by Greg Barrett

Top Financial Modeling Programs

The resources below are my favorite tools for developing and advancing your real estate finance skills. These resources will provide you with the foundation one needs as well as very advanced modeling techniques. Advanced training is a must for anyone pursuing a career in commercial real estate.


REFM (Real Estate Financial Modeling) is probably the most developed and thorough real estate financial modeling platform.  It was created by Bruce Kirsch in 2009 and is the industry standard for Excel-based real estate modeling.  The program offers training courses, downloadable models – some of which are free, and a Certificate Program.  It has live courses in New York and an online self-study program. Bruce is even a co-author of the latest version of the most popular real estate investment textbook (Real Estate Finance and Investments: Risks and Opportunities by Peter Linneman & Bruce Kirsch). They recently came out with the REFAI Course (Real Estate Finance & Investment Certification). This course isn’t cheap, but its ROI is significant due to the exeptional content.  They not only show you how to model in Excel, but Dr. Linneman explains how and why things are done in practice.  I learned a lot from the course. Get it here.

Adventures in CRE

A.CRE is an online resource created by two very experienced real estate finance guys. It provides some educational resources, but its strength is in the number of quality models that are available for download.  They have acquisition models, leasing models, development models, and portfolio models across all asset types.  They have recently added a career section for job seekers and employers.


Argus provides a number of financial modeling tools specifically for evaluating real estate.  Argus is used by many institutional investors, developers, and private real estate companies.  It is the most advanced software platform used by real estate financial analysts.  Argus provides product-specific training.

I would suggest starting your modeling education with REFM. As I mentioned previously, after completing REFM’s program, you will be able to add the certificate to your resume and LinkedIn profile. The new REFAI Program is awesome because you’ll not only learn how to build models in Excel, but more importantly, you’ll learn about how things work from one of the foremost Real Estate professors, Dr. Linneman. Adventures in CRE is a great place to find downloadable models once you have a strong understanding of real estate and real estate financial modeling.  I would suggest learning Argus only if it is required to get a specific job, and after you have developed a strong skill set in Excel.