The Role of Technology in Commercial Real Estate
Commercial real estate is never really what comes to mind when people first think about real estate. Most people I talk to jump to the idea of a big house and rarely ever consider the open lot, or the strip center downtown. Ultimately, commercial real estate is a highly underrated industry, making it the cornucopia for the business-minded. It is basically a wild west, untamed and full of potential, especially for younger generations.
ENDLESS OPPORTUNITIES TO INNOVATE AND CREATE.
There is potential for growth in the tech world making properties, options, and ideas, more accessible and user friendly. With the emergence of virtual reality, there is talk about how tours can be done with a headset. Drones are taking video of properties to an entire new level.
When combined with graphics and modern video editing software, an individual broker has access to making promotional content on par with high-end commercials.
Websites, apps and even the hardware used in the industry are growing and evolving and yet, there is so much potential for growth. Advancements have reached a point for the older generations, where not being able to send a document using Dropbox, means you are falling behind. Using Microsoft Office isn’t enough, and yet the commercial real estate world is still behind the curve.
New technology, like what is offered at MatterPort.com, makes it possible for brokers to provide 3D images of floor plans so prospective buyers can have a better feel for a building before going to see it in person. While this is helping residential brokers show their spaces, many commercial brokers have yet to tap into this new product, leaving them dependent on 2D floor plans and aerial maps. It is technology like this, that is making the client’s experience smoother and more convenient.
Meanwhile, other web based programs and services are making the Broker’s life easier. Solutions like VTS.com are making it possible for brokers to track, not only their listings, but the documents associated, stacking plans and any correspondence associated with the property. This will effectively clear away desks and filing cabinets until they are irrelevant. These are only two examples of the potential technology has to change the brokerage landscape.
While change is hard for some of the older generations, it is proving to be a great convenience for the younger generations.
COLLABORATION AT ITS FINEST.
There is a bright side for both the older and younger generations in terms of competition, that eases the pain of change. For individuals concerned with working in a company that is highly and aggressively competitive, companies like RESOURCE are becoming more teamwork based, and more collaborative in their culture.
While the industry is very competitive between (some) individual brokers and firms, there is a transition occurring internally. New generations are handling the tech issues, and bringing new fresh ideas and vision for the older generations, in exchange for skills and experience in the physical world of negotiations. Where technology lacks the capability of creating a human experience for the parties involved, the older generations are filling the gap.
From sitting in on a conference calls to meeting with clients over drinks, the younger broker is given the chance to listen and learn things that were never mentioned in their licensing course. They are learning the ins–and-outs of the contracts in their chosen field. This provides them an opportunity to learn about how the Landlords and Tenants are communicating without going through the pain of trial and error. This gives them an invaluable skillset that transcends sales. This is what grows the inheriting generation’s ability to master and become successful in the near future.
With this collaborative environment, the younger generations are also gaining the freedom of a entrepreneurial lifestyle. As they are developing their skills and working alongside a senior broker, they are participating in more of a mentor/mentee relationship as opposed to the employer/employee relationships of other industries. As a broker, tax forms label the broker as an independent contractor by default – where the only obligation of the broker is to meet the agreed upon performance standards between them and the Firm. This means, outside of generating “x” amount of commission, the broker is free to do it however (within ethical and legal means) they choose. The result of this commission based world is; there no cap on what you may generate, there are flexible hours, you have freedom to pick who you will work with (again, ethically) and you have the freedom to claim and create your future as you see fit.
Finally, with the inheritance of the world though the business and entrepreneurial perspectives, innovation and the desire to make the world a better place – cleaner, safe, more efficient and more exciting – means younger generations have a very powerful hand in directly effecting their towns, cities and the world around them through commercial real estate. Because technology and people’s priorities are evolving and people are trying new things, the real estate world is being directly impacted.
Businesses and warehouses are looking to leave less of a carbon footprint, or make a stadium more exciting and enticing.
Small businesses owned by young entrepreneurs are looking for shared office spaces here in Indianapolis where you rent a desk or even start manufacturing at a smaller level. All of these moments are opportunities, for the young brokers to step in and have an influence. This is how the younger generations can have a chance to do something that impacts our even younger, sibling generations. Through working directly with emerging business leaders, young brokers have contacts and connections that may shape the physical world, just as politics and economics prove to be an unstoppable force pushing for change.
CHANGE IS INEVITABLE, AND NO INDUSTRY IS IMMUNE TO ITS EFFECTS.
With the waves of young brokers filling our office at RESOURCE, combined with the new perspectives in marketing and IT, our culture, technology and way of doing business is changing. At RESOURCE, the energy has evolved from a fear of scarcity, that fueled a competitive atmosphere – where brokers fought for their slice – into that of collaboration and team work.
The ingenious ideas that merge the tech world with the commercial real estate industry, have taken us from touring with note pads, to scrolling through the tour on iPads. User friendly interfaces are shaping the way our customers interact with us before even becoming a client. Our team successfully blends wisdom in negotiations, networking and years of practiced experience from Senior Brokers, with the new fresh ideas and visions of our next generation of Brokers. Freedom to explore the possibilities and try new things, is giving our company a chance to completely change our community and industry in so many fun and exciting ways.