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C / I Development build 1.12 “Better in Blue”

Today we are releasing a build 1.12 of Commercial Industrial Development in version 6. In this build we have completely changed the color / theme from green to blue.  At one time, we used color to differentiate the products but currently we are standardizing on a business blue appearance.

This update also includes a number of fixes to the printed reports and provides a bit more uniformity in the presentation.  It’s a free update for anyone who has a license of version 6 of the software.


New, Improved PDF Printing for Macintosh Products

Yesterday, we released free updates across all of our Macintosh products that brings new PDF printing functionality and ease of use for PDF report creation.  Our new solution includes a utility file (called rdpdfutil) which resides in the same folder as the RealData software product and replaces the need for CUPS-PDF.

What exactly does this new utility do?

In short, it wraps up individual PDF files into one single document just as we do on our Windows products.  It also allows you to save your reports to any location that you choose, unlike CUPS.  Printing to PDF on a Mac now is equivalent to the advanced functionality we have had on Windows.

How does it work?

Print reports like you have always done by opening the RealData Menu and selecting Print Reports.  Tick the “Print to PDF” checkbox, then click the Print button.

PDF print dialog

 

Soon after, a dialog box will appear that asks you where you would like to save the PDF report.  Be sure to rename the report to something that makes sense for your project.

What else do I need to know?

When you install your Mac product, by default we prompt you to save the product to your Mac’s Applications folder.  Some users may wish to move this folder to another location, but note that in order for our PDF printing solution to work, you must retain the default install location with Applications.  Do not change the folder name.  Unfortunately, this is a limitation of the Mac OS that we could not work around.

 


Software updates: All Macintosh products, REIA Pro and Express

Today we have completed many updates which span the entire product line for both Windows and Macintosh. The changes include:

– code modification for all Mac products to accommodate changes in the new Mavericks operating system. If you are using Mavericks, then be sure to login to your customer account and download the latest release of your software. The new code fixes problems when printing both to physical printers and to PDF.

– In REIA Pro we have added PV, CFAT and Sale Proceeds after Taxes to our popular Decision Maker dashboard. We also have improved error reporting on both the Commercial Income and Residential Income worksheets as well as several bug fixes for printing and data display.

– IN REIA Express we have fixed several display issues in the Residential Income worksheet which have been reported by some users.

All of these updates are free of charge for those who have a license for a current version of the software product. RealData maintains separate product releases for Windows and Macintosh users as part of our effort to provide an optimal user experience in each operating system.

If you need assistance with upgrading your software, please open a support ticket by sending us an email.


Real Estate Investing: Time to Remember the Lessons of History

As the summer 2013 begins to cool off, many real estate markets are finally starting to heat up. For a lot of folks, who have slogged through five of the worst economic years in memory, it feels a bit like we’ve just been released from the locked trunk of a car.

The temptation now is to celebrate our release from investing confinement by jumping back into the market with both feet. Before we do so, however, it would be wise to reflect on a few of the lessons of recent history.

There were many reasons for the financial meltdown, but one of the biggest surely was the belief that real estate inexorably increases in value over time. To many people, that looked like a law of nature. The reality turned out to be different, and now, as property values start to rise, we have to resist the temptation to start believing this all over again. If not, we will simply create another bubble and repeat the cycle.

Another cause of that meltdown was the tendency to dismiss or completely ignore investment fundamentals.  Real estate simply couldn’t fail to do well (after all, they’re not making any more of it), and we didn’t really need to think too hard about our investments because, surely, they would work out happily in the end.

Savvy investors always knew that this wasn’t necessarily true; they knew that income-producing real estate could go up, down, or sideways.  Time, all by itself, does not create value; the ability of a property to produce income is what creates value, and so the prudent investor would take nothing for granted and always carefully weigh a property’s prospects for generating income today and in the future.

The beginnings of a general economic recoveryand, in particular, a real estate recovery may signal that we can and should get back into the game, but it doesn’t mean that we can return to pre-2008 thinking and disregard the fundamentals that ought to guide our investment decisions:  For example:

Due Diligence: This is just as important in good times as in bad. We need to examine thoroughly and critically all of the financial data we can get our hands on about a potential investment property.  Are the rents really as represented? Are the operating expenses as portrayed by the seller reasonable and complete? Have we done a thorough assessment of the property’s physical condition?

