ASotREG Affiliate Spotlight: REFM

Sep 2, 2014 | Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Technology

I’ve always believed in being transparent with my audience with the goal of exposing you to the best resources and tools in the real estate business.

For those of you who are not aware, I’m an affiliate of Real Estate Financial Modeling (REFM) meaning that every time you click on the REFM link in my sidebar and make a purchase through their site, I earn a small commission.  I don’t recommend REFM because I earn a small fee (at no extra cost to you), but rather because I’ve used their products and they work. I would never recommend a product unless I’ve used it and I thought it would help you achieve your goals. I wanted to use this post to tell you a bit about REFM, their products, how they’ve helped me achieve my goals, and most importantly how they can help you.

While I was a student at NYU Schack in 2009 I was introduced to REFM through a day-long training class. The class was led by REFM founder Bruce Kirsch, who over time, has become a good friend and supporter of the blog. The class taught me the fundamentals of building real estate models in Excel which serve as foundation of the skills I use today.

Bruce is a seasoned real estate professional who has a deep passion for providing students and professionals with the tools to work smarter, not harder and longer, in Excel.

Over time, I’ve tested all REFM products. Here are some of my personal favorites:

Self-Study Tutorials

REFM offers a variety of self-study tutorials. Each course consists of videos, slides, and unlocked excel templates that allow you to do the exercises while following along with the videos. While videos are great, the only way to truly learn the material is by digging in and doing it yourself. The structure of these tutorials provide the guidance you need along with the tools to hone your skills. I personally recommend the following courses which have helped me sharpen my real estate modeling skills, but also learn how to think like a real estate professional:

Principles of Commercial Real Estate Finance
This course is based on the popular Real Estate Finance and Investments: Risks and Opportunities textbook by Peter Linneman. Dr. Linneman has a unique blend of scholarly rigor and practical business insight, which make his text the perfect resource to base this course off of.  Bruce Kirsch perfected this course while teaching the intro to Real Estate Finance course at Georgetown’s MPSRE program. The 48 interviews with Peter Linneman, which come with the course, are worth the price of admission alone.

If you want to learn the fundamentals of real estate finance and how to think like a real estate professional without paying thousands of dollars to take classes at a major university, while working on your time, this is the perfect course for you.

Level I, II, and III Bootcamps
If you’re looking to learn Excel specifically as it relates to real estate, who better to learn from than guys who spend their entire lives in Excel consulting for some of the largest players in real estate working on complex transactions. In these bootcamps you’ll learn the ins and outs of formula building such as XIRR, IPMT, XNPV, conditional statements, and multi-tier waterfalls.

As someone who spends a lot of time building investment models for new acquisitions, I know firsthand how important it is to structure formulas properly to ensure models are dynamic, others can easily follow the logic, and anyone can jump in and run various sensitivities without breaking the model. Before you can do that, you need to understand the fundamental building blocks, and that’s exactly what these bootcamps will teach you. If you’re looking to land that analyst job or if you’re a real estate analyst looking to sharpen your skills, this is the course for you.

Here’s a sample of the level II bootcamp:

After running through the self-study bootcamps, test your new-found skills through REFM’s 3 certification tests.

Certification Tests

REFM offers 3 free certification tests which will challenge real estate finance professionals of all levels. Think you know your stuff? Prove it by passing the level III test with distinction. Below are indicative sample questions from each test.

Level I Sample Question

Level I

Level II Sample Question

Level II

Level III Sample Question

Level II


The purpose of this post is not to encourage you to buy REFM products so I can earn a commission, but rather expose you to tools that I think will help you refine your real estate skillset and advance within your career.

I always try to give a little something extra to those who purchase through my affiliate links, so as a thank you, I’m happy to offer a 25% discount on all REFM products for the next 72-hours only, expiring Friday (9/5) at midnight EST. Just use the discount code “ASotREG_fall14” at checkout.

If you have any questions about any of the REFM products, don’t hesitate to reach out. Soon, I’ll talk about my another affiliate partner, ValueHound Academy. Thanks in advance for using the affiliate link.