Real Estate Financial Modeling provides financial analysis, training and data solutions for the multi-trillion dollar global commercial real estate business.
    "REFM's model is thorough and detailed to a "T". They ... [read more] - JB, Development Assistant
    "I have found REFM’s Product Modules to be most useful ... [read more] - Ravi Bhatia, PE, PMP
    “REFM’s resources are an innovative and effective way to complement ... [read more] - Charles Schilke, Associate Dean
    "Excellent seminar. Provides the insight and knowledge in order to ... [read more] - Orlando Marin, Senior Development Mgr.
    "A great introduction to the developer's analysis. A semester's worth ... [read more] - Daniel B. - Investment Advisor
    "As a developer, accurate modeling is critically important. REFM does ... [read more] - K. Gessin-Stern, Vice President
    "REFM makes short work of very complicated subjects in real ... [read more] - Jonathan Stern, Associate
    "LOVED the videos - and love that I can refer ... [read more] - Masters Student
    "I found it to be a perfect class to learn ... [read more] - Scott Rosenblum, Masters Student
    "...the Videos and REFM’s teaching are excellent... REFM provides information, ... [read more] - Charles A. Fritschler - Vice President
    "REFM's course was a valuable complement to my formal coursework; ... [read more] - Mike Alexander, LEED AP
    "As a government official planning affordable housing developments, I appreciate ... [read more] - B. Leon, Deputy Director
    "REFM's Excel Spreadsheets are an amazing tool for Real Estate ... [read more] - Bryan Granum, Masters Student
    "The Video preparation has enabled me to assimilate the material ... [read more] - Private Equity Investor
    "REFM brings particular value to their course because they provide ... [read more] - James Mack, President of REISA

REFM Certification Program In Excel For Real Estate

Get smart in Excel and stand out in the crowd, for as little as $149 *

Since 2011, REFM's Certification Program In Excel For Real Estate has measured proficiency in operating skillfully and efficiently in Microsoft Excel for the specific purpose of real estate transaction and partnership modeling analysis. Holding each subsequent Level of REFM Certification further validates one's skills and demonstrates their seriousness about being an expert-level modeler.

The rigorous Certification Program teaches and then tests one's ability to complete the following tasks using Excel:

  • Forecasting property income and expense cash flows
  • Building a mortgage payment schedule with an Interest-Only component
  • Calculating IRR and NPV specific to actual calendar dates
  • Quickly allocating construction costs according to bell-shaped curves
  • Valuing a ground-up development site on a residual basis
  • Forecasting an asset's future stabilized Net Operating Income
  • Accurately calculating loan interest for multiple layers of financing
  • Determining exactly how much equity partners should be compensated
  • Performing sensitivity analyses around the driving factors in a transaction.

Don’t think these skills matter? Click to the next section to see what top industry professionals say.


How long it takes to become certified

You can complete all three levels in a single weekend if you wanted. Each level requires around 3 to 4 hours of study/exercises, and each exam takes around an hour.


Test pricing and Certification benefits

All Tests are free.

Upon passing each Level, you will receive a listing on the Certification Holders page and a badge for your email signature.


* Cost of Level 1 Self-Study product; Levels 2 and 3 can be bundled for a total cost of $449. Academic pricing is lower. See individual product pricing for details.

    "In order to financially model a highly structured complex joint venture for real estate transactions it takes extraordinary care and effort. Building an accurate spreadsheet to reflect such a unique deal is tantamount to the future of a relationship and one's business success. Therefore, it’s imperative that the analyst has very strong Excel modeling skills."

    - Clifford Mendelson
    Managing Partner/CEO, Metropolis Capital Finance

    "Top-notch real estate-based Excel knowledge is critical in executing for our clients so we naturally give strong consideration to employment candidates with those skills."

    - John W. Gibb
    Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc.

    "Advanced Excel skills are essential in our work. If you don't have them, you cannot make the transaction-related decisions that will make a positive impact."

    - Michael Blum
    Principal, Insight Property Group LLC

    "As a second generation commercial real estate developer, my father has always told me, "At the end of the day, return to the numbers." Today in my business, there is not a single acquisition, development or investment move that we make without building a financial model to inform the decision."

    - Chad Hagle
    CEO, Aventine Development Corporation
    President, Stanford Professionals In Real Estate (SPIRE)

    "Private equity investment revolves around identifying and mitigating risks within complicated investment opportunities. One of the ways we do so is with highly detailed Excel modeling, so the better your Excel skills, the more value you can potentially add."

    - Loren Balsam
    Managing Director, PRP LLC

    "We analyze every development opportunity in detail in Excel. The sharper your Excel skills, the more valuable you can be to a team like ours."

    - Robert W. Ward
    Executive Vice President – Regional Manager, Skanska USA Commercial Development Inc.

    "A demonstrated high level of proficiency in Excel-based real estate analysis is one of the most important qualifications I seek in my acquisition and development team hires."

    - Jair K. Lynch
    Owner, Jair Lynch Development Partners, Washington, DC

    "When working at the interface of construction and finance, Excel-based knowledge and skills are critical. The better yours are, the higher you can rise professionally."

    - Bob Elliott
    Vice President - Director of Development, Clark Enterprises Inc., Bethesda, MD

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Level 1 Certification: Basic

Level 1 Certification tests to ensure that the proper foundations are in place.  The following knowledge and skills areas are tested:

  • Number Formatting Best Practices (Inputs vs. Calculations)
  • Relative vs. Absolute Cell References (Anchoring Notation)
  • Dates and Timelines (EOMONTH, EDATE)
  • Conditional Statement Formulas (IF, AND, OR)
  • Mortgage Amortization Schedules (PMT, PPMT, IPMT)
  • Summary Tables (SUMIF, COUNTIF)
  • Time Value of Money (PV, FV, RATE, NPV, XNPV, IRR, XIRR)
  • Formula Auditing
  • Lookup Table Functions (HLOOKUP, VLOOKUP)
  • 2-Variable Sensitivity Analysis (Data Tables)
  • Conditional Cell Formatting for Reporting
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Self-Study Preparatory Material may be found here.


Level 2 Certification: Intermediate

Level 2 Certification tests more sophisticated analysis and use of functions. Functions that are additive to those tested in Level 1 are shown in parentheses.

  • Advanced Time Value of Money
  • Formula-based Interest-Only/Amortizing Payment Switching
  • Re-Financing Maximum Eligible Loan Amount Calculation
  • Residual Land Valuation (Goal Seek)
  • Future Net Operating Income Calculation
  • Multiple Equity Investor Transaction Capital Structuring
  • Modeling Development Transaction Financing Without Circular References
  • Self-Study Preparatory Material may be found here


Level 3 Certification: Advanced

Level 3 Certification tests the ability to model complex partnerships and waterfall distributions.

  • Rationale behind targeting disproportionate returns to the Sponsor
  • How to achieve disproportionate returns through fees and partitioning of cash flows
  • Preferred Return and its variations (Non-compounded/compounded, non-cumulative/cumulative)
  • Waterfall Distribution Promote Mechanism
  • Look-Back Internal Rate of Return (IRR) Method
  • 3-Tier Waterfall modeling
  • Double-Promote, 5-Tier Waterfall modeling
  • Claw-Back modeling
  • Self-Study Preparatory Material may be found here