It is essential to remember that a property doesn’t live in a vaccum, so our due diligence needs to extend beyond the individual property and include the local market as well.  What is the prevailing capitalization rate for properties of this type in this market? What kind of rents are similar buildings actually getting, and what are the asking rents in properties that may be in competition with us for tenants? What is the current vacancy rate in this market, and has it been rising or falling? What is the general business climate, and in what direction is it headed?

Cash Flow:    We always need to make hard-headed projections about the prospects for current and future cash flow. Too often we see investors, motivated to make a purchase and get on the presumed gravy train, put together the numbers they want to see.  They ignore the potential for vacancy and credit loss. They ignore setting some of their potential cash flow aside each year as a reserve to pay for that new roof or new HVAC system a few years down the road. We should make best-case, worst-case, and in-between projections to give ourselves a sense of the range of possible outcomes.

It is important to be realistic about cash flow projections. Excessive leverage may seem like a great advantage on the day you close the purchase, but the high debt service may also result in very weak or even negative cash flow. Are you really prepared to support your property out of your own pocket, to absorb unexpected expenses or loss of revenue?

The Long View: We seldom buy an income property with the expectation of flipping it for short-term profit. Rather, our plan is probably to buy and hold so we can derive an annual cash flow plus a long-term gain when we sell. If that is indeed our plan, then we need to forecast the property’s performance not just for one year, but for a likely holding period—perhaps five, seven or ten years—and to compute an Internal Rate of Return for that holding period. Doing so can be especially valuable when we are looking at more than one property that we might purchase.  Which one appears likely to give us the best overall return within our investment horizon?

The Last Word: Investing in real estate can be a profitable move in just about any economic climate if we proceed wisely, so to answer our initial question: Yes—if we’ve been on the sidelines, then this is a fine time to get back in.  But as with any other kind of investment, we can just as easily lose money as make it if we charge ahead without doing our homework and without going through the kind of fundamental analysis and projection that is essential to smart investing. Success in real estate investing, as in most endeavors, doesn’t just happen by good luck or chance. We have to work at it and have our head in the game. The luck will follow.

— Frank Gallinelli

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Your time and your investment capital are too valuable to risk on a do-it-yourself investment spreadsheet. For more than 30 years, RealData has provided the best and most reliable real estate investment software to help you make intelligent investment decisions and to create presentations you can confidently show to lenders, clients, and equity partners. Learn more at www.realdata.com.

 

Copyright 2013,  Frank Gallinelli and RealData® Inc. All Rights Reserved

The information presented in this article represents the opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of RealData® Inc. The material contained in articles that appear on realdata.com is not intended to provide legal, tax or other professional advice or to substitute for proper professional advice and/or due diligence. We urge you to consult an attorney, CPA or other appropriate professional before taking any action in regard to matters discussed in any article or posting. The posting of any article and of any link back to the author and/or the author’s company does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of the author’s products or services.

How to Create Best-Case and Worst-Case Property Analyses in REIA Professional

You already know that pro forma property analysis is an essential part of due diligence before jumping in and spending your money on a real estate investment.  You also know the value of the pro forma analysis is only as good as the care and consideration you give to all your assumptions about the purchase, operation and sale of the property.  Part of being a cautious and calculating investor is to consider best-case assumptions, worst case assumptions and some case in between.  Fortunately, this is an easy matter with RealData’s REIA Professional.

Here’s how:

  1. Create your initial analysis with REIA Pro with a complete set of assumptions.  It does not matter whether these are conservative or aggressive, just save the file with an appropriate name such as “300 Main Street conservative.xltm”
  2. After saving, use Excel’s Save As function to save a copy of the file with a new name.  That file might be  “300 Main Street aggressive.xltm”  Repeat the process for your third case.
  3. Adjust the data in the second two files to match the case.  Save the files.
  4. Open our Comparison Analysis add-on for REIA.
  5. Click the Add Property button to include all three of the files you have created for your property.  You will then see a side-by-side comparison of key metrics for all of the three cases.

Also consider using our new Decision Maker worksheet right within REIA Pro.  This unique dashboard tool allow you to see how 21 metrics (such as Cash on Cash and IRR) change as you change key assumptions about your purchase.  Change purchase price, vacancy rate, loan terms, etc.

Use these exercises to determine just how well your property might perform under a variety of future occurrences.

 


Update – Personal Financial Statement for Macintosh

We have just rolled out a small but significant update, build 1.79, to the Mac edition of our Personal Financial Statement (PFS) product.

