If you type “real estate pitch book” into Google, you’re likely to encounter a slew of surface-level advice pieces that offer little nuance or detail.
Such advice outlines what you need to do—tailor your message to investors, showcase your financials, and include market analysis, among others. But rarely do they explain how to do these things.
That’s why we crafted this article: to bridge this knowledge gap.
The thing is, persuading investors to back a real estate project is different from pitching a startup idea or a fund. Here, we’re navigating a very specific structure, one that differs markedly from a venture capital pitch deck or even a real estate fund pitch deck.
Having crafted dozens of real estate pitch decks and pitch books that successfully raised hundreds of millions of dollars for projects ranging from residential Class A-C multifamily projects to hotels to commercial properties, we’re here to share our most effective strategies for your RE pitch book structure and presentation.
We’ll also use our client’s success cases as real estate pitch book examples and illustrate the tips and recommendations we provide. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have a clear pitch book template that is guaranteed to drive investor engagement.
What is a real estate pitch book—and what it’s not
A real estate investment pitch book is a key document in attracting investment for your real estate development project. Typically encompassing 15-30 slides, it is the breakdown of your project, structured to convince investors of its potential.
What a real estate pitch book is not:
- An investment (fund) pitch deck. Unlike investment pitch decks made by funds to specifically target LPs, pitch books are created by developers or stakeholders of a specific real estate project and can target various investors.
- A startup pitch deck for VCs or angel investors. Unlike the often fluid and story-driven format of startup decks, real estate pitch books rely on concrete data and a more formalized structure to make their case.
By defining its parameters, we clarify what the real estate pitch book is—a focused, data-driven presentation of a single real estate project.
Crafting a killer real estate project pitch book: structure + examples
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The following structure will give you all the necessary directions and key elements that investors expect to see in your pitch book while still allowing you the freedom to put your own spin on it.
The opening slide in real estate presentations doesn’t usually hold as much value as is often attributed to it. Yet, it sets the tone for the rest of your pitch book, so we suggest using it wisely.
There are two ways to open your presentation:
- Factual project description: “Luxury apartment homes for 236 units; investment opportunity” or “Class-A multifamily real estate”;
- Vision or Mission statement: “Farm-to-Table style for the experience-driven retreat seekers”
Examples of the intro slide:
#2 Executive summary
Every real estate pitch book begins with an executive summary that gives investors a quick overview of your deck’s most important points.
Here’s what to include in this section:
- Key information about the development company: project track record, secured loans and investments, years of experience, and so on.
- A brief description of the property
- The purchase price
- The funding required
- The exit strategy
The text in this section should be concise; it’s best if it doesn’t spill over onto more than two slides. Strive for brevity. Where possible, use bullet points to catch attention and avoid creating large blocks of text that investors will have to wade through. The more succinct the section, the better.
Example of the executive summary section slide:
#3 Property overview/Project details
In this section, you need to introduce your opportunity in the most appealing way. Aim for 2-3 slides.
Here is how you do that:
- In a short paragraph, summarize all the key information about the project:
- Eldorado Springs: Class-A luxury multifamily apartment project.
- Include the location and demonstrate its proximity to other locations of interest:
- The Southwest side of Colorado Springs, Harrison school district. It is only 5 minutes from downtown, close to shopping and Pikes Fort Carson.
Always include a map photo with the location and the nearby areas.
- Mention key facts about the project and, if possible, add metrics like unit count, occupancy rate, etc.:
- Approved a 236-apartment multifamily site development plan;
- 236 large one, two, and three-bedroom apartments.
- Mention the amenities that will increase the appeal and commercial value of the property. Depending on the property class, it can include the following things:
- Concierge services
- Conference rooms
- Designated dog area, etc.
Examples of the property overview section slides:
#4 Market and submarket analysis
For your pitch book to truly impact investors, you need a detailed market and submarket analysis. This section should meet two objectives:
- Show why the location boosts the investment’s appeal and its ability to perform well, separate from the specific real estate.
- Prove favorable market conditions by discussing demographics, trends, supply and demand, competition, and growth potential.
The focus may vary by project type. For instance, in hotel developments, the trend in tourism rates could be more vital than demographics.
Incorporate facts that reinforce your story, such as:
- Increased tourism
- Visa policy changes facilitating travel
- Rising local population
- Scarcity of housing or leisure facilities
- Upcoming developments in social, leisure, or business amenities
Consider these metrics for a comprehensive market analysis:
- Proximity to hospitals, tourist spots, etc.
- Average home values
- Year-over-year rent growth
- Share of the population that rents
- Job creation rates
- Percentage of white-collar workers nearby
- Leading employers and their size
- Anticipated wage increases
- Job growth per million people
- Key job sectors and their expansion
- Rent as a fraction of income
- Average household income
- Local unemployment figures
- Rent and sale price comparisons
- Returns compared to other asset types
You might need up to four slides for this section.
