Spencer Burton

Commercial Real Estate Finance and Investments

Spencer Burton has over 15 years of real estate experience, both as a fiduciary and as a principal. He is currently a Real Estate Director for an institutional real estate investment firm in Dallas, TX where he assesses new acquisition, development, and debt opportunities for the company’s $45+ billion real estate portfolio.

He started his career as a land broker in the Northwest United States, working with residential and mixed-use developer clients. In 2008, he went to work for a boutique housing development company handling acquisitions, entitlement, and marketing. In 2013 he left to attend the Baker Program in Real Estate at Cornell University. During the summer between his first and second year of graduate studies, Spencer worked as an Acquisitions Associate at USAA Real Estate Company.

Spencer Burton holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs with an emphasis in economics from Florida State University and a Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate with a concentration in finance from Cornell University.

For more details, visit Spencer’s LinkedIn profile here.


Director - Northwestern Mutual Real Estate

Jun 2015 - Current

Source and evaluate new real estate acquisition, development, and debt opportunities for the company's Dallas Regional Office. Act as investment manager for real estate investments in Mexico, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Serve on committees responsible for maintaining and improving debt and equity pricing models.

Summer Associate - USAA Real Estate

May 2014 - Aug 2014

Assisted the acquisitions team in evaluating 38 institutional quality assets in 13 U.S. states; utilized ARGUS DCF and Excel for quantitative analysis and Costar, Real Capital Analytics, and CBRE Econometrics for market research and analysis; property types included grocery-anchored retail, industrial warehouse and logistics, medical office, CBD office, and urban multifamily.

Development Manager - Grupo 9 Grados

Mar 2008 - Aug 2013

Analyzed potential international real estate development opportunities and led site selection, entitlement, and design. Developed financial models and analysis; communicated recommendations to partners for consideration in purchasing development properties.

Managing Member - Sydney Cooper Lending Group

Jan 2005 - Jun 2008

Co-crafted concept for a mortgage brokerage that within the first year was originating ~$15 million per month in residential mortgage volume. Developed marketing and financial strategy; co-managed two branches with over 35 employees.

Land and Development Brokerage - Coldwell Banker/Century 21

Jan 2002 - Mar 2008

Focused on commercial and investment-oriented offerings; specifically new residential construction and development. Led or assisted in the risk analysis, acquisition, due diligence, entitlement and marketing of eight residential/mixed use development projects.


MPS / Real Estate Finance - Cornell University

2013 - 2015

Awarded the Baker Fellowship, Cornell University's full-tuition fellowship given to two Baker Program in Real Estate students who have shown ``extraordinary community, professional, and academic leadership.``

B.A. International Affairs - Florida State University

Average 3.98 in Economics, Business, Statistics, Marketing, and Accounting courses. Valedictorian at FSU’s international campus in the Republic of Panama.

Preview of Posts at Adventures in CRE

A.CRE Accelerator Real Estate Financial Modeling Courses

In January of this year (2019), Michael and I published our first comprehensive real estate financial modeling training program to Adventures in CRE. Dubbed the A.CRE Real Estate Financial Modeling Accelerator, the program includes 16 courses covering the A to Z’s of analyzing real estate in Excel. Allow me to quickly share the why and […]

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Real Estate Financial Models in Excel

Since launching Adventures in CRE over four years ago, I have shared dozens of real estate financial models. These models I built in Microsoft Excel and are meant to be used to analyze various analysis tasks in real estate. Most of my models are meant for underwriting new investment scenarios, such as acquisition or development […]

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Job Board for Commercial Real Estate Professionals

Searching for a professional job in commercial real estate is not an easy task. I know from personal experience. I started my career on the residential development side of the business. After 12 years, I decided to return to school to make a transition to the commercial, institutional investment side of the industry. I was fortunate enough […]

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Series on Graduate Real Estate Programs

About six months ago, I set out to research and write six, in-depth profiles on the top graduate real estate programs in the United States. The series is progressing along nicely, and I recently published the fourth profile in the series; this most recent post profiling my alma mater, the Cornell Baker Program in Real Estate. […]

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Stochastic Modeling Series

I’m working on a new series on probabilistic modeling over at my blog, adventuresincre.com. Real Estate analysis tends to be very two dimensional, where our best guess assumptions are entered into a model and we heavily rely on the one return outputs that come from those assumptions. Stochastic modeling involves putting variability into a real […]

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Technical Real Estate Interview

A common a inquiry I receive from readers of my blog, especially from aspiring real estate professionals still in college, relates to real estate technical interviews. They want to know what to expect, and how best to prepare. This past weekend, I sat down and put together a post – my longest and most comprehensive […]

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The Floating Summary Box

I want to direct you to another blog post I recently wrote. Titled: Real Estate Modeling Tip: The Floating Summary Box, the post highlights a little trick I discovered this week while working on an enormous real estate model in Excel. The tip saves time, looks good, and will make your real estate models even […]

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Fundamentals of Real Estate Financial Modeling in Excel

In response to recent inquiries about how to become proficient in real estate modeling, I posted an article on my blog discussing the areas of study that one must undertake to master the skill. These three areas are finance, real estate principles, and Microsoft Excel. In the post, I link to some great free resources online for […]

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Four Tier Equity Waterfall Model

When I finished my graduate real estate studies at Cornell, I felt entirely prepared for the new side of real estate I was going into. Nonetheless, there were still areas where I felt weaker than others. Modeling equity waterfall structures was one of those areas. Now don’t misunderstand me. I took classes where we had opportunities to study and […]

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ARGUS Training Resources

Having a working knowledge of ARGUS DCF is crucial to analyzing real estate investments; especially if you are investing in institutional quality real estate assets. Unfortunately, readily available and affordable ARGUS training options are hard to come by. Over at my blog, I’ve posted a few of the resources I’ve used in the past. So, […]

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Real Estate Careers Series

In my real estate career series, I discuss how real estate as a career is widely misunderstood. To the layperson, real estate means brokering single family homes. But in reality, real estate is so much more. In this four part series, I first look at the different job sectors and property types that real estate […]

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My Excel Real Estate Models Library

Over at my blog, I share a few of the Excel real estate financial models I’ve built over the years. Feel free to use, change, and make the models your own. If you have any questions about any of the models, don’t hesitate to email. Note: I have not included models I’ve used professionally.  

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Masters in Real Estate vs. MBA

I recently wrote a piece over at my blog that discusses the reasons why I chose a Masters in Real Estate over an MBA. The reasoning came down to three key factors: 1) The People, 2) The Subject Matter, and 3) The Career Opportunities. Go check it out:  

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Excel Tips for Real Estate Modeling

On my blog, you’ll find numerous Excel tips that make real estate modeling faster, more accurate, and easier to understand.  For example, I show how I use the offset function to dynamically calculate TTM (trailing twelve months), or to quickly and accurately copy a vertical string of values horizontally. In another post, I offer up six keyboard shortcuts […]

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