Equity in real estate means the percentage of property you actually own. If you have 100 percent ownership in a property, this means that you own it entirely. There is no mortgage. Equity is the difference between the value of the property minus the debts on the property, such as mortgages or liens. For example, if the home’s fair market value is $500,000 and there is a $250,000 mortgage, the equity is $250,000.

Investor exceeds his stake in real estate

Explanation of property rights

What are property rights in real estate, and what does it have to do with investing? It depends on the type of real estate investment you are involved in. If you want to buy a rental home, it is possible to use the capital in your primary residence to make the down payment. However, getting approved to use a home equity line of credit (HELOC) on a home improvement investment property or purchase another investment property is more difficult. Since you do not live in this house, lenders find such loans more risky. Your landlord is more likely to still apply to payments for the home they live in rather than the home they rent.

Home ownership is measured by the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. LTV compares the mortgage with the appraised value of the property. If you make a higher down payment, you will have a lower LTV. If you want to use the HELOC from your primary residence to purchase rental property, you must have at least 10 to 20 percent of the equity in your home.

When it comes to investing in commercial real estate, stocks are more complicated because more players are usually involved.

Preferred property rights in real estate

Preferred equity in real estate is an ownership category of commercial property. This interest is not secured by the property itself, but by equity in the entity that owns the property. For example, a real estate syndicate wants to buy a property worth $100 million. The bank will loan 70 percent of the purchase price, or $70 million. Investors must then raise the remaining $30 million.

Investors will probably come up with $20 million. That still leaves $10 million necessary to complete the deal. The union may take the mezzanine financing route. This allows them to raise funds for this particular project through a combination of equity and debt financing. It is equivalent to a second mortgage. The downside is that the rates for such financing are high, and it is likely that the money will come from the bank.

Another alternative to the syndicate is to seek $10 million in premium equity. For example, a syndicate might sell $10 million in premium equity by offering an annual return on investment of 8 to 12 percent. This return attracts institutional investors or other real estate syndicates and brings in sufficient funds to purchase the property.

Capital Stack in Real Estate

In commercial real estate investing, a capital stack refers to a combination of equity and debt in the transaction. In general, it is basically the basic financial structure of a commercial real estate transaction. There are layers to the capital stack, which include sources of capital, repayment priorities, and, in the case of default, repayment rights.

The large stack layer consists of the following:

  • common stock Lowest payment priority. However, investing in common stocks offers a high potential return in exchange for higher levels of risk. These investors receive shares of recurring cash flow and own a piece of the property. While they receive a percentage of the profits after the sale, that only happens after those at the bottom of the stack receive a payment.
  • preferred stock Think of preferred stock investors as those who hold a first mortgage with priority over those who hold a second mortgage. It is as close to a guaranteed return as possible in a commercial real estate investment.
  • mezzanine debt The debt of the mezzanine is similar to the debt of the holder of the second mortgage. This debt is generally not secured by real property. The interest rate paid to these holders is usually higher. Therofore, it has the highest repayment priority. Those with mezzanine debt may receive a small percentage of the profit when selling the property.
  • senior debt – This carries the lowest level of risk. Moreover, it is located at the bottom of the capital stack. Principal debt represents primary financing. It is usually offered by a bank or other lending institution. There is less risk because if the loan is not repaid, the service providers can initiate the foreclosure procedure and become the owners of the property.

The income and debts of the property are determined in the capital pile. This format allows investors to analyze the equity and debt structure of the project, as well as the overall risks.


With preferred stocks, investors enjoy a consistent return on a safe investment. If you want to invest in commercial real estate with $100k or more, this is a good option to get a stable stable income. Keep in mind that your return is limited to this fixed price.


The downside of preferred stocks in real estate is that investors do not benefit if the real estate project performs well. If the property does not perform well, preferred stock investors may lose the investment. There is no property insurance in case the borrower defaults.

Equity in real estate considerations

Equity in real estate offers the potential for a high return on investment. Preferred stock investors take on less risk than common stock investors, but take more risks than traditional lenders.