How Technology Is Changing Commercial Real Estate

Tom Bodden
July 2019

Technology is changing our modern world at an exponential rate while affecting every industry in its path, some quicker than others. For example, by the time you get your hands on the newest smart phone or laptop computer, the companies have already developed its successor, making that brand-new device virtually obsolete. However, as quickly as these new tech gadgets roll over, industries that are not dependent on them, like real estate, have been able to hold their course and maintain a level of consistency. But, as reluctant as many of us are to change, rapidly changing technology is very good for real estate professionals.

The steps involved in making a real estate transaction have not changed much for centuries. Somebody holds property for sale; an interested party inspects the property; and, additional research relies on the word of the seller, public records, and physical assessment of the property to determine its value. If the property represents a suitable investment, it is considered for purchase. Often this process is done with the assistance of a real estate broker or realtor.

So, for hundreds of years people have relied on what limited information they had access to in order to determine whether a property was a good investment or not. As a result of that limited access, and how inconsistently it was updated, it was all too common for buyers and investors to incorrectly assess the value of real estate. Now, technology is helping to make this process much easier, a lot more transparent, and much more reliable.

Digitization of Public Records

One of the most important benefits of changing technology is the real time availability of current real estate data. Like medical records at a hospital, the majority of property records have been digitalized by towns and cities. These electronic records are generally stored cost effectively in the cloud and can be accessed by the public from any computer. Being able to review electronic records of properties saves prospective buyers and their real estate brokers the time they would have taken traveling to town and city halls to dig through aging paper records.

The digitalization of these records can also make the purchase of real estate a more comfortable process. If there are any concerns, whether environmental, title, zoning, property lines, or even a question of what the current property taxes being paid are, it can be found most times through a simple Google search.

Buyers Searching Online For Property Listings

Technology has changed how buyers and tenants explore the commercial real estate market. Multiple online listing services such as Loopnet, CoStar and even Craig’s List showcase the available commercial properties in any given market, allowing a great deal of information to be readily available to prospects.

Today, more than 80 percent of buyers and tenants search for commercial properties online at some point in the purchase process. More than half of these inquiries are being done on mobile phones. For commercial real estate firms, this means it’s mandatory that their websites are design responsive (mobile friendly) and highly visible to search engines.

When to Involve a Commercial Real Estate Agent?

Online listings are a great way to get a sense of the marketplace. Many prospective tenants and buyers search properties the way that consumers research products and services requiring extensive consideration. They want to learn as much as they can before they formally start the real estate search process.

However, it’s to a tenant’s or buyer’s advantage to have the knowledgeable representation of a commercial real estate agent once the search begins. Although much of the documents and information required can be accessed by the general public through smart phones and computers, real estate agents can help interpret and explain the information within these documents. They also may have had prior interactions with the property or owner and can provide guidance and assistance not available online. Lastly, real estate agents can help by bringing an incomparable value to the transaction by assisting with negotiations, making sure you get the best price for that new property.

At Kelleher & Sadowsky, we pride ourselves in helping our clients maximize value by assisting them in making informed decisions based on all the critical components of the transaction in front of them. Prospective buyers and tenants receive from their broker a whole new level of information, including market trends, recent transaction prices and expected total occupancy cost, including utility consumption, maintenance and tax incentives. We help buyers and tenants evaluate locations that meet their specific needs, taking into consideration a company’s culture, its employees, and its growth strategies looking ahead.

Consider involving us early in the process. We’ll help you level the playing field in your next negotiation.

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Should you have any questions about this article – or any commercial real estate matter – please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or call me at 508—841-6214.

2019-08-27T19:25:08+00:00