A Lap Around Version 2.0I've been looking forward to writing this post for quite a long time. As Jeff mentioned in his last post, we've been working for the last eight months to completely re-write the web app from scratch. We've done a lot to make it faster and easier to use, and a lot more is coming down the pipe. But for now, I thought I'd take a few minutes and give you a quick tour of the new app!
In version 2, we've done something I've been very keen on doing for a long time: we eliminated stored passwords. I believe that storing passwords, whether encrypted or hashed, is just as bad as storing credit card numbers. So we're using technology from the amazing people at Auth0 to handle authentication through third parties. That way, companies with multi-million dollar security budgets can focus on keeping your passwords safe, and we can focus on securing the rest of our infrastructure.
To log in, just select any of the providers, sign in using the e-mail address you'd like to use, and you're in! You don't have to sign in with the provider that handles your email, either (though if you do, we can't read your mail, so don't worry). For example, you can create a Microsoft login with your Gmail address.
Registration is seamless... just log in, and you're off to the races!
Finger-Friendly, Responsive Design
Once you're in, you'll notice that the app take up the full screen, no matter what device you are on. AdvancedREI 2.0 is made to be touched, and has a great experience on a variety of tablets. We're still tweaking and tuning for various devices, but so far we're very happy with it. We've added an "Action Bar" docked to the bottom of every page, so the actions that are important are always visible.
The two things you can do on every page are: 1) create new things, and 2) get help. In the old design, you could only create new Properties from the list page. Now we make it easy to do that from anywhere. When you're on the list, you get the option to create a new property. When you're looking at a property, you also get the option to create new Scenarios for the property you're looking at.
Simpler "New Property" Wizard
In Version 1, our "New Listing Wizard" took 4 separate steps. It was very confusing for people, and consequently did not get used as much as we liked. Which was a problem, given that's how you add properties!
In this release, we gave it a huge overhaul. We've completely rethought what users were trying to accomplish, and created separate processes for each type of user. The reason is simple: an investor who just wants to run the numbers doesn't care whether or not the building has pictures, or a description of the type of elevators. So they shouldn't need to put in extended details about the property. But brokers absolutely do need those things. SO now, before you get started, we let you pick your poison.
When you were finished with adding a property in the old version, you still didn't have a usable financial model to look at. You had to go in and add a bunch of data before a working model could be teased out. And that was just too much work.
Our new system is far easier. We've taken a concept that you are likely already used to: the Unit Mix, and made some small changes. By adding a standard lease term and leasing costs, we're able to generate an initial model that will get you in the ballpark of an accurate forecast. Once you've finished and been taken to your new property, you can take a look at the initial projections before using the "Ledgers" tab to further refine the model.
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