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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.

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.

Finding your way around and identifying the various elements of your spreadsheet document will help you navigate around it more easily and use it more effectively. Most elements are the same for all spreadsheet programs but they look quite complicated. But once you understand how they work and how to find your way around them, they are easy to use. To understand from the start you have to know it is a grid of cells. The columns are like the columns in a ledger. You can use them to make lists of figures and perform calculations. Each column is identified by a letter of the alphabet and each row by a number.

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.

Thanks to budgeting tools such as a monthly budget spreadsheet, planning and monitoring your income and expenses can be done in a breeze. A budget spreadsheet allows you to update your entries easily without affecting the accuracy of figures in your budget.

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