Whole Fund vs Deal by Deal Investing: A Comprehensive Strategy for Portfolio Growth

Mar 14, 2024 | Industry Articles, Featured Article, Investment Strategies

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Are you considering investment strategies and curious about the ‘whole fund’ vs ‘deal by deal’ approach? Whole fund investing is a comprehensive strategy that lets you diversify your portfolio by pooling capital with other investors to acquire a range of properties. This approach contrasts with deal-by-deal investing, providing diversification and potential for passive income through structures like Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). Yet, it’s not without its challenges, including less control over individual property decisions. This article delves into the intricacies of whole fund investing and deal-by-deal investing, especially in the burgeoning real estate market of Austin, helping you make informed decisions for your financial goals.

Key Takeaways

  • Whole fund investing pools investor capital into a real estate portfolio, offering passive income through dividends and diversification benefits, but with limited control over individual property choices.

  • Deal-by-deal investing allows for greater control, transparency, and tailored investment choices with potential for direct ownership stakes and alignment with specific investment goals, albeit with potentially higher time and management commitments.

  • Understanding the financial implications of management fees and carried interest is crucial in both whole fund and deal-by-deal investments, as they can significantly impact net returns and the alignment of interests between general partners and investors.

Exploring Whole Fund Investing in Austin’s Real Estate Market

Diversified Real Estate Properties In Austin

Investing in a fund that targets the Austin area presents an intriguing opportunity for those interested in real estate. By aggregating the capital of multiple investors, this strategy offers access to property investments across various scales within a dynamic investment environment. The anticipated growth of 3.3% in the Austin-Round Rock real estate market over the coming year suggests robust potential for these types of investments.

One benefit of investing through such funds is their ability to distribute consistent dividends via Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), offering investors a stream of passive income. Nevertheless, this approach also poses certain challenges like diminished control regarding selection of specific properties. With solid knowledge about basic principles and awareness of current market trends, investors can effectively steer through these avenues to optimize their financial commitments in real estate.

Understanding Whole Fund Investments

Engaging in whole fund investing, otherwise known as portfolio investing, involves the following:

  • Investors purchase stakes within a company that holds a diversified collection of income-generating real estate.

  • This method provides investors with the opportunity to have exposure to an array of properties through one consolidated investment.

  • When choosing this investment route, investors acquire ownership interest in the overall fund rather than having direct claims on any specific property assets controlled by the fund.

The spectrum of investments within whole funds is broad and includes options like funds of funds (FOFs), which themselves invest capital into various other investment funds. This structure offers even more layers for diversification among different types of real estate holdings. These investment vehicles enable allocation across diverse categories of property – such as commercial and residential spaces – aligning with assorted investor strategies. It streamlines simultaneous investments into multiple properties without necessitating direct proportional transactions between individual properties and invested capital since professional managers oversee these asset portfolios.

The Appeal of Diversification and Liquidity

Liquidity In Real Estate Investment

Investors often opt for entire funds rather than individual properties due to the benefit of diversification. This approach distributes their investment across a variety of security types and real estate markets, effectively diluting the risk associated with having substantial investments in assets that may underperform.

In terms of liquidity, whole fund investments have an advantage as well. In contrast to traditional deal-by-deal real estate investing—which can be subject to protracted sale procedures—funds such as REITs offer investors higher potential liquidity. This means they are able to dispose of shares more quickly, unlike the complex transactions required when dealing with individual properties.

The simplicity inherent in full-fund investment strategies is also manifest through a smooth trading mechanism which occurs once at each day’s end based on closing net asset value. This process precludes any intra-day price volatility seen with other forms of investments.

Navigating the Landscape: Deal by Deal Investing in Austin

Austin Skyline With Investment Deals

Investing deal by deal allows for a meticulous and concentrated approach to investment. It encompasses the creation of distinct investment vehicles tailored to each single deal, utilizing multiple types of these vehicles. This strategy is favored in Austin because it offers increased command over assets and enhanced transparency within operations, alongside explicit terms attributed to its singular focus on individual deals.

The personalized aspect of investing on a deal by deal basis may result in substantial commitments regarding time and management as well as potential challenges with liquidity. Thus, investors contemplating this method must carefully consider these aspects in relation to the real estate market tendencies within Austin – notably the anticipated slight decline in housing prices come 2024.

