Video: Real Estate Right Now | Valuation Metrics (Part 3)
February 16, 2022 | BY ALAN BOTWINICK & BEN SPIELMAN
Roth&Co’s latest video series: Real Estate Right Now.
Presented by Alan Botwinick and Ben Spielman, co-chairs of the Roth&Co Real Estate Department, this series covers the latest real estate trends and opportunities and how you can make the most of them. This last episode in our valuation metrics mini-series discusses one final metric: Discounted Cash Flow.
Watch our short video:
DCF, or Discounted Cash Flow, is used to determine the total monetary value of an asset in today’s dollars and is a powerful tool for valuing businesses, real estate investments or other investments that project to generate profits and cash flow.
DCF studies a potential investment’s projected future income and then discounts that cash flow to arrive at a present, or current, value. It adds up the property’s future cash flow from the time of purchase until the time of its sale and all the activity that happens in between. It takes into account the property’s initial cost, annual cost, estimated income, operating costs, renovations, changes in occupancy and its future selling price, among other factors. At the end of the assumed investment period, an exit price is determined using the building’s metrics in the year of disposition. The entire cash flow stream, including the forecasted profit from the investment’s sale, is then discounted back to the current period using a discount rate.
The discount rate represents the rate of return that is required of the investment based on its risk. The higher the risk, the higher the return required by the investor, and the more we have to discount the investment’s value. A higher discount rate implies greater uncertainty, and that means a lower present value of our future cash flow. On the flip side, the lower the perceived risk in an investment, the lower the discount rate.
The DCF metric is an influential tool, but it has its drawbacks. The upside of the DCF model is that it is very customizable and able to be tailored to the facts and circumstances, such as projected renovation costs or market changes. The downside is that the model is very sensitive to changes in its variables. For example, a change in the discount rate of less than 1% can have a 10% effect on the value of the investment. There is a lot of assumption and estimation involved, and small changes can have a big impact on the end-result.
Whereas it may not always be accurate or applicable for every situation, the DCF calculation remains a formidable tool in the investors’ arsenal and, combined with other important metrics, allows the investor to assess the present value, risk and potential profitability of a real estate investment.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, nor should it be relied upon for legal or tax advice. If you have any specific legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, please consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.