4 Ways CRE Technology Has Changed the Deal Flow Process for the Better

Executing a CRE deal from start to finish these days is a far cry from what it was even 5 years ago. From the variety of online mediums available to market properties to having the ability to sign legal documents electronically, all aspects of the business have been transformed by technology.

Technology’s goal is to make our lives easier as well as give us access to goods and services previously unobtainable.  The same is true in commercial real estate.  The rapid pace at which information is exchanged and the accessibility of such information is a major factor in improving and streamlining the deal flow process.  Technology mirrored after other industries as well as new apps and platforms created specifically for CRE is a stark contrast to the traditional methods utilized by CRE professionals in the past. Here’s a rundown of some game changing technology.

Drones and 3D Imaging

Our ability to communicate property details via images has been revolutionized with the advent of 3D imaging and the application of drone technology to real estate.

3D images have a range of uses in CRE, but marketing is its most common application. They make it easy to instantly share 3D models and floor plans that do more than a verbal description ever could. These are also useful for planning renovations or new developments by allowing a potential client/buyer to envision the finished product.  Sites like Floored offer interactive 3D models, video fly throughs, and more.

Drone footage is a unique way to present visual information. It’s changing how CRE thinks about property tours and site selection. These “unmanned aerial vehicles,” can be used to photograph properties from previously unavailable viewpoints. They provide a new perspective on building size and situation for buyers, whatever their geographic location.

Sensors

Another very powerful tool that generates a wealth of data for CRE is sensor technology. The information they provide can be applied to tasks like site selection, property valuation and market analysis.

Sensors that measure pedestrian or vehicle traffic accumulate data over time that provides useful information. It can be used in conjunction with transit data for an even more robust picture of a given property. 

Sensors are also integral to the idea of “smart buildings.” Sensors can monitor everything from HVAC usage to moisture levels, and make properties more energy efficient.

Each of these tech developments is a part of the rapidly growing Internet of Things, which uses an army of devices to automatically and constantly gather useful data.

CRMs

Another technology development that is significantly impacting the deal making process is the evolution of the CRM platform. Managing and tracking property listings, contacts, marketing data, and deal progress on a centralized platform eliminates redundant tasks and missed opportunities by increasing visibility to industry decision makers that wasn’t possible not too long ago.   

CRM platforms manage contacts and prospect lists, and include detailed insight on their demographics, preferences, and past interactions. Many platforms can also facilitate lead generation and enable automated email.  CREXI takes it a few steps further by offering their clients an extensive toolbox of innovative marketing and sales tools from which to choose, all complimentary for the user.   

Another benefit of CRM is that it’s housed in the Cloud, so users don’t have to use valuable space on their hard drives nor does it require users to download or install additional programs.

Transaction Management

Most aspects that encompass a CRE transaction can now be handled online via CRM platforms. Owners, buyers, and brokers have the ability to interact in a secure environment, and track activity and interest in multiple properties from one centralized location. Once a deal is agreed upon, due diligence documents can be shared and updated instantly, decreasing the typical drawn out turnaround time. 

Another major advantage of online transaction management is transparency. All of the players in a transaction have the ability to access up to date information on demand, throughout the transactional process.  Removing this often cryptic layer from the proverbial playing field, is a benefit to both buyers and sellers by allowing them to work smarter rather than harder. 

CREXi users can see real time updates on offers and the due diligence progress, as well as generate comprehensive reports containing complex data and analytics pertaining to a property. The timesaving power of this approach is incredible and promotes news ways of determining property value and stimulates idea sharing and collaboration. 

This ever-changing technological landscape continues to prove that knowledge is power. 

5 Reasons CRE Should Pay (Even More) Attention to Technology

Team CREXi – May 9, 2016

When it comes to tech adoption, CRE is a sleeping giant. The industry is one of the world’s most significant asset classes, with about a trillion dollars in capital changing hands globally each year. (National Real Estate Investor/Penton report on Global Leasing and Investment Sales Volume). It generates massive amounts of associated data, related documents, and critical correspondence.

The amount of information that must be handled and considered is far too large to manage without digital tools. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is just not paying attention. One of the fastest-growing areas of development for apps and platforms is in the CRE field, and the tools that are now available address virtually every task and process that we encounter.

Still, as an industry, CRE is lagging behind others in its rate of tech adoption. A recent report from the Altus Group surveyed more than 300 international CRE executives and made some findings that illustrate this. It found that worldwide CRE firms spend, approximately 50% less on technology than Financial Services and the Public Sector (including Healthcare).

The study found that more than 30% of the CRE industry worldwide is still primarily using spreadsheets for asset and portfolio management. This represents up to $11 trillion in assets -a stunning figure, when you consider the increased risk of human error and resulting inaccuracies inherent in handling these manually.

The remaining 2/3 of the industry does employ digital tools for managing portfolios and properties, but of those users, the study found that ¾ did so in “data silos.” This outdated approach of storing data in separate, unconnected applications is certainly an improvement over spreadsheets, but it fails to unlock the real potential of technology for CRE.

We stand to gain the same benefits from utilizing digital tools as other industries –and increasingly, our competitors- do.  Taking advantage of coordinated systems for managing customer relations, transactions, listings, marketing, and contacts is essential for moving our industry forward, and for keeping pace with related service providers in finance and development.  There are several advantages to tech adoption that apply regardless of the specific tool selected.

Security

Handling sensitive documents, including contracts, in the Cloud enhances security. Since they no longer reside in a single computer or a file cabinet, these documents are immune to theft and loss, safe behind the layers of protection and encryption that these services provide.

Accuracy

The use of coordinated tech tools eliminates redundancies that can be a source of error. Information is consistent and up to date across the organization.

Access

As more of us collaborate with remote colleagues and clients, the ability to access a project or transaction at any time, regardless of location is a tremendous time-saver.

Transparency

Working together virtually creates a clear story of every transaction that can be tracked by all team members. Actions are clearly dated and attributable, making everyone more accountable and heading off miscommunication.

Efficiency

All of the factors above contribute to increased efficiency.  Consider, for example the time involved in just securing signatures on a contract. Without online document sharing and e-signatures, multiple paper copies of the document would need to be produced and mailed. On arrival they would be reviewed, signed (if approved), and eventually mailed back. This can easily eat up 2 weeks, while multiple parties can often review and sign a contract online in one day.

Learn More at: www.crexi.com