Build your real estate knowledge skyline with Real Estate Finance and Investments Certification

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Get all the details on REFAI in PDF.
  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive communications about this program.
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REFAI® Certification from Linneman Associates and REFM is a rigorous educational self study program focused on practical, high impact learning outcomes.

Get started with REFAI

Course Formats

REFAI® Certification Program Enrollment

COHORT

  • Synchronized Group Pacing, First-Come Enrollment

  • Curated Core 8-Week Schedule

  • Next Starts September 9th

  • $3,299*

* $2,499 Nonprofit / $949 Academic or US Military.
Affirm/Klarna Payment Plan options available at checkout.

REFAI® CERTIFICATION PROGRAM ENROLLMENT

SELF-PACED

  • Self Pacing, Start Independently Anytime

  • Semester-style Schedule

  • Always Offered

  • $1,999*

* $1,499 Nonprofit / $699 Academic or US Military.
Affirm/Klarna Payment Plan options available at checkout.

Course Formats

REFAI® Certification Program Enrollment

COHORT

  • Synchronized Group Pacing, First-Come Enrollment

  • Curated Core 8-Week Schedule

  • Next Starts September 9th

  • $3,299*

* $2,499 Nonprofit / $949 Academic or US Military. Affirm/Klarna Payment Plan options available at checkout.

REFAI® CERTIFICATION PROGRAM ENROLLMENT

SELF-PACED

  • Self Pacing, Start Independently Anytime

  • Semester-style Schedule

  • Always Offered

  • $1,999*

* $1,499 Nonprofit / $699 Academic or US Military. Affirm/Klarna Payment Plan options available at checkout.

COHORT

The REFAI Cohort option is available only three times a year. The Cohort format provides a unique opportunity to learn a curated core curriculum in sync with a group of peers over an 8-week period. During the 8-week cohort period and afterwards, you will learn collaboratively with the benefits of structured pacing, weekly quizzes, shared perspectives and networking.

Starts Monday,

September 9th

While the full course curriculum is made available from the very start, the Cohort program guides you through curated core topics during the 8-week cohort period.

The topics and learning sequence for the 8-week period are shown below, as well as the remaining curriculum after week 8.

Cohort members learn by interacting with one another in addition to reading the textbook and on the online course platform. The platform delivers various media, including recorded video and audio lectures, spreadsheet modeling exercises, multiple choice quizzes and exams.

During the 8-week period, there are 2 dedicated live online Office Hours each week with textbook and course co-author Bruce Kirsch.

In addition, there is a dedicated live online Midterm exam review session (which is also recorded), and you have the ability to communicate with your fellow Cohort members.

Ongoing learning support after the 8 weeks is available from the ever-growing Cohort alumni base.

Lifetime access is provided to the REFAI platform, online groups and forums, and to all course materials.

By the end of the 8 weeks, through approximately 65 hours of self study, you will have completed 50% of the overall curriculum as well as have taken the Midterm exam.

This gives you tremendous momentum to complete the balance of the course.

Depending on your background and prior experience, this will take up to approximately 55-70 hours, getting you to the finish line of earning REFAI Certification.

Curriculum

Prerequisites

In this recommended but optional module, we make sure you have the needed foundational finance knowledge in place so that you can thrive during the course. We also teach you how to best leverage Excel to your advantage with REFM Excel for Real Estate skills Level 1 Certification.

29 pages

5.3 hours

There are 3 quizzes and 1 REFM Certification Exam.

Badges Earned

Week 1: Risks and Opportunities

In Week 1, you are introduced to the real estate asset class in the US and how real estate investment can be viewed through an analytical lens of risk and opportunity. You also get a grasp of how property market cycles work and the challenges they present. Last, we fortify your knowledge of real estate finance as it is represented in Excel with REFM Excel for Real Estate skills Level 2 Certification.

Readings: 50 pages

Video running time: 6 hours

Audio running time: 3 hours

There are 3 quizzes and 1 REFM Certification Exam.


Bonus Excel Tutorials are included on Stabilized Asset Levered Acquisition Modeling and Advanced Amortization Schedule Modeling.

Badges Earned

(started)

Week 2: Leases, Due Diligence and Introduction to Property-Level Modeling

In Week 2, you learn about the economic and non-economic terms of commercial leases, including the pervasive risk mitigation structures. In addition, you will get exposure to the importance of due diligence analysis regarding leases and property characteristics. Third, you will learn how to model office, industrial and retail leases from both the tenant and landlord perspectives.

Last, you will get an overview of property-level modeling using a multi-family Excel pro forma. You will start with Gross Potential Rent and end at Net Operating Income.

Readings: 24 pages

Video running time: 1.5 hours

Audio running time: 0.9 hours

There are 2 quizzes.

Badges Earned

(started)

Week 3: Property-Level Projection Modeling

In Week 3, we pick up in the multi-family Excel at NOI and continue line by line through After-Tax Cash Flow to equity, setting you up for Week 4’s integration of purchase, sale, debt and equity elements in an investment analysis.

Readings: 13 pages

Video running time: 1.8 hours

Audio running time: 0.9 hours

There is 1 quiz.

Optional Case Study on development.


