Comments (24)

Aug 9, 2017

I guess it depends on the shop but I would argue most use templates. Real Estate Investments are always similar so using a template and modelling in the specifics is a lot quicker and just as good vs. building from scratch. Also most of the time you will look at a lot more deals in real estate vs M&A etc. so building everything from scratch is impractical.

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Aug 9, 2017

Work for a major fund. Will likely use one of my previous models from a similar acquisition (depending on asset class, jurisdiction, development/refurb/business plan) for a ball park figure. Will likely more or less build from scratch if we get exclusivity to fully tailor the model for all DD items.

Best Response
Aug 9, 2017

Templates. Why reinvent the wheel?

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Aug 16, 2017

Any free ones I can grab and utilize online?

If misery loves company, what does success love?

Aug 16, 2017
Aug 9, 2017

Definitely templates. Even if you work for a small family office and you create it the first time, you're going to use that template the next time.

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Aug 9, 2017

Definitely templates. I know big property owners in manhattan that even evaluate buildings on the back of a napkin. No need to build a model from scratch. Waste of time and not efficient.

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Aug 9, 2017

Templates, a good one will handle all of the customization you should want.

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Aug 9, 2017

Ain't nobody got time fo dat

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Aug 9, 2017

Agree with consensus. Building models from scratch is mostly going to be for ad-hoc analysis (outside of the standard stuff you are doing repeatedly) and even then there might be templates

Aug 9, 2017

template but its good to build one every once and a while so you are prepared for other asset classes

Aug 9, 2017

Been interviewing for several acquisition roles repe firms and i've asked my interviewers this question and they all pretty much say there's a template that gets tweaked and modified to fit the current deal.

Aug 10, 2017

Templates generally, as others have said. But if you can create one in your own time and your manager likes it better, then that would be a great thing.

I'll say though, as a learning experience, the best thing I did was recreate the template my company was using from scratch. Really good for helping learn the ins and outs of the model, how it functions, can be improved etc.

Aug 10, 2017

Templates but if I have down time (usually around Christmas) I will build a basic model and see how fast I can do it. It is great practice and if you time yourself you'll be forced to focus on the key inputs / return drivers.

The toughest things to model from scratch in my opinion are: 1) Rent roll / lease up. 2) Equity / debt draw schedule and 3) JV waterfall. With some practice you'll have it down though and feel pretty damn good about yourself.

Aug 10, 2017

Also, forgot to add for the new folks out there the key to modeling is understanding what is going on in the transaction NOT using fancy excel functions. Once you get a basic model built then you start worrying about cute functions and formatting. Seems obvious but I always see young guys fall into the trap.

Aug 10, 2017

This is key. Whenever I have a timed excel test for an interview I keep the actual excel functions as simple as possible (like I'll create a 10 YR rent/expense schedule tab real quick and just hard code any values that aren't "Y1 is X grown by Y annually" to feed a cash flow statement.)

Some IF statements here and there but at the start definitely focus on getting the numbers correct and knowing how to calculate the shit that matters, while at least laying it out in a way where people can understand it.

I'll finish a modeling test the easiest way with least room for error first, and if I get it done 30 min early I'll go back in and find ways to make it look better / display higher level command of formulas.

Aug 10, 2017

Yes from scratch. Most places make you delete the previous models from your hard drive and memory every time

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Aug 10, 2017

I don't follow.

Aug 12, 2017

he was being a smartass

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Aug 16, 2017

95% of the time you will use an existing template. The only time you will create from scratch or heavily modify an existing template is when you are looking at a deal that is so unique and has so many nuances or idiosyncrasies that it's easier to build from scratch than use a template.

In my opinion, I think everyone should create all models from scratch in the beginning so you know how to do it, yet as others have stated it's highly impractical to always build from scratch.

Robert Clayton Dean: What is happening?
Brill: I blew up the building.
Robert Clayton Dean: Why?
Brill: Because you made a phone call.

Aug 16, 2017
goodL1fe:

In my opinion, I think everyone should create all models from scratch in the beginning so you know how to do it, yet as others have stated it's highly impractical to always build from scratch.

I agree, and if your new firm prefers their exisiting template, i find it well worth the time to completely rebuild their template into a blank excel file to truly understand how everything ties together.

Aug 16, 2017
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