Madeline Esma February 21, 2021 Spreadsheet
Creating a household budget using the traditional pen‐and‐paper method has almost become the thing of the past. Today, more and more people are turning to more sophisticated ways to make their budgeting tasks a lot faster and easier. One of the best tools in effectively planning a family budget is a household budget spreadsheet software program, which is widely available on the Internet nowadays.
First, databases are still tricky for some people to understand. While relational databases can be thought of as tables that have several indexes, this is more than many people want to deal with. Second, the collaboration tools are tough to learn and use. Look at how many people still use Lotus Notes for email and not much else. And since most of us are comfortable with email, using it as the transportation system isn‘t all that taxing. Until the day comes when three people are working on the same spreadsheet and make conflicting changes.
I love spreadsheets. I use them for everything I can and every kind of organization. I, honestly, don‘t know what I would do without them or what how I used to cope before I first discovered them. I use a spreadsheet to balance my checkbook, to manage my business expenses, and to make ‘To Do‘ lists to plan out my days. I also use spreadsheets to manage my money and set my financial goals.
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.
The fourth component to look for in a real estate investment spreadsheet is the ability to input growth rates. Instead of manually keying in different numbers, say for utility costs or rental rates, simply changing a periodic growth rate is much faster and easier. Most good investment models will allow the user to change the important input factors via growth rate variables. This substantially reduces the time to analyze different scenarios and allows the spreadsheet model to be semi‐automated.
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.