Bonus Tool: Multi-Period Value Add Apartment BOTE (back of the envelope) Excel template

Badge Earned

(started)

Week 4: Investment Analysis & Midterm

In Week 4, you will focus on how financial modeling in Excel can assist in analyzing the attractiveness of an acquisition transaction at a particular price. You will model the property operations and the use of debt financing and assess the resulting levels of the four key equity investment performance indicators. You will then perform sensitivity analysis around key transaction variables to understand the resiliency (or lack thereof) of the equity returns.

Readings: 11 pages

Video running time: 1 hour

Audio running time: 0.6 hours

There is 1 quiz.


The Midterm examination covers all course content from the first 4 weeks, with an emphasis on the content from the textbook readings.

The Midterm contains 56 questions and must be completed in a single sitting of up to 120 minutes.

Badges Earned

(completed)

Week 5: Cap Rates

In Week 5, you will do a deep dive into capitalization rates as a basis for property valuation. After learning the technical bases and how to quote and interpret cap rates, you will learn about the biggest misconception related to them in the market.

Readings: 41 pages

Video running time: 1.8 hours

Audio running time: 0.75 hours

There is 1 quiz.

Badge Earned

Week 6: Development Pro Forma and Feasibility Analysis

In Week 6, you will learn about the development business model and how to construct a detailed pro forma for an industrial property that simulates construction and operation, allowing you to solve for land value on a residual basis. We also teach you in line by line detail how to model the ground-up development of a multi-tenant industrial property.

Readings: 26 pages

Video running time: 4.1 hours

Audio running time: 0.9 hours

There are 2 quizzes.


Bonus Excel Tutorial: Technical Job Interview Modeling Test.

Bonus Tools: Development static back of the envelope calculators, and Multi-Period Apartment Development BOTE template.

Badge Earned

Week 7: Debt Financing and Transaction Capital Structuring

In Week 7, you will learn in detail about the potentially good, bad and ugly of using senior mortgage financing for your transactions, as well as the potential use of mezzanine financing. The module includes a basic primer on bankruptcy and other forms of distressed debt resolution. In addition, you will learn about the rise and mechanics of the CMBS market and how the business is sometimes still misunderstood.

Readings: 37 pages

Video running time: 3.7 hours

Audio running time: 1.9 hours

There are 4 quizzes.

Badge Earned

Week 8: Exit Strategies, Real Estate Private Equity and Equity JV Partnerships

In Week 8, you will learn about the four ways to exit a real estate investment and their respective trade offs, as well as the net wealth positions produced by each of the methods. You will also learn about the origins of the real estate PE business as well as common waterfall structures at the fund level. Lastly, you will gain transaction-level joint venture waterfall modeling skills through your preparation for the REFM Excel for Real Estate skills Level 3 Certification.

Readings: 45 pages

Video running time: 4.3 hours

Audio running time: 1.4 hours

There are 2 quizzes and 1 REFM Certification Exam.


Bonus Resource: Sample Joint Venture Structure Profiles.

Badges Earned

International Real Estate

In this module, you will learn about real estate in other developed nations around the world and the additional challenges posed by investing across borders.

Readings: 7 pages

Audio running time: 0.25 hours

There is 1 quiz.

Distressed Debt and CMBS

In this module, you will learn about distressed debt, the basics of bankruptcy, and other forms of distressed debt resolution. You will also learn about the rise and mechanics of the CMBS market and how the business is sometimes still misunderstood. In addition, you will look at the details of an actual CMBS issuance.

Readings: 21 pages

Video running time: 0.5 hours

Audio running time: 0.9 hours

There are 2 quizzes.

Market Growth

In this module, you will learn about US population growth in the 21st century and about the factors that are most predictive of future metropolitan area growth.

Readings: 16 pages

Audio running time: 0.4 hours

There is 1 quiz.

Ground Leases

In this module, you will learn about the nuances of ground leases and how they can serve as an alternative financing method for an acquisition or development transaction.

Readings: 7 pages

Video running time: 0.5 hours

Audio running time: 0.25 hours

There is 1 quiz.

Real Estate Companies

In this module, you will learn about modeling at the real estate company level, as well as the the math and history behind the formation and proliferation of REITs.

Readings: 33 pages

Video running time: 0.4 hours

Audio running time: 0.6 hours

There are 2 quizzes.

Investment Return Profiles and Market Evolution

In this module, you will learn about the primary investment strategies and how they have fared historically in both public and private contexts. You will also get a view into how the CRE business has consolidated and changed over the last 30 years, and how it is likely to continue to evolve going forward.

Readings: 26 pages

Video running time: 0.5 hours

Audio running time: 0.6 hours

There are 2 quizzes.

Corporate Real Estate, Entrepreneurship and Ethics

In this module, you will learn about the fallacy of past models for analyzing the rent vs. own real estate decision for corporations, and how to correctly run the analysis. In addition, you will see what makes real estate entrepreneurs successful. We close the course content with thoughts on ethics in the CRE business.

Readings: 24 pages

Video running time: 0.5 hours

Audio running time: 1 hour

There are 3 quizzes.

FINAL EXAM

The Final examination covers all course content cumulatively, with an emphasis on the content from the textbook readings after the Midterm exam.

