High Tech Tools Commercial Real Estate Developers Use
Commercial real estate professionals are increasingly embracing new technology to enable them to be more productive, market themselves better, and create more dynamic and even interactive listings. The demands of the job can be significant, and the move toward mobile offices has led to the development of better software and mobile apps.
Hardware like phones, tablets, laptops and even drones also assists developers in accomplishing tasks they perform every day. Here are a few examples of high tech tools commercial real estate developers frequently use.
Mobile computing is not new, yet its use by real estate professionals continues to increase. For developers on the go, the capability to do more tasks away from the office dramatically increases productivity.
Smartphones are not new, but they keep getting smarter. Instead of getting smaller, they have reversed course and gotten larger, leading to the creation of the term “phablet” to designate the combination of the phone and tablet into a single device.
Better cameras that can take high definition photos, larger screens, and unlimited data for internet access make these an essential tool in every commercial real estate professional’s toolbox.
While phones are becoming smarter and larger, tablets are becoming more powerful, and using tools like the Apple Pen or a stylus, it is easy to record handwritten notes and convert them to typed text or even sign documents on the go.
Larger screens and faster processors allow developers to show clients drawings, photos, and video, helping them to present listings in creative ways.
Many laptops are just as powerful and capable as desktops, and for a real estate professional managing a mobile office, they can be an essential tool when less powerful tablets and smartphones are just not enough.
When coupled with portable scanners and printers, the laptop can provide everything a developer needs to do business on the go.
Software and Apps
A variety of software and applications have been created specifically with the real estate professional in mind, while other programs easily adapt to assist anyone running a small business.
Several professional messaging apps are available to enable teams to stay in touch on the go, sharing everything from their current location to client files in a safe and secure environment. Many, like Slack, allow for the creation of teams and channels to organize discussions.
Keeping track of tasks and what stage projects are in can be challenging for the busy professional, but fortunately there are apps and programs for that. A variety of software from OmniFocus to Asana allows developers to track and manage both individual and team projects smoothly.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM):
CRM software continues to get smarter and faster, and there are a variety of options, but most real estate professionals use one to keep track of their client’s information and generating new leads.
Video and Photo Editing Software:
Getting that photo or video just right before posting it to a listing used to be a time consuming, desktop-based process, but not anymore. There are a number of low-cost video and photo editing software options, many of which were released mobile first, meaning they were designed to work well on your smartphone or tablet.
There are any number of other types of software available to the real estate professional that can meet individual needs. A quick Google search will reveal dozens of options, and many include free demos.
Video and Virtual Reality
Speaking of photo and video, many tools that were previously unaffordable have become accessible to consumers and can greatly enhance how listings are created. From a series of high definition photos to 3D video tours and virtual reality, options abound.
3D Photos and Video:
Cameras capable of filming in 3D have become more affordable, and more platforms like Vimeo, Youtube, and even Facebook now support these types of files. This means you can create images and video that allow the client to “look around” the room instead of taking a series of shots and hoping you captured the one they needed.
The next step from 3D imaging is 360 degree video that can be viewed using a virtual reality headset. The cameras for filming this type of video are similar to 3D imaging, but the experience is even more immersive. The client can rotate any direction and look more closely at most objects in the rooms of the property.
While certainly not for everyone or for use in every circumstance, virtual reality is becoming a part of the toolbox for an increasing number of commercial real estate developers.
Drones and Aerial Photography:
There is no question that aerial photography is a dramatic way to show off a property and the area around it, and until consumer drones became a reality, it was out of reach for most agencies.
However, as drones and drone photography get better, the usefulness for real estate professionals of all kinds increases as well. As of August 2016, the FAA revised its regulations on drones so individuals no longer need a pilot’s license, just a remote pilot certificate that costs about $150.
The National Association of Realtors has set up a Resource page for realtors and others who are interested that will help them navigate the process and the new FAA regulations.
Successful commercial real estate developers use technology to help then perform better. From smartphones and tablets to drones and high tech photography, technology is making them more productive and their presentations to clients more polished and professional. Students of the Master’s in Business with an emphasis in Real Estate at Marylhurst University learn the skills necessary to be leaders in this growing and lucrative industry.