Real Property

Course Number 1684

Senior Lecturer Charles F. Wu
Associate Professor Boris Vallee
Fall; Q1Q2; 3 credits
28 Sessions

Career Focus

This course is intended for any student serious about a career in managing, developing, or investing in real estate. Due to its rigor, it will be more than sufficient for those thinking about real estate as a hobby or for those considering real estate for limited personal investing.

Educational Objectives

The class goals are to show how real estate works, how to assess the risks, how to be a better deal maker, how to manage a project and how to be a leader in the industry.

Content and Organization

Conceptual Framework: The course is divided into five modules with additional exposure to international real estate.

The first module covers the analytic framework for real property development and investing, market analysis and basic financial analysis. Students will also gain an introduction to the general vocabulary of the business.

The second module examines each of the main property types (office, hotel, industrial, retail, multifamily, single family and senior living), including their general characteristics, market analyses and metrics used in evaluating and operating each of these asset types, and particular risks or opportunities with respect to these types of projects and buildings.

The third module reviews capital markets including private equity syndications and deal making, mortgages and real estate investment trusts (REITs). Examples illustrating the development process continue to be used throughout this and other modules to highlight both real estate development issues and choice of capital structure.

The fourth module focuses on negotiations and will include discussions on buying and selling assets, elements of joint ventures and partnerships, distressed properties, and debt.

The final module discusses important trends in the industry including novel asset classes, globalization and opportunities in emerging markets, sustainability and infrastructure.

Pedagogical Mix

Real estate lends itself to case method teaching as virtually every subject requires quantitative and qualitative analysis, judgment calls, thinking on one’s feet and development of practical action plans. "Cold calling" and active participation are frequent and important components of class.

There are at least three graded homework assignments and a final exam. Most homework assignments are required to be completed in groups. Additionally, polls will be used frequently and are considered an important aspect of class participation.

Textbook readings supplement the cases, while additional, optional books and readings are suggested for more exposure to theoretical concepts. Mini-lectures and a considerable number of technical notes are used throughout the course along with a tool-kit with materials for future use. The workload and preparation is above average for HBS EC courses. Students seeking advanced real estate modeling on Excel and ARGUS can seek optional outside sessions. However, these skills will not be necessary for the Real Property coursework. There will be several outside optional events covering building sites, career development, and meetings/luncheons with industry leaders.