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As we turn into 2023, Commercial real estate firms, GPs, and syndicators are integrating more tech tools into their daily workflow. Tech solutions for the real estate market are constantly introduced and integrated, changing the way the industry operates.
On the one hand, the industry as a whole is still lagging behind other commercial sectors. On the other, market predictions for 2023 point toward cutting costs and streamlining operations. To paraphrase Plato – necessity is the mother of innovation.
With this in mind, we at Agora wanted to take this opportunity to review the prominent industry tech trends for the upcoming year.
The adoption of cloud technology for document management is nothing new to the real estate sector, as 80% of real estate firms already use a cloud solution like Google Drive or Onedrive.
But currently, many firms use the cloud mainly as a “dumb” document repository for data sheets, brochures, and agreements.
The documents are stored in folders as they were on personal computers. The generic cloud software doesn’t automatically identify the type or purpose of the document and doesn’t differentiate between a signed contract, an asset brochure, and a distribution report.
The next generation of cloud tech for real estate document management has a built-in comprehension of document types, and firms will be able to:
These abilities are critical to effectively managing documents for real estate firms, and 2023 will be a year when more firms move from generic cloud software to real-estate-specific solutions.
Another area where the cloud is becoming prominent is accounting. More firms are migrating to cloud accounting from dated Desktop accounting solutions like Quickbooks Desktop.
Cloud accounting software like QuickBooks Online and Xero allows for better data integration, access, and collaboration.
If there’s one tech tool that the real estate pros we host on our Dealmakers podcast mention repeatedly as a must-have in their stack, it’s a robust task manager.
Managing team members solely with emails, phone calls, and texts may be feasible on a small scale, but there’s a tipping point from which it becomes an impossible mission, leading to ineffective work and a fertile ground for mistakes.
Project and task management platforms like Asana and messaging solutions like Slack allow firms to run a tight ship. Teams can collaborate, assign tasks, track progress and run projects dynamically from one place.
They’re more user-friendly and dynamic than emails and more organized than texting and phone calls. Firms will slowly but surely replace emails and texting with dedicated solutions to communicate within the team.
What’s the difference between a bespoke suit and an off-the-rack one?
The bespoke suit will always fit the person wearing it better. It’ll be more comfortable and complimenting because it was made specifically for them, considering their special traits and needs. And it will convey a sense of luxury and confidence.
Similarly, tech service providers move away from “off-the-rack,” one-size-fits-all, to offering highly customizable solutions.
The next step in the evolution is giving the customers control over the product’s customization and making the product feel like a natural extension of the firm’s operation internally and externally.
Concretely, take an investor portal – a must-have for any GP or syndicator looking to gain an edge in a highly competitive market.
Currently, many portals have uniform designs and branding. But the more advanced portals offer the user the ability to create a personalized branded investor portal that looks and feels like a natural extension of the firm’s own website, with the company logo and colors and more control over its appearance.
The same thing goes for data rooms, brochures, and reports. We’re talking complete control over customization on all levels – firm, asset, and investor.
With firms looking to stand out and convey a high level of professionalism to their investors, the ability to fully customize everything in the process between them and the investor is a must.
Old habits die hard. And using spreadsheets to manage operations is one of the oldest habits of the real estate industry. But spreadsheets are a clunky, error-prone, and time-consuming method due to the need to enter data manually.
Surely but slowly, data management systems and CRMs are taking over, and we expect to see a bounce in adopting these solutions because of their inherent advantage:
2023 will probably not be the year where as an industry, we bid farewell to spreadsheets altogether, but it will definitely be the beginning of the end.
AI has become the hottest buzzword in tech. But is it just a buzzword, or will it evolve into a trend that will truly transform real estate?
It’s still too soon to tell how AI will influence the real estate industry. Still, we already see sprouts of AI real estate tech, like advanced property analysis, that allow property insights on a granular level or lead management solutions like Hyro’s conversational AI support.
More tech startups are trying to tackle real estate needs and challenges with AI, and 2023 will be an interesting test case for this technology.
As we’ve learned from the pandemic, Crises and uncertainties often accelerate technology adoption in different industries.
2023 is going to be a challenging year for the real estate industry, but it’ll also be an opportunity for real estate firms to upgrade virtually every aspect of their operations with technology while keeping their overheads low.
If you’re interested in reading more about how digital transformation can drive your firm’s growth, check out our comprehensive E-book.