Examples of the market and submarket section slides:
#5 Business plan
In the business plan section, you’ll demonstrate to investors how you intend to enhance cash flow and build equity for them. To convey this effectively, be sure to include:
- A strategy outline covering acquisition, renovations, and exit plans.
- A detailed timeline and budget that aligns with your strategy.
- Your market positioning and competitive advantage. Tip: It’s usually best not to mention competitors by name.
- A profile of your ideal customer or buyer detailing demographics such as age, income, family size, education level, and so forth.
- By detailing these elements, you signal to investors that you have a clear, actionable plan for generating returns.
Examples of the business plan section slides:
Your financial projections must provide a breakdown of projected revenues, costs, profits, and the timeline for achieving those.
They should include the following:
- Your sources and uses of funds
- Relevant assumptions: sales pieces, rental rates, square footage, unit count/unit mix/key count, vacancy/occupancy rates, cap rates, LTC/LTV, land or property acquisition price
- Hard and soft budget breakdowns; if applicable, show each line item per unit and/or square footage
- Сash flow or income statement with a total exit valuation or sales proceeds amount
- Return and debt metrics like levered and unlevered returns, stabilized yield-on-cost, debt service coverage ratio, sensitivity analysis on major assumptions, exit strategy, etc.
Examples of the financials section slides:
Investors always want to see that the people standing behind the project are experienced and trustworthy. They need an answer to the “Why you?” question.
Here is how to do this:
- Highlight the founding, managing, and strategic partners responsible for facilitating the project
- Some terms might also include relevant attorneys and CPAs
Example of the team section slide:
If you have a trail of successful projects to show off, do it:
- Include prior properties, case studies, and before/after projects; if possible, show realized returns
- Include all your assets under management (AUM) with a list of relevant properties with all their actuals, locations, and images
- Add a total AUM with the list of each relevant property, including actuals, locations, and images
Example of the portfolio section slide:
#9 Funding ask/Financing terms
This section is where you specify your funding requirements. Real estate financing typically falls into two categories: debt or equity.
- For Debt: Clearly state the total amount needed. Detail the loan’s terms, including amortization, interest rates, and type, and the repayment schedule.
- For Equity: Outline the total equity required, the minimum investment per investor, the distribution structure (such as a waterfall), associated fees, and any other important terms.
Investors will appreciate transparency and detail about the financial arrangements you’re proposing.
Example of the funding ask section slide:
There are a few optional slides you can add to make your pitch book stand out a bit more:
- Investment highlights
- Community or social impact of the project
Common mistakes in real estate pitch books
Here are the problems we see in pitch books time and time again:
#1. Lack of clear value signals
Project stakeholders often fail to present the unique benefits or standout features of the project and its location that make it more appealing to future customers, renters, or buyers. This mistake stems from shallow market analysis and research, which can kill your argument and deprive you of investor confidence.
#2. Talking about a problem instead of an opportunity
Many conflate VC pitch decks with real estate pitch books and follow the VC deck’s typical problem-solution narrative. This is a mistake. Real estate decks should frame the narrative as an opportunity—a gap in the market that, when filled, can yield great returns.
#3. Withholding your terms
Many teams mistakenly omit their investment terms and conditions from their pitch book. This creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and skepticism. Without clear terms, some investors might make assumptions about their role, returns, or timeline that do not align with the project’s actual plans and pass on the opportunity altogether.
#4. Overdesigning your slides
There are two extremes that don’t work for real estate investors: overdesigning slides and not designing them at all. While the latter is a well-known engagement killer for any deck, the problem with overdesigning is that real estate investors are more conservative than VCs or angels. To avoid putting investors off, keep your designs clean and simple.
#5. Focusing on the wrong information
Including excessively detailed architectural plans and engineering specifics can overwhelm investors and detract from the key financial and strategic aspects of the project. To keep your slides concise without omitting crucial information, always ask yourself:
- Do investors need to know this? If so, why?
- Should I provide more details to strengthen my argument?
#6. Inappropriate storytelling
While an engaging startup story is crucial in startup pitch decks, in real estate, it’s easy to overdo it. Real estate investors are typically more conservative and prefer a strict, no-fluff structure. Altering the structure in favor of a narrative can be counterproductive. It’s crucial to use exact and straightforward messaging that leaves no room for interpretation.
Your pitch book is your case in court
When crafting your pitch book, you’re no different from a lawyer making a case in court. Each section and slide must strengthen your main argument and alleviate doubts investors will inevitably have. Hopefully, this article gave you actionable directions on how to make a strong investment case.