The Final contains 50 questions and must be completed in a single sitting of up to 120 minutes.

SELF-PACED

With the REFAI Self-Paced option, you have the ultimate flexibility to start, engage with, and complete the course whenever and in whatever sequence choose. You will study independently at your own pace and complete the curriculum in 14 weeks or over another convenient timeframe. This format is a good fit for those with rigid or spontaneously changing existing obligations.

Start Instantly

The full course curriculum is made available from the very start, but the learning path is based on a traditional academic semester schedule, with the 12 modules sequenced in a progressive manner to give both the big picture and details.

The module sequence is shown in the Curriculum below.

In addition to reading the textbook, you will learn on the online course platform through various media, including recorded video and audio lectures, spreadsheet modeling exercises, multiple choice quizzes and exams.

Learning support is provided through the Course Forum, run by textbook and course co-author Bruce Kirsch.

Lifetime access is provided to the REFAI platform, the Forum, and to all course materials.

Depending on your background and prior experience, this program requires up to 120-135 hours to complete the course content, exercises, quizzes, Midterm and Final exams. Some have finished the course in as little as a few weeks, but most take approximately 90-120 days.

Curriculum

Prerequisites

In this module, we make sure you have the needed foundational finance knowledge in place so that you can thrive during the course. We also teach you how to best leverage Excel to your advantage with REFM Excel for Real Estate skills Level 1 Certification.

Readings: 29 pages

Video running time: 5.3 hours

There are 3 quizzes and 1 REFM Certification Exam.

Badges Earned

Risks and Opportunities

In this module, you are introduced to the real estate asset class in the US and internationally, and how real estate investment can be viewed through an analytical lens of risk and opportunity. We also fortify your knowledge of real estate finance as it is represented in Excel with REFM Excel for Real Estate skills Level 2 Certification.

Readings: 42 pages

Video running time: 5.2 hours

Audio running time: 2.2 hours

There are 3 quizzes and 1 REFM Certification Exam.


Bonus Excel Tutorials are included on Stabilized Asset Levered Acquisition Modeling and Advanced Amortization Schedule Modeling

Badges Earned

Fundamentals of Commercial Leases

In this module, you learn about the economic and non-economic terms of commercial leases, including the pervasive risk mitigation structures. You also learn how to model office, industrial and retail leases from both the tenant and landlord perspectives.

Readings: 8 pages

Video running time: 1.2 hours

Audio running time: 0.5 hours

There is 1 quiz.

Badge Earned

Property-Level Projection Modeling

In this module, we lead you line by line in Excel through a multi-family operating pro forma and a levered investment analysis, starting at Gross Potential Rent and ending at After-Tax Cash Flow to equity. You will assess the resulting levels of the four key equity investment performance indicators and perform sensitivity analysis around key variables.

Readings: 35 pages

Video running time: 8.5 hours

Audio running time: 0.9 hours

There are 2 quizzes.

Optional Case Study on development.


Bonus Tool: Multi-Period Value Add Apartment BOTE (back of the envelope) Excel template

Badge Earned

Due Diligence & Capitalization Rates

In this module, we give you exposure to the litany of risks that can potentially be mitigated, or must be accepted, when investing in commercial real estate. In addition, we give capitalization rates and their use for property valuation the tremendous attention and nuanced discussion they deserve.

Readings: 46 pages

Video running time: 2.3 hours

Audio running time: 1.1 hours

There are 2 quizzes.

Badge Earned

Midterm

The Midterm examination covers all course content from the first 4 weeks, with an emphasis on the content from the textbook readings.

The Midterm contains 56 questions and must be completed in a single sitting of up to 120 minutes.

Badge Earned

Development Pro Forma and Feasibility Analysis

In this module, you will learn about the development business model and how to construct a detailed pro forma for an industrial property that simulates construction and operation, allowing you to solve for land value on a residual basis. We also teach you in line by line detail how to model the ground-up development of a multi-tenant industrial property.

Readings: 26 pages

Video running time: 4.1 hours

Audio running time: 0.9 hours

There are 2 quizzes.


Bonus Excel Tutorial: Technical Job Interview Modeling Test.

Bonus Tools: Development static back of the envelope calculators, and Multi-Period Apartment Development BOTE template.

Badge Earned

Debt Financing and Transaction Capital Structuring

In this module, you will learn in detail about the potentially good, bad and ugly of using senior mortgage financing for your transactions, as well as the potential use of mezzanine financing. The module includes a basic primer on bankruptcy and other forms of distressed debt resolution. In addition, you will learn about the rise and mechanics of the CMBS market and how the business is sometimes still misunderstood.

Readings: 37 pages

Video running time: 3.7 hours

Audio running time: 1.9 hours

There are 4 quizzes.

Badge Earned

Ground Leases and Real Estate Exit Strategies

In this module, you will learn about the nuances of ground leases and how they can serve as a financing method for an acquisition or development transaction. You will also learn about the four ways to exit a real estate investment and their respective trade offs, as well as the net wealth positions produced by each of the methods.

Video running time: 0.7 hours

Audio running time: 0.6 hours

Optional Case Study on corporate headquarters decision analysis.

Readings: 37 pages

There are 2 quizzes.