Tailored Investment Choices

Investing on a deal-by-deal basis provides several advantages for those looking to invest in real estate:

  • Investors have greater control and improved transparency over their investments.

  • It allows investors the opportunity to choose properties that match their individual investment strategy.

  • There’s the potential to customize one’s real estate portfolio with particular projects of interest.

  • The approach can be closely aligned with an investor’s unique goals and willingness to assume risk.

To identify properties most likely to yield high returns, expert analysis and thorough due diligence are undertaken. Companies like Gatsby Investment facilitate this process by streamlining it, which reduces the time commitment required from investors. They also ensure clear financial visibility as well as consistent ownership structures.

Potential Ownership Perks

Investors have the opportunity to acquire a stake in the actual deal of real estate assets via investing on a deal-by-deal basis. In this structure, ownership levels can differ extensively, from complete possession through direct acquisition of properties to fractional interests within crowdfunded investments.

Companies that specialize in real estate syndication present investment options on a deal-by-deal basis which confer direct ownership stakes in tangible property rather than simply portions of an investment fund. For example, Gatsby Investment provides opportunities for investors to obtain individual shares directly tied to specific properties, thereby emphasizing a solid and material structure of ownership.

Assessing the Pros and Cons: Whole Fund vs. Deal by Deal

Engaging in either whole fund or deal-by-deal investing comes with its own set of benefits and trade-offs that must be fully understood. Investing in a whole fund limits investors’ control over the selection, purchase, or sale of individual properties within the portfolio. With this approach to investing, there’s also the ‘blind pool’ risk where investors commit their capital without detailed knowledge about which specific assets will be acquired.

Conversely, choosing to invest on a deal-by-deal basis can bring particular disadvantages. For example, if one property performs poorly, it could significantly affect overall returns from these investments. When it comes to tax efficiency, whole funds may pose challenges as they do not allow investors to manage the timing of capital gains distributions themselves—this can result in unanticipated taxable events for those who put money into such funds.

Weighing Control Against Convenience

Investing deal by deal allows investors to selectively commit their funds to specific investment opportunities that align with their criteria. This approach necessitates a thorough investigation and vetting process for each prospective deal, which requires considerable time commitment.

Conversely, investing in an entire fund may result in:

  • diminished personal oversight concerning choices of investments

  • increased opacity risk

  • the possibility of return dilution due to poorly performing assets included in the broader fund portfolio.

Transparency vs. Simplicity

Investing in a fund offers investors an accessible route to a diversified asset portfolio, streamlining investment oversight. These funds might display modest projected yields relative to individual asset investments because they consist of varied assets with different potential returns.

Conversely, investing deal by deal grants investors intricate clarity into the performance and future projections specific to each property. This model affords detailed information on every single investment within the portfolio.

Insights from the Field: Wildhorn Capital’s Approach

Wildhorn Capital'S Local Market Expertise

Based in Austin, Texas, Wildhorn Capital is an exemplar of a boutique real estate investment firm that effectively employs strategies leveraging the deep-rooted knowledge and lifelong relationships of native Austinites. This expertise enables them to identify lucrative multifamily real estate investments while adeptly dealing with the city’s swiftly changing land use codes and property values. Their strategic approach places them advantageously amidst Austin’s notable capital growth.

Local Expertise in Action

Utilizing profound insights into the Austin market, Wildhorn Capital focuses on acquiring multifamily real estate investment opportunities. The company’s management team, with roots in Austin, capitalizes on their extensive network and intimate knowledge of the area to access premium investment deals that provide investors with significant advantages.

By monitoring macroeconomic trends alongside a specialized concentration on Central Texas’ ever-changing real estate landscape, Wildhorn Capital formulates its investment tactics. This combination of regional know-how and big-picture economic observation is key to developing a varied portfolio that yields considerable returns for both the firm and its investors.

Investor Returns and Advantages

Wildhorn Capital has demonstrated its expertise in producing passive income from investments through steady cash flow, thereby enhancing investor wealth via the long-term increase in asset value. Over a span of seven years, the firm has commendably distributed more than $91 million to its investors, with an average equity multiple reported at 2.13 times.

Wildhorn Capital’s real estate investment funds provide investors with tax advantages due to taxation on long-term capital gains and possible benefits from pass-through depreciation.

The Investor’s Journey: From Initial Investment to Potential Returns

Every investor embarks on a unique journey from the onset of an investment to the potential realization of profits, with significant variations stemming from their selected investment strategy. Opting to invest in an entire fund or adopting a deal-by-deal approach each come with distinct paths that one must comprehend, particularly concerning the duration of the investment period.

