What To Expect From Real Estate Tech In 2018

Article written by Ashkan Zandieh – courtesy of Forbes.com

The real estate tech sector is being shaped by shifting market conditions and changes in consumer behaviors. Every year, my company tracks and analyzes emerging trends in real estate tech to better understand technology’s impact on the industry. The purpose is to help prepare real estate professionals and organizations for the future by collecting, assessing and reporting the trends that will most impact them.

For the past decade, emerging technology companies that focus on commercial and residential real estate products and services have moved quickly, forcing traditional real estate firms to rethink their core business models and embrace digital first innovations. But as the real estate tech sector begins showing signs of maturity, companies wondering how they will fit into this new era must understand the forces that are leading change.

While the industry will undoubtedly continue to expand as investor appetite remains tenacious and its customer base grows, changes are imminent. The very concept of what comprises real estate tech will shift. As the industry evolves, it will play a role well beyond real estate products and services, individual companies will vie to become undisputed leaders by size and breadth and ecosystems will develop that have a tight grip on customer loyalty.

As technology and innovation continue to hold the key to reshaping the real estate industry, emerging real estate tech companies are creating an opportunity to weave themselves into the new digital real estate ecosystem. What’s the next step forward? Use the power of technology to improve the real estate industry.

The purpose is to help prepare real estate companies and organizations for the future by collecting, assessing and reporting the trends that will most impact them. These trends are based on quantitative and qualitative data including conversations with executives and thought leaders.

Here are the most important real estate tech trends to watch for in 2018.

The Rise Of Transaction-Engagement Focused Tech

Throughout 2017, one of the largest growing trends in real estate tech has been the shift from traditional transaction experiences to a more curated online experience.

A great example of this is Robert Refkin, the CEO and founder of Compass. Compass is building the first modern real estate platform, pairing the real estate agents with technology to make the search and sell experience intelligent and seamless.

Earlier this year, Compass unveiled its latest development in the mission to modernize real estate with the launch of Collections, an interactive online home search tool. Touted as “the Pinterest of real estate,” Collections enables home buyers and agents to organize, discuss and collaborate on hand-picked properties, ultimately streamlining the transaction-engagement process by better understanding buyer behavior.

Chatbots In Real Estate

From Apple’s Siri to the Amazon Echo, chatbots were everywhere in 2017. Chatbots are emerging as powerful customer service tools in many industries. Whether you realized or not, you’ve most likely encountered a chatbot while browsing or shopping.

When it comes to real estate, chatbots have the potential to revolutionize lead generation and customer service. By automating the initial stages of contact between agents and prospects, a real estate chatbot can be more efficient in engaging visitors, resulting in higher lead conversions.

Blockchain And Real Estate Transactions

Earlier this year, Velox RE and the Cook County Recorder of Deeds took part in a pilot project exploring how blockchain technology could be used to store property records in the 5.2 million-resident county, which includes Chicago.

Blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, that are linked and secured using cryptography. It is best known for keeping track of who owns digital currencies like Bitcoin. Advocates of the technology say it can revolutionize real estate deals and recording keep costs. A new form of data management has piqued the interest of the real estate industry, especially financial institutions and lenders.

As technology and innovation in real estate continue to evolve, one thing is certain: The real estate industry is long overdue for a shake-up. Transactional real estate, including sales and leasing in residential and commercial, have been high-value targets by “tech-first” companies. Ultimately, today’s real estate tech companies won’t necessarily disrupt an industry but will disrupt legacy companies that refuse to adapt.

Click here to read the original article on Forbes

Luxury Yacht is Latest Amenity for Signature Downtown San Diego Real Estate

Article written by Chris Jennewein – Courtesy of Times of San Diego

Bosa Development‘s latest downtown residential tower — the iconic 41-story Pacific Gate — comes with a unique amenity for owners: a luxury yacht and captain on call.

Owners will be able to book the 45-foot luxury yacht Pacific Dream for cruises of four to eight hours and venture up to 25 miles offshore. The $1.5 million yacht has twin engines, two bedrooms, a galley, multiple TVs and an expansive rear deck.

Bosa officials showed off the yacht to future owners on Wednesday at a Champagne reception at the Sunroad Resort Marina on Harbor Island.

Rick Davis, sales director for Pacific Gate, said the yacht is a unique amenity that is tailored to the new tower, which has 214 units ranging in price from $1 million to $4 million.

“It’s very unusual. It’s special,” he said, adding that the Pacific Gate “is the first super-prime building in San Diego.”

He likened living in the tower to a “five-star hotel lifestyle,” with the yacht, a fleet of cars and even a chef on call.

Davis said the tower, which is 65 percent sold, will open to residents in early 2018. The 450-foot-tall building in located on Pacific Highway between Broadway and E Street.