Badge Earned

Real Estate Companies, Private Equity and JV Partnerships

In this module, you will learn about real estate company modeling, the math behind the formation and proliferation of REITs, and the origins of the real estate PE business as well as common waterfall structures at the fund level. In addition, you will gain transaction-level joint venture waterfall modeling skills through your preparation for the REFM Excel for Real Estate skills Level 3 Certification.

Readings: 36 pages

Video running time: 4.4 hours

Audio running time: 1.3 hours

There are 3 quizzes and 1 REFM Certification Exam.


Bonus Resource: Sample Joint Venture Structure Profiles.

Badges Earned

Real Estate Cycles and Market Growth

In this module, you will learn about the necessarily prolonged supply and demand imbalances that contribute to real estate market cycles. In addition, you will gain insight into the factors that are most predictive of future metropolitan area growth.

Readings: 31 pages

Video running time: 0.6 hours

Audio running time: 1 hour

There are 2 quizzes.

Badge Earned

Investment Return Profiles and Market Evolution

In this module, you will learn about the primary investment strategies and how they have fared historically in both public and private contexts. You will also get a view into how the CRE business has consolidated and changed over the last 30 years, and how it is likely to continue to evolve going forward.

Readings: 26 pages

Video running time: 0.5 hours

Audio running time: 0.6 hours

There are 2 quizzes.

Badge Earned

Corporate Real Estate, Entrepreneurship and Ethics

In this module, you will learn about the fallacy of past models for analyzing the rent vs. own real estate decision for corporations, and how to correctly run the analysis. In addition, you will see what makes real estate entrepreneurs successful. We close the course content with thoughts on ethics in the CRE business.

Readings: 24 pages

Video running time: 0.5 hours

Audio running time: 1 hour

There are 3 quizzes.

Final Exam

The Final examination covers all course content cumulatively, with an emphasis on the content from the textbook readings after the Midterm exam.

The Final contains 50 questions and must be completed in a single sitting of up to 120 minutes.

Badge Earned

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Build your real estate
knowledge skyline with
REFAI® Certification

REFAI® Certification from Linneman Associates and REFM is a rigorous educational self study program focused on practical, high impact learning outcomes.

Get the REFAI® Brochure Now

Get all the details on REFAI in PDF.
  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive communications about this program.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

REFAI® Certification Adopters Include

REFAI® Certification Adopters Include

REFAI. Created Just For You.

Targeting a career in commercial real estate, or seeking to move up faster or go out on your own?

REFAI can help move you along in your career if you are a:

Current student or recent graduate
Financial or development analyst/associate
Investment sales or leasing broker
Land use or transaction attorney
Real estate entrepreneur
Construction executive

REFAI. Created Just For You.

Targeting a CRE career, or seeking to move up faster or go out on your own?

REFAI can help move you along in your career if you are a:

current student or recent graduate
CRE analyst/associate
investment sales or leasing broker
land use or transaction attorney
real estate entrepreneur, or
construction executive.

REFAI Student Stories

Get started with REFAI

Enroll In The REFAI Program To

Acquire not just one, but four CRE

industry recognized Certifications

 

Earn your first REFM Excel for Real Estate Certification in as little as a day, and graduate to earn the overarching REFAI® designation

Gain insight into the risks and opportunities in commercial real estate investment

Learn how to frame risk related to investment and development opportunities and how to assess and model out the various potential rewards

Learn practical knowledge and skills from Dr. Peter Linneman and Bruce Kirsch

With over 50 combined years of teaching, skills training and CRE investing experience, Peter and Bruce are the ultimate teaching duo. You will earn badges as you go, marking your progress.

Read “the one book that’s so good it’s kept forever” by readers

See why both students and professionals have referred to it as “The Blue Bible of Real Estate” for more than 20 years

Position yourself to enter, or move laterally or vertically within the CRE business

Apply yourself and REFAI can help you upskill, get in the know, and potentially accelerate your career by up to a year

Stay up to date on market dynamics with Linnsights

48 weekly audio messages from Dr. Peter Linneman with his thoughts on the market

Coming Soon

Connect with others with similar investing and geographic interests.

REFAI includes REFM’s industry standard Certification in Excel for Real Estate Bootcamps. As you pass these modules within REFAI, you are granted the associated individual skills Certificates, and you can list them on your resume and LinkedIn in real time. You can even opt to complete these modules first.

If you have already passed one or more Levels of the Bootcamps, you can apply that achievement to automatically pass through the lessons and exams on the same in REFAI. You can also apply payment you or your employer already made for the Bootcamps towards your enrollment in REFAI.

Enroll In The REFAI Program To

Acquire not just one,

but four CRE

industry recognized

Certifications

 

Earn your first REFM Excel for Real Estate Certification in as little as a day, and graduate to earn the overarching REFAI® designation

Gain insight into the risks and opportunities in commercial real estate investment

Learn how to frame risk related to investment and development opportunities and how to assess and model out the various potential rewards

Learn practical knowledge and skills from Dr. Peter Linneman and Bruce Kirsch

With over 50 combined years of teaching, skills training and CRE investing experience, Peter and Bruce are the ultimate teaching duo. You will earn badges as you go, marking your progress.

