Become a Commercial Real Estate Finance Specialist

Enhance your skill set with a specialization in Commercial Real Estate Finance, covering everything from appraisals to financial models to mortgages, and earn a CREF Certificate upon completion.
  • Learn from anywhere, at your own pace
  • Get the skills global institutions such as Citi, TD, BoA, CBRE, Savills, and more are looking for
  • Earn your CREF specialization in 40-50 hours

CREF at a Glance

Specialization Overview



Online learning

Video Online

Learn at Your Own Pace

With videos, exercises and quizzes



To our course libary



Total courses

40–50 Hours

Average completion time

Receive a Certificate

To verify your financial skills

Your Road to a Commercial Real Estate Finance Specialization

This comprehensive specialization consists of 9 courses and 1 mortgage case study to deliver practical, real-world skills for commercial real estate finance.

10 Required Courses

Take 10 required courses to build your foundation in commercial real estate finance.

Real Estate Fundamentals
Level 3
3 hours
Preview Course
How to Read a Commercial Real Estate Appraisal
Level 3
2.5 hours
Preview Course
How to Read a Lease & Analyze a Rent Roll
Level 3
2 hours
Preview Course
Environmental Due Diligence for Credit
Level 3
2 hours
Preview Course
Real Estate Financial Modeling
Level 5
6.5 hours
Preview Course
Construction Finance Fundamentals
Level 3
2.5 hours
Preview Course
Structuring a Construction Loan
Level 3
2.5 hours
Preview Course
Construction Loan-in-Process
Level 3
1.5 hours
Preview Course
Commercial Mortgages
Level 3
5 hours
Preview Course
Rocky Mountain Holdings (Case Study)
Level 4
5 hours
Preview Course
Hide All Courses

Get Specialized

Specializations allow narrow and deep focus on a targeted subject area, with particular attention to specific analysis techniques and actionable skills.

They are designed to deepen your industry acumen and to prepare you for faster professional growth within the sector.

Commercial Real Estate Finance Specialization Learning Objectives

Real Estate Lending

See Details
  • Understand the important elements of, and process behind, commercial real estate lending – both for income-producing investment deals as well as owner-occupied property transactions

  • Explain the differences and similarities between different types of real estate loans and different property classes

  • Examine key property valuation metrics and how they relate to the credit analysis process

  • Explore the key property parameters that affect the credit underwriting process

  • Understand how key variables drive loan amount, risk rating, credit terms, and commercial mortgage pricing

  • Familiarize yourself with all the important documents and reports required to understand and analyze a real estate transaction

Real Estate Financial Modeling

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  • Understand how a developer or an investor looks at potential development deals

  • Learn best practices of capital structure modeling in Excel

  • Perform sensitivity analysis

  • Understand why joint ventures are frequently used in real estate investing

  • Explore IRR Hurdles and model a 3-tier cash flow waterfall

  • Build and present a development deal summary

Construction Finance

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  • Identify the phases and key players of the real estate development process

  • Explain the line items of a developer’s budget, derive a risk-assessed loan-to-cost, and review development and construction cash flows

  • Determine how the price of debt ties into the construction budget and project evaluation

  • Understand the construction payment cycle and address strategies and processes for non-performing loans

Environmental Analysis and Due Diligence

See Details
  • Explain why environmental due diligence is important in the credit assessment process

  • Identify environmental risk factors at a property or within a business operation

  • Understand the differences between the 3 levels of environmental site assessments (ESAs)

  • Read and interpret a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment report

Lease and Rent Roll Analysis

See Details
  • Outline and analyze the key components of a lease

  • Explain a variety of different lease types and how their terms differ

  • Identify red flags in leases that may present issues for a lender or an investor

  • Understand the purpose of a rent roll and analyze the data presented in it

Taught by Industry Experts

Kathy Poettcker
Kathy Poettcker currently runs her own consulting company in the area of real estate and infrastructure finance. Her background includes acquisitions, financing and asset management within investment banking, private equity, and operating company environments. She has worked with developers, investors, and contractors for both private and public sector clients within the United States and Canada. She also has experience procuring and managing the development of infrastructure and real estate projects.
Lisa Dorian
Lisa has spent the majority of her career in financial services. While CFO, she was on the credit committee that considered higher risk commercial mortgages. When Chief Audit Executive, she assessed real estate portfolios to ensure they were documented correctly and risk was appropriately assessed. And as a corporate trainer for almost 20 years, she has shared her knowledge and experience with new hires and board directors alike.
Tim Vipond
Teaches Financial Modeling
Tim is currently the CEO of CFI. Since 2005, he has been an active participant in capital markets across a wide range of industries and transactions including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and capital raising totalling more than $3 billion in value.
Kyle Peterdy
Kyle's background is in Commercial Banking, having analyzed and structured a variety of real estate loan types throughout his career. These have ranged from owner-occupied facilities to income-producing commercial mortgage transactions - including special-use properties - and project-based construction lending.

Our Alumni Work At:

Explore Your Career Options

Commercial Relationship Managers

Work with commercial real estate investors and developers on behalf of lending institutions.

