Harvard Business Review Case- Revere Street

Topics: Investment, Risk, Cash flow Pages: 5 (1644 words) Published: October 15, 2013
After analysis of Mr. Alexander’s proposal, it is obvious why he should take advantage of a real estate investment opportunity. The experience he would gain coupled with the added income would establish a solid foundation for making more investments in the future. To this end, however, I find Alexander’s plan for the Revere Street property falls short. A major deficiency is that his projections are almost entirely predicated on estimates and assumptions that are neither conservative nor reliable. In a similar vein, Alexander’s “DIY” approach is not only exemplar of naiveté, but also suggestive of many implications that were overlooked in his proposal. And, even more discouraging, a best-case scenario analysis reveals that even without complication, there is little room for error afforded by the plan. Therefore, I would not advise Alexander to move forward with his investment strategy, as its potential for reward is far outweighed by its risk.

In a vacuum, Alexander’s proposal would be very feasible and attractive, but in reality the real estate and rental industries are incredibly volatile and hard to predict even for specialists in those fields. The success of Alexander’s proposal is not just contingent upon a host of variables, but variables forecasted by an amateur lacking a sense of conservatism. To begin, the projected costs of the project include no allowance for incidentals. This is a giant red flag. Even if Alexander outsourced certain responsibilities to experts, the likelihood of error and unforeseen costs in bidding for a property, closing the sale, major construction and renovation, and managing a rental property is almost certain. So, without a contingency reserve, the problems are obvious. But even worse, Alexander, a nonspecialist in any of these pursuits, is the one handling a majority of these functions- this means it is no longer a question of will there be unforeseen costs, but actually how much should be anticipated? On this front alone I am incredibly skeptical of the proposal. To bring this project to fruition and realize the gains projected, the following processes need to occur without incident: Alexander’s bid must be accepted by the seller, which requires that he obtain an appropriate mortgage, and avoid forfeiting his deposit, which could be something to the tune of $17,500 or more. For the closing sale of the property to go smoothly, there mustn’t be any lien issues from the existing bank withholding loan proceeds to the architect, since the construction was not finished. After this, the construction needs to be essentially error free and at an expedited pace to be complete by the four month timeframe set- and this is without a professional general contractor. Additionally, the job must not exceed the $165,000 figure that was given by a non-independent contractor, who very likely may have given a low-ball estimate to seem like an attractive candidate. The last architect was off by $115,0001, indicating that the scope of the work necessary to complete the job may be deceptive and much greater than anticipated, however there is no reserve beyond budgeted amount, making this possibly the hardest mission to accomplish. If, however, the project is completed within the four allotted months, and without going over budget, the next phase is filling vacancies, which Alexander is also planning to have accomplished by the end of the fourth month. This means that during the construction process, Alexander must also be actively marketing vacancies, searching for, interviewing, and selecting tenants, and securing leases. These tenants must also be willing to accept the rental rates to achieve Alexander’s target level of rental income, which are almost $10,000 higher than the current owner’s figures. If this is not accomplished, he could be losing $2,000 per month on each unoccupied unit. Beyond these start-up efforts, Alexander’s plan will only be successful if the operating costs do not exceed what is...
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