First things, first – let us say – we love Excel too. We’ve all worked in commercial real estate for decades and use excel for far more than it is intended. On top of that, we’ve integrated VAL with Excel because we know it's not going away.
With that as a preamble - and as people who have modeled more deals than we can count in Excel - we came to realize that raw Excel is inefficient and error-prone when it comes to sophisticated real estate calcs.
- Spreadsheets simply get errors put into them and not spotted. Some analyst hard codes a cell and forget about it. Someone changes an input and doesn’t trace its downstream impacts perfectly. Microsoft puts out updates over the years and changes how an esoteric formula works. Things just happen. A scary study reported in Forbes showed that 88% of spreadsheets contained significant errors. Sure if you have a 10 person QA team & certification team that tests your model every time you make a change, maybe you are ok. If not, you would be better served using our stress-tested app, with hundreds and hundreds and soon to be thousands of users and our rigorous, dedicated testing team and machine-driven test automation.
- Scalability becomes a problem as the Excel sheets get more and more complex. Many real estate models can grow to be dozens of tabs and tens of thousands of cells as they mature and handle more debt cases and property types. As you strain Excel it starts to slow down, break, or crash. This is especially prevalent with scenarios and sensitivities. This kind of sophisticated financial calculation is much better driven off a cloud-based product with infinite scalability.
- Standardized Calcs. While much of real estate math is pretty straightforward, people implement it with subtle differences which can lead to material differences in results. With using a standardized product everyone can see exactly how a deal was modeled, and when you put in the same assumptions you will get the same results. No hidden cells, subtlety aggressive definitions of NOI, etc.
- Updates/Enhancements. When you want to enhance your Excel model you have to either (a) update a template and then redo every deal in that template, or (b) make your enhancements in every Excel file to avoid retyping deal data, or (c) just give up on your old deals/data, or (d) accept that they are divergent.
- Sure, you have tested your model for a year straight, personally reviewed every calc, and know it’s the best thing since sliced bread. The problem is your counterparty won’t have the same comfort and so won’t rely on it. With an accepted industry solution, you know your counterparty will know that the numbers are numbers.
But Excel is flexible? And I can do things quickly when I need something? That’s fine. VAL integrates cleanly with Excel. Anything you need to do offline, you still can. You just don’t need to reinvent the wheel of real estate calcs.
But how do I know I will like it? We offer free trials, and month-to-month contracting. Absolutely no commitment required. Try it. If you agree, stay. If you don’t agree, don’t stay. We find that almost everyone stays….
But Excel is virtually free? Yes. BUT your time is NOT. VAL is very affordably priced, and many clients save 10-100x the cost of the license by not needing to wrestle with excel formulas, double-check their analysts, and explain their calcs to their partners coworkers.
By using VAL AND our integrations with Excel, you get the whole world, not just half of it! You get the power of a cloud application, and the integrations with Excel to stay flexible.
We challenge you to try VAL for FREE. You won’t go back.