Stoffers sees similar opportunities. “Innovation will make it amore efficient process ultimately,” he says. “It will reduce timelines. And we will make better and more informed decisions byother innovations and largely using technology.”
Progress is already being made. For small balance loans, Stofferssays technology has shortened the timeline for closing, shavingeight days off the process such a loan last year.
CBRE is spending “a lot of money on technology,” according toStoffers. For instance, clients can go online and sign up for something the organization calls “deal flow,” which pushes investmentopportunities to them based on deal size, product and geography,among other things.
“Internally, we have databases that are monitoring the activity,
occupancy levels and loan maturities,” Stoffers says. “Then we can
enable our clients to make better decisions or to refinance at
CBRE has also invested in an electronic system that registers
every quote it has received from a lender. That allows its producers,
in real-time, to see quotes on an asset-by-asset level in a given mar-
ket. “It’s like watching a Bloomberg terminal, but it’s for commer-
cial mortgages,” Stoffers says.
Even law firms who work on real estate transactions are lookingat tech to improve their processes. For instance, Bilzin Sumbergwants to use artificial intelligence to automate specific proceduresto be as efficient and cost-effective as possible.
“Some of it [where AI can help] is analyzing a set of documents
to extract information and provisions from them,” says Adam
Lustig, partner and a real estate practice group leader at the firm.
“You could feed in 50 loan agreements into an AI software pro-
gram, and it can pull out certain key terms or provisions and put it
into a report. That report can be generated in seconds instead of
having attorneys spend hours and hours.”
One impact COVID- 19 has had is a back-to-the-basics orienta-
tion on the part of the users.
For example, Fried’s first thought isn’t about the shiny new
products and all their features. He wants to know about the infor-
mation and competitive advantage that they can provide. “It’s
about gathering and sifting and understanding large amounts of
data,” he says. “This is the age of big data. Within real estate, we had
a tiny version of that, in CMBS, in the 90s, and we have watched it
just continue to expand to become refined.”
The industry has grown accustomed to having access to critical
past information about assets, regions, asset performance and bor-
rower performance, according to Fried.
While the use of data has expanded, there is still room to grow.“Five years ago, nobody was talking about the tech on the debt sideor the equity side in terms of the decisions people make to movemoney,” says Darren Wesemann, EVP and chief innovation officer atBerkadia.
But now, as market conditions dramatically change, Wesemannthinks groups will use data to uncover competitive advantages.
“Tech is helping us make acquisition decisions that are smarter,faster and more informed,” Wesemann says. “You can get eatenalive if you try to go in there with the same methods that peoplehave used in the last 10 or 11 years. You have to go into it with analytics.”
While CRE lenders continue to “slice and dice” data, as Friedputs it, there isn’t as much collaboration going on with equity.“There are lots and lots of different investment groups, makinginvestments and not a lot of sharing,” Fried says.
Fried thinks crowdsourcing could lead to the “beginning of col-
lecting data on how assets perform from an equity perspective.”
The organizations that are making back-office investments, such
as workflow automation, into analytic systems, are the ones that will
thrive no matter what the environment is like.
“He who has the best crystal ball from a data analytics perspective will be a winner,” Wesemann says. “That’s where the money willfollow.” ◆
This advertising index is provided as an additional service. While every attempt has been made to this as complete as possible, listing accuracy
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1 Marcus & Millichap
3 Yardi Systems INC
5 Yardi Systems INC
7 TEN-X, INC.
19 Walker & Dunlop LLC
33 AG Net Lease Acquisition CORP
35 Kidder Mathews
35 Monday Properties
37 Decron Properties CORP
45 Williams & Williams
49 Overhead Services INC.
53 Parkview Financial Llc
C4 Fidelity National Title Group
Is the CRE Finance Revolution Over Already?
. . . continued from page 15