Starting with Capital: Making the Initial Investment

Investors possessing varying levels of starting capital have the option to engage in either complete fund investments or select individual real estate deals on a deal-by-deal basis within Austin. Typically, participating through whole funds presents lower minimum investment thresholds, while crowdfunding platforms offer those with lesser initial capital an avenue to enter into real estate investment opportunities that can accelerate portfolio growth and enhance diversification.

Under the structure of a whole fund investment, investors may be permitted to distribute their financial commitment over time by providing upfront capital followed by additional injections as more properties join the portfolio. Conversely, when opting for deal-by-deal investments, it is common practice for investors to establish separate entities specific to each transaction where each investment opportunity is subject to its distinct timeframe.

Projecting Future Growth: Expected Returns

Projected Returns In Real Estate Investments

Investments in real estate funds, such as those from a vc fund, typically yield returns that are both higher than the norm and steady, largely unaffected by the volatility of stock markets. Wildhorn Capital stands out with its significant history of success, having distributed more than $91 million back to investors and achieving an average internal rate of return (IRR) that hits 29%, which regularly surpasses their projected pro forma figures.

Putting capital into Austin’s real estate through firms like these can prove to be highly profitable. The properties managed under this firm have seen impressive appreciation in value along with notable internal rates of return (IRR) and considerable equity multiples throughout their investment duration.

Financial Mechanics: Management Fees and Carried Interest

Understanding the financial intricacies of your investment is crucial. It’s important to acknowledge how factors like management fees and carried interest considerably affect investments on both a fund-wide and deal-by-deal basis. Recognizing the methods by which fund managers handle these elements is essential for investors.

Understanding Management Fees

Typically known as management fees, these expenses encompass a range of costs involved in:

  • managing the portfolio

  • providing advisory services

  • covering administrative necessities

  • operating the fund

When it comes to investments across an entire fund, such fees are often determined as a proportion of all managed assets and Vary between 0.20% and 2.00%. Yet excessive expense ratios along with mismanagement can lead to diminished returns from your investments.

In contrast, within deal-by-deal investment scenarios, included management fees might feature acquisition charges around 1.5%, yearly asset administration fees spanning from 1% to 2%, and they could potentially claim between 3% and 6% of annual income—exhibiting an adaptable fee framework that is contingent upon each specific deal’s nature.


To summarize, investors eager to explore the bustling real estate market of Austin can find distinct advantages in both whole fund investing and deal-by-deal investing. The former offers benefits like diversification and improved liquidity, while the latter allows for greater oversight and clarity on each investment.

The decision to opt for one strategy over another should be guided by an investor’s individual objectives, appetite for risk, and availability to dedicate time to their investments. Both novice and experienced investors will benefit from grasping these approaches as they seek to optimize their returns within Austin’s vibrant property sector.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a whole fund?

In the realm of fund distribution, a pivotal principle dictates that managers are entitled to receive carried interest only after investors have not only regained all their initial capital contributions but also earned a preferred return. This distribution model is known as the whole fund approach.

What is deal-by-deal basis?

The term “deal-by-deal basis” pertains to a framework in which the carried interest is allocated for each discrete investment. This structure is prevalent within venture capital realms and various other contexts that involve striking deals, wherein every deal warrants the creation of an independent investment entity.

Adopting this methodology facilitates distinct evaluation and oversight over each individual investment prospect.

How can I decide which investment strategy is right for me?

When formulating an appropriate investment strategy, it’s important to take into account your financial goals, how much risk you are willing to bear, and the amount of time you can dedicate to managing your investments.

Seeking advice from a financial advisor or reaching out to an investment firm will assist in making a well-informed decision regarding your investment approach.

Andrew Campbell
Written by Andrew Campbell

Andrew Campbell is a native Austinite and Managing Partner at Wildhorn. He is a real estate entrepreneur who first broke into the business in 2008 as a passive investor. In 2010 he transitioned into active investing and management of a personal portfolio that grew to 76 units across Austin and San Antonio. He earned his stripes building and managing his personal portfolio before founding Wildhorn Capital and focusing on larger multifamily buildings. At Wildhorn, he is focused on Acquisitions and maintaining Investor Relations, utilizing his marketing and communications background to build long-term relationships.

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