Since starting A.CRE, Michael and I have fielded email after email requesting a more structured real estate financial modeling training program on the site.
Important Note: We’re updating and adding to the Accelerator every week. Since launch, we’ve made hundreds of content updates, added an Advanced Concepts course and a Library of Supplementary Tools section, responded to 200+ topics raised in the Accelerator forums to date, and much more. Click here to view the changelog and see what’s new in the Accelerator.
Over the years, we’ve covered hundreds of real estate modeling topics in our blog, published hours of video, and shared 50+ real estate Excel models in our Library. Nonetheless, no matter how many posts we publish or models we share, we continue to get the same questions. What does it take to become fully proficient? What do I focus on and in what order?
So about a year ago we set out to provide a solution, and today we’re excited to share it with you – The A.CRE Real Estate Financial Modeling Accelerator. The Accelerator is a series of 16 case-based courses, with all new content exclusive to Accelerator members, that prioritizes the right information in the ideal order.
What is the Real Estate Financial Modeling Accelerator?
The Accelerator is a comprehensive, case-based, real estate financial modeling training program.
It consists of 16 core courses with accompanying case studies and Watch Me Build videos; an interactive student-instructor forum with 150+ threads (and growing daily); an Advanced Concepts section where every month we add new modules that explore the more nuanced techniques in real estate financial modeling (e.g. Modeling Partnership Crystallization). And a growing library of supplementary resources such as Watch Me Build videos, case studies, and technical interview exams to help you augment your practice and learning.
The program is tailored to two types of professionals:
To those with limited real estate financial modeling skills looking to model their own deals, transition to a completely different role in CRE, or land their first job in industry.
And to those with intermediate to advanced modeling skills but gaps in their knowledge (e.g. lacking institutional modeling experience, certain property type expertise, etc.).
All members who complete the 16 core courses receive a ‘Certificate of Completion’, unique to them with custom URL, that can be shared on LinkedIn and with employers to confirm completion of this rigorous real estate financial modeling training program.
Why a Real Estate Financial Modeling Accelerator?
In the Adventures in CRE Audio series, season 1 episode 10, Michael and I dive into why we created the real estate financial modeling Accelerator. If you’re considering the Accelerator, I highly recommend you listen to this episode as we take a more pronounced look into the why behind this program.
Accelerator – More Than Just Real Estate Financial Modeling Courses
When we started, what we didn’t want to end up with was a typical online real estate financial modeling course. We’ve all taken them and while they are a piece of the puzzle, they lack the sort of true-to-life application that leads one to true proficiency.
On top of that, Michael and I have already covered virtually every concept on our blog. Thus, creating a compilation of our 200+ posts may have been a profitable exercise, but it wouldn’t have created the value we would have wanted when we were at the early stage of our professional development.
And so we’ve set out to develop something different. An Accelerator.
Accelerator (noun): “a person or thing that causes something to happen or develop more quickly.”
An accelerator is meant to help someone who’s already on their way to get to their destination faster and more efficiently. Think of it as a toll road (or express lane) for real estate financial modeling learning.
You could read all 200 of our blog posts, take apart all 50 of our real estate models, and eventually you’d get there. Or you could cut to the chase, spend 8 to 12 solid weeks with the A.CRE Accelerator, and get there much faster.
In short, the goal of the Accelerator is to bring laser-focus to the process. To teach you the right information in the right order. To help you learn to model real estate in a fraction of the time without wasting energy on irrelevant information.
A Real-World Curriculum
Michael and I believe that you don’t truly learn real estate financial modeling until you actually do it in the real world.
The challenge is, most employers expect you to already have the skills before they interview you. And since most schools only teach the theoretical and the online courses are lacking in depth and applicability, most of us are left to our own devices to learn.
To accelerate the learning process, we’ve developed a case-based curriculum that focuses on what really goes on out here.
In our combined 25 years in real estate, we’ve modeled hundreds of institutional deals worth $20+ billion; saying nothing of the thousands of hours spent on A.CRE projects. We’ve worked carefully to create course content that parallels the realities of the industry.
For example, many of the hypothetical deals used in the Accelerator come from our hypothetical brokerage firm – East Lang Ellis.
For many of the case studies, this hypothetical firm shares a link to a deal War Room where you’ll find realistic looking offering (or financing) memoranda, operating statements, rent rolls, and other deal-specific documents.
Furthermore, the cases use real-to-life jargon, processes, and examples so that you learn real estate financial modeling as if an actual boss was giving you real deals to underwrite.
Modern, Easy-to-Navigate, Proprietary Interface
Besides developing true-to-life content, having a learning interface that was attractive, easy-to-navigate, and housed within our Adventures in CRE site was essential. This piece took some time to come together, and we continue to make regular improvements based on feedback from Accelerator members. But thanks to a couple of people far more technically capable than we are, we have a learning platform we’re really excited about.
