For CRE Professionals, The Hottest New Location Is The Cloud
Commercial real estate is going digital. Capabilities of technology are constantly evolving, and CRE is beginning to innovate. Professionals across the industry are using the cloud to solve problems and drive efficiency.
An increasing number of tech companies are disrupting how the commercial real estate industry operates. In 2012, 72 real estate tech startups received venture capital. That number rose to 235 in 2016.
Major players in real estate are also beginning to catch on to the growing importance of tech. In 2016, mortgage brokerage firm Eastern Union Funding noticed a problem in the industry that could only be solved by new technology: CRE professionals were linked to hundreds of properties in multiple cities, but they did not have a portal to store all of their information.
Eastern Union devised a solution to help real estate professionals stay organized and communicate effectively.
"There is a large void in the technology offerings for commercial real estate professionals," Eastern Union Funding President and co-founder Ira Zlotowitz said. "The goal behind our mobile app design is to give every commercial real estate professional the data, resources and tools they need to make savvy business decisions at any time from anywhere."
Among many features, Eastern Union’s app provides a digital directory of vendors, including real estate brokers, mortgage brokers and bankers. In a feature called “Dashboard,” the app provides owners with daily optimized listings according to the owners' buying criteria from a network of over 6,000 sales brokers. The app also leverages analytics to better serve its customers’ needs, as well as providing users with industry trends and data on the go.
Professionals who use the app have access to a curated news feed of real estate news and advanced geographic information system mapping technology. Users can search any address in the U.S. and find commercial sales comps in the vicinity. The app also features a live feed of interest rates from Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and local banks. Eastern Union’s quality technology services division pulls the best rates and terms in real time.
Real estate tech is taking center stage as more industry players like Eastern Union understand the benefits of moving to digital. The capabilities of data and the cloud make it easier to access information.
While the tech boom has hit the commercial real estate industry, this is just the beginning of a larger set of digital trends. For example, the industry is starting to experiment with virtual reality. VR provides investors with an opportunity to view properties without time-consuming and expensive travel between locations. Real estate has also started to use artificial intelligence to become more profitable. AI insights can identify missing data or simplify reporting.
Some of these trends could have a negative impact on the real estate workforce, but many jobs in the industry still require communication and relationship-building skills specific to humans. For now, this new technology is helping commercial real estate professionals manage properties and stay organized so they can close more deals.
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