REFM Certification Program In Excel For Real Estate

REFM Certification Program In Excel For Real Estate

Thousands of REFM Certifications have been granted since 2011. Get Certified today!

Becoming REFM Excel for Real Estate Certified, even when it was seemingly unnecessary, gave me a chance to never stop learning. Take the time to get Certified…  I promise you will learn something new and help your brand stand out from the crowd.
Spencer BurtonFounder,

As a graduate of a liberal arts program, REFM Certification helped me demonstrate a firm grasp of the financial concepts that my degree didn’t cover.

Zachary Wenner
Employers know that the REFM Certification isn’t a cakewalk, so having it on my resume allows me to show them my seriousness about real estate.
W. Brett Flanders

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Level 1

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Overview and Pricing

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

How long it takes to become Certified

  • You can complete all three levels in a single weekend if you want
  • Each level requires around 3 to 4 hours of study/exercises
  • Each exam takes around an hour, and each can be taken in more than one sitting

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
  • You can also make your Certification one of your Accomplishments in your LinkedIn profile (instructions)

* Cost of Level 1 Self-Study product; Levels 2 and 3 can be bundled for a total cost of $399. Academic pricing is lower. See individual product pricing for details.

The importance of strong Excel modeling skills

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, Chief Executive Officer at Lantian Development
It takes extraordinary care and effort to model a highly structured complex JV for real estate transactions. 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.- Mike Blum, President, Insight Property Group
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, CFA, Executive Vice President, Hotel Asset Value Enhancement
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, Chief Operating Officer, Skanska USA Commercial Development Inc.
The Value of REFM Certification

REFM’s Certification Program in Excel for Real Estate empowers real estate professionals and students with a way to demonstrate their level of expertise in solving analytical real estate problems with Microsoft Excel. The three Levels of Certification establish a uniform performance standard by testing for knowledge and for a thorough understanding of the principles, procedures and techniques requisite in performing real estate transaction and partnership analysis.

Each Level of Certification:

  • Defines and develops competencies among potential job candidates
  • Identifies those candidates who have acquired these attributes
  • Raises the level of core competencies within an organization
  • Promotes career development
  • Indicates employee achievement, and
  • Demonstrates a serious commitment to having marketable real estate financial analysis skills.

Program Eligibility And Details

Eligibility: Anyone who wishes to pursue REFM Certification is an eligible Candidate.

How Long It Takes: You could learn all three Levels and take all three tests in a single weekend if you dedicated the weekend to becoming Certified for all three Levels.

Cost: All Tests are free. Tests can be retaken an unlimited number of times. Cost of Level 1 Self-Study product is $149; Levels 2 and 3 can be bundled for a total cost of $449. Academic pricing is lower. See individual product pricing for details.

Body Of Knowledge Tested: Review each Level’s contents below.

Requirements: You may take any Level Test you wish in any order you wish. In other words, you do not have to take the Level 1 Test to take the Level 2 Test, etc.

Format: Each Test must be completed in 60 minutes, and each is a combination of multiple choice, formula/function interpretation, and formula/function construction. Use of a blank Excel workbook and the Excel Help function is allowed, with the natural penalty for doing so being the loss of time to complete the Test in its entirety.

Testing Schedule: The Tests are available online, 24/7/365 (click on the links at left to try sample questions, and to take the Tests). Tests can also be specially administered on-site at corporate and educational facilities. Email to inquire.

Testing Conditions: Tests can be completed in more than one sitting. Candidates must not receive any outside assistance during the Test, and must not consult any resources other than the Excel Help function within a blank Excel workbook.

Test Preparation: The content tested at each Level is highly specific, and preparation is strongly encouraged for best results. REFM offers Self-Study Preparatory Materials to prepare Candidates for the Tests.

Passing Requirements: The Tests are designed to be challenging to match the rigor required in the workplace to perform analyses in a timely and efficient manner. The passing score is 70% and Passing With Distinction is 85%+.

Credentials: Upon passing each Level, Candidates will receive a Certificate of Completion and they may elect to have their name listed in the REFM Certification Database for verification by employers, and a badge for your email signature.

Excel for Real Estate Bootcamp Level 1 Certification

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

Practice questions are here

Self-Study Preparatory Material may be purchased here

Real Estate Finance Bootcamp Level 2 Certification

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

Practice questions are here

Self-Study Preparatory Material may be purchased here

Single Transaction Equity Joint Venture Partnership Waterfall Modeling Bootcamp Level 3 Certification

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

Practice questions are here

Self-Study Preparatory Material may be purchased here

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