Preparing for the new era means CRE professionals can no longer avoid modernizing their technology. Many successful brokers, landlords, and commercial real estate companies embrace property tech (proptech) and move their operations to the web.
COVID-19 forced even those who were initially hesitant about digitizing to join the bandwagon eventually. The pandemic truly hit CRE like a freight train and uncovered its many weaknesses:
- CRE decision-makers lack accurate and current data about real-time market conditions to survive the economic downturn
- Most CRE teams don’t have access to the data they need when they can’t work in the office.
- Many spaces don’t offer virtual tours. However, many tenants are not comfortable looking at areas in person right away. 83% of tenants would prefer to look at a space online and then decide if they wanted to write in person or not.
The health crisis is reshaping the market as we know it, and CRE executives can no longer afford to put proptech on the back burner. The survival of many commercial real estate companies will depend on how effectively they use technology to access real-time data, centralized information, and market their properties online.
But what does it mean to embrace proptech?
Migrating your CRE company online may seem complicated and time-consuming, but don’t worry—it’s worth the effort. Your investment in property technology can propel business outcomes that will ultimately let your business survive the new normal.
But like many commercial real estate executives, you probably don’t have a clear idea of how technology can apply to the property industry. Sure—tech is essential to businesses like food delivery and online dating, but commercial real estate? How will technology help CRE?
It’s all about outcomes. Embracing CRE technology can give you and other decision-makers in your organization access to accurate and recent information. Make your leasing and selling activities more efficient while giving your teams in your customers a better experience. When used correctly, proptech can also help get potential tenants to visit your actual building so you can do your magic and start selling.
Business outcomes of implementing CRE technology
1. Make your tenants and leasing data up-to-date, centralized, and accessible from anywhere at any time.
The pandemic has made it abundantly clear that CRE teams need to work anywhere while having access to the information they need. Are you still relying on spreadsheets—or worse, your memory—to manage details about tenants, leases, spaces, and deals? Then it’s time for a change.
Going online will save you and your team from wasting time manually pulling information that may already be outdated by the time you retrieve it. For example, property technology will allow you to centralize your tenant information and leasing pipelines online. Doing this can ultimately make your team much more productive. It will also equip your decision-makers with more robust knowledge so they can steer your company in the right direction even in rough seas.
2. Create digital content for your spaces so that potential tenants and buyers can experience them virtually.
Experts agree that even after the COVID-19 problem is over, people will likely interact with space is differently—and the repercussions for CRE will be significant. Many tenants will not be comfortable looking at areas in person right away. They would prefer a virtual experience first, and if they like the space, you might visit it in person later.
Building a virtual experience for your spaces has never been more critical. Many CRE companies have done well in capturing limited tenant demand in a tough market invested in digital content. They focused on providing virtual experiences that can almost replicate in-person visits. Proptech can let you do the same.
3. Track how tenants and tenant representatives interact with your CRE listings.
Publishing your listings online will allow you to put your properties in front of a much larger audience than just a handful of brokers. But it doesn’t stop there. Online marketplaces don’t just allow you to get noticed. They can also provide analytics for your listings—which means that you can see how potential tenants and brokers engage with your offerings. Don’t see a lot of activity? With online analytics, you can quickly change strategies instead of waiting for months.
4. Get current information on market conditions and adjust your strategies whenever necessary.
Data is essential to any business—including commercial real estate. The slow and outdated data sources you’ve been using for decades might have been enough when market conditions were strong, but in a challenging market, you need to be more proactive. You need data at your fingertips.
Property technology is the future. It has seen rapid growth in the last few years. After all, real estate is the largest and arguably an essential investment asset class globally, worth more than $228 trillion collectively. Global proptech deals reached $9 billion in 2018—that’s a growth of 1800% from $475 million in 2013. Investments in proptech have also seen an exponential increase in recent years.
Embracing proptech means having access to up-to-the-minute information about current market conditions so that you can make decisions based on what’s happening right now. Can generate this information from marketplace activities and millions of property transactions that are managed online. Digitization will allow you to collect almost limitless information to bring your business forward.
It’s time to admit that the commercial real estate market will never be the same again. CRE executives don’t have the luxury of time to formulate strategies that will ensure the survival of their businesses. With real-time market information at your fingertips and your CRE portfolio accessible online, it becomes much easier to craft investment, asset, and leasing strategies based on the latest conditions and execute them immediately.
There’s no telling what the new standard might bring to the commercial real estate industry, but one thing is for sure: If your company is still not running in a data-driven and technology-enabled manner, you might not be around to see the future
Now is the best time to look at the leading marketing, leasing, and asset management platforms in the commercial real estate industry. Many proptech products are explicitly designed for CRE, and many of them offer free trials for a limited time.
Please take advantage of such opportunities to try them out and see which ones are suitable for your organization’s goals.