Real Estate Investment Decision-Making (RE108)


This Real Estate Investment Decision-Making course is the final segment of the Real Estate Finance and Investment program. Here we utilize all of the financial techniques taught in the previous courses to make investment decisions using Brookside Square in Boston to illustrate how they are applied in the real world. We discuss the alternative real estate decisions to be made from both the seller’s and the buyer’s perspectives. We examine how alternative strategies relate to the owner’s and investor’s return objectives and risk profiles, and how these in turn affect one’s ability to raise equity and debt and achieve financial success. We illustrate the computation of sources and uses statements, the computation of various financial returns, and how these are affected by external market factors. We discuss how to make real estate investment recommendations based on the risk entailed, optimal capital structure, investment time horizon, and exit strategy. The course concludes with the ingredients for successful real estate investment.
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Real Estate Investment Decision-Making Course Structure

1. The Seller’s Perspective: Asset Management Decisions
2. Brookside Square: Asset Management Decisions
3. The Buyer’s Perspective: Acquisition Decisions
4. Brookside Square: Acquisition Options
5. Real Estate Investment Opportunity Assessment
6. Real Estate Investment Recommendations
7. Ingredients for Successful Real Estate Investment
8. Conclusion
9. Final Course Assignment
10. Discussion

Learning Objectives

– To learn how to make the best asset management decisions from the seller’s perspective;
– To understand how the buyer’s risk profile and investment objectives affect acquisition decisions;
– To evaluate alternative development and investment strategies for a mixed-use property;
– To make the best real estate investment decisions relative to other opportunities and how to incorporate future market conditions and other factors to select the best investment strategy.


The course will require 3-4 hours of work to be completed.


The course will includes quizzes after each video, excel tutorials, and a written essay.

Real Estate Investment Decision-Making Course Prerequisites

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.


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. The two certificates available for the course are: basic, CEU-CPD. You can include the certificate in your CV and LinkedIn profile. We can also provide you with reference letters for job or school applications and promotions.

Real Estate Investment Decision-Making Course Readings

Recommended readings:

– Kristen Hunter, The Brookside Square Case Study, 2016
– 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).


Richard Peiser PhD, Michael D. Spear Professor at Harvard GSD

Richard Peiser

Richard Peiser has been the Michael D. Spear Professor of Real Estate Development at the Harvard University 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. Linkedin.

Kristen Hunter, DDes Candidate at Harvard GSD

Kristen Hunter

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. Linkedin.

Additional information


Basic Certificate, CPD-CEU Certificate