Eloise Elyne February 17, 2021 Spreadsheet
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.
When a team of people reaches this point ‐ whether they are a small company or a department within a larger enterprise ‐ they need a central collaboration solution built. They may be able to buy it or they may have to build one, depending on their specific needs. But the pain of trying to collaborate is now so high that they are suffocating ‐ a significant growth bottleneck has set in.
Accounting software is used by accountants to enter many complex financial transactions into the financial books of account and is almost invariably based upon double entry bookkeeping principles. A major advantage to those companies and the finance staff is the extent to which financial information contained in the database can be queried for financial control purposes. An accountant needs to not only ensure the financial records are accurate but also retrieve any part of the accounting records to answer accounting questions on the accounts, provide a legal basis for the transactions and report the financial statements at regular periodic intervals.
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.
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.
Most investment real estate financial modeling is done in spreadsheets. These can be built for the purpose or, better yet, purchased from a reputable software vendor or consulting firm that specializes in real estate. When building or buying a good real estate investment spreadsheet, there are several critical components you should consider.