This update brings the popular Import utility from PFS Windows to the Mac along with the User Worksheets feature which is common to all our products.

personal-financial-statement-new-features

 

For those of you unfamiliar with this feature, User Worksheets gives one the ability to add / edit / delete additional worksheets within our product to extend and customize product functionality to fit your specific needs.

The Import utility makes quick work of drawing in all your information from an earlier PFS version 4 workbook.  Just open your old financial statement along with the new blank financial statement template – with one click, all data copies to the new file.

Note that RealData maintains two separate editions for all our products for Windows and Macintosh.  This is essential to assure our products work correctly as intended.  We always develop and test each release on respective Windows and Mac computers.

 



New Software Updates to our Macintosh Products

We have just completed a series of important updates to most of our Macintosh products which address printing and other issues for those users who have Excel 2011. These products include Real Estate Investment Analysis (REIA) Professional, REIA Express, Commercial/Industrial Development, On Schedule and Personal Financial Statement. Please see our software updates page for release dates and build numbers.

We encourage all registered users to download these free updates.  If you need to download the latest build, login to your customer account or open a support ticket by sending an email and we would be happy to assist you.

These Macintosh updates follow our release of REIA Professional version 17 for both Windows and Mac.  We were busy this spring coding such new features as waterfall returns for partnerships, revised tax calculations, updates to our Commercial Income worksheet including individual base years for expense pass-throughs, and the addition of tenant improvements to the new unit and tenant rollover “wizards.”  See all the details of the upgrade on the REIA product page.


New for 2012: Real Estate Investment Analysis, Version 16

Thirty years of development time, and of listening carefully to what to our customers want.  All this comes together now in the latest version of our most popular and powerful software app for real estate investors: Real Estate Investment Analysis, Version 16

What’s New in Version 16?

    • The Decision Maker

      The centerpiece of v16 is a new module called “The Decision Maker.” Here is how it works: Enter data about the property — revenue, expenses, financing, etc. — as you normally would.  Then go to the new module. The top half of the page will display 12-18 of your key assumptions, like those shown here:

      snippet - input, Decision Maker
      snippet 1 from Decision Maker

      You can now toggle any or all of your assumptions up or down with the arrows, while watching the effect of each change as it displays instantly on the bottom half of the page.

      There you’ll see more than a dozen key metrics, such as cash flow and IRR. These will update in response to your clicking the arrows to raise or lower any of the basic assumptions; the data will display going out 20 years.

      snippet 2, Decision Maker
      snippet 2 from Decision Maker

      For example, toggle the purchase price or the cap rate up and down, and watch the effect on your IRR. Toggle the mortgage interest rate, watch the impact on your cash flow. What better way to decide how — or if — you can make this deal work. Hence the name: Decision Maker

    • Detailed Capital Improvements

      Many users have asked to be able to provide a detailed break-out of anticipated expenditures for capital improvements. Here it is. You can now choose to fill out a complete year-by-year schedule of improvements, or simply enter an annual total.

 

    • Detailed Closing Costs

      Likewise, the ability to itemize acquisition closing costs has been another common request. You now have two options: itemize or enter a single amount.

 

    • Improved Reports
      We really do pay attention when users call and say things like, “Why doesn’t the partnership presentation show cash-on-cash return?” We keep track of those requests, and you’ll find several now implemented in v16.

 

    • Import Data from Your Version 15 Analyses

      Here’s a big one: If you’re upgrading from v15 to v16 you can run a special function that will read all of the user entries from an analysis you did in v15 and transfer that information into the new version.  That’s no small trick, but our super-smart programmers did it.

 

Upgrade from Version 15

      If you’re currently a registered user of v15, keep your eye out for an email from us with an offer to upgrade at a nominal cost.

Frank Gallinelli to Speak at BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing Summit and Expo, March 23-24, 2012

BiggerPockets — an 85,000-member community of real estate investors — is having its first Real Estate Investing Summit in Denver, March 2012, and has invited Frank Gallinelli as a featured speaker. Frank is the founder of RealData Software and the author of What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow… and Mastering Real Estate Investment. He will speak on, “Real Estate Investment Analysis, Methods and Mindset — What to Know, What to Do.”

According to BP founder Josh Dorkin, “BiggerPockets is planning on having dozens of expert investors, commentators and educators speak to an audience that is expected to include hundreds of attendees from around the country. Through lectures, roundtables, and other session formats, the event will cover topics including rehabbing, landlording, investing in notes & mortgages, real estate financing & capital raising, commercial investing, and much more.”

You can sign up to attend by following this link. Hope to see you there.

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