What’s New – Accelerator Changelog
Accelerator member? Click here to view Changelog with links to new features
- Video response to question related to modeling existing debt
- Lengthy forum response related to performing comp analysis
- Added ‘Watch Me Build Data Tables for Real Estate Sensitivity Analysis’ tutorial to Library of Supplementary Learning Tools
- Added ‘Modeling Existing Debt’ forum video to Library of Supplementary Learning Tools
- Added guidance on how to include the A.CRE Accelerator Certificate of Completion on graduates’ resume
- Note added to ‘Waterfall Model #1 – Annual Cash Flows and a Cash-on-Cash Hurdle’ lecture to address an optional modification to the model
- Forum thread discussing modification to Cash-on-Cash Waterfall model that would improve consistency
- Added ‘Mezz Debt – Interest Partially Capitalized’ video tutorial to Library of Supplementary Learning Tools
- Added note to ‘Modeling Alternative Interest Calculation Methods’ lecture related to using one method for charging interest, while using a separate method for setting debt service payment
- Created video forum response related to question about ‘Variability in Operating Expenses Based on Occupancy’
- Added new section to ‘Library of Supplementary Learning Tools’ entitled ‘Forum Post Videos’, providing quick access to video tutorials created in response to forum questions
- One Technique for Manually Auditing an Excel Model
- Creating Custom Conditional Formatting Rules
- Troubleshooting Slow Excel Workbooks
- Modeling a Simple Interest Preferred Return
- Combining Multiple Uses from Two Models into One
- Modeling Lease-Up Income During Construction
- Waterfall with Mid-Hold Capital Event
- Two Methods for Modeling Residential Lease-Up
- Greater Explanation of Circuit Breaker
- Adding an Operating Shortfall to Model
- How to Model Multi-tenant Industrial Building Converted to Condo
- Hiding/Showing Excess Rows and Columns
- Catch Up Provision Example
- Added new module to ‘Advanced Concepts’ course entitled ‘Creating In-Cell Buttons, Toggles, and Navigation Buttons’ in Excel
- Created video response to forum question related to making real estate financial models more intuitive and user-friendly
- Updated Guide to Getting Started to highlight the new and expanding supplementary resources
- Update ‘The Foles’ offering memorandum to correct a rounding error in average SF (790 vs 791)
- Updated ‘Crescent Apartments’ Sales Comps Excel file to use weighted average square feet rather than average
- In course 8. Partnership-Level (Waterfall) Modeling, changed the Equity Multiple calculations for the GP and LP in lectures 2.5 and 3.1-3.2 to the more robust SUMIF() logic
- Launched bonus ‘Guide to Networking and Careers in CRE’ course for all Accelerator Members. Includes three career case studies, nearly two hours of audio lectures, and lecture notes for how to land that next (or first) job in commercial real estate
- Added lecture: Introduction to Careers in CRE
- Added lecture: Building Your Value in Real Estate – Deal Seasoning and Quality of Network
- Added lecture: A Framework for Landing that First (or Next) Job in CRE
- Added lecture: Step 1: Choose Your Focus – Property Type, Location, Firm Type, and Role Type
- Added lecture: Step 2: Create Your “LAMP 4 CRE” List
- Added lecture: Step 3: Identify Contacts at Companies on Your List
- Added lecture: Step 4: Reach Out and Build Your Network
- Added lecture: Step 5: Submit “Warm” Applications
- Added lecture: Practice Regular Follow-Up and Give Back as Your Career Grows
- Added lecture: Appendix: The Real Estate Resume
- Updated five videos in Long-Term Leasing section of Introduction to Modeling Leases course to fix three minor errors visible in each of the videos
- Updated the Watch Me Build video and final Excel file for the Introduction to Modeling Leases course
- Added ‘Watch Me Expand a Single Family Home Construction Pro Forma to Analyze Multiple Homes’ to library of supplementary tools.
