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How These Real Estate Pros Are Using Tech To Streamline Their Workflow

The longer real estate pros resist advancements in technology, the farther behind the curve they'll be, as tech waits for no one. That's what we learned from two of the featured speakers for Bisnow's Future of Real Estate Tech: The Built Environment, 7am Thursday, March 31, at Bradley Business Center.


KIG Analytics founder Susan Tjarksen (pictured with KIG's Todd Stofflet, Jason Stevens and Lee Kiser) is on the front line of tech advancements in commercial real estate. Susan calls real estate one of the last “dinosaurs” because it’s slow to fully embrace either tech or data transparency. KIG Analytics functions as a tool for KIG, an institutional multifamily brokerage, providing market research and data analysis. Susan believes the “intersection of real estate and technology” will be a transformative event. KIG releases offering memorandums both on paper and USB drives. This allows for greater creativity in the firm’s pitches. KIG attempted to be completely digital, but the market still requested printed books. Interactive, password-protected websites have become a happy medium for live and virtual presentations.

Susan says the rise of real estate-focused tech startups is a good thing, especially as it pertains to transparency in the data analysis used to make investment decisions. Using real-time implementation of information, as well as socioeconomic data, KIG is able to add extra dimensions to its memorandums and offerings.


A recent curiosity of KIG Analytics was to see where available FAR exists in the City of Chicago. (Floor Area Ratio refers to density; how much space has been built on a site vs.  how much could be there.) Using Chicago’s Open Data Portal as well as data from the Cook County Assessor and City of Chicago Zoning Ordinance, KIG Analytics generated a heat map showing the available FAR in some of Chicago’s fastest-growing neighborhoods. The height of each column represents the available FAR on each lot, while the “heat map” overlay shows where there are multiple buildings with substantial FAR availability within a short distance of each other.

Susan (pictured with her mother, Jane, in St. Croix) says developers reach out to them all the time seeking help finding potential development sites. They saw the potential in combining these data sets to provide developers with a tool they could use to identify the most promising development sites throughout Chicago.


@properties co-founder Thad Wong (pictured here, left, with co-founder Michael Golden and The Jeanine Wheeler Group's Jeanine Wheeler) also preaches the gospel of real estate tech. Three years ago, @properties partnered with startup YAPMO, which had a solution to pull communities and communications off @properties’ email threads, as much of it didn’t apply and clogged workers’ inboxes. The partnership created a communication platform that’s now used by over 50 real estate firms, as well as larger corporations like Hyatt. As YAPMO has grown, it’s opened @properties to other revenue-generating silos.


@properties also partnered with Turboappeal, which uses an algorithm to find the best possible comparables for appealing home property tax assessments. Thad (shown here with wife Emily Sachs Wong, dog Moxie and the rest of the family) says Turboappeal can find double the comps of a property tax attorney. @properties used its distribution channel to market the service and, at one point, created over 1.6 million property tax appeals in only six minutes. Thad says @properties is also creating targeted content for its social media channels to increase market share for its brokers. Social media, Thad adds, offers the geography to target these specific campaigns.

To learn more, please attend Bisnow's Future of Real Estate Tech: The Built Environment event, 7am Thursday, March 31, at Bradley Business Center, 2500 W Bradley Place. Register here.