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March 2009 RealData Dispatch

No-Stress Analysis for Distressed Properties

One of the great advantages to using Excel as a development platform for our software products is that it provides the ability for you, the user, to make customizations to fit your analysis objectives. We encourage our customers to add to the software rather than changing internal formulas, so the base product remains unchanged.

It is very easy to add a user worksheet. All RealData products have an "Add User Worksheet" feature in the RealData menu. so you can simply add a new worksheet and call it whatever you like.

Then, on that sheet, you can add your own formulas and labels, and even link the results back into the main product. This gives you the ability to take some line item in our program and flesh it out into greater detail.

A case in point: A common scenario we've been seeing is one where the investor is looking to purchase an entire project at a low price with the idea of renting existing units for several years and then beginning sales once the real estate market turns around. In the Learn section of realdata.com, we have an article called "No-Stress Analysis for Distressed Properties" which describes expanding our popular On Schedule development program to accommodate long term rental income when analyzing distressed, partially-built development projects such as housing subdivisions and condominium buildings.

In a future article, we'll show you how to expand Real Estate Investment Analysis in a similar way.

Greetings from Planet Earth

True confession: Before this month, what I knew about "green" development and construction would not have filled a post-it note. Being unencumbered by any actual knowledge on the subject did not, of course, prevent me from having an opinion. No doubt "green" was a radical agenda of some sort, devised by elitists bent on saving the planet, even if that meant tossing sound financial principles and general good sense into the proverbial dustbin of history.

Clearly, my political-correctness score on this subject fell somewhat short of the ideal.

Then I attended the annual conference of the Yale Alumni Real Estate Association, the primary focus of which was green development. I would not begin to suggest that a one-day immersion in this topic transformed me into an expert, but there were any number of revelatory moments that led to me to see this type of development in an entirely new light. (I was tempted to say "natural light," but I suspect you can tolerate only so much cleverness in one newsletter.)

I believe, at least, that I learned a few things worth sharing -- and share them I do on the RealData blog: 10 Ways Green Construction Can Improve Your Bottom Line. Happy belated Earth Day.

Some Condo Relief?

In it's March 18, 2009 issue, the Wall Street Journal reported that Fannie Mae had begun tightening its conditions for backing condo mortgages. Specifically, it was no longer backing loans if fewer than 70% of the building's units had been sold, an increase from its previous threshold of 51%.

However, the April 24, 2009 edition of the The Kiplinger Letter is reporting that Fannie Mae has in fact been waiving the 70% pre-sold rule for some projects that it believes have a good chance of success. So, condo developers -- stay in the game.

FYI, the Kiplinger letter content is available by subscription only (and we've been subscribers for a couple of decades), so we can't provide you with a direct link to this issue. However, they do provide a 30-day online trial which you might want to look at.

Featured Resource: LoopNet

LoopNet has been a big part of the commercial real estate marketplace for more than a decade, and may be one of the most important resources for buyers, sellers and brokers in this industry. We'll let them tell their story in their own words

"LoopNet operates the largest and most heavily trafficked commercial real estate listing service online with more than 3 million registered members and 890,000 average monthly unique visitors. The LoopNet online marketplace contains more than $515 billion of property available for sale and 5.2 billion square feet of property available for lease. LoopNet's market-leading LoopLink product powers the web sites of more than 1,000 commercial real estate organizations and seamlessly integrates their web sites with LoopNet's listing service at www.LoopNet.com. ..."

They also offer a financing service called LoopLender, and own and operate BizBuySell, an online exchange for businesses.

You'll find a link to LoopNet on the Learn page of our website.

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