3184 students


This is the 13th course in the 16-course Accelerator. In this case-based course, you will learn to model real estate partnership-level returns. Often referred to as waterfall modeling, the process involves forecasting the timing and amount of contributions from and distributions to the partners in a real estate partnership based on the terms of the partnership (i.e. JV) agreement.

In this course you will learn to:

  1. Forecast the amount and timing of contributions from each of the partners in a real estate partnership
  2. Model partnership distributions on a monthly and annual basis
  3. Use several techniques to model preferred return, return of capital, and promote interest
  4. Build multi-tiered waterfall models with various promote levels based on both Cash-on-Cash and IRR hurdles
  5. Model double promote structures (i.e. structures with more than one partnership)
  6. Account for sponsor fees in calculating partnership returns


You are a development manager for A.CRE Development Partners, a boutique real estate development firm in South Florida focused on creative office and mixed-use retail and residential projects. As one of just a handful of real estate professionals at the firm, you’re often required to wear multiple hats and take on more responsibility than many of your friends from college who work at institutional shops.

On top of sourcing land, quarterbacking planning and entitlement, and hiring consultants and general contractors, you’re also tasked with raising capital for the projects you develop. This usually means pitching prospective deals to former investors, friends, and family of the firm’s principals.

This group of early investors in a deal generally provides pursuit capital (i.e. the capital necessary to take a project from bare land to shovel-ready), while the larger equity piece necessary to secure debt financing and take a project vertical (i.e. to build) comes from institutional partners who only invest once a project is fully ready to build. One particular project you’re developing, Frost and Main, was capitalized in this fashion.

Frost and Main is a 210-unit mid-rise apartment project with 40,000 SF of ground floor retail pre-leased to a small format urban grocer. The project is currently under construction, with nearly 50% of the total project cost spent to date. Upon completion, all investors intend to stay in long term. The plan is to take out the construction loan with permanent debt upon stabilization, and then hold the investment for up to 10 years.

The equity capital in Frost and Main consists of friends and family of the firm’s principals at the GP level, with a small pension fund investing the LP equity capital. A local bank is providing a 60% LTC construction loan.


  • Office; concepts apply to all property types


  • While we recommend using Microsoft Excel, as that is the industry standard, this course will work with most other spreadsheet software such as Google Sheets and OpenOffice Calc
  • This course was built using the Google Chrome browser, thus we recommend you use Google Chrome for optimal view experience
  • This course is best taken on a desktop computer, although the platform is compatible with tablet and mobile devices


  • The course assumes you have at least a basic proficiency working with Microsoft Excel


User Avatar Spencer Burton

Spencer Burton is currently President and member of the founding team at Stablewood, a data-infused multi-strategy institutional real estate investor that combines the best of traditional real estate investment with proprietary data analytics and machine learning. Spencer has over 20 years of real estate experience, both as a fiduciary and principal. Over his career, Spencer has helped close $5+ billion and underwrite $30+ billion of commercial real estate at some of the largest institutional real estate firms in the world. He has worked in land brokerage, residential development, commercial real estate acquisitions, debt production, and Investment Manager for a $60 billion institutional real estate investor. Spencer is also the co-creator of AdventuresinCRE.com, the industry’s go-to place for commercial real estate financial modeling, education, and career advancement resources. He is also the author of various AI-powered CRE tools and an expert on the practical application of generative AI in commercial real estate. Spencer Burton holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs with an emphasis in economics from Florida State University and a Masters in Real Estate with a concentration in finance from Cornell University.