Financial calculator is a must have for any real estate analyst. It should be kept in mind that you are more likely to use spreadsheets (or custom software) for more advanced analysis. Excel is far more powerful than any hand-held financial calculator; and while doing advanced analysis a financial calculator may be not required at all.
Still you will need a good financial calculator for your day-to-day functioning, discussions and meetings. A good financial calculator will cost you something between $30 and $100. I have used almost every financial calculator available in the market; and in this post we will discuss a few of them.
If you don't know, Texas Instruments is the third largest manufacturer of semiconductors worldwide.
Texas Instruments is also a market leader in the financial calculators segment and BA II Plus Professional Financial Calculator is their latest product in the line.
The BA II Plus Professional calculator features all the great features of a dream financial calculator. It's an ideal choice for both entry-level and advanced finance professionals. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam allows this as well.
Along with the standard capabilities of time-value-of-money, accrued interest, amortization, cost-sell-margin, and depreciation calculations, you can calculate more advanced business and finance related issues. It can handle net future value (NFV), modified internal rate of return (MIRR), modified duration, payback, discount payback, and more.
It has a rugged metal exterior; firm-touch keypad and anti-slip rubber feel.
- Very attractive appearance
- Nice "firm-touch" keypad
- A couple of additional functions (compared to the BA II Plus Advanced).
- Leatherette soft case instead of hard case.
- Slightly expensive
It is the predecessor of professional version. It operates in standard calculator and worksheet modes. The standard mode lets you perform common math as well as operations involving the time value of money - that is, applications such as mortgages or annuities in which payments are equal and evenly spaced. You can also perform trigonometric functions in standard mode.
The more hard-core worksheet mode includes tables for amortization, bond, depreciation, and compound interest. If you're not familiar with such calculations, the very helpful user's manual will guide you through the process.
The average user who wants to calculate a basic loan payment will be more comfortable working in the standard calculator mode. Still, it's good to know that the more advanced features are available for those who require advance financial computing.
While there are less expensive financial calculators, it seems that this particular level is the minimum I would recommend to professionals or students.
- It has a nice conservative brown color
- The buttons feel is much better than most TIs
- The different colored keys make it easy to find the various functions
- The display is uncluttered and easy to read.
- The alpha characters on the left side of the display make it easy to know what data you are entering and what the resulting number from a calculation refers to
- Construction is a little weak
- Usually requires more keystrokes and is not as intuitive
- Cannot store functions
- If you're one of the few out there that like RPN, it is not an option.
With its preprogrammed financial and accounting functions, the Texas Instruments BA35 calculator is designed for business professionals and students. It features cash flow analysis, time value of money and compound-interest calculations.
It can also recall time-value-of-money values as well as annuity operations. It converts annual percentage rate (APR) to effective rate (EFF) interest and does amortization balance, payment-to-interest, cost-sell-margin, and markup calculations.
Because the BA35 runs on solar power, you'll never have to worry about replacing the batteries.
- Solar powered - no batteries needed.
- Inexpensive, good for starters
- Not a sophisticated business calculator
- You may end up wanting more functionalities
Particularly suitable for the people working in the real estate industry, this financial calculator can solve loan problems, payment schedules and annual percentages rates. The shift key performs a double function.
It offers a quick reference card with worksheet templates that acts as a guide to solve various problems. The constants such as the tax rate are easy to update and enter in this financial calculator. The backspace key lets you clear a digit without having to erase an entire sequence.
- Performs specialized real estate functions quickly and easily.
- Calculates PITI, mortgages
- Calculates ARMs, bi-weekly payments
- Generates amortization schedules
- Keys are not very sensitive
- Very specialized for real estate, not much generic financial functions
Can be a smart choice, the HP 10BII helps users figure out numbers and solve problems efficiently and fast.
This HP financial calculator is like pint-sized magic with dimensions of seven inches width and 10-inches length. It is handy and is only one inch thick. Imbedded programming helps users quickly figure standard deviation, weighted mean, mean and the correlation coefficient. Users can do cash-flow analysis and forecasts using this financial calculator.
- Very easy to use
- The buttons and display feel cheep
- Do not have RPN
With the HP 17BII financial calculator, you can perform more than 250 business and statistical functions. You can calculate loan payments, amortization, interest rates and conversion, internal rate of return (IRR), net present value (NPV), bond price & yield, depreciation, and percentages.
The bottom line on the two-line display shows the menu labels for the five major menus in the calculator: Financial, Business Percentages, Statistics, Time Manager, and Equation Solver. The menu keys allow you to shift between functions. The top line shows the numbers or letters you enter and the resulting calculation. Each menu has sub-functions and built-in variables for greater complexity. A beeper sounds when you press the wrong key, when an error occurs, or when you are late for an appointment. Doesn't it sound great!
This financial calculator has 8,000 total bytes in RAM (6,750 bytes plus 1,250 for your built-in variables). You can monitor the available memory (both in bytes and percentages) by pressing shift-MEM. It retains current functions until you press "clear data." If you accidentally shut the machine off, just turn it back on and your calculation will reappear.
This HP financial calculator interfaces with an HP infrared printer (sold separately), allowing you to print tables, lists, and payment schedules.
- Programmable solver is an awesome tool
- Excellent battery life
- Display angle can become critical in certain light conditions
At a glance, the metallic silver exterior of the HP30B and button layout resembles the HP17bII+ (silver version). However, a closer look reveals its HP20B parentage. Notably, the 2-line display of the HP30B appears clearer, larger and has more contrast than the HP20B.
