Tenant Rep Brokers Are Finally Getting The Tech Platforms They Deserve
Brokerage technology has advanced dramatically in the past five years, but most of the innovations — electronic leasing, sites that aggregate listings and virtual tours — have been built with listing brokers in mind. Meanwhile, for the thousands of brokers that represent tenants, technology has lagged.
“The majority of commercial brokers spend some of their time representing tenants, but all the databases that you see today are focused on helping listing reps,” Yardi Senior Account Executive Turner Levison said. “As a tenant rep, you can search those databases, but there has never been any platform to bring business to you.”
While email networks and handshake relationships remain important tools for brokers to find the best spaces for their clients, they pale in comparison to the sophistication of modern listing platforms. In order to even the playing field, Levison and his team at Yardi have been designing and releasing tech platforms specifically for streamlining the work of tenant reps.
The first two areas of focus for the CommercialEdge team are providing a new digital tour book and a tenant requirements board. Both are purpose-built specifically for tenant rep brokers to streamline their ability to better serve their clients.
The Active Tenants platform is a database for tenant reps to list what their clients are searching for. Brokers can publish the size, location, pricing and requirements for searches for industrial, office, retail or any other commercial asset class. Listing brokers and landlords can then reach out to the tenant reps to offer their spaces. Considering more than 40% of commercial assets are powered by Yardi platforms, Levison said, there is no shortage of deal flow.
“The scale of Yardi’s reach doesn’t exist anywhere else in the brokerage arena,” Yardi Senior Account Executive Matthew Gleason said. “You’re no longer limited to the emails in your contact list. The potential contact network is exponentially larger.”
The Active Tenants platform also allows for more off-market deals. Many of the tenant requirements postings are for smaller deals of a few thousand square feet. While landlords typically list their largest spaces on listing databases, they are usually also holding onto smaller office suites that they aren’t actively advertising, Gleason said. When they search through the Active Tenants database, some landlords may reveal that they have the perfect space, or they may be willing to carve out and lease portions of larger listings. This helps tenant reps find more options and creative solutions for their clients.
Those smaller, off-market deals are likely to become even more common going forward, as tenants downsize their offices, embrace hybrid or hub-and-spoke work models, and look for flexibility in their leases, Levison said.
Searches for commercial space are often sensitive, and tenant reps typically anonymize their requirements in order to protect their clients. While tenant reps can choose what level of information they provide, they are not required to post any identifying information about their client. In the Active Tenants platform, the contact flow from the owner or listing side is directed back to the tenant rep and not the client. This ensures relationships are upheld and there is no opportunity for client poaching.
As cities open back up and the return to the office kicks into full swing, the Yardi team has also been building out capabilities and templates for tenant reps to create and customize tour booklets for tenants. Brokers can use the Yardi platform to build cloud-based tour books for their clients to store client needs, showcase spaces, plan and schedule on-site tours and easily collaborate across their own internal team and with clients in one digital space.
“Too often, tour books are just PDFs or Word documents that get shared around,” Levison said. “Suddenly, once you take a tour, there are a dozen different versions floating around with various people’s comments, and that can be a nightmare to gather. When you can share comments all in the same place, you can create a better system.”
Because the digital booklets are customizable, they are not simply a list of listings, but places for tenant reps to show off their personal style and their intimate knowledge of the market.
“This is the place for brokers to showcase their proprietary information, what they know and what they’ve uncovered about submarkets, owners or buildings,” Levison said. “And everything that they do sits on top of Yardi’s more than 325,000 listings and information from over 800 counties across the U.S.”
He added that it is important to note that when a tenant rep adds proprietary data to a tour book, it remains a private data set wholly owned by that broker.
“Between the tenant rep tour book and the Active Tenants board, CommercialEdge is bringing a new suite of technology to better serve both occupiers of space and the brokers that represent them,” Levison said.
This article was produced in collaboration between Yardi and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.
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