Real Estate Syndication vs. Self-Management: Exploring the Pros and Cons


Real estate investors have a range of strategies at their disposal, including real estate syndication and self-management of rental properties. Both approaches offer unique advantages and considerations. This comprehensive article aims to provide a detailed analysis of how real estate syndication works and compare its pros and cons to self-managing rental properties. By delving into the intricacies of each approach, investors can make informed decisions aligned with their goals and preferences.

Real Estate Syndication: An Overview

Real estate syndication involves pooling resources from multiple investors to collectively invest in larger-scale real estate projects. The process typically follows these steps:

  1. Formation of the Syndication: A sponsor or syndicator identifies an investment opportunity and forms a legal entity, often an LLC or LP, to serve as the syndication vehicle.
  2. Offering and Subscription: The syndicator creates an investment offering, detailing the project’s specifics, financial projections, and terms. Interested investors review the offering and subscribe to invest a specific capital amount.
  3. Capital Contribution: Investors contribute their capital to the syndication, typically proportional to their ownership share.
  4. Property Acquisition or Development: The syndication proceeds with property acquisition or development, conducting due diligence, securing financing, and finalizing the transaction.
  5. Ongoing Operations: The syndicator manages day-to-day operations, including property management, leasing, maintenance, and reporting to investors.
  6. Profit Distribution: Profits generated by the project are distributed to investors according to agreed-upon terms, often based on ownership percentages and potentially providing a preferred return to investors.
  7. Exit Strategy: The syndicator plans an exit strategy, such as selling the property or refinancing, to provide returns to investors based on market conditions and investment goals.

Pros of Real Estate Syndication

Real estate syndication offers several advantages for investors seeking diversified and potentially higher-yield opportunities:

  1. Access to Larger Investments: Real estate syndication allows investors to participate in larger and more lucrative deals that would typically be beyond their individual financial capabilities. By pooling resources, investors gain access to high-value properties and development projects.
  2. Diversification: Syndication enables investors to diversify their portfolios across different properties, locations, and investment strategies. This diversification helps mitigate risk by reducing exposure to any single property or market.
  3. Professional Management: In a syndication, the sponsor or syndicator assumes responsibility for property operations, tenant management, and day-to-day decision-making. This relieves investors of the burden of actively managing the property themselves and leverages the expertise of the syndicator.
  4. Limited Liability: Investing through a legal entity offers limited liability protection to investors. This means their personal assets are generally shielded from potential liabilities or lawsuits related to the property.

Cons of Real Estate Syndication

While real estate syndication offers advantages, it is essential to consider the potential drawbacks:

  1. Limited Control: Investors in a syndication have limited decision-making authority, as the sponsor retains ultimate control. Investors must trust the sponsor’s expertise and judgment, which requires thorough due diligence on the sponsor’s track record, experience, and reputation.
  2. Dependency on the Syndicator: The success of a syndication heavily relies on the skills and integrity of the syndicator. Investors entrust their capital and investment returns to the syndicator’s performance, making it crucial to choose a reputable and capable syndicator.
  3. Lack of Liquidity: Real estate investments, including syndications, are generally illiquid. Investors may face limited opportunities to sell their ownership interests before the planned exit strategy, potentially tying up capital for an extended period.

Self-Managing Rental Properties: An Overview

Self-management involves directly acquiring rental properties and overseeing their day-to-day operations. The process generally includes the following steps:

  1. Property Selection and Acquisition: Investors personally identify and acquire properties that align with their investment goals, conducting thorough due diligence and negotiating purchase agreements.
  2. Operations and Tenant Management: Self-managers handle property operations, tenant acquisition and management, rent collection, maintenance, and repairs. They are responsible for ensuring tenant satisfaction and compliance with legal and regulatory obligations.
  3. Decision-Making Control: Self-managers have full control over property-related decisions, such as property improvements, rental rates, lease terms, and property disposition. This autonomy allows for a personalized approach and the ability to respond promptly to market changes.
  4. Direct Profit Potential: Self-managers retain the potential for higher profits as they assume the roles typically performed by property management companies. This can result in increased cash flow and appreciation if executed effectively.

Pros of Self-Managing Rental Properties

Self-management offers several advantages for investors seeking direct involvement and control:

  1. Direct Control: Self-managers have complete authority over property selection, acquisition, operations, and decision-making. This control allows investors to implement their investment strategies, make adjustments as needed, and directly impact the property’s performance.
  2. Greater Flexibility: Self-managers have the flexibility to adapt their investment approach based on market conditions and individual preferences. They can promptly respond to tenant needs, adjust rental rates, and implement strategies to maximize returns.
  3. Building Expertise: Self-management provides valuable hands-on experience and knowledge in property operations, tenant relations, and real estate market dynamics. This expertise can be invaluable for investors looking to expand their portfolio or pursue a career in real estate.

Cons of Self-Managing Rental Properties

While self-management offers benefits, it also presents challenges and considerations:

  1. Time and Effort: Self-management requires a significant investment of time and effort. Investors must handle property-related tasks, including property acquisition, tenant management, maintenance, and addressing legal and regulatory requirements. This can be demanding, especially when managing multiple properties or balancing other commitments.
  2. Risk and Liability: As self-managers, investors assume risks and liabilities associated with property ownership. They are responsible for legal obligations, potential lawsuits, property damage, and ensuring adequate insurance coverage. Proper risk management and compliance with legal regulations are vital for success.
  3. Concentrated Risk: Self-managing rental properties may result in concentrated risk if the investor owns properties in a single location or specific asset class. Market fluctuations, economic conditions, or localized issues can significantly impact returns, making diversification challenging.


Real estate syndication and self-management of rental properties offer distinct approaches to real estate investing, each with its own set of advantages and considerations. Real estate syndication provides access to larger investments, diversification, professional management, and limited liability, but offers limited control and liquidity. Self-managing rental properties allows for direct control, flexibility, potential expertise-building, and greater profit potential, but demands time, effort, carries risk and liability, and may result in concentrated risk.

To make an informed decision, investors should carefully evaluate their investment goals, risk tolerance, available time, and expertise. Some may find the passive nature and benefits of real estate syndication appealing, while others may thrive on the hands-on involvement and control of self-managing rental properties. Ultimately, the decision should align with investors’ preferences, resources, and long-term objectives in the dynamic world of real estate.


Chad Gipson

Content Director at PortfolioBay