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Essential Financial Functions

  1. Course Number

  2. Classes Start

  3. Classes End

    Jun 15, 2020


2.1 Essential Financial Functions: FV, PV, PMT

Video 2.1

Quiz 2.1

2.2 Financial Function Sign Conventions & Timelines

Video 2.2

Quiz 2.2

2.3 Future Value Function

Video 2.3

Quiz 2.3

2.4 Future Value Calculations

Video 2.4

Quiz 2.4

2.5 Effects of Interest Rates & Compounding Intervals on Future Value Function

Video 2.5

File 2.5

Quiz 2.5

2.6 Present Value Function

Video 2.6

Quiz 2.6

2.7 Present Value Calculations

Video 2.7

Quiz 2.7

2.8 Effects of Interest Rates & Compounding Intervals on Present Value Function

Video 2.8

File 2.8

Quiz 2.8

2.9 Payment Function Calculations

Video 2.9

Quiz 2.9

2.10 Effects of Interest Rates & Compounding Intervals on Payment Function

Video 2.10

Quiz 2.10

File 2.10

2.11 Effects of Interest Rates & Compounding Intervals on Present Value of a Stream of Future Payments

Video 2.11

Quiz 2.11

2.12 Present Value of a Stream of Future Payments

Video 2.12

Quiz 2.12

2.13 Present Value of a Stream of Future Payments Calculations

Video 2.13

Quiz 2.13

2.14 Effects of Interest Rates & Compounding Intervals on Present Value of a Stream of Future Payments

Video 2.14

File 2.14

Quiz 2.14

2.15 Comparing Effects of Interest Rates & Compounding Intervals on Financial Functions

Video 2.15

Quiz 2.15

2.16. Discussion

Essential Financial Functions

About This Course

Include your long course description here. The long course description should contain 150-400 words.

This course teaches the fundamental building blocks of real estate finance. It is the foundation for all real estate investment analysis. We start with the six functions of a dollar, reviewing the basic mathematical formulas and how to apply them to compute mortgage payments, mortgage balances, and present and future values. We review how to use the financial functions to make computations on the calculator and computer with Excel. The course illustrates how cash flows associated with the different financial functions appear on the time-line, and then demonstrates how to apply the essential functions to real estate analysis. We utilize a step-by-step approach in which you do your own computations following the clear slides and explanations of the instructors. Having completed the course, you will be able to use the essential functions to analyze real estate investments.


• To learn the essential mathematical formulas that are the basis for all real estate finance;

• To understand how to select which function to use for different investment decisions;

• To understand how to compute payments, interest rates, terms, present values and future values;

• To understand how compounding works and how to compare the effects of interest rates, mortgage terms and other variables on effective borrowing costs.


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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