Where investing has a higher purpose: Assisted Living

Assisted Living is just that – a property that revolves around providing help to residents in making their daily life more pleasant and rewarding. It’s an interim step between living on their own and living in a nursing home. And it’s a really important step for many Americans.

Many investors in this sector are in it for more than the money

While most all real estate investors will talk about yields and cash-on-cash returns, most assisted living investors are also focused on other non-monetary motives. I know an assisted living owner who tells me that they never got into this asset class to make a fortune but only to help people. And that’s a recurring theme. Most of these investors have had bad experiences in the past with their own relatives’ treatment and quality of life as they aged and want to set that right. They truly care about what the living experience is in their property and who it is benefitting.

It’s a people business

Any way you cut it, assisted living may be the most “people-centric” segment of real estate as you have to wear two distinct “people hats” at the same time: 1) your residents and 2) your staff. Remember that this is not a passive investment, you have to actively make sure that your staff is motivated and pleasant and meeting the needs of the customer 24/7. A happy staff makes for happy customers and vice versa and it’s your job to make that happen. If you don’t like people, you won’t like assisted living ownership.

It can be a win/win for the right investor

I know a person who is the perfect fit for this niche. They have financial goals but also a big heart. And being successful with your assisted living facility means both financial and personal rewards – you really can’t have one without the other. This win/win opportunity elevates assisted living to a higher priority for some investors who crave more than just money as a dividend.

But it’s not for everyone

Assisted living is not a simple, passive investment. It’s not the highest yielding. It’s not the easiest to build into an empire. And it’s certainly the wrong choice if you do not like working with customers, staff, and often some degree of pressure. Lives are at stake literally, and it’s 100% your responsibility to make sure everything is working correctly. You have to desire some form of social benefit from this niche or you may get scared of it or burned out quickly.


Assisted living can be a great win/win investment for the right person. It’s a very interesting niche that few people explore. But it’s not for everyone. And that’s OK.

By Frank Rolfe

Frank Rolfe has been a commercial real estate investor for almost three decades, and currently holds nearly $1 billion of properties in 25 states. His books and courses on commercial property acquisitions and management are among the top-selling in the industry.