Lately, I have been the target (I use that term with all the love intended) of several "product demos" for the commercial real estate industry...REA 10, REIWise, Property Line, and ClientLook. The one emerging trend that I LOVE is that #CRE technology creators are attempting to morph contact management with available inventory. I don't believe any CRM in the past has attempted the integration...or if so, it was a dismal failure. What is exciting to me, as a practitioner since the days when our computer monitor was a Rolodex, is that we are moving SLOWLY toward a "one stop shop" for ALL of our information. What sucks is that NOTHING I've seen has EVERYTHING today. So what do I mean by this?
In my opinion, the PERFECT commercial real estate "operating" system would have five things:
1. A read-write cloud based system that could function across all platforms...phone, tablet, desktop
2. A "user friendly" CRM with full email and social media integration with client and team sharing levels
3. Ties to a multiple listing service that is widely adopted and accurate
4. A listing platform from which email and social media marketing could originate (like a combo of Loopnet and Postlets)
5. A combination real time ownership data (and sale comps) with contact information (Like a combo of ProspectNow and Costar)
The current offerings on the market fall short in one or all of these areas, IMHO.
RealNex: Owned by the Pavonis Group and includes REA, REIWise, and Property Line. Lacking in #1, 3, 4, 5. I love REA and I believe great strides are being taken to provide just such a system. My fear is that PropertyLine is not a "go to" inventory system and that the cloud based system, REA 10 is read only.
ClientLook: Lacking in #3, 4, and 5. If ClientLook successfully combines with Xceligent...which is the plan, I understand, the service would be way ahead in the "accurate inventory" race.
CoStar: Lacking in #2, 4, 5. Before you scalp me, please understand that the purchase of Loopnet is helping #4, and gains have been made with #5. The mobile app for CoStar is "the best in class," but we pay dearly for it! REapps is a great operating system for an office manager, but doesn't provide any CRM functionality.
Aptos: Lacking in #3, 4, and 5
Xceligent: Lacking in #1, 2, 3 (because it is), 4, and 5. See ClientLook.
Would someone PLEASE figure out how to make a Postlets type system for commercial real estate? Postlets, until acquired by Zillow, was a really cool free listing service. When Zillow acquired Postlets last year, the commercial real estate capabilites ceased...bummer. I loved the easy way that a listing could be marketed to a number of social media channels...including Craigslist. Property Line is VERY close to providing such a system...I hope they listened.
Meanwhile, we simply limp along doing things the hard way. Commercial real estate deals are tough enough without having to fight our systems. Let's just ALL get along...please!
By: Allen Buchanan
Principal | Lee & Associates
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