Microsoft Excel is the industry-standard software tool for analyzing real estate. While Excel has its drawbacks, and various non-Excel based alternatives are used, the ubiquity of the software and the flexibility it provides continues to support its prevalence.
With that said, Argus is also commonly used and other non-Excel solutions are gaining traction. Firms that use Argus will often model unlevered cash flows for stabilized office, retail and industrial properties in Argus due to its ability to more effectively handle complex reimbursement structures. What those firms will often do is model their office, retail, and industrial properties to Cash Flow from Operations in Argus, and then export those cash flows to Excel where they layer in debt, calculate partnership-level returns, perform scenario analysis, etc.
At A.CRE, and specifically in our real estate financial modeling Accelerator program, we focused on teaching real estate financial modeling via Excel for a couple of reasons. First, the concepts taught in the program are relatable across platforms. So given that Excel is universally used, whereas Argus is not, we chose Excel as the medium to teach those concepts. And second, each firm uses Argus differently and so in our experience, assuming one already understands real estate financial modeling, it’s best from a practical standpoint to learn Argus on the job.