Actually went to the Yellow Pages, looked up taxicab companies, and called a cab? OK, I’m reaching. In many markets, the tool once known as the Yellow Pages isn’t printed anymore. Forget the Yellow Pages. How about the last time you went online, Googled taxicabs, and called one of the cab companies that popped up?
I bet you can’t remember. No worries.
The reality is you don’t have to search for taxicabs anymore. When you want one, you open an app, let the market know of your need, and you get matched with a driver who can take you to your destination and provide the level of service you’d like.
Pretty cool. So cool, and remarkable and reliable, that a multi-billion-dollar market has been made by Uber and Lyft.
Commercial real estate is on the cusp of becoming just as demand driven.
You’ll be able to open an app on your phone, desktop or tablet, and essentially order space the way you can now order a car, book a trip, or buy a mutual fund. Of course it’s not that simple, but as real estate moves further upstream and becomes more recognized as a service, the concept makes perfect sense.
New matching technology designed and developed by experts in the real estate business is enabling the approach. Using a system based on this concept, commercial real estate brokers can exchange information with each other in real time, matching requirements with space. Small tenants can share their needs with commercial real estate brokers too, also in real time and on demand.
The concept wasn’t possible a generation ago when the Web was in its infancy. But now, iPhones are 11 years old and geo-centric mobile technology, which is essential for commercial real estate brokers to do business, works intuitively and like magic.
The result? A listing service with no listings or, as we see it, a demand-driven matching service.
The implications are far-reaching. Imagine posting a tenant need and getting it instantly distributed to the supply side of the market, enabling them to tap and respond with matches drawn from not only typical listings, but proprietary inventory, data platforms, and ideas from between the ears of brokers. The time and cost savings are monumental versus searching listing databases and then validating results because you’re not sure the listings are current.
For all the impacts, one constant remains with a demand-driven matching service: The broker is at the center of the system, central to transactions, because he or she should be.
Let’s face it. Technology alone cannot and should not displace the broker, because it’s not in the client’s interest to be left hanging without representation. Technology should empower brokers to more efficiently share needs and accurate supply information in real time to add value for their clients. As brokerage evolves, tenants will also use technology to be matched with tenant-centric brokers and properties that meet their needs. Commercial real estate pros in Dallas are using the technology we developed for our company, DealBoard, to experience these outcomes right now.
Yes, the next-generation commercial real estate listing service doesn’t have any listings, and yet it is arguably more powerful.