It has an intuitive layout, high-speed processor and 2-line display. You can add custom calculations with convenient programming capability.
You can easily program custom calculations for time-saving access later. Powerful math library includes trigonometric and hyperbolic functions. There is a dedicated key for amortization. It also has extensive statistical functions - 9 statistical models, 15 statistical analysis functions, including advanced probability distribution.
It feels comfortable and looks stylish. Raised edges protect keyboard and screen.
- Built-in scientific functions to go between accounting, statistics, and engineering
- Excellent price for a RPN calculator
- Display, viewing angle is critical
- Most useful functions are buried behind layers of menus
- Keyboard is not laid out in an efficient manner
- Many complained of bug, the depreciation schedules give incorrect results
This can be another smart choice; it features four display lines with 23 characters each, plus 6,500 bytes of memory.
Offering over 450 finance, statistical, and scientific functions, the calculator is also easily programmable for custom equations and functions. Personal information management applications, currency and measurement unit conversions and functions that help you track loan payments; interest rates, amortization, and internal rate of return make this calculator attractive.
HP19BII supports RPN as well as algebraic entry.
Advanced users may find the calculator's functions a little dated. It includes the ACRS table for calculating depreciation applied to limited partnership assets, which was replaced by Modified ACRS (MACRS) in 1986. But many users will find that the extensive functions and programmability compensate for this shortcoming. The time and data management functions like the alarm clock, calendar, appointments, and date arithmetic, number lists, editing, and sorting are few additional goodies.
The calculator is easy to use, easy to program and has most of the common functions built-in.
- Shows the results of last three calculations
- Remembers the last calculations even after you turn it off
- Lot of functions available with a minimum of keystrokes
- Flawed design, battery compartment door can break very easily
HP 12C Platinum is a faster, enhanced version of the industry-leading HP12C calculator. It has both RPN and Algebraic modes of entry, and keystroke programming with more memory for up to 400 steps.
There are now advanced editing features like the new "Undo" and "Backspace" buttons. Plus six times faster speeds for calculating TVM, loan payments, interest rates, standard deviation and more.
It works more efficiently with memory for up to 80 cash flows. It has easy-to-use layout and stylish look with metal back plate suitable for engraving. I think it is permitted for use on the CFP and CFA Certification Exams, and GARP FRM exam, but I'm not sure.
- Fast, more data storage memory which is sufficient for input of up to 80 cash flows or 400 programming steps
- Re-designed battery door
- Keys do not respond well
- The build quality is poor, the display get easily scratched up
The Sharp EL-738 financial calculator has a two-line display (total 12 digits), which helps you see both the figures and result of the calculations at a glance. The keys are color-coded, making it easy for you to find common functions.
It includes a scroll back function, which allows you to edit calculations without re-entering data. Soft-touch keys and a clear display also make it practical for long usage. It uses common AAA batteries, making it easy to use, where ever you are.
- New 2-Line fully editable line display and play back function
- Power Supply CR2032 battery
- Complicated for some users
- Plastic finish all around
When I was doing engineering back in 1997, I used to love my Casio scientific calculator. And I like this one too.
It comes with a 14 digit display and with 4 display lines so that you can solve much with ease. This display pattern ensures that all the numbers are clearly visible. It is powered by a solar cell and a single G13 type button battery. This feature ensures that you never run out of power.
- Full dot, 4-line display
- Converts between percentage interest rate and effective interest rate
- Solar power with battery back-up
- Navigation feature, you can scroll up and down on few lines of display
- You can't use this on Actuarial or CFA exams.
It is another financial calculator specific to real estate professionals.
It can calculate complete payment solutions, amortization, combo loans, ARMs, rent versus buy comparisons, and much more. It is designed for real estate and mortgage professionals, and can performs nearly every post-qualifying real estate calculation .
You'll be able to calculate mortgage payments, terms, interest, PITI payments, future value, as well as purchase price, and down payment figures. Permanently store local property tax and property insurance rates for customized calculations - it even figures mortgage insurance. It can also perform numerous "what-if" calculations from variables like purchase price, down payment amount, and loan amount financing.
Other features include bi-weekly and monthly loan comparisons, automatic sales price and down payment calculations, and completion of taxes, insurance, and mortgage insurance for true PITI payments. It also offers a built-in date-math function for closing and expiration dates, triple zero key that saves time and keystrokes.
It is powered by two LR44 batteries, which provide up to 800 hours of battery life
- Great for mortgage calculation
- iOS app
- Easy to use
- Specialized for real estate, some generic financial functions missing
We are living in the age of smart phones and apps. If you don't want to carry another device i.e. the calculator, you can install financial calculator app on your smart phone. There are many apps available in the appstore, some are free but mostly paid.
Of course, the BA II Plus Financial Calculator by Texas Instruments is the best app. It is affordably priced at $14.99 and can replace your calculator.
Texas Instruments BA II Plus Professional and Casio FC-200V Financial Calculator are two strong contenders.
Casio FC200V has 4 line displays and is solar-powered, but is not allowed in CFA exams. It is very affordable compared to BA II Plus Pro.
BA II Plus Professional is also very good and has a solid built, but is expensive (almost double the price of Casio).
So, which is best financial calculator for real estate analyst? You tell us.
What is your experience? Use the comment section below to share your experience.