more informed decisions about which opportunities best fit their needs and risk tolerance levels!


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