Joslyn Lylia December 27, 2020 Spreadsheet
Next, how much detail do you need in your cash flow template Excel spreadsheet at the individual line item level? Is cash from financing sufficient or do you need equity financing, debt financing, interest earned, etc. Also how do you intend to handle depreciation and amortization, since these are non‐cash items that are typically added back to the income statement entries when determining the cash effect.
One of the first things to consider is what kind of data you have to work with in your cash flow template Excel spreadsheet. Ideally, you‘re looking for accurate monthly data including income statement items like revenue and operating expenses and balance sheet items like equipment purchases and cash from financing activities. If you have a longer time frame you can go with quarterly periods, but annual tends to be too long. After all, how can you predict what is going to happen beyond 5 years with any accuracy unless you‘re valuing an annuity?
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.
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.
Doing spreadsheets on a computer may seem a little complicated at first. But a small investment of time and effort will soon pay dividend, because once you have the hang of them, spreadsheets can perform complex financial calculations. For example you can set up a spreadsheet to work out the true cost of running your car, including such invisible outlay as depreciation and wear and tear. All you have to do is explain the task to the program once and it will do all the hard arithmetic for you, month after month, year after year.
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.