Read “the one book that’s so good it’s kept forever” by readers

See why both students and professionals have referred to it as “The Blue Bible of Real Estate” for more than 20 years

Position yourself to enter, or move laterally or vertically within the CRE business

Apply yourself and REFAI can help you upskill, get in the know, and potentially accelerate your career by up to a year

Stay up to date on market dynamics with Linnsights

48 weekly audio messages from Dr. Peter Linneman with his thoughts on the market

Coming Soon

Connect with others with similar investing and geographic interests.

REFAI includes REFM’s industry standard Certification in Excel for Real Estate Bootcamps. As you pass these modules within REFAI, you are granted the associated individual skills Certificates, and you can list them on your resume and LinkedIn in real time. You can even opt to complete these modules first.

Meet Your Instructors

Peter Linneman, PhD

Professor Emeritus, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Founding Chairman, The Wharton School Real Estate Department

Managing Principal and Founder, Linneman Associates

Co-Author, REFAI Textbook & Certification Program

 

Read About Peter

For more than 40 years, the unique blend of scholarly rigor and practical business insight of Dr. Peter Linneman has won him accolades from around the world, including PREA’s prestigious Graaskamp Award for Real Estate Research, Wharton’s Zell-Lurie Real Estate Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Realty Stock Magazine’s Special Achievement Award, being named “One of the 25 Most Influential People in Real Estate” by Realtor Magazine and inclusion in The New York Observer’s “100 Most Powerful People in New York Real Estate”.

After receiving both his Masters and Doctorate in Economics under the tutelage of Nobel Prize winners Milton Friedman, Gary Becker, George Stigler, Ted Schultz and Jim Heckman, Peter had a distinguished academic career at both The University of Chicago and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. For 35 years, he was a leading member of Wharton’s faculty, serving as the Albert Sussman Professor of Real Estate, Finance and Public Policy as well as the Founding Chairman of the Real Estate Department and Director of the prestigious Zell-Lurie Real Estate Center.

During this time, he was co-editor of The Wharton Real Estate Review. In addition, he published over 100 scholarly articles, four editions of the acclaimed book Real Estate Finance and Investments: Risks and Opportunities, and the widely read Linneman Letter quarterly report.

Peter’s long and ongoing business career is highlighted by his roles as Founding Principal of Linneman Associates, a leading real estate advisory firm; CEO of American Land Fund; and CEO of KL Realty. For more than 35 years, he has advised leading corporations and served on over 20 public and private boards, including serving as Chairman of Rockefeller Center Properties, where he led the successful restructuring and sale of Rockefeller Center in the mid-1990s.

Although retired from Wharton’s faculty, Dr. Linneman continues his commitment to education through his Save A Mind, Give A Choice educational charity for orphans and children of extreme poverty in rural Kenya. He has been married for over 40 years and is an exercise enthusiast.

Bruce Kirsch, REFAI®

Former Adjunct Faculty, Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies Masters of Professional Studies in Real Estate Program

CEO and Founder, Real Estate Financial Modeling (REFM)

Co-Author, REFAI Textbook & Certification Program

 

Read About Bruce

As the founder of Real Estate Financial Modeling (REFM), Bruce Kirsch has trained thousands of students and professionals around the world in Excel-based projection analysis. In addition, REFM’s self-study products, Excel-based templates and its Valuate® property valuation and investment analysis software are used by more than 250,000 professionals. Mr. Kirsch’s firm has assisted with modeling for the raising of billions of dollars of equity and debt for transactions and funds, and Mr. Kirsch has maintained on blog on financial modeling.

Mr. Kirsch began his real estate career at CB Richard Ellis, where he marketed highrise New York City office buildings for re-development in the Midtown Manhattan Investment Properties Institutional Group. After CBRE, Mr. Kirsch was recruited to lead acquisitions at Metropolis Development Company, and later joined The Clarett Group, a programmatic development partner of Prudential.

While at The Clarett Group, Mr. Kirsch was responsible for making development site recommendations for office, condominium and multi-family properties in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. In addition, Mr. Kirsch had significant day-to-day project management responsibilities for the entitlement, financing and marketing of the company’s existing D.C.-area development portfolio.

Mr. Kirsch holds an MBA in Real Estate from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Kahn/Washington Real Estate Investment Trust Award for academic excellence. Prior to Wharton, Mr. Kirsch performed quantitative equity research on the technology sector at The Capital Group Companies. Mr. Kirsch served as an Adjunct Faculty member in real estate finance at Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies. Mr. Kirsch graduated with a BA in Communication from Stanford University.

Is REFAI right for you right now? Let’s find out by chatting!


Get started with REFAI

The Course Textbook

Real Estate Finance and Investments: Risks and Opportunities

Authored by Peter Linneman, PhD and Bruce Kirsch, REFAI ®

Edition 5.3 | First Published in 2003 | 457 pages | 26 Chapters

Select Corporate Adoptions

125+ University Adoptions

Unique Features

Chapter 1 in Audiobook | Hands-on Excel modeling exercises integrated throughout | ARGUS platform overview

Real Estate Finance and Investments: Risks and Opportunities

Authored by Peter Linneman, PhD and Bruce Kirsch, REFAI ®

Edition 5.3 | First Published in 2003 | 457 pages | 26 Chapters

Select Corporate Adoptions

125+ University Adoptions

Unique Features

Chapter 1 in Audiobook | Hands-on Excel modeling exercises integrated throughout | ARGUS platform overview

Get started with REFAI

Program Details

REFAI Program Overview

 

The REFAI program curriculum is equal to that of “Real Estate Finance and Investment Analysis 101” semester-long courses delivered in the traditional classroom format in top MBA and Masters in real estate programs.

