Did you know about… Adventures in CRE?

This is the second part of the series Did you know about…?, in which I will show, review, or talk about other interesting blogs in the real estate investment sphere.

In the latest episode I presented A Student of the Real Estate Game, a very well known blog from the United States which is written by Joe Stampone, a true real estate expert, who also works for a real estate fund.

Today I am going to present you another site which is also full of highly relevant information and content about the real estate world. This page is less a blog and more a “traditional” website with emphasis on real estate modeling, careers, education and networking, thus a highly relevant mix for any real estate professional. The creator of the page does not only write about real estate, but also has over a decade of real estate work experience and currently works for a $ 40bn institutional real estate investor.

Enter Adventures in CRE

Overview of Adventures in CRE

This website is a true treasure chest for anyone who is interested in real estate modeling. If I were a 1st or 2nd year analyst working in real estate acquisitions again, I would be so pumped about this site. This is the truth! So let me tell you why I think Adventures in CRE is such a good site, especially for the number crunching guys and girls. A very large part of the site is about real estate modeling. One of the main goals according to the site is to “build the world’s library of readily accessible Excel models (real estate pro formas) for commercial and residential real estate professionals”. You can check the database here.

Here is an appetizer of models that you can download:

  • Real Estate Portfolio Acquisition Model
  • Multifamily Redevelopment Model
  • Hotel Valuation Model Excel – Value-add
  • The All-in-One Model

There are also a number of modules covering specific topics in the database. These modules can be added to models in order to enhance the models’ capabilities. Some examples are:

  • Real Estate Debt Module in Excel
  • Developers might like the module on Construction Draw and Interest Calculation
  • Dynamic Amortization Schedule

The real deal about the models and modules is that they are free to download. However, Spencer Burton, the author and creator of most models offers the models in combination with a donation link. Thus, if you like the content of the page and want to support Adventures in CRE you might like to donate any amount and basically pay for your model. This sounds like a fair deal for me.

The All-in-One model

The All-in-One Model is a beast. That’s for sure. In my opinion it is the most comprehensive model out there that you can easily access without signing up anywhere. There are several different models combined. You can switch between a multifamily module and a retail/office/industrial module. Besides that, there is the option to turn on a development module vs a permanent financing module.

Given this is a complex model, you should definitely take your time to go through the different options in order to understand how the whole model works. I also have to dig deeper into the model. Models usually found on the web can be analyzed pretty quickly. Here, I definitely would take my time to get the most out of it.

In addition to the model there are also tutorials on the site, which provide good help on working with the model. The walkthrough tutorials are all videos based. Here, Spencer runs you through different scenarios or common analyses and provides you step-by-step guidance. You can immediately follow his explanations with the model opened in Excel and pause the videos whenever you feel to do so.

Besides the modeling part of the site, there are three other major sections:

  • The job board lists numerous positions in commercial real estate acquisitions, investments, development, asset management, advisory, consulting, finance and other areas of the industry. There are even 2 positions in Europe, London currently.
  • The educational section hosts many articles about different real estate related university programs such as the Columbia Business School MBA with a focus on real estate or the MIT real estate MBA program
  • The careers page is a good starting point for anyone who is at the beginning of his or her career in commercial real estate. You will find excellent posts about how to break into the industry such as landing your first analyst job in the industry, or how you should polish your CV to land top notch interviews.

Why I think Adventures in CRE differs from other real estate blogs

Hands down, the major advantage for Adventures in CRE is the first hand material that you can access. Especially the modeling page is outstanding. Four reasons why I think so:

  1. I don’t know any other page that shares so many Excel based models made from industry professionals
  2. You can access all models for free if you like (however a small donation won’t hurt)
  3. The templates and models are neither password protected nor are there any hidden tabs etc that you couldn’t unhide
  4. The models are quite in-depth. Especially the All-in-One Model. Go download it and have a look. You will quickly see that Spencer put in a lot of effort to build it.

My top 3 reads

Go check out the blog posts about stochastic modeling. I haven’t seen such an approach somewhere else. Credit is given the paper from Keith Chin-Kee Leung a graduate from MIT. He published the following paper, which is the basis for the posts about the Monte-Carlo-Simulation.

Next one is the All-in-One Model. Unsurprisingly as this is one of THE main features on the site and also one of the few good and complete models that you can access on the internet.

A final interesting post is about salaries in the real estate industry. We probably all love what we do in some way or the other. Still it is interesting to see where that will get us. Do the numbers fit with yours? For me here in Europe the numbers are comparable.  (given I convert them into €€€).

Who is Adventures in CRE for?

The page is an extremely helpful website for anyone working in the real estate industry, especially for graduates and young professionals. Graduates will learn from the blog posts about how to break into the industry and learn about modeling. Young professionals with a couple of years work experience will also benefit from visiting this site. Looking through other models and templates might be very helpful. I especially found it very interesting to see posts about integrating Monte-Carlo simulations into existing real estate models, which will help you in predicting returns.

Your turn

What do you think about Adventures in CRE? Did you already know this site and the models? What do you like, what do you dislike?

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