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What Is a Real Estate Partnership?


Imagine that two or more individuals decide to combine their resources and invest in real estate. This is the essence of a real estate partnership, a legal entity that is created to finance projects, divide risks and capitalize on the strengths and expertise of each partner. If you’re interested in investing with a real estate partner, consider speaking with a financial advisor to help you understand the risks and benefits.

Real-Life Application of a Real Estate Partnership

A real estate partnership is a collaborative business arrangement where two or more individuals or entities pool their resources and expertise to invest in and manage real estate properties.

These types of partnerships are a common structure for real estate investments, allowing participants to combine capital and skills for larger and potentially more profitable real estate opportunities.

Typically, each partner’s contribution may involve financial investments, property management expertise, market knowledge, or a combination of each.

Partners in a real estate partnership typically agree on the terms of their partnership through a legal document called a partnership agreement. This agreement outlines the role, responsibilities and the distribution of profits and losses for each partner.

Partners may choose to operate the partnership as a general partnership, where all partners share management and liability equally, or as a limited partnership, where some partners have limited involvement and liability while others have active roles.

The partnership agreement is important, as it defines the rules and expectations of the partnership and can help prevent misunderstandings or disputes.

Reasons to Explore Real Estate Partnerships

There are several reasons to form a real estate partnership, but four common ones include:

  • Capital pooling: Real estate partnerships allow individuals or entities to combine their financial resources, making it easier to access larger and potentially more profitable real estate investments. Pooling capital from multiple partners can open doors to properties or projects that may be financially out of reach for an individual investor.
  • Risk mitigation: Real estate investments come with risks, such as market fluctuations, property management challenges and unexpected expenses. By forming a partnership, partners can share these risks and responsibilities, reducing the individual burden and potential financial exposure. Diversifying investments across different properties or locations within the partnership can further spread risk.
  • Expertise and skills: Partnerships often bring together individuals with different skill sets and expertise, such as property management, real estate market knowledge, legal expertise, or construction know-how. Combining these skills can enhance the partnership’s ability to identify, acquire, manage and improve properties, which could ultimately lead to better investment outcomes.
  • Tax benefits: Real estate partnerships can offer tax advantages, such as the ability to pass through income and losses to the individual partners, which can lead to lower tax liabilities. Additionally, certain partnership structures, like limited liability partnerships (LLPs) or limited liability companies (LLCs), provide flexibility in tax planning and management. Partners should consult with tax professionals to understand the specific tax benefits of their chosen partnership structure.

Types of Real Estate Partnerships

A real estate partner reviewing the terms of her partnership.

There are many types of real estate partnerships that you may want to explore. Each has its own unique benefits and risks, depending on your investment situation. Here are four common legal structures:

  • General partnerships: These are usually ideal for small projects due to the unlimited liability each partner carries for the partnership’s debts.
  • Limited partnership (LP): Here, we find one or more general partners and one or more limited partners. Limited partners are shielded from personal liability exposure for the partnership’s debts, a major advantage that attracts many investors.
  • Limited liability partnership (LLP): This type of partnership is where all partners enjoy limited liability protection. This type of partnership is enticing for large-scale investments where the financial risk is more significant.
  • Real estate limited partnership (RELP): A more specific form of an LP, this partnership involves partners investing in real estate projects, with general partners managing the property and limited partners providing capital.

Tax Considerations for Real Estate Limited Partnerships

A real estate limited partnership (RELP) is one of the most popular partnerships used for real estate transactions. In a RELP, tax implications can vary based on your role as the partner. General partners are subject to self-employment taxes on their share of the partnership’s income, while limited partners are typically only taxed on their share of the partnership’s profits. That’s an important tax consideration to help you make your decision.

One key advantage of RELPs is the pass-through taxation mechanism, which allows profits to be taxed at the individual partner’s level, bypassing the issues of double taxation faced by many corporations. This can be a simple but effective tax savings tool if you find yourself investing in a lot of real estate transactions per year. Before moving forward with any real estate investment, consider consulting a tax professional.

How to Set Up a Real Estate Limited Partnership (RELP)

Keep in mind that the process to set up a real estate limited property can vary by state and your specific situation. Here are four general steps to help guide you:

  • Draft a partnership agreement outlining terms, roles, responsibilities, profit and loss distribution
  • Register the partnership with your state
  • Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS
  • Set up a business bank account for managing finances and transactions

Bottom Line

Two real estate partners reviewing their investments.

Real estate partnerships can offer several benefits, but also come with unique challenges. Therefore, potential investors should consider their financial goals and risk tolerance, as well as the expertise and credibility of the potential partners. You may also want to get legal and professional tax advice to understand the requirements of your partnership.

Tips for Investing in Real Estate

  • Investing in real estate is no small feat. It’s important to analyze a property and make sure your investment is sound before moving forward as it’s a sizable amount of money. A financial advisor can help you make smart decisions to protect your investment portfolio. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • One consideration for any real estate transaction is how much you might pay in property taxes. That can sway your decision if the property taxes are higher than you expect. You can use a free property tax calculator to help you estimate the average cost of your property taxes, depending on the county of your investment.

Photo credit: © Tosheva, ©, ©