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Are CRE Capital Markets Brokers The Last Dinosaurs?

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Mortgage brokers in commercial real estate have never had it easy.

For the last 25 years, PropTech or no PropTech, a typical day in the life of a broker involved juggling dozens of potential transactions ranging from phone calls to lenders to emails to financial analysts to sending multiple loan documents to lenders. Staying on top of the loan process can be tedious, time-consuming work and a full-time job by itself. 

What is missing in this picture, however, is even more important — relationships. Like every consumer-focused industry, commercial real estate lending is about people. Mortgage brokers know that better than anyone; it’s their bread and butter. Brokers are defined by their ability to leverage their expertise of capital markets and real estate in order to connect the right borrower with the right lender.

That takes time, a prized commodity for capital markets advisers because relationships and trust don’t happen overnight. It’s this constant balancing act between carving out both time to manage the loan process and to build the important relationships that keep business humming that is the sore spot for most debt brokers out there. 

The technology revolution has disrupted just about every industry centered around people and transactions. From the travel industry to residential real estate, the big ideas for disruption tend to center around how to analyze data and automate tedious, time-consuming tasks in order to make time for the more important, people-focused work. For mortgage brokers in commercial real estate, that means relationships, the lifeblood of their business.

RealAtom, a PropTech startup, has figured out how to create a relationship-based platform and digitize some of the biggest pain points in the industry by centralizing, automating and tracking complex lending interactions that typically rely on calls, emails, spreadsheets and even fax machines. 

For the first time, brokers and lenders are on equal footing. They can collaborate on the same platform and catch up with how the rest of the corporate world works — using the cloud-based workflows and platforms that make communication seamless and more efficient. Not only does RealAtom streamline information sharing and negotiations, but it helps internal teams as well, allowing users to trade and share real-time information on markets and transactions.

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These days, cloud-based information storage and retrieval is the new normal, and commercial real estate is no exception. 

“When you work on a loan, you’re constantly looking up all the notes from the last time you spoke to a particular lender, or pulling up quotes that various lenders submitted, as well as multiple versions of documents, term sheets, loan agreements, you name it,” RealAtom co-founder Yulia Yaani said. “The platform stores all of this into a secure single loan ‘vault’ where brokers and lenders quickly retrieve and share all documents, notes and messages.” 

Aside from the wide adoption of cloud-based tech, there are two more things that most consumers have come to expect — personalization and data.

Today’s consumers, including borrowers, expect solutions and experiences tailored to their needs. They are also keenly aware of the important role data plays in meeting those needs. To meet these expectations, all of the information generated in the RealAtom platform is actually data that provides brokers with a valuable historical record of each loan. 

In this data-driven world, brokers who pair their capital market knowledge with real-time data get a real competitive advantage because clients see them as being ahead of the curve, relying not only on their experience but on what the data actually shows and a personalized experience optimized for them. 

“The amount of market intelligence buried in Excel spreadsheets, sitting untouched on brokers’ hard drives, is staggering. It’s exciting to be able to step in to help brokers make better use of it,” Yaani said. “Technology is inevitable. The dinosaurs will die out. And the capital market experts who adapt will not only gain a competitive advantage but also get a prized commodity — time to grow their business.”

This feature was produced by Bisnow Branded Content in collaboration with RealAtom. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.