Hanriette Enola March 8, 2021 Spreadsheet
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.
On the expenditure side of the business the bookkeeping can also be a simple list of the purchase invoices and receipts showing the amount spent. The list should also produce an audit trail by showing the date of the purchase invoice, name of the supplier, purchase invoice for identification purposes and the total amount spent. Usually tax returns are the main purpose of producing small business accounts and invariably some analysis is required to show what the expenses have been spent on. That is not difficult to achieve and as with the sales accounting the owner manager can add additional standard columns to the bookkeeping spreadsheet.
The third important consideration is the availability of different cash flow valuation methods. Depending on the purpose and vehicle used for the real estate investment, you may want to value the investment on a pro forma basis under a variety of different assumptions. You may also want to calculate or use the break even point, IRR, NPV, and cap rate factors for various purposes. Ensuring the necessary calculations and inputs are available makes it easy to use the same model for different investment opportunities, and eliminates the need to enter all the necessary data twice.
Since this is a residential rental apartment building it makes sense to include rental income in your real estate spreadsheet. That‘s obvious. What isn‘t so obvious are things like interest on tenant deposits, subsidies, tax refunds, etc. When you‘re building the spreadsheet you need to estimate when those revenues will arrive, and that relates to the number of tenants, the rental rates you charge, how long the lease term is for each tenant, etc. You also need to assume some late payments, evictions, and vacant units. If you haven‘t invested in the area before this can be a challenge. You can gather data on that by speaking with local real estate agents, lenders, and tax agencies, or subscribe to an industry database that covers the local area.
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.
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.