Melaine Blanche September 4, 2020 Spreadsheet
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Another important feature of a household budget spreadsheet program is the flexibility to allow the user to enter all elements of the family budget. It must allow some space for the income sources, expenses, and utilities. That way, you can plan your family‘s finances more efficiently. You can find several home budget spreadsheets with standard add‐ons such as calendar, calculator, savings planner, and credit card manager. The spreadsheet software you will use depends on the add‐ons that you think are suitable to your budgeting needs.