Financial Analysis for Development: A Practical Introduction

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October 25, 2018 @ 8:30 am
October 26, 2018 @ 4:00 pm
Embassy Suites
3600 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89169 United States
ULI Learning


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This new hands-on ULI workshop will introduce attendees to the process of analyzing the financial feasibility of a real estate development project. Using a proposed mid-size multifamily project, attendees will walk through the sequential analysis of a project from “bar napkin” through “back of the envelope” all the way to discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis and project disposition.

The importance and limitations of accurate project budgeting will be addressed.  Sample categories and line items used in a project budget will be covered, as well as sources of information to build the budget. Methods to verify these numbers will also be addressed.

Introducing a more rigorous “back of the envelope” analysis, the project will be viewed through various “gates” including – land cost per unit; rough net rental income; rough building construction costs; debt service; and the market value of a rental project. The analysis is further refined as unit mix and estimated gross rental income are calculated.

Moving forward more detailed and precise project analysis will be presented, including relevant operating expenses, including vacancy, property management, water/sewer/sanitation, taxes and insurance, and reserves. Suggested “rules of thumb” will also be offered for these various costs.

Hands-on exercises will allow participants to become comfortable with various financial analysis functions including debt calculations, investment return analysis, and discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis. This informative program will Introduce key terms and methods used in Excel to analyze alternative scenarios for a development opportunity.

Registration includes course materials, continental breakfast, lunch, and a networking reception.

Participants are expected to bring a laptop computer with Microsoft Excel to the course.


David Farmer, PE, AICPDave Farmer
Keystone Development Advisors
Naples, Florida

David H. Farmer is a developer, licensed real estate Broker, certified planner, civil engineer, state certified general contractor and Department of Environmental Protection qualified stormwater management inspector.

Dave Farmer began his career in the development industry in 1989 with an engineering firm designing commercial and residential projects for private clients. A professional engineer, Farmer left the engineering field in 2000 to work fulltime for Keystone Communities overseeing the entitlement, design and construction of residential communities, resort facilities, and commercial projects. In 2002, after earning his Certified General Contractors license, he also became responsible for the permitting and construction of custom homes.

Following a large sale of entitled and developed residential lots in 2003, the company’s focus shifted from development to entitlement and infrastructure development. At this time Farmer took on the additional responsibility of site selection and acquisition for the company. In 2005, he was made a principal of the company and participated in both the rewards and costs of acquisition, entitlement, and development.

Farmer’s development experience includes both very successful projects and less successful projects. In the tradition of ULI, he feels it’s important to focus more on mistakes made and lessons learned when teaching the real estate development process. One learns quickly what not to do when you are spending your own money on development projects.

In 2008, Farmer and his development partner dissolved the original company and each went their own way. Today he works in Florida with a new partner on identifying development sites and helping investors develop property. Farmer has brokered more than $70 million in real estate transactions and entitled thousands of homes and millions of square feet of commercial property. His favorite quote is “Begin with the end in mind.”


Hotel accommodations are not included in the registration fee. A limited number of King Suite rooms at a discounted room rate of $105 single/double plus tax, are available for program attendees if you book by October 5. You can book your room at this link, or  contact the meeting hotel directly to book your room.


ULI Member: $695
Nonmember: $925
Govt./nonprofit Members: $595

Registration fee includes tuition, course materials, luncheons, and refreshments. There is an additional $100 charge for on-site registrations.

Cancellations, which must be made in writing or email to ULI’s Customer Service Department, will be subject to a $100 administrative fee. Cancellations must be received at least seven days prior to the start of the workshop to be eligible for a refund. No refunds will be granted thereafter. You may, however, transfer your registration, without penalty, to another member of your organization.

Program Highlights

  • Calculating Net Operating Income (NOI)
  • Rules of thumb for estimating hard and soft costs
  • Understanding and utilizing the capitalization rate
  • Importance of budget limits allow for contingency
  • Calculating residual land value
  • Measures of profit and return
  • Estimating debt service
  • Understanding and calculating discounted cash flow (DCF)
  • Valuing the project