Why Now?

Posted: January 18, 2017 by Eli Randel, Director of Business Development

WHY NOW?

When recently discussing our company mission with a well-known investor he asked one wise and Buddha-like question in its simplicity: “why now?”

While I had immediate business answers which I’ve shared below, I continue to ponder the question. The entrepreneur always says “why not now” and presses forward, however today is only a droplet of water in a waterfall of time. Why should anything special happen NOW and not tomorrow? Why hasn’t it already happened?

I haven’t found the answer to the deeper question, but now is the time to continue to grow CREXi, an online CRE platform connecting brokers with buyers and simplifying the often slow and clunky real estate transaction process using cutting edge technology. Here’s why (now):

  • There is a large demographic and generational sea-change occurring in CRE. Brokers, buyers and investors who are accustomed to and demand technology in their everyday-lives are replacing their predecessors. We are witnessing unprecedented industry wide tech-adoption. The demand for the tools exists, but many of the tools have not yet been created;
  • Most of the marketplaces that do exist are ill-suited to handle the changing demands of the market. Many were designed in the 90s or 2000s and have only slowly evolved. Complacent with their early success, many have not kept up with most technological advances and in many ways are people-heavy real estate firms more than tech firms. Most current platforms are satisfying today’s demand with yesterday’s product;
  • Incumbent fee models are widely disliked and perceived at best as necessary-evils. Much like the taxi industry, the service should be better and the costs should be lower. We believe tech and resulting transparency should empower buyers and lower their costs. Sellers should also benefit as buyers can now use their buying power to pay them and not transaction fees. Sellers also benefit from increased liquidity (“liquidity equals value” – Sam Zell);
  • Users want to help design and control their process in conjunction with market forces. Netflix and Amazon users want to promote content with their ratings and feedback. Wikipedia users create and regulate content. Uber does not tell drivers where they should drive, the market does. Brokers want to design and manage their own process and react to market forces with data and assistance from the service provider, but limited interference and friction;
  • The market cycle and overall economy is changing and change will fuel evolution. Value and demand shifts will bring demand for new tools with wider reach as market conditions will likely make deals harder to execute. Conduits connecting brokers with out-of-market buyers are needed. Assuming some distress emerges, lenders and servicers will continue to be early adopters and use online marketplaces to promote transparency and liquidity. Our platform is designed in-part with this in mind (lenders being the only non-brokers we will engage with).

NOW is the time to connect with CREXi and find out how we can help you do more deals, and reduce your professional expenses either as a buyer or broker while speeding up your transaction cycle and making your work-flow more efficient.

Eli Randel

Eli Randel, CREXi Director of Business Development

Eli Randel is Director of Business Development based in CREXi’s Miami office. Eli spearheads CREXi’s growth and sales throughout the east coast as well as overseeing the national sales team. Prior to joining CREXi, Eli was director of dispositions for Blackstone’s Invitation Homes. Eli has also held management positions and production roles with Cohen Financial, Auction.com, LNR and CBRE where he began his career spending three years in Investment Sales before leaving to obtain his Master in Business Administration from the University of Florida.

Forget Hillary, Where Did Your 30,000 Emails Go?

Posted: December 28, 2016 by Paul Cohen, Regional Director

FORGET HILLARY, WHERE DID YOUR 30,000 EMAILS GO?

I recently met a long-time broker-friend for lunch. In typical broker-friend style, he texted me five minutes before we were due to meet telling me he was finishing up a project and asked if I would come to his office first. I did. He was hunched over a workstation with who I assumed was his marketing assistant at the computer’s controls. As I approached, he greeted me with “BaBoom! 30,000 emails. Let’s get lunch.” Turns out that my broker buddy had just hired a new marketing whizz who had revamped his marketing platform. They both looked very excited.

“That’s great,” I told him, “So, what’s your delivery rate been?”

Blank stare.

“How many unique page views are you generating?”

Blank stare.

“OK,” I said now feeling a little like a bully “how many offers have you gotten?”

“We got one last week on the downtown development site!”

Turns out he wasn’t clear whether the offer came from his email campaign or a call off a sign, but 30,000 emails must have generated some of the deal activity he was experiencing. Right?

I explained to my friend and his whizz that technology was available that takes the guess work out of email campaigns. You can analyze exactly how many emails were delivered, viewed, resulted in downloaded OMs, and who performed these activities all on CREXi.com for free.

“Why are you paying a service without these capabilities over $200 a month when you can use CREXI for free?” I asked.

“Free is good but we don’t have time to learn a new mail program. Time is money, Pauly-boy,” was his reply. I logged into his CREXI account (of course, he had a CREXI account) and in three clicks created him an email marketing campaign. The campaign was customizable and directed buyers to his listing page where they could quickly execute his NDA, access his sleek offering memorandum, and open a due diligence vault with all the property information (he was still paying a firm $100/month just for a DD vault).

