Madeleina Maïna February 20, 2021 Spreadsheet
The second component of a good real estate investment spreadsheet is a long cash flow projection period. Property investments are typically very long term ‐‐ from 10 to 20 years on average. In particular, if you are buying real property for long term portfolio holdings, it makes sense to have at least 10 years of monthly or quarterly data, and even up to 30 years. This ensures you capture the entire future cash flows, and enables a much more accurate determination of net present value, internal rate of return, and capitalization factors.
Finally, when applying discount factors, where do you intend to get your discount numbers? For a company with existing debt and equity capital you can calculate WACC and use that. For a startup company you need to figure out a risk‐adjusted cost of capital that makes sense. Usually this is not just a risk‐free rate which only the largest companies in the world have access to. It‘s probably something higher.
The small business has different accounting needs which are better described as bookkeeping than accounting. For non limited companies that do not need to produce a balance sheet then a simple income and expenditure account can be produced much simpler using single entry bookkeeping principles. Less financial control is often required from small business accounting software as the bookkeeper is often the owner manager who already has an intimate knowledge of each transaction. Books are still required for tax purposes and a solid requirement of preparing a set of financial books for tax purposes is that each entry is supported by third party evidence.
Also, how long is your investment horizon? Is it really that important to you to project out to 30 years or is 3‐5 years sufficient along with a terminal value that represents the expected NPV beyond 5 years? Usually this latter approach works best and looks the most credible to potential investors. There are numerous ways to calculate terminal value including multiples, current market values projected forward, and round guesstimates. Obviously these decisions are affected by your personal preference and the type of investment for which you‘re calculating present value.
So every cell has its own unique address, comprising the letter of the column and the number of the row for example (A1, A2 and so on). You can type numbers, text or formulas into these cells. The formulas make it possible to get the program to do all the time consuming arithmetic for you. One last tip for learning how to figure out spreadsheets is when you are dealing with numbers, it pays to give some thought to how to lay out the spreadsheet. When you type in information, be as careful as possible. Also remember, it is the ability to perform complex calculations that makes spreadsheets such powerful tools. It is worth the effort to learn how to use formulas correctly.
Our first step is to capture non‐quantitative data in the spreadsheet, so we reserve a worksheet for that. This is used for location and condition information such as address, zoning category, residential vs. commercial, neighborhood, occupancy in the building and surrounding area, school district, etc. This will all be useful for financing and insurance purposes, as well as keeping track of a number of properties if you have a large real estate portfolio or a property management company. You might want to put it into a standard database format in case you want to save and analyze the information later.