The backbone of REFAI is Real Estate Finance and Investments: Risks and Opportunities, “The Blue Bible of Real Estate,” authored by Dr. Peter Linneman and Bruce Kirsch. In circulation for more than 20 years and based on his Wharton classes, the book reflects Dr. Linneman’s frustration with texts that concentrate excessively on theoretical detail and literature, while ignoring important aspects of financial analysis and decision making. This book balances the “real world” aspects of real estate finance without compromising key theoretical underpinnings. It covers the basic mathematics of real estate finance and investments, while stressing the ambiguity of decision making.

The book, and the REFAI program by extension, is an exploration of the key concepts of real estate finance and investment strategy, not a mere formulaic analysis of numbers designed to give you “the answer” to any and all real estate investment decisions.

Holding the REFAI Certification signifies proficiency in this material and the ability to apply that knowledge by overlaying sound analytical frameworks on real world problems. Candidates must earn a minimum passing grade of 70% to complete the requirements for the Program and receive the Certification. Candidates are forewarned that this grade depends upon their performance and passing is not guaranteed.

Program Goals

Provide you with a solid theoretical and technical grounding in real estate finance and investments and Excel-based modeling

Make you a more critical thinker with respect to the business of real estate across all property and transaction types

Set you up for success in the workplace and with your own real estate investing endeavors

Content Highlights

The REFAI Certification Program examines:

  • Basic financial analysis and metrics
  • Dynamic financial modeling in Excel
  • Selection of discount and capitalization rates
  • Development feasibility
  • Lease negotiation
  • Preferred return, promote and catch-up structures
  • Corporate rent versus own decisions
  • Owner exit strategies
  • Investing internationally
  • Dynamic financial modeling in Excel
  • Valuation of properties subject to ground leases
  • REITs
  • Going public as a real estate company
  • Real estate entrepreneurship.

Skills Objectives

Upon completion, REFAI Certification Holders will be able to perform in Excel:

  • Forecasting property income and expense cash flows
  • Building a mortgage payment schedule with an Interest-Only component
  • Calculating IRR and NPV
  • Allocating construction costs according to a bell-shaped curve
  • Valuing a ground-up development site on a residual basis
  • Forecasting an asset’s future stabilized Net Operating Income
  • Performing sensitivity analyses around the driving variables in a transaction
  • Calculating loan interest for multiple layers of debt financing
  • Evaluating whether a corporation should own or rent facilities.

Learning Support

Support is provided by the Course co-creator

Unique Differences

REFAI is unique from other course offerings in the following 6 ways:

  1. It was brought to market in 2019, informed by more than 50 combined years of teaching, consulting and investing experience from Peter Linneman and Bruce Kirsch
  2. It is the most challenging course available
  3. It contains the most thorough discussion of risk of any course
  4. You get lifetime platform access
  5. You get exclusive Linnsights ongoing market commentary once you enroll
  6. You get access to REFM professional analysis tools and data.

Time Commitment

Depending on your background and experience, this self-paced program requires up to 120-135 hours to complete the course content, exercises, quizzes, midterm and final exams.

How You Will Learn

In addition to reading the textbook, candidates will learn on the immersive online course platform through various media, including recorded video and audio lectures, spreadsheet modeling exercises, multiple choice quizzes and exams.

Testing and Assignments

  • Online quizzes for each of the 12 Modules are open book, generally subject to a 15-minute time limit.
  • Almost all Modules contain at least one quiz that requires working in Excel worksheets to get to solutions.
  • Midterm and final exam are open book, subject to a 90-minute time limit; both require working in Excel worksheets.
  • All quizzes, exams and  provide correct answers and commentary once taken.
  • There are 150 sample practice quiz questions, which you can use an unlimited number of times to study for the quizzes, midterm and final.
  • Across the 30 quizzes and exams, candidates will answer more than 500 questions.
  • There are 2 optional case studies for completion.

Bonus Resources

Custom Bonus Resources are included that are not available in any other course

☆ 48 Weekly Market Commentaries

☆ Proprietary Data

Library of actual equity joint venture partnership waterfall structures across strategies and geographies

☆ Professional Tools

The same downloadable and online value add and ground-up development back of the envelope (BOTE) analysis tools that REFM customers have trusted for more than a decade to help them run preliminary numbers on prospective transactions.

☆ Interview Training

3.5-hour video tutorial with Excel-based answer key for a simulated technical Excel modeling job interview test

Program Details

REFAI Program Overview

 

The REFAI program curriculum is equal to that of “Real Estate Finance and Investment Analysis 101” semester-long courses delivered in the traditional classroom format in top MBA and Masters in real estate programs.