He was impressed. Then he noticed on his dashboard that each listing had a number of page views, Executed CA’s, Downloaded OM’s. He swore he had never seen that page before (He had because I had given him the demo). Then he looked at the Downtown Development site and clicked on the leads tab. The buyer who had submitted the offer had downloaded the OM over two weeks ago. I suggested that he should probably check his other listings. He agreed but after lunch and he was buying!

Paul Cohen

Paul Cohen, Regional Director

Paul Cohen is a Regional Director with CREXi based in the firm’s Miami office and focused on business development in the southeast. Prior to joining CREXi, Cohen was a Managing Director specializing in investment sales and equity raises at Cohen Financial, a national debt and equity advisor. Prior to Cohen Financial, Paul owned and operated his own independent real estate firm following a 12-year tenure at CBRE where Cohen was a Senior Vice President and led the Private Client Group in Miami-Dade County with a specialty in office and industrial investment sales.  

Data-Less 2017 Market Outlooks (Analysis Without Paralysis) Part 1

Posted: December 7, 2016 by Eli Randel with Guest Contributor Paul Cohen

DATA-LESS 2017 MARKET OUTLOOKS (ANALYSIS WITHOUT PARALYSIS) 

The computer can’t tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact mathematical design, but what’s missing is the eyebrows. – Frank Zappa

As a tech company and a marketplace that has seen approximately 7,000 deals come through our doors since our inception in October 2015, we are data driven and pattern focused. However, for our market predictions we walked away from our computers to drive our neighborhoods, speak with our clients, visit stores to get a feel for the holiday retail pulse, and approach our forward-looking predictions instinctively to avoid analytical-paralysis or failures to read the stories between the lines. CRE data and surveys can often organize the “what” but sometimes fail to explain the “why” (or input). Our goal for our 2017 predictions was to focus on the “why” with the expectation that we (or anyone else) will not get the predictions perfect but that the value sometimes resides in the thought-journey and not solely the destination.

Industrial Outlook Paul Cohen – Southeast Regional Director

For many, industrial real estate is the most boring asset type. Buildings usually lack structural sophistication, are often “dirty”, reside in less traveled outskirts, and yields as of late are compressed to once unthinkable lows and lacking in the return premiums that used to often exist. Despite the lack of sex-appeal, it’s possible industrial real estate is currently the most stable asset type and poised for long-term prosperity.

During the last three or four-years land values have increased significantly in most major port and shipping markets and often the highest-and-best-use (or only use that will “pencil-out”) has been residential even in once industrial submarkets (Doral, FL for instance). Housing brings new residents and demographics which creates the need for warehousing particularly in our new economy where firms like Amazon and FedEx have made speed and logistics a priority and therefore need distribution proximity to population clusters. Rising land costs have done two things simultaneously: 1) because land doesn’t pencil-out well for industrial development there has been little new supply; 2) increased residential demographics has increased demand for industrial space.

A reason I particularly like Industrial real estate and find it a safe investment is it remains semi-immune to technological advances which may threaten other asset types. Modern technology advances and trends like automation, e-commerce, and telecommuting do not generally hurt industrial occupancy or demand but could actually fuel it. Whereas telecommuting trends can contribute to office space demands, and e-commerce has contributed to the decrease of brick-and-mortar retail demand, manufacturing and distribution continues to need distribution hubs across the country to quickly and efficiently produce and distribute products. And while automation has created less need for proximity to skilled workers and may change floor plans, the need to be near population clusters for quick distribution will limit major sprawl from cities.

Future segment potential impactors and risks include: oil prices – which are currently low and affect manufacturing and transportation costs, the political landscape and resulting impact on trade, new manufacturing technology, and the housing market. Politically, the incoming administration’s oft-discussed views on trade could result in decreased imports which could slow activity at port markets. However, penalties for companies moving overseas to exploit cheaper labor (known as “offshoring”) could keep companies and occupiers in the US and potentially increase domestic manufacturing and exporting. Additionally, a professed government plan for mass infrastructure investment will certainly require industrial storage and manufacturing to support those construction efforts. Next level technology like 3-D printers could eventually change how products are manufactured and delivered but I think we have time to see how that unfolds and impacts to industrial will initially be limited. Last, the housing market should be watched as a cooling in the housing market can affect the industrial market in two ways: 1) a decrease in residential development will likely decrease land and construction costs and open the door for industrial developers to deliver more supply; and 2) occupiers tied to the housing industry (like tile and furniture producers) will suffer if the housing market cools. In 2007 while leading the industrial investment sale team in Miami for CBRE, we saw occupiers struggle, vacancies increase, and rents soften.

