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Real Estate Finance and Investment Drivers, Strategies and Valuation

  1. Course Number

  2. Classes Start

  3. Classes End

    Jun 15, 2020


1.1. Introduction to Real Estate Drivers, Strategies and Valuation

Video 1.1

Quiz 1.1

1.2. Patterns of Urban Growth

Video 1.2

Quiz 1.2

1.3. Real Estate Market Cycles

Video 1.3

Quiz 1.3

1.4. Real Estate Investment Criteria

1.4. Video

Quiz 1.4

1.5. Real Estate Investment Strategies

Video 1.5

Quiz 1.5

1.6. Brookside Square Investment Characteristics

Video 1.6

Quiz 1.6

1.7. Development Timeline

Video 1.7

Quiz 1.7

1.8. The Investment Decision Development

Video 1.8

Quiz 1.8

1.9. The Investment Decision Existing Buildings

Video 1.9

Quiz 1.9

1.10. Real Estate Appraisal

Video 1.10

Quiz 1.10

1.11. Real Estate Appraisal Approaches to Valuation Income Approach

Video 1.11

Quiz 1.11

1.12. Real Estate Investment Drivers, Strategies and Valuation

Video 1.12

1.13. Final Course Assignment

1.13. Final Assignment

1.14. Discussion

Real Estate Drivers, Strategies and Valuation

About This Course

This course sets the stage for the Real Estate Finance and Investment Program. It presents the overview for making professional real estate investment and development decisions. We present the fundamental drivers of real estate investment, and discuss the patterns of urban growth and how they influence long term investment returns. Real estate is a long term investment that is subject to major swings in the market. We discuss how to play the market cycle in order to determine the best time to invest and the best time to sell. We discuss investment criteria – how to evaluate a real estate investment opportunity to determine whether it meets your personal financial objectives or those of your investors. Using the Brookside Square property in Boston as a case example, we present the fundamentals of real estate financial analysis including the five stages of analysis and the development timeline. We then present the fundamentals of real estate appraisal and the different methods for determining real estate value.

Learning Objectives

• Understanding the multitude of factors involving location, urban growth, demographic trends, and market cycles that ultimately determine the success or failure of a real estate investment;

• Understanding how primary physical, financial, and operational characteristics of prospective acquisitions affect real estate value;

• Understanding the alternative strategies for investing in real estate depending on the risk profile, cash availability, credit availability and objectives of you and your investors;

• Providing a framework for real estate appraisal and how to determine the value of acquisitions and development projects.


The course will require 3-4 hours of work to be completed.

Course Format

The course will feature video tutorials, excel training, virtual meetings, etc.


The course will includes quizzes after each video, excel tutorials, and a written essay.


Build Academy will issue course certificates with credits to anyone who successfully completes 80% of the course assessments. Course participants will receive a diploma for completing the eight courses in the Real Estate Finance and Investment program.


We are in the process of accrediting the course with the State of New York for CEUs (Continuing Education Units). At the moment, the course awards international CPDs (Credits for Professional Development).


The course is for real estate professionals who would like to further advance into their career and also for the general public who want to learn the basics of real estate. Successful completion of the previous courses in the program is required.


Kristen Hunter, The Brookside Square Case Study, 2016

Recommended readings:

Richard B. Peiser and David Hamilton, Professional Real Estate Development: The ULI Guide to the Business, 3rd Edition (The Urban Land Institute: Washington, D.C., 2012)

William Brueggeman and Jeffrey Fisher, Real Estate Finance & Investments, 15th edition (McGraw-Hill, 2015)

William J. Poorvu with Jeffrey L. Cruikshank, The Real Estate Game (Free Press, 1999).


Course Staff Image #1

Richard Peiser PhD, Michael D. Spear Professor at Harvard GSD

Richard Peiser has been the Michael D. Spear Professor of Real Estate Development at the Graduate School of Design since 1998. He is also Director of the university-wide Real Estate Academic Initiative created in 2003. He was previously on the faculty at the University of Southern California (1986-1998) as associate professor of urban planning and development, director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate Development, and Academic Director of the Master of Real Estate Development Program that he founded in 1986. His courses: Real Estate Finance and Development, Field Studies in Real Estate, Planning and Urban Design, and Advanced Real Estate Development and Finance offer basic and advanced-level study of real estate at the GSD. He also taught the studios: Alternative Urban Pattern Prototypes: Looking at Pomona/Los Angeles, Newry, Northern Ireland—Revealing History in Urban Reconstruction, and Alternative Futures for the West Lake, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China, as well as field studies in Texas, California, New Hampshire, Idaho, and Shanghai. He is directing the school’s activities in advanced education for senior real estate executives, notably the six-week Advanced Management Development Program in Real Estate.

Course Staff Image #2

Kristen Hunter, DDes Candidate at Harvard GSD

Kristen Hunter is a doctoral candidate in Real Estate Finance and Urban Development at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD), where she has taught Real Estate Finance, as well as Public and Private Development, since 2010. She received a Master in Design Studies with distinction in Real Estate and Project Management from the GSD, earning the Gerald M. McCue Medal for highest overall academic record and the Ferdinand Colleredo Mansfeld Prize for superior achievement in real estate studies. She also holds an M.A. in Medieval Chinese History from Cornell University and an A.B. cum laude in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University. An experienced real estate development manager and LEED AP, Kristen has delivered a variety of infill projects in Boston’s inner city neighborhoods, and currently provides strategic advisory for complex urban redevelopment projects in domestic and overseas markets.

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