The backbone of REFAI is Real Estate Finance and Investments: Risks and Opportunities, “The Blue Bible of Real Estate,” authored by Dr. Peter Linneman and Bruce Kirsch. In circulation for more than 20 years and based on his Wharton classes, the book reflects Dr. Linneman’s frustration with texts that concentrate excessively on theoretical detail and literature, while ignoring important aspects of financial analysis and decision making. This book balances the “real world” aspects of real estate finance without compromising key theoretical underpinnings. It covers the basic mathematics of real estate finance and investments, while stressing the ambiguity of decision making.

The book, and the REFAI program by extension, is an exploration of the key concepts of real estate finance and investment strategy, not a mere formulaic analysis of numbers designed to give you “the answer” to any and all real estate investment decisions.

Holding the REFAI Certification signifies proficiency in this material and the ability to apply that knowledge by overlaying sound analytical frameworks on real world problems. Candidates must earn a minimum passing grade of 70% to complete the requirements for the Program and receive the Certification. Candidates are forewarned that this grade depends upon their performance and passing is not guaranteed.

Program Goals

Provide you with a solid theoretical and technical grounding in real estate finance and investments and Excel-based modeling

Make you a more critical thinker with respect to the business of real estate across all property and transaction types

Set you up for success in the workplace and with your own real estate investing endeavors

Content Highlights

The REFAI Certification Program examines:

  • Basic financial analysis and metrics
  • Dynamic financial modeling in Excel
  • Selection of discount and capitalization rates
  • Development feasibility
  • Lease negotiation
  • Preferred return, promote and catch-up structures
  • Corporate rent versus own decisions
  • Owner exit strategies
  • Investing internationally
  • Dynamic financial modeling in Excel
  • Valuation of properties subject to ground leases
  • REITs
  • Going public as a real estate company
  • Real estate entrepreneurship.

Skills Objectives

Upon completion, REFAI Certification Holders will be able to perform in Excel:

  • Forecasting property income and expense cash flows
  • Building a mortgage payment schedule with an Interest-Only component
  • Calculating IRR and NPV
  • Allocating construction costs according to a bell-shaped curve
  • Valuing a ground-up development site on a residual basis
  • Forecasting an asset’s future stabilized Net Operating Income
  • Performing sensitivity analyses around the driving variables in a transaction
  • Calculating loan interest for multiple layers of debt financing
  • Evaluating whether a corporation should own or rent facilities.

Learning Support

Support is provided by the Course co-creator

Unique Differences

REFAI is unique from other course offerings in the following 6 ways:

  1. It was brought to market in 2019, informed by more than 50 combined years of teaching, consulting and investing experience from Peter Linneman and Bruce Kirsch
  2. It is the most challenging course available
  3. It contains the most thorough discussion of risk of any course
  4. You get lifetime platform access
  5. You get exclusive Linnsights ongoing market commentary once you enroll
  6. You get access to REFM professional analysis tools and data.

Time Commitment

Depending on your background and experience, this self-paced program requires up to 120-135 hours to complete the course content, exercises, quizzes, midterm and final exams.

How You Will Learn

In addition to reading the textbook, candidates will learn on the immersive online course platform through various media, including recorded video and audio lectures, spreadsheet modeling exercises, multiple choice quizzes and exams.

Testing and Assignments

  • Online quizzes for each of the 12 Modules are open book, generally subject to a 15-minute time limit.
  • Almost all Modules contain at least one quiz that requires working in Excel worksheets to get to solutions.
  • Midterm and final exam are open book, subject to a 90-minute time limit; both require working in Excel worksheets.
  • All quizzes, exams and  provide correct answers and commentary once taken.
  • There are 150 sample practice quiz questions, which you can use an unlimited number of times to study for the quizzes, midterm and final.
  • Across the 30 quizzes and exams, candidates will answer more than 500 questions.
  • There are 2 optional case studies for completion.

Bonus Resources

Custom Bonus Resources are included that are not available in any other course

☆ 48 Weekly Market Commentaries

☆ Proprietary Data

Library of actual equity joint venture partnership waterfall structures across strategies and geographies

☆ Professional Tools

The same downloadable and online value add and ground-up development back of the envelope (BOTE) analysis tools that REFM customers have trusted for more than a decade to help them run preliminary numbers on prospective transactions.

☆ Interview Training

3.5-hour video tutorial with Excel-based answer key for a simulated technical Excel modeling job interview test

REFAI is delivered on a state of the art learning platform

What REFAI Certification Holders Are Saying

“REFAI truly was the missing piece in my educational journey, allowing me to gain knowledge and skills in an environment that’s challenging. I recommend it to anyone who has a bit of extra time and is eager to learn about real estate.”

Jack McLaughlin

Bayhill Ventures

“I have no doubt that the skills I learned in REFAI helped me get my first job and also prepare to move to the buy side. I have learned so much from Peter and Bruce. People will really give you credit for REFAI because they know its rigor.”

Matthew Shell

Pacific Industrial

“I feel grateful for the CRE foundation I gained from REFAI. Coming from a non-technical liberal arts background, these courses helped me hit the ground running and no doubt influenced my career trajectory for the better.”

