Real Estate Finance and Investment

Throughout market shocks, recessions, and a global pandemic, real estate has remained a popular investment avenue. However, real estate investing is also fraught with pitfalls, and many working in the industry still don’t feel fully equipped to face up to its challenges — or reap its rewards. A solid grounding in the principles and processes of real estate investment can be the deciding factor in whether a particular project proves to be a minefield or a goldmine..

The Real Estate Finance and Investment online program gives you this foundation. Over six weeks, you’ll develop your knowledge of the key concepts and analytical methods essential for making strategic real estate investment and financing decisions. You’ll unpack every process involved in acquiring an income-generating property, from determining whether a given investment opportunity holds value by forecasting its cash flow, to exploring financing options and examining the impact that taxation may have on returns. Guided by industry experts, you’ll also learn to identify and avoid the most common investment mistakes and risks, and consolidate your learnings with a number of relevant, real-world case studies..

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Who Should Attend

  • Any professional interested in real estate investment who is seeking to deepen their strategic understanding will benefit from this program.
  • Senior executives and investors who already have some experience in the real estate industry will gain the knowledge to inform their decisions and avoid common mistakes.
  • Professionals such as analysts, associates, advisers, consultants, and asset or general managers will also benefit from a solid grounding in the financing and investing techniques needed to successfully fulfill their roles and future-proof their careers.

Key Benefits

  • Develop a solid foundational understanding of the intricacies of property valuation and financing techniques.
  • Gain the expertise to execute bolder investment decisions, identify key risks, and avoid common mistakes.
  • Turn theory into practice with in-depth case studies designed to prepare you for navigating real-world scenarios.

Program Content

Module 1: Leases as a Source of Value

Discover how leases create value for real estate investors.

  • Discuss the components of a lease that give insight into whether or not a property is a good investment opportunity
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the cash flow and non-cash flow components of a lease
  • Calculate the metrics used to compare leases
  • Analyze leasing concepts in a real-world setting

Module 2: The Valuation of an Investment Property

Discover the methods used to calculate the value of a real estate investment opportunity.

  • Discuss the factors that can impact the success of a real estate investment
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how real estate investors forecast property cash flows
  • Use the discounted cash flow method to determine the value of an investment property
  • Reflect on how an accurate property valuation facilitates investment decisions in the real world

Module 3: Using Debt To Finance an Investment Property

Explore the impact of debt finance on real estate investments.

  • Discuss the reasons real estate investors may use debt to finance their investments
  • Examine the features of an investment property mortgage, calculate the repayments to the lender, and determine the expected return on investor equity
  • Analyze a property's creditworthiness from the perspective of a lender
  • Evaluate the interaction of property and loan characteristics to make a financing decision in the real world

Module 4: Utilizing Equity Partnerships To Finance an Investment Property

Explore equity partnerships as a means to finance a real estate investment.

  • Discuss the reasons equity partnerships commonly appear in real estate investments
  • Determine the roles played by both general partners and limited partners in a real estate joint venture
  • Explore a private equity waterfall to allocate equity cash flow to the appropriate partner
  • Reflect on the interplay among property performance, deal structure, and the performance of each partner's equity in the real world

Module 5: The Taxation of Real Estate Investments

Determine the impact of taxation on a real estate investment.

  • Discuss the role of taxes in the interaction between real estate investors and the government
  • Determine how the income generated and potential price appreciation of assets creates a tax burden
  • Explore the mechanisms available to defer capital gains taxation
  • Reflect on how taxes reduce realized investment returns in the real world

Module 6: Starting Your Real Estate Investment Journey

Discover how to incorporate real estate finance and investment analysis into your decision-making process.

  • Discuss the need for a holistic framework to analyze real estate investment opportunities
  • Examine business plans and structuring considerations for active real estate investors
  • Evaluate ways to avoid common real estate investment mistakes
  • Present the merits of different real estate investment opportunities


Craig Furfine - Clinical Professor of Finance and Associate Chair of the Finance Department, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University


What is the program about?

Real Estate Finance and Investment is designed for any professionals interested in real estate investment who want to develop their knowledge of financing, valuation, and investing techniques. Chief among these are senior executives and investors operating in the real estate industry who are seeking to gain new insights, drive decision-making, and avoid common pitfalls. Real estate professionals such as advisers, analysts, consultants, and managers will also find value in the program’s exploration of key principles and analytical methods.

