Technology drives smart real estate decisions - RKW ResidentialRKW Residential

Technology drives smart real estate decisions

June 24, 2016 –  When clients of commercial real estate firm Transwestern move into new space – or spaces – how can they know over time that their real estate is delivering a suitable return on investment?

How can they be sure expenses related to rent and occupancy are being maximized across their portfolios, or that they’re not overlooking opportunities in their current leases or the wider market to seek out savings or cost reductions?

The simple answer was: They couldn’t. So executives with Transwestern launched Curve earlier this year. The proprietary software application’s dashboard allows the firm’s clients with as few as 20 leased locations to better manage their portfolios.

“This allows us to help our clients through their strategic planning process, why they are doing better at one location versus another,” said Walter Byrd, senior managing director and head of Transwestern’s national industrial leadership team, based in downtown Miami. “We can discuss why unit costs are higher, what is driving the differential, or can we alter that by a facility relocation. We can look at metrics important from client to client.”

Curve is the latest in a host of applications that help tenants, property owners, investors and others better identify, track and capitalize on real estate opportunities, or manage or market those they already own. Well-known research tools in the market include such products as lease analysis application ProCalc, and commercial real estate mapping and demographic reporting tools from REGIS Online.

The number of applications is growing. Vizzda serves up daily reports on commercial transaction and planning and zoning cases in a given market, providing information related to the size and scope of a property or project, including square footages, dates and complete contact information for parties related to these events.

Avanti Way is a residential brokerage whose technology platform provides digital tools to brand brokers, rather than companies.

Executives with The Altman Cos. in Boca Raton use Yardi, a property management software that can process various aspects of leasing. The application can handle lead generation, tracking and processing, unit availability and unit mapping, pricing and accounting, as well as property or product marketing and social media. A tenant portal can handle rent payments and service requests. Prospective tenants can apply online. RKW Residential, a multifamily property company with offices in Miami, uses geofencing marketing technology to target precise geolocations to deliver in-app advertisements in such applications as Pandora or Words with Friends. It can modify strategy to target major employers and competitor properties, all by a general radius.

“It’s taking the old-school idea of direct mail and applying it in a digital world,” said Joya Pavesi, VP of marketing and strategy with RKW Residential in Miami. “We could identify a major employer within close proximity to an apartment community and target their employees with ads that promote targeted messages like ‘walk to work – we are only 0.25 miles away.’”
Using data fed from lease documents, accounting and other pertinent sources, Curve can evaluate the number of employees, square or cubic feet of leased space, storage capacity and rental costs, among other measures. They can then compare different metrics to drive various decisions behind cost and utilization.

“All firms do lease administration to help tenants track leases,” Byrd said. “Analytical tools help them connect that information, not just on occupancy cost side, but how to compare occupancy cost to the revenue side. This isn’t just about sales and location, or where you’re pulling your labor from, but how efficient and productive are you within any individual facility or location.”
As a real estate broker, Xavier Cossard often found he needed more than commercial real estate information – and more quickly and contextually relevant information – than county records alone could provide. What did surrounding properties sell for? Who is the owner? Who are the executives who head that company?

So Cossard and fellow broker Alex Morcate founded REConsole. Earlier this year, the Fort Lauderdale company debuted an application that searches addresses against county property records and state corporate records to track and visually map comparable sales – with data on associated property owners.

Right now, it only includes every property in Miami-Dade County. It does not include properties listed for sale.
As with other real estate technology on the market, the key is to drive functionality and efficiency, said Cossard, the company’s CEO.

“The whole intent is productivity,” he said. “If you’re interested in Wynwood, you can start with an address or defined criteria, and start coloring it in. All of the sudden, Wynwood isn’t some arbitrary spreadsheet with no context. An investor or broker can start painting his presentation or view of the market.”