VOL. 118 | NO. 226 | Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Commercial Realtors Depending on Internet
Internet Makes Impact on Commercial Sales
The Daily News
The day real estate professionals arent needed to help
buyers and sellers complete real estate transactions will probably never come.
But the day has come when much of the information needed to make a real estate
purchase can be found without the direct assistance of a Realtor.
Commercial listings. With the Internet, prospective
buyers can research properties from their own homes and offices. And that goes
for more than residential buyers more and more, commercial real estate
information is becoming available on the Web.
Technology has impacted our profession just like it has
every other one, said Will Barden, principal broker with Barden Commercial
Realty. As a commercial broker, there are a lot of tools out there that help
us in searching for properties. One of the real valuable tools that we have is the
Web-based property listing services.
Online services. That includes the Memphis Area
Association of Realtors CommLink service, which was released in October. Available
to subscribers and on a limited basis to the public at www.maarcommlink.com,
the commercial real estate listing service is the 31st in a national network of
commercial information exchanges.
As of Dec. 1, the service included 1,049 listings. That
number should grow as more local commercial Realtors become involved.
The membership is growing, said Melanie Blakeney, MAAR technology
services director. We are going office to office to demonstrate the benefits
to this site. Its not just a database of properties, but it also gives
subscribers the ability to create first-class brochures on the fly.
On demand. There are other local sites that serve a
similar purpose, including some maintained by Realtors for their own listings.
The Internet is becoming a more important part of what we
do on the commercial side, said Scott Barton, vice president of retail for CB
Richard Ellis. I think most providers, developers or brokerage companies like
ourselves are revamping their Web sites to provide more information. For the
purposes of a brokerage company, well have listings available online more that
will enable us to get in front of more prospects more quickly without having to
rely on e-mail or the regular mail.
Its on demand. They dont have to wait for us to respond.
Impact on Realtors. If clients are doing more legwork
for transactions on their own, does that mean the work of real estate
professionals will become obsolete? Tucker Beck, vice president/broker with
Crye-Leike Commercial, doesnt think so.
People are always going to want a specialist, he said.
They want the information and feel good about primarily trying it themselves.
Then we get the call, Hey, what about this, and what do you think about that?
As far as the long-term impact, I dont see it as a
long-term negative, he said. I think folks like the idea that they can look
without involving the help of a professional, maybe learn a little more about
something that is out there.
But I think you want a professional helping you understand
what is out there, so I think it complements what we do, as opposed to
displacing what we do.
Speeding up the process. The Internet is certainly
making the Realtors job easier.
Yeah, in that I dont have to reinvent the wheel 50 times a
day or do the same process, Can you print this, can you put it in the mail? said
The Shopping Center Groups Danny Buring. I just have it all on one e-mail, so
it saves us a ton of time and, to be honest, money too. Ninety percent of our
proposals are sent via e-mail.
The stuff we did 10 years ago, we dont do that now. Its
almost all done via e-mail, especially documents leases, letters of intent.
And that electronic communication significantly speeds up
the sales process.
The thing its done is it has accelerated the practice, Barden
said. It just enables us to acquire important information and then communicate
it back to the client much more quickly than could have been done five years
Across the board. There really isnt one specific
group going online in search of properties, Beck said.
Youre finding within the last year that not only your
out-of-town investors, but your in-town pawn shop guys (are looking online),
he said. Everybody is on the Internet, and everybody has e-mail. I e-mail
dozens of things a day to prospective buyers, all the way from Class C country
store folks here locally to your large industrial investor.
Invaluable tool. The Internet is changing the face of
the overall profession, residential and commercial.
When I got started, when I would cold call somebody, I
would put it on a white index card and put it in a little box, Buring said. There
are no little white index cards anymore. I had hundreds of those little index
cards that were impossible to track.
Over the years, if I could have correctly input all that
information, been able to use it all, it would have been an invaluable tool. I
had lease expiration dates, square footage, I had where they want to grow, and
its just impossible to keep up with that if you dont have a computer and you
dont have the right tools.