Elements of a Good Real Estate Template

Designing a good real estate template in Excel requires some prior thought about the end use, components, and calculations needed. This article discusses some of the nuances that will help you either build your own or choose an effective pre-built Excel spreadsheet.

One of the initial considerations is what type of investments or projects will you use the real estate template for? Is it for a single family home, multi-unit apartment building, new construction project, or land use and leasing such as a parking lot? There are big differences in the data that needs to be collected and how it should be placed in the Excel template, depending on the nature of your project. At a high level, residential real estate investments require analysis of occupancy, number of units, interior and exterior attributes, and tax information. Commercial real estate investments require more analysis of funding sources such as local government subsidies, drive-by traffic, tenant contractual terms such as triple net leases, and project financing schedules.

You should consider how the Excel real estate template will be used by the person analyzing the investment or project. Is it for gathering basic information like tenants, building condition, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the like? Or is it more of a quantitative cash flow analysis tool where you intend to plug in some base financial information and project cash flows over time with some factors? A data-gathering tool should be laid out in a simple way where the user can quickly tab through cells to enter the data. It should also be easy to capture the data in a database for future analysis. On the other hand, a quantitative calculation template should be focused on capturing the input data and factor multipliers then extrapolating future cash flows with accurate formulas and charts.

How automated do you want the real estate template? There are several ways to automate Excel spreadsheets including formulas, drop down lists, and VBA macro code. Automation is needed if you will be repeatedly using the template and you want to cut down the time it takes to do time consuming operations like generating reports, calculating cash flows, exporting data, and selecting tax scenarios. Nearly every spreadsheet should have formulas built in that do the basic calculations. Drop down lists help with populating cells and variables if there are a defined list of options. VBA macro code is significantly more complex and often requires some specialized knowledge, but it can accomplish things like cleansing data and running sensitivity analyses that take a lot of time if done manually, or exceed the ability of Excel to do using formulas.

There are numerous other considerations depending on your particular situation, but this ought to give you some points to consider when building or buying a good real estate template.

Tips For Private Real Estate Sales

In recent years, more and more people have been moving away from using real estate agents for selling their homes. There are many reasons for why private real estate sales are increasing. Let’s start by looking at a few:

Get More Money from the Sale

Probably the biggest reason that sellers go to For Sale by Owner is that they want to save money on commission fees. Average real estate commissions go from 3% on the low end to 6 to 7% on the high end. When you’re talking about, say, a $500,000 house, that is no small chunk of change. FSBO eliminates real estate agent commissions.

The price of commission to you is even higher since the percentage is based on the total price of the house. When looking only at your equity in the home, you will find that the agent’s commission is usually a much higher percentage than 5 or 7%. That alone is enough to convince many people to go For Sale by Owner.

Speed Up Sales

If speed is more important to you than money, you can also do something else with that commission savings: lower the asking price for your house. If you know how much you wanted to ask for with a real estate agent, deduct the commission from that and ask for that amount. A lower price will result in a quicker sale.

For motivated private real estate sellers, lowering the price might not even be necessary to sell your home quickly. After all, you know the house better than any real estate agent does, and you are committed to selling it. FSBO sellers often can sell more quickly or as quickly as any real estate agent.

Sell Your House on Your Terms

When you are doing a private real estate sale, you are in complete control. You decide on the price. You decide where and how it will be advertised. You decide what and if preconditions are required for potential buyers. Who gets to see the house and when they get to see it are performed on your schedule and the buyers’, not on the real estate agent’s.

Many people find it important to keep this control over the sale of their home. After all, it is your home and not the real estate agent’s: you should get to be the one who makes the important decisions for what you think best needs to be done to sell your home.

FSBO Challenges

Of course not everything is easy in private real estate. Because you are taking on much of the responsibilities yourself, it will take more time and effort on your part than it would if selling through an agent. Advertising and other expenses will need to come directly out of pocket, since it will not be coming out of the real estate agent’s commission. You’ll also need a real estate attorney who knows the ins and outs of private real estate law so as to ensure that everything goes by the book. If you are willing to overcome the challenges, however, you can find putting up a home For Sale by Owner can be very rewarding.

Copyright (c) 2009 Wes Fernley