Click here to read the full article by the Times of San Diego

Six Best Practices For New Real Estate Entrepreneurs

Article written by Andre Bueno – courtesy of Forbes.com


A lot of people ask me what it’s like, bootstrapping a real estate investment fund. After all my day ones, I believe Ben Horowitz said it best: “As a startup CEO, I slept like a baby. I woke up every two hours and cried.”

Building a fund is hard, and the emotional roller coaster of bootstrapping has its highs and lows. We are fighting against the social norm and will face push-back from the first step. The people closest to us will not understand and might even voice their opinions in non-constructive ways. It’s normal. They care about us so much, and it’s challenging for them to accept that we are going out of our comfort zones. They might not approve our decisions, or they might project their limitations onto us — this is all part of the natural response of someone who cares about our safety and wellbeing. (In my case, being an impact investor, my parents were worried knowing the road ahead meant more encounters with drug traffickers, gang members, and other sketchy situations.)

The people we care about aren’t wrong to worry when we forge ahead with real estate entrepreneurship. That’s why laying a strong foundation before we forge on is so important. These six steps are key to that foundation:

  1. Have clarity of intent.

Be mindful about your ultimate intentions and check in often on whether your actions are aligned. Stay focused, work hard and seek to deliver the best work you can, every single day, under any circumstances.

  1. Be long-term oriented.

My biggest competitive advantage is that I’ve just been around long enough. While most people view entrepreneurship through the lens of short-term strategies (get rich quick or lottery mentalities), the reality is that this is a sport of endurance. Long term is the only strategy that works. As they say, time cures all in the world of real estate.

An overwhelming number of small businesses fail within the first five years. Are you ready to bear that risk? If you view it as risk, then maybe it’s not for you — because being an entrepreneur means you commit to excellence in whatever you take on. You become healthily obsessed with winning, and that means setting extremely high personal goals for whatever you pursue. There is a caveat: This is not an open invitation to feed your ego.

This journey is about building your own confidence and humility, all the while having a strong bias towards action. You play to win, and not to not lose, expecting to come out victorious with the humility to learn from anyone. My closest friends are also my closest critics/mentors, and I learn so much from them.

  1. Accept that everything will be more difficult than you think.

Long-term plans work only as long as the entrepreneur accepts the reality that the journey is going to be difficult. Over the years I’ve learned that any large-scale project I tackle will probably take more effort than I assume, longer than I project and I will likely encounter immense challenges along the way. Author Stephen Pressfield describes this creative challenge as Resistance, and one can overcome this by studying their peers and meticulously emulating their best practices.

  1. Scale lean.

In a world of political and economic uncertainty, it is imperative that we are more productive and efficient than our peers. We must strategically respond by building competitive moats. In our business, we vertically integrated our team to streamline operational execution and, as a by-product, we are able to successfully collapse supply chain redundancies. This re-engineering allowed us to remain nimble in order to promptly react to changing market dynamics.

  1. Fully commit to the process.

Being an entrepreneur means you have to embrace the fact we are blessed/cursed with ambition and that will manifest itself in a variety of constructive and destructive ways. It is up to us to train that dragon as we progress from early stage to maturation.

In 2015, we purchased a government subsidized building from a sizable institutional private equity fund. We identified an underserved market and we set out to serve that population. After closing on the transaction we failed a routine compliance audit and had our head of operations resign while we were restructuring our organization.

I spent the following year intimately involved in deep compliance related discussions with:

  • The state housing and finance commission (who sought to get government approval to relieve me of my day-to-day responsibilities),
  • The law firm the state appointed to act as its external counsel (to build the case for the local government), and
  • A series of expensive consultants across the nation (who eventually took over my day-to-day responsibilities).

This was all the while installing and training a new head of operations at our Midwest headquarters. By being committed to the process I was able to navigate those murky waters — and let’s just say I built a lot of character along the way.

Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?
  1. Risk-adjust your returns.

The big R-word can creep into your transaction from a variety of angles. To estimate the probability of certain scenarios materializing, it is important to be aware of some of the major category risk:

  • Sponsor risk: Does the operator know what they are doing?
  • Economic risk: What needs to happen for your business plan to work and what is the probability of successful execution?
  • Structural/seismic risk: This includes soft story retrofitting
  • Mechanical risk: This includes electrical and HVAC
  • Vintage risk: Older assets can have higher operational costs (unless newly renovated); has this been priced into the model?

Risk is subjective, so it is imperative to adjust your returns based on your knowledge base to better position yourself for the future.

When I first launched my business, I had those closest to me scrutinize every decision I made. Once I committed to my goal, I then executed. It is really that easy. Commit to the process of innovation, execution and expansion.


Click here to read the original article on Forbes.com

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