- In response to a forum post, a lengthy discussion on why use Yield-on-Cost in value-add underwriting
- Released the ‘Modeling Annual Partnership Distributions with Monthly Property-Level Cash Flows’ module in the Advanced Concepts course
- Released the ‘Framework for Modeling Mixed-Use Investments’ module in the Advanced Concepts courses
- Reorganized the layout of the Advanced Concepts course, separating the various modules into three sections to make it easier to navigate the course
- Video response to forum post related to partnership distributions upon mid-hold cash-out refinance events
- Created new bonus course entitled: Library of Supplementary Learning Tools
- Moved Watch Me Build videos from Advanced Concepts course to this new course
- Added section where we will begin to add supplementary Case Studies
- Added section where we will begin to add supplementary Technical Interview Exams
- Added section where we will begin to add supplementary Excel files
- Updated ‘Modeling Multiple Tranches of Capital Sources Dynamically’ module to include an optional tutorial for modeling irregular timing of contributions of capital
- Video response to a forum post about how to handle irregular timing of contributions of capital
- Video tutorial created, in response to a forum question, showing how to create custom Conditional Formatting rules to improve user experience
- Minor update to the ‘Step 2’ video in the ‘Working with Apartment Rent Roll Exports’ lecture of the Real Estate Income Statement – Multifamily course
- Added 10-part ‘Watch Me Build’ supplementary series to the Advanced Concepts in Real Estate Financial Modeling course. Lectures include:
- Lecture 2.1 – Introduction to this Watch Me Build Section
- Lecture 2.2 – Watch Me Build a Residential Land Development Model
- Lecture 2.3 – Watch Me Build a Multifamily Real Estate Model
- Lecture 2.4 – Watch Me Build a Tenant Rollover Analysis Model
- Lecture 2.5 – Watch Me Build a 4-Tier Equity Multiple Waterfall Model
- Lecture 2.6 – Watch Me Build a Construction Draw Schedule
- Lecture 2.7 – Watch Me Solve a REPE Technical Interview Modeling Test
- Lecture 2.8 – Watch Me Build a Dynamic Mortgage Amortization Table in Excel
- Lecture 2.9 – Watch Me Build 30/360, Actual/365, Actual/360 Amortization Tables
- Lecture 2.10 – Watch Me Build a 3-Tier Real Estate Equity Waterfall Model
- Released the Accelerator for Enterprise, a platform for the Accelerator real estate financial modeling training program tailor-made for organizations
- New Master Accounts and Sub-accounts
- Add new licenses as needed
- Separate login and forum for Enterprise
- Enterprise Dashboard where Master Account holder can add/edit/remove users
- Weekly email progress sent to Master Account for each sub-account; view progress of sub-account user at anytime view the Enterprise Dashboard
- Video response to a forum post on how to calculate simple interest preferred return (i.e. preferred return calculated on contributed capital); the video also covers the difference between a Cash-on-Cash vs. IRR preferred return hurdle
- Video response to a forum post on using multiple single-use models to analyze a mixed-use opportunity
- Minor error fix: In the videos for course 1. Direct Cap Method to Valuing Real Estate, the operating expenses /Unit heading reads ‘/Unit/Mo’ but it should read ‘/Unit/Yr’. The template and completed files have been corrected.
- Built and shared a multi-tiered cash-on-cash return waterfall model to help answer a forum post
- Updated General Vacancy and Credit Loss language in Boss’ Notes on The Foles case to make it more clear that the assumption should be 5% of Gross Revenue
- Video tutorial in response to forum question around how to fix a slow Excel Workbook
- Added text-searchable captions to all 217 videos within the following courses/sections
- All videos posted to forum threads
- i. Guide to Getting Started with A.CRE Accelerator
- 1. The Direct Cap Method to Valuing Real Estate
- 2. The DCF Method to Valuing Real Estate
- 3. Anatomy of the Real Estate DCF
- 3a. Calculating Key Risk and Return Metrics
- 4a. Real Estate Income Statement – Retail
- 4b. Real Estate Income Statement – Hotel
- 4c. Real Estate Income Statement – Office
- 4d. Real Estate Income Statement – Multifamily
- 4e. Real Estate Income Statement – Industrial
- 5. Introduction to Modeling Leases
- 6. Introduction to Development Cash Flow Modeling
- 7. Introduction to Real Estate Debt
- 8. Introduction to Partnership-Level (Waterfall) Modeling
- 9. Building an Acquisitions Model from Scratch
- 10. Building a Development Model from Scratch
- 11. Solving a Real Estate Financial Modeling Test
- Advanced Concepts in Real Estate Financial Modeling
- Added link to forward rate curve on How to Model Floating Rate Debt module
- Replaced a broken link in lecture 2.3 of course 1. The Direct Cap Method to Valuing Real Estate, that had referenced now unavailable information on RUBS
- Minor update to the ‘Guide to Getting Started’
- Updated Boss’ Notes in Course 1 to clear up confusion around Gross Potential Revenue vs. Gross Market Rent
- A video response to a forum question about modeling multifamily lease-up during construction
- In response to a forum question, the guys offer one methodology for determining the discount rate to use when calculating the present value of a tax abatement benefit
- 17 new topics added to the Accelerator forums
- Released ‘Considerations in Portfolio-Level Modeling’ module in the Advanced Concepts course
- Prior quiz results are now archived after each attempt so you can see past results
- Added functionality to be able to review quiz results after completion
- In response to a forum post, Spencer created a quick tutorial for partitioning the IRR of an investment with a mid-hold cash-out refinance
- A forum question and multiple responses around how to calculate cash-on-cash return in the context of a construction loan takeout with equity proceeds
- Released ‘Modeling Partnership Crystallization / Ownership Reset’ module in the Advanced Concepts course
- Misc. updates to 6. Introduction to Development Cash Flow Modeling
- 15 new topics added to the Accelerator forums
- Added link to the A.CRE Job Board in the main menu; A.CRE Jobs is a great free resource for Accelerator members to search for jobs in CRE
- Released ‘Add a Recalculate Button to Your Development Model with Non-Circular References’ module in the Advanced Concepts course
- In response to a forum post, Michael uploaded a video where he expands on the discussion of adding a Circuit Breaker when using circular references in Excel
- A greater explanation of the logic used to calculate GP Distribution is now provided in Lecture 2.3 of Course 8. Introduction to Partnership-Level (Waterfall) Modeling
- Update Accelerator Member home page to include button to Accelerator Forums
- Revamped Hotel Income Statement course to provide greater clarity and improve video tutorials
- Updated video to Course 7, Lecture 3.5 – Projecting Debt And The Interest Reserve Over the Development Period – Without Circular References – to improve debt cumulative balance calculation formula.
