Preferred Equity vs. Common Equity in Real Estate Investments


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In the world of real estate investments, astute decision-making is paramount. One of the critical choices investors often face is whether to opt for preferred equity or common equity. These two distinct financial instruments play a vital role in shaping the trajectory of real estate investments. Join us, as your trusted advisors, in a comprehensive exploration of “Preferred Equity vs. Common Equity in Real Estate,” unraveling the intricacies to help you make informed investment decisions.

Preferred Equity in Real Estate

Preferred equity, often known as preferred shares or preferred stock, is a financial instrument that endows investors with unique privileges and safeguards. In the real estate context, it represents a higher-priority claim on the property’s income and proceeds when compared to common equity.

  1. Priority in Returns: Preferred equity investors enjoy priority in receiving returns, securing their investments even in times of financial distress or underperformance.
  2. Capital Preservation: Preferred equity offers a protective shield for invested capital. In the unfortunate event of a project’s failure, preferred equity investors are more likely to recoup their investments before common equity holders.
  3. Customized Returns: The flexibility of preferred equity allows for tailored returns, providing investors with options for fixed or variable returns, depending on the investment terms.
  4. Influence on Exit Strategy: Preferred equity agreements may include provisions that grant investors influence over the project’s exit strategy, ensuring their interests align with those of the project developer.

Common Equity in Real Estate

Common equity, often referred to as common shares or common stock, signifies ownership in a real estate project. Common equity investors carry a higher risk profile in comparison to preferred equity investors. They participate in profit-sharing only after all other obligations, including debt payments and preferred equity returns, have been met.

  1. Potential for Higher Returns: Common equity investors have the potential for higher returns, as they participate in the property’s profits after all other obligations have been satisfied.
  2. Elevated Risk Exposure: Common equity investments involve greater risk, as they hold a subordinate position to preferred equity and debt holders. This exposes common equity investors to potential losses in case of project underperformance or financial distress.
  3. Absence of Priority: Unlike preferred equity, common equity investors lack priority in receiving returns. Their returns are contingent on the project’s profitability, making them more susceptible to market fluctuations.

Key Considerations

When discerning between preferred equity and common equity in real estate investments, it is imperative to weigh these critical factors:

  1. Risk Tolerance: Preferred equity is often favored by conservative investors due to its security, while common equity is suitable for those willing to embrace higher risks in pursuit of potentially higher returns.
  2. Investment Horizon: Preferred equity investments frequently offer more predictable returns, making them well-suited for shorter investment horizons. Common equity investments are typically ideal for long-term commitments.
  3. Investment Objectives: Align your choice of equity with your specific investment goals, whether they involve capital preservation, consistent returns, or the maximization of profit potential.
  4. Due Diligence: Diligent examination of both preferred and common equity investments is paramount. Analyze specific terms, project fundamentals, market conditions, and the track record of the project developer.


In the realm of real estate investments, the choice between preferred equity and common equity stands as a pivotal decision. Preferred equity offers security, prioritized returns, and control over exit strategies, while common equity presents the potential for higher returns at the cost of elevated risk exposure.

To navigate these intricate choices effectively, a prudent approach is essential. Seek guidance from experienced financial experts and advisors who can provide invaluable insights to help you make informed investment decisions. At Aparti Capital Markets, we are committed to assisting you in making sound real estate investment choices that align with your financial objectives. Your success is our utmost priority.

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Ready to Finance Your Next Multifamily Project?

From securing financing to crafting winning strategies, we’re here to help you achieve excellence in real estate investments