5 Ways To Streamline CRE Operations In 2017
The year 2017 brings with it its own sets of unique challenges to CRE brokers across the country. Here are five ways to combat and streamline those operations through the next year.
1) Do your research
It is, unfortunately, easy to leave standard operating procedure incomplete, so make sure to perform due diligence before every deal. Gaining a thorough understanding of a property’s debt structure, ownership history and development — particularly within the context of larger, highly complex urban markets — often also uncovers restrictions, property landscape, zoning laws and covenants.
Reach out to local departments of commerce and transportation to clarify confusion. Contact the city’s planning boards, commissioners, chambers of commerce and fire marshals in order to glean a thorough understanding of the specific obstacles CRE businesses in this particular jurisdiction face. It is possible to make some useful connections in the process.
2) Consolidate your property databases
One of the most difficult parts of working in commercial real estate is simply tracking down the necessary property, owner and developer information in a timely manner. Take New York City’s market, for one: There are 300,000 CRE properties in the city alone, and mining through data archives rife with gaps and silos can take days of work.
Employing online data and data management services enables firms to quickly and easily locate clients, contacts and properties relevant to their business. Even better, holistic brokerage software can integrate multiple data sources and keep them in one place, allowing you to dig into the data from one location and draw insights you might have missed otherwise. Research that would traditionally take a month to complete can be done in five seconds.
Brokers can immediately tap their database during a phone call to find contacts or building information. The added perception of instant insider information builds trust with clients and can help brokers close deals faster and manage in addition to managing the brokerage more efficiently.
3) Embrace mobility
The iPhone has placed the ubiquitous “There’s an app for that” tagline on the lips of consumers everywhere. Mobile apps have infiltrated commercial real estate, and brokerages whose organizational platforms do not offer one risk falling behind.
With smartphone apps, brokers can save even more time on administrative tasks beyond the simple adoption of an online management service. Agents can add or update property details while in the building rather than waiting to be back at their computers. Client trust can grow even stronger, as brokers can instantly access property info even while out of the office and keep workflows updated on the go.
4) Leverage visual social media marketing
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are considered the “big three” of corporate social media. But for commercial real estate businesses, there are other easy, fast, personal methods to stand out to potential clients in competitive, populous metropolitan markets.
Instagram, for one, allows companies to post pictures and videos of properties, project updates and company “shenanigans,” lending a more personal touch to the firm and allowing busy clients to view properties right from their phone or computer. Pinterest, on the other hand, is literally an online bulletin board where users can save photos and other visual tidbits for particular projects.
It is a potential way to connect with developers, architects and other CRE professionals who might be a little more tech-savvy and creative. The National Association of Realtors has even composed a guide to effectively utilizing Pinterest to reach users who exist in specific niches of the internet, thereby reducing time and effort spent on traditional marketing pushes.
5) Work with the cloud
This is simply an exercise in good judgment and data security. Documents saved on computers or laptops always carry the risk of loss in case of a hard drive crash (or outright theft). Using cloud applications — meaning colleagues can access documents and information at any time from any computer with the correct login authority — means that the firm’s sensitive information is protected. Cloud-based apps further employ multiple security levels, thereby ensuring the business’ safety from potential hackers.
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