- In response to a forum post, Spencer uploaded a video tutorial of two methods for modeling residential lease-up
- Added video to lecture 2.3 of ’11. Solving a Real Estate Financial Modeling Test’ showing an alternative (and preferred) method for calculating the mezzanine loan debt service payment in this case
- 19 new topics added to the Accelerator forums
- Created ‘What’s New – Accelerator Changelog’ page for helping users track changes and be made aware of new features
- Edited ‘Guide to Getting Started’ with link to Accelerator Changelog page
- Added links to Changelog on member home screen
- Released ‘One Technique for Modeling an LP Clawback Provision’ module in Advanced Concepts course
- Released ‘Modeling a Construction Loan Takeout’ module in the Advanced Concepts course
- In the ‘Guide to Getting Started’, combined “More Than Just a Real Estate Financial Modeling Course” lecture with the “What is the Accelerator?” lecture
- Updated ‘Key-Excel-Functions.xlsx’ to ‘Key-Excel-Functions-v1.1.xlsx’, a Workbook included in the Guide to Getting Started, fixes issue where INDEX/MATCH, VLOOKUP, and HLOOKUP were not calculating correctly
- In response to a forum question, uploaded a video tutorial for adding an Operating Shortfall to my ‘Watch Me Complete’ a WSO REPE Modeling Test
- Added two new forums
- Non-Course Specific Real Estate Financial Modeling Questions
- Careers in Real Estate Questions
- Added a discussion around IRR*12 vs XIRR in partnership-level waterfall modeling. This can be found under the heading ‘A Comment on IRR Calculation Methods’ in lecture 2.3 of ‘8. Introduction to Partnership-Level (Waterfall) Modeling’
- 11 new topics added to the Accelerator forums
- Misc. content updates and bug fixes
- Added enhanced search feature to make finding information in forums and courses faster and easier
- Added to main menu, page sidebar and course sidebar
- In-lecture search functionality to be released in June 2019
- Released ‘Two Techniques for Modeling a GP Catch Up Provision’ module in Advanced Concepts course
- 17 topics added to the Accelerator forums
- Implemented various server-side enhancements and adjustments to improve website speed
- Released ‘Real Estate Sensitivity Analysis Using a Data Table in Excel’ module in Advanced Concepts course
- Released ‘Modeling Multiple Tranches of Capital Sources Dynamically’ module in Advanced Concepts course
- 24 topics added to the Accelerator forums
- Misc. content updates and bug fixes
- Added ‘Advanced Concepts in Real Estate Financial Modeling’ course layout and curriculum
- Released ‘Introduction to Advanced Concepts’ module in Advanced Concepts course
- Released ‘Modeling Floating (Variable) Rate Debt’ module in Advanced Concepts course
- 31 topics added to the Accelerator forums
- Misc. content updates and bug fixes
- 20 topics added to the Accelerator forums
- Fixed an issue where courses we’re not appearing properly for some users
- Visual enhancements to Learning Dashboard
- Various content updates and Excel model bug fixes
- Initial launch of 16 core Accelerator courses and Accelerator forums
- 31 topics added to the Accelerator forums
- Various content updates and Excel model bug fixes
About the Author: Born and raised in the Northwest United States, Spencer Burton has over 15 years of real estate investment and development experience. In his current position, Spencer assesses new acquisition, development, and debt opportunities for a $45bn real estate fund. He resides in Dallas, TX.