Bridgette Sibylle February 16, 2021 Spreadsheet
Most investment real estate financial modeling is done in spreadsheets. These can be built for the purpose or, better yet, purchased from a reputable software vendor or consulting firm that specializes in real estate. When building or buying a good real estate investment spreadsheet, there are several critical components you should consider.
Part of the fundamental financial analysis of any company, investment security, or business project entails the computation of cash flows. This is typically done in a cash flow template Excel spreadsheet which is pre‐built for the purpose. The reason for this is that this type of template is not a simple calculator you build on the fly with little effort. It requires a lot of thinking, organizing the spreadsheets and formulas, and some planning about how to model cash in and cash out for each potential investment. In other words, there is no cookie cutter approach because each potential investment has different profit and loss drivers.
The need for new and/or different systems to support a company‘s growth is not avoidable. Just plan to address them before the pain at each juncture is so great that your people start leaving for a company that has better, more efficient systems in place. When you do start this planning phase, be sure to use experts that are not tied to a particular solution. You know the old saying... When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. In the past, the easiest way to share a small database was to create a spreadsheet and email it to your collaborators. This time‐tested method has withstood more sophisticated competition for several reasons.
Third, building the right kinds of collaborative applications requires some skill and understanding how and what kinds of data are shared. How many people are going to be adding/changing records to your database? How many just want to do queries and reports? And how do you prevent conflicting updates? Finally, when you add the Web and Internet‐based access to the data, you have greatly increased the skill level required to create and manage your database. While there are some really good Internet‐facing database programs (Alpha Software, Filemaker, Quickbase from Intuit, and DabbleDb ‐ just to name a few that I know of), none of these are as easy to setup and manipulate as Trackvia.com, a service that has been out for the past year but recently gotten some much‐needed improvements.
Next, add the dollar amount of your goals and the time in month or years. The long term goals will probably be in years and the short term goals in months. Set up a formula to divide the total goal amount by the goal length in months. This is the amount you need to save each month to achieve your goals. Set up a budget to help you save more money if you feel you can‘t make your goal savings each month. For extra help, open up another sheet and record your progress. Every week or every month write about how you are reaching your goals and if you are able to save the minimum each month. Try to save a little more each month and cut down on your time table, or if you can reach your monthly goal, adjust it. With this plan, you can include goals to save for big items such as a car or house, or to pay down debt.
Designing a strong real estate spreadsheet requires some forethought about the uses, calculations, and net results you‘re looking for. This should be done before you ever get started. Here we demonstrate some key considerations by means of a case study. To demonstrate the proper approach to designing and building a real estate spreadsheet in Excel, let‘s use a residential multi‐unit rehabilitation project example. To keep it simple, let‘s assume it has 4 apartment units, was built 60 years ago, has 3 existing tenants, and requires new interior and exterior paint, some plumbing and electrical work to update the property to modern safety standards, and a partial re‐roofing to fix some water damage.