Brokers Focus On Technology And Core Services To Capitalize On Tightening Market
Rising interest rates have seeped into reality, and the pace of commercial real estate transactions has responded accordingly. The volume of transactions is expected to slow into 2019 compared to recent levels.
But some brokers are leveraging technology to manage this anticipated slowdown, showcasing their offerings and focusing their expertise on a few specific services.
Mortgage brokerage firm Eastern Union is one company thriving despite the market slowdown. The firm has brought technology to the forefront of its services, implementing an innovative, data-driven approach to enhance its mortgage-specific offerings. Eastern Union recently revamped its website to offer many of the same features found on its deal app, which launched in the summer of 2016. The app and updated website continue to evolve to meet changing customer preferences and streamline the loan process.
The firm also built a Customer Relationship Management platform, which allows users to search for addresses on a custom map that shows comps and active brokers in a given area. It also provides a multilayer tool that gives brokers a first look at all the assets a client owns, recent deals closed by its bank, current listings for sale and all recent comparative deals within a specific submarket.
“We have built up our database by sharing valuable technology without expecting anything in return,” Eastern Union founder and President Ira Zlotowitz said in a blog post. “That approach, in fact, is the crux of how we operate. Investors and buyers opt into our app, where they list their assets and fill out their buyer criteria.”
While the app doesn’t benefit the firm directly, the goal is that brokers and buyers that find success will also tap Eastern Union to arrange their mortgage financing. If that happens, Eastern Union is ready with its database of lenders, Zlotowitz said.
Through this approach, Eastern Union has seen quantifiable results. In 2017, the firm closed $4B in loans, and 40% of new business now comes directly from the affiliate buyer program, a feature of the app where users can access thousands of local listings.
Zlotowitz believes focusing on a few core strengths and offerings brings in more deals as opposed to expanding into every aspect of commercial real estate.
Each Eastern Union underwriter has experience in a specific niche, such as setting up a deal, preparing a loan package for the bank or choosing the right lender. This range of expertise helps Eastern Union leverage a knowledge base that fits their clients’ changing needs.
The firm is staying confident in this strategy. A focus on the client’s best interest, no matter the state of the market, continues to lead the team to financial success and helps Eastern Union’s team of underwriters and brokers do more business.
“Companies struggle to reach their financial goals because they are trying to be the expert in too many things,” Zlotowitz said. “But if you take a look at your core competencies and hone in on one or two focused strategies, that can allow your company to be nimble during these changing market times.”
This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and Eastern Union Funding. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.