What is the learning experience?

Your learning experience will consist of frameworks delivered via video lectures, live webinars, real world examples and case studies, application of frameworks through weekly activities, customized assignments and quizzes, discussion boards, and faculty engagement.

What is the program format?

The program consists of 6 modules delivered over 7 weeks online. Learners can expect to dedicate 7-9 hours per week to watch videos, complete assignments and participate in discussions. Modules are opened at the beginning of each week and have quizzes/assessments at the module’s conclusion. Learners may choose to engage with the program module all in one sitting or in smaller segments of time throughout the week. While the modules do not close, access to assignments is closed each week.                                                                                                                                                                

Could a learner choose to opt out of some topics?

No. This is an online program in which a topic module is introduced each week and the learner is expected to watch the video lectures, participate in the live webinars, complete the exercises/activities and take the mastery quiz at the end of each week to progress to the subsequent week’s topic.

Are any of the sessions delivered in real time (live)?

There will be live webinars, led by faculty and/or subject matter experts, delivered during the course of the program via a video conferencing platform. These sessions provide learners an opportunity to listen and ask questions, and while they are valuable in enhancing the overall experience, attendance is not mandatory. All live sessions are recorded for later viewing.

What methods will be used for grading and evaluations?

Program tutors and success managers will review assignments, discussions and exercises to determine participants’ understanding of the material, as well as ensure a positive learning experience in the online learning platform.

How much time is allocated to complete assignments?

The due date for submitting assignments is typically within 7 days of the module opening, but can be as long as 14 days, depending on the scope of the assignment. However, learners may request deadline extensions to accommodate for business and personal conflicts that may arise during the program timeframe. Reach out to the program leader to discuss any challenges you may have in completing assignments.

Can participation in this program be counted as credit toward a degree, either at Kellogg, Northwestern University or another academic institution?

No. Executive Education offers only non-degree programs and each participant receives a certificate of completion at the end of the program. This certificate does not count as credit toward a degree. In addition, at this time, our online programs do not count as credit toward a Kellogg Executive Scholar Certificate.

Does the program offer community engagement for learners?

Yes, participants can create a profile, connect and collaborate with peers, and interact with academic/industry experts such as program leaders and teaching assistants. Office hours will be held during the program and all participants are welcome to join in with questions or to discuss assignments.

What are the requirements for accessing the program?

Participants will need the following to access the Customer Loyalty program:

  • Valid email address
  • Computing device connected to the internet (Mac/PC/laptop, tablet or smartphone)
  • The latest version of your preferred browser to access our learning platform (Chrome and Firefox are preferred for accessing Canvas)
  • Microsoft Office Suite (PowerPoint, Word, Excel) and PDF viewer to access content such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations, PDF files, and transcripts
  • Additional software and resources may be required for certain programs – this will be communicated upon registration and/or at the beginning of the program

PLEASE NOTE: Google, Vimeo and YouTube may be utilized in the program delivery

Do the programs offer a certificate?

Yes. Participants will receive a digital certificate of completion from Kellogg following a successful conclusion to the program. Since this program is graded as a pass or fail, participants must receive an 80% to pass and obtain the certificate. This digital certificate can be shared with colleagues and posted on LinkedIn. (PLEASE NOTE: We do not provide reports of assessments, or “transcripts,” since this is a non-degree program.)

Who is 2U, Inc./GetSmarter and what is their relationship with Kellogg Executive Education?

Kellogg Executive Education is partnering with GetSmarter, a brand of 2U, Inc., an online education provider, to develop and deliver this program. By working with 2U, Inc./GetSmarter, we are able to provide broader access to Executive Education, beyond our on-campus offerings, in a collaborative and engaging format that is consistent with Kellogg’s standard of quality.

Additional questions?

Please contact us by calling 847-467-6018 or email us at

Upcoming Sessions

July 3 - August 20, 2024

Start: July 10 at 12:00 AM

End: August 20 at 12:00 AM

Accepting registrations through July 7


October 2 - November 13, 2024

Start: October 9 at 12:00 AM

End: November 13 at 12:00 AM

Accepting registrations through October 6


Kellogg School of Management

James L. Allen Center
2169 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208