Dylan Katz

Artemis Real Estate Partners

REFAI Certification is perfect for anyone looking to advance their real estate business career. It gave me the confidence to do my job better. – Mercy Angaine

I’m glad that I took the REFAI Certification. As a college student who wants to start a career in the commercial real estate industry, this course provided me with the necessary tools and concepts used currently in the industry.

The course is organized in an enjoyable format, being well-proportioned yet sufficiently challenging, with each module building on the previous modules. Both instructors, Peter Linneman and Bruce Kirsch, are extremely knowledgeable. I definitely would recommend this course to anyone who wants to build a career in the commercial real estate industry!

Alejandro Tellez Vazquez, Student at Texas Tech University

For the real estate brokers out there looking to improve in their knowledge and impress their clients, the student right out of college looking to gain an edge on competing for highly desired entry level jobs, or the beginner looking to invest in real estate, I highly recommend earning these certifications and taking the course. You will be astonished as to how much you learn.

Dan Litt, Commercial Real Estate Salesperson in Philadelphia

The course provides a ton of helpful review material, hands-on modeling exercises, and insightful real estate stories and lessons. When combined with the Real Estate Finance and Investments textbook, the entire experience gives you an invaluable leg up in the industry. All in all, I would recommend this course to anyone trying to learn more about the business and master the technical side of real estate risks and opportunities.

Brooks Arundel, Analyst, Cushman & Wakefield NYC

What attracted me to the REFAI program was that I could improve my career use these skills for the rest of my life. – Daniel Litt

I have been an investment sales professional for the last seven years and was looking to improve my real estate financial modeling skills to best service my clients. After researching the REFAI course offered by Bruce Kirsch and Dr. Peter Linneman, I decided to give it a try.

I was able to improve my modeling skills through extremely detailed tutorials, and, to my surprise, I learned even more through their textbook and online lectures. I am very satisfied with their program and would highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn the real estate business or, like me, improve their knowledge and skill set.

JS, CFA

I just want to say how amazing this course was overall. I really am pushing around twenty other younger college students to take this to get them ahead of the curve. It really does a great job of teaching you a topic through the book, then pounding it in your head through the lecture then understanding it analytically with the Excel. Thank you again.

Chris Comet, Student at University of Southern California

It was great! The videos and models were very interactive and helpful, and I’ve already recommended the course to all my real estate classmates. Thank you once again for an amazing curriculum, it certainly made for a great foundation of real estate knowledge on which to build.

Alejandro Banuelos, BS Candidate in Economics, The Wharton School

The course was fantastic! It really helped me stand out while applying for Analyst positions in the Commercial Real Estate world. I feel more confident in my excel skills and more comfortable with my terminology and critical thinking.

I am really glad I used my free time on something as productive as REFM.

Thank you for everything.

Zachary Bertucci, Wisconsin School of Business BBA, Real Estate and Finance

Most of the materials that you find in REFAI covers my entire masters program in real estate. REFAI allowed me to work at my own pace. – Jacky Cheng

I just took the final exam for the REFAI course after completing all prior tasks. Incredible course, especially for an experienced analyst looking to get a very in-depth understanding of the equity side of acquisitions. Thanks again for a great course – best CRE training out there.

Connor Nolan, Underwriting Analyst – Structured Finance, Freddie Mac

As a career switcher who is entering into real estate, the course provided an opportunity to gain a credible industry-known certification (a simple LinkedIn search reveals just how many RE professionals list REFM as an accomplishment), develop practical skills, and stand out among job candidates with MBAs.

The disciplined, logical, clear, and methodical way in which the material was presented should be the benchmark for how real estate finance and investing is taught in top-tier universities. I feel much more confident in my ability to “talk real estate finance” after reading the book and working on the exercises. I also have a better sense of my strengths and weaknesses. Likewise, I have a lifetime to improve my skills with the course materials and textbook.

U.C. Berkeley MRED+D Graduate

REFAI is a phenomenal course. Thanks for your hard working putting this together.

I have taken financial modeling courses before. REFAI/REFM is unique because it’s the only one that shows how you lose money as a real estate investor through the Excel work, historic examples and scenarios.

The chapter interviews and insights are gold.

Brian Dentry, Associate, Weitzman

REFAI Program Curriculum

MODULE 1: Prerequisites

In this module, we make sure you have the needed foundational finance knowledge in place so that you can thrive during the course. We also teach you how to best leverage Excel to your advantage with REFM Excel for Real Estate skills Level 1 Certification.

Readings: 29 pages

Video running time: 5.3 hours

There are 3 quizzes and 1 REFM Certification Exam.

MODULE 2: Risks and Opportunities

In this module, you are introduced to the real estate asset class in the US and internationally, and how real estate investment can be viewed through an analytical lens of risk and opportunity. We also fortify your knowledge of real estate finance as it is represented in Excel with REFM Excel for Real Estate skills Level 2 Certification.

Readings: 42 pages

Video running time: 5.2 hours

Audio running time: 2.2 hours

There are 3 quizzes and 1 REFM Certification Exam.

Bonus Excel Tutorials are included on Stabilized Asset Levered Acquisition Modeling and Advanced Amortization Schedule Modeling.

MODULE 3: Fundamentals of Commercial Leases