Credit Analysts

Analyze and structure real estate borrowing for various types of capital providers like banks, REITs, and Pension Funds.

Risk Manager & Credit Adjudicator

Assess and approve transactions for banks and other financial institutions.

Commercial Mortgage Brokers

Analyze and package deals more effectively to facilitate quicker turnarounds and better terms for clients.

Private Real Estate Lenders

Work with private capital providers and family offices to underwrite more effective real estate loans.

Real Estate Investors and Advisors

Understand how lenders and external capital providers assess transactions to seek out better deals and negotiate better structures.

Trust Our Certified CFI Learners

Ismail Bekrate
Chief Accountant
Just completed the Financial Modeling & Valuation Certification with the #corporatefinanceinstitute! Thank you Tim Vipond and his team for this highly practical program that uses very realistic cases of Modeling and Company’s Valuation and covers all the important aspects of...
Read more
After almost six months of courses, finally I have achieved the #FMVA ( Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst) Certificate from Corporate Finance Institute® (CFI) . I want to thank Tim Vipond, FMVA® Scott Powell and all people from Corporate Finance...
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Jayendra Rathod
MBA - Finance | Experi...
Glad to announce!! Recently completed a Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)® Certification issued by Corporate Finance Institute® (CFI) an important step towards core financial learning. With electives in Merger & Acquisition (M & A) Modeling, Leveraged Buyout LBO modeling...
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Stephen Moerane
Director Of Special Pr...
Today marks a very important milestone in my educational journey. I have been looking for a way to get into Finance but hadn't been able to identify a credential that would do the job without interrupting my work schedule. Thank...
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Muhammad Heryanto...
Deputy Director at PT....
I'm very grateful to finally earn my FMVA certification, after several months finishing up every module one-by-one.. Special thanks to Tim Vipond, FMVA®, Scott Powell, Jorge Marques, FMVA®, Lonny Coulombe, Antoine Bishara and all CFI team for such a great...
Read more
Ihor Kukhar
Financial Modeling and...
Hey folks, After 6 months of studying, 19 courses, and over 900 lessons, I have finally completed Corporate Finance Institute® (CFI)’s Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst Certification Program. I would definitely recommend it to anyone that is looking to get...
Read more

Get Specialized for

Commercial Real Estate Finance

Frequently Asked Questions

Will these courses help me advance my career?
Reviews from learners who have taken CFI courses and the FMVA® certification program include numerous stories about how people have been able to advance their careers. There is a proven track record of CFI graduates marking successful transitions into the careers of their dreams and this is based largely on the resources that we make available to our learners upon enrolment. Our training is designed to be fully practical and simulates the experience of being trained as a professional financial analyst. Additionally, we offer a wealth of information through our free career resources. The unique blend of all these elements is what sets us apart from other e-learning platforms when it comes to giving you all the tools you need to create a successful career in finance.
Admission Requirements
This specialization bundle is recommended for learners and professionals with knowledge or experience in commercial finance or commercial real estate. A fundamental understanding of credit is necessary for a successful learning experience. To take the courses and complete the exercises, learners will only need access to a PC and/or Mac, Microsoft Suite (2016 or newer), and a stable internet connection.
What is the duration of the program?
It takes an average of 4-6 months to complete the entire program. However, you are given the freedom to complete all of the training at your own pace! Please see the "What You'll Learn" section for recommended study hours for each course to give you a better idea for your time management.
How much time do I have to complete the courses?
Take as much time as you need. You will have access to all courses and all future upgrades in your subscription. You can review the video lessons as many times as you like and complete the courses at a pace that is most convenient for you. All of the required courses, resources, and assessments to obtain the certifications will be provided, for as long as your subscription is active.
How are the exams conducted?
Learners are required to complete an online assessment (MCQ's, Fill-in-the-Blanks, and Excel Questions) at the end of each course. You can take the exams at your own schedule and will need to earn at least 80% to pass the course and earn your certificate of course completion. Please note that course exams can be repeated as many times as you need.
Can I download and edit the course material and templates?
Yes! You can download and edit the Excel models and templates included in your courses. All of the files needed in a course are available for download. Please note that while our study materials can be downloaded, the lecture videos are only available online due to copyright infringement issues.
How do I earn my certificates?
You need to complete all the video lessons, quizzes, and final assessments in each course to earn your course certificates. The certificate will then be available on your learner dashboard and also emailed to you as soon as you have completed all of the requirements.
Can I take individual courses instead of completing the whole program?
Yes, you may enroll in the courses available from the program individually. Please let us know whenever you're ready to upgrade to the program and we'd be happy to issue you a unique coupon code (which will credit the amount already paid).
What currency are your courses priced in?
All of our online courses and programs are priced in USD.
What payment methods do you accept?
As this is a recurring payment, we accept all major credit and debit cards including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
Are there any additional fees or costs?
None! The program tuition includes everything and there are no additional fees required to earn your digital certification.
More Questions?
Please Email us and we'll be happy to answer any of your questions!

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