Ultimately, while pricing has risen and yields have dropped as low as 4% for core product in top markets, I predict industrial real estate to be a very safe asset type with great fundamentals and macro-trends favoring its long-term health. Deal velocity or transaction volume, which is currently down about 25% from 2015, will remain below historical norms as some investors can’t stomach the compressed yields resulting from competition for deals and strong growth assumptions, but patient capital will continue to acquire assets and will benefit in the long-term when they do. While rents in some markets have reached once unimaginable highs and will someday soon flirt with $20/SF levels, lower transportation and labor costs resulting from cheap oil and automation have helped manufacturers offset increased occupancy costs. As land becomes more scarce and development of industrial space less practical, we think occupancies will stay high and rent growth will fuel long-term IRRs despite currently high asset values.

At www.CREXi.com we currently have 786 industrial properties (and growing rapidly) being offered by the best brokers in the business. We encourage you to visit and learn more or reach out to me anytime @ paul@crexi.com or 786.877.0544.

Recommended Reading:

LA Times – Warehouse Robots

USA Today – Offshoring

Eli Randel

Eli Randel is Director of Business Development based in CREXi’s Miami office. Eli spearheads CREXi’s growth and sales throughout the east coast as well as overseeing the national sales team. Prior to joining CREXi, Eli was director of dispositions for Blackstone’s Invitation Homes. Eli has also held management positions and production roles with Cohen Financial, Auction.com, LNR and CBRE where he began his career spending three years in Investment Sales before leaving to obtain his Master in Business Administration from the University of Florida.

Paul Cohen – Guest Contributor

Paul Cohen is the Southeast Regional Director of Business Development and is based in CREXi’s Miami office.   Paul is primarily focused on expanding CREXi’s footprint in the southeast markets. Prior to joining CREXi, Paul was a Managing Director at Cohen Financial, his privately held real estate firm that specialized in investment sales and equity raises, and previously held a Senior Vice President position at CBRE.

Nothing Is Easy

Team CREXi – November 22, 2016

Besides being gluttons for punishment, yearning for higher hairlines and larger bald spots, and aspiring for less taxes in the form of lean salaries, we at CREXi are here to bring technology to the slow-to-adapt commercial real estate market. “But Eli, I’m a real estate purist, does the CRE industry really need technology to be great?” you might ask. My answer: “No.” Commercial real estate is already a great industry. My favorite industry. As the son of a real estate investor and entrepreneur, I owe any business prosperity in my life to the CRE industry. However, I learned a valuable lesson as a child when my father would announce every night while walking in the door: “Eli, nothing is easy!” As my life and career progressed, I learned truer words have never been spoken. So how can we make the lives of our clients and customers easier?

DEAL CONDUITS

There is a supply and demand disconnect in the commercial real estate market. Sellers and their brokers always want more buyers and offers for their dispositions while buyers always want access and exposure to more deals. Both sides of the transaction are searching for each other yet often fail to connect. CRE has long been a high-barrier-to-entry market with opaque information. When new investors flow into new markets the common strategy remains: take every broker out to lunch for six months to ensure you are receiving all of their offerings. Having seen the waistlines of some old broker friends, those lunches aren’t always cheap. Our aggregated marketplace of 5,500+ deals allows buyers to quickly find inventory and download information following the one-click execution of an NDA as opposed to waiting for a response to an e-mail or phone call. You can find available properties and obtain information in minutes not days. Brokers also have a forum to reach and curate their listings to a wider audience than the local buyer pool and directly target our exponentially growing user pool of current and active commercial real estate investors.

ONE STOP DEAL MANAGEMENT

Real estate is still a mostly pen-and-paper industry which is time consuming and inefficient. The disposition process is rife with pain points. Most brokers are using 3-6 often expensive platforms to run their process and usually employ a staff of 2-3 team member for support. We’ve created a platform that will speak to every one of these pain points all in one intuitive easy to use web location. Game changing features are in development and will drastically simplify the entire process and transaction work-flow. Contact us for a demo.

SPEED

Commercial Real Estate remains a relatively illiquid asset class. Deals typically take 6-9 months from the first broker meeting to eventual closing. We aim to speed up transactions by eliminating inefficiencies and large chunks of downtime associated with slow information flow and antiquated processes. As famed investor Sam Zell says: “Liquidity Equals Value.” We aim to add value to the commercial real estate process by speeding up deals.

Nothing is easy, but we hope to make transactions easier.

 

Feel free to reach out anytime to “geek-out” over CRE or CRE Tech @ eli@crexi.com or 305.331.2881. Resumes are always welcome to those interested in joining the mission.

Coming Soon in our Weekly Blog:

  • Data-less 2017 Market Predictions (Analysis Without Paralysis)
  • What the F Does “Off-Market” Mean Anyway
  • A week in the Life of an Offering Memorandum
  • When Going Hard is Bad
  • Forget Hillary, Where Did My 30,000 (Marketing) E-Mails Go
  • Tinder for CRE
  • Thanks For the Listing, See You in Six Months

 

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