PropertyMetrics "CRE Investment Analysis Fundamentals" course

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I am on the fence on signing up for this course:

I'm in a highly active and regimented education-focused period right now and one of my big interests is leveraging some personal relationships I have to get further involved in commercial real estate investing, but its the fundamentals that I know I need work on right now to prepare for that. 

I had already signed up for a course at the local JC to fill my time this next semester, but this course offered by PropertyMetrics on this particular topic costs about the same as the class I was going to take, but focuses more on commercial real estate investing.

Curious to know if anyone has any experience with the courses offered through them? Thanks in advance!

For anyone who might encounter this post looking for the same insight that I requested in this post... I've signed up for the course and begin it this morning (after I send this, in fact!) I will use this post to update myself with my on thoughts on the quality of the course, and anything else that strikes me about it. Hopefully I can provide some insight and background into it for others who are in similar shoes as me when figuring out whether to pull the trigger. Stay tuned!

Alright, I said I would check in as I work my way through this course. Here I am! At this point, I am more than half way through the course material. I've been tackling this at around 1-1.5 hrs per day (part of my Miracle Morning routine) and of course, missed some days as I focused on other things... but for the most part I've been pretty directly focused on this course.

In the beginning, things felt a bit too basic and generic. The first module is "The Commercial Real Estate Landscape" and really just picks apart the many characteristics of different classes of Commercial real estate as well as the standard real estate market cycles... creating a basis of understanding for future modules. As I was working my way through it (a pretty simple 30 minute video followed by some PDFs of related resources, I felt like I might take them up on their money back guarantee. It felt far too basic and I worried that if the entire course was so elementary, it obviously wouldn't be worth the $400 I spent on the course. But I figured I had time to evaluate and could eventually decide to get my money back if things continued to be so simple. So I stuck with it.

Module two breaks down a real estate proforma step by step. I've seen a number of Pro Formas in my short time researching and investing in real estate so these concepts weren't necessarily NEW, but it was a good closer look at the structure of a proforma, and the formulas that make up the many aspects of a pro forma, and what they translate to... what they tell you about a particular investment exactly. The module did include some exercises which was nice (as far as I'm concerned, the more hands on exercises I can do, the more comfortable I feel with the topic)... and it did a great job picking apart Capitalization Rate, Levered vs Unlevered cost of capital, NPV, and more. The module also included a worksheet tied to an office building case study where you begin to build out a proforma based on a provided template, and are asked questions as to various aspects of the deal and to make evaluations based on those aspects. The case study included four more 10-20 min videos tied to explaining the aspects involved, and how it all breaks down if you did your math right. This was incredibly helpful.

Module three dives into Simple Measures of Investment Performance using ratios and formulas like GRM, Cap rate, and CoC Return. This involved a few exercises that get your brain thinking in ways that will put these ratios and formulas to work, and teases forward to Discounted Cash Flow, the subject of the next module. This one was a bit light and included more work in calculating investments ratios on the previous module's case study. Yes it felt a bit light on info, but the foundational aspects of what I learned became way more clear to me.

Module four is all about Time Value of Money "Crash Course." The video is around 40 minutes long, and you learn about compounding, discounting, and the 5 components of ALL time value of money problems. So far, this has been my favorite module as I learned SO MUCH about valuation. The light bulb moment here is that in so many of these cases, you just need a good financial calculator or Excel spreadsheet with the TVM formulas to insert what you KNOW (present value, interest, time, future value, and/or payment amount) in order to get back what you don't YET know. It goes into horizontal and vertical timelines that visualize how this works, and drives home the importance of understanding that mastering these 6 functions of a dollar in order to evaluate how time directly affects the money you make in the end. This was an ah ha module for me. This reminds me that a lot of this stuff is reminiscent to word problems in math class as a kid. Obviously, it's much more than that, but these equations and formulas already exist, and have been used by countless others to evaluate deals... so there's no need to reinvent the wheel, simply to learn the approach that works and continue with it until you understand it on a deeper level. At the end, there was a whole host of practice problems where you have to work through them to solve for the 6 different functions and by the end it really clicked in my head.

That's as far as I am right now. There are two modules remaining and then an expanded case study. My review at THIS stage:

$400 is nothing to sneeze at. Prior to taking this course, I found someone on BP who had taken this course a few years ago and now makes a living doing this stuff, and while he said he got a lot out of this course, he also admitted that all of this stuff could be found for far less money by picking up any number of school textbooks on the topic, or other books. So far, I would agree. $400 feels like a lot for what I am getting and if I think about it too hard, I start to feel a little disappointed that I dropped that money on what I'm receiving. I wish PM provided more about the specifics of the course prior to purchase. I've seen what other courses offer ahead of purchase and they are much more forthcoming on what you will receive, and the quality of the materials on deck. HOWEVER... if, at it's most basic level, I thought prior to purchase that understanding this material was worth $400 to me, then to that end, I would say that I'm actually learning the material pretty well... the course is working. It's satisfying my desire to learn about the fundamentals of CRE, and if that's the case, maybe it IS worth the $400. I just kind wish there was a bit more in the way of exercises and case studies. I want to apply this knowledge with practice materials a number of times so when I'm done, I feel way more comfortable doing that in the real world.

More to come as I complete the course! Hope this is helpful to.... someone.

OK just finished the course. Here's the remaining details of my experience:

Module 5 is about Mastering Discounted Cash Flow Analysis, and dives into Internal Rate of Return and Net Present Value and how those are used to determine what your return will be and how much you should pay for a Proforma's cash flows. There's a lot of analysis as to how these formulas are used based on Proforma data, how its calculated given a number of different scenarios, and what it tells us specifically about an investment. Then its all folded into a complete Discounted Cash Flow Analysis to tie it all together.

Module 6 (the final module) is all about leverage, and how Commercial Real Estate Loans work. Basically, how the cost of borrowed funds compares to the yield of a given property. Then into loan underwriting processes, what lenders are looking for specifically when someone comes to them for a Commercial RE loan. This was actually quite illuminating and very interesting to see the process from the lender's perspective. Given tools to calculate loan payment, balloon payment, analysis of loan amortization, points, and calculating the lender's yield. Also, the comparisons made to determine a borrower's maximum loan amount. And a lender comparison pitting four different lender proposals side by side to analyze how an option might look good until you truly compare against the rest with different variables (rates, terms, points, etc) to find the best option given a borrower's unique situation.  Finally, a levered versus unlevered proforma analysis to see the true differences between the two, to find out just how much leverage can increase returns. This was the longest module in the course at around an hour's worth of video. 

I will follow up with overall thoughts as to the effectiveness of this course and ways in which I believe it could be improved.

Jason, I wanted to see what your final thoughts were on this course and what you feel you gained from taking it?  You mentioned earlier that one could find all this material by picking up any number of school textbooks but to have all of it prepared for you in one package/course without hunting down all the info is handy.  Just trying to see if the cost of the course/package is worth it in the end and getting that info from someone who has taken the course is very valuable.  Thanks!