New Release - Brokers, Business, and Bugs... Oh My!Hey Everyone! As I mentioned in my previous post, we've been hard at work on a number of fronts. We've moved into new digs, getting great feedback from customers on their pain points, and building out our processes for how to make all of our users more successful real estate professionals.
We've also been releasing a steady stream of updates to the app over the last few weeks. So I wanted to take the time to walk you through the updates that are now live, based on your feedback.
Broker View for New Properties
When we launched Version 2, we introduced a split listing process that reduces the amount of information an investor needs to enter in order to get to what is important, which is the financials. Today, we're launching the missing half of that process, which is targeted at brokers who are marketing properties to their clients.
This process adds three new sections to the wizard. Section Three allows you to upload and sort your pictures and attachments. So if you have a marketing brochure or supplemental data, you can upload it for potential investors to see.
Section Four allows you to describe the physical attributes of the property and its surrounding area. These are typically found first on the marketing documents, but are of secondary importance to the investor. The investor usually only cares about these details of the financials are worth exploring.
Section Five is a very special new feature that I will get back to in just a minute. Each of these new sections are optional, and you can finish at any time.
At the moment, however, we do not have the ability to go back and edit these sections after you have moved on. We're working on that for a future release, but you asked for this part now, so we're putting it out as soon as it is ready. For the time being, take your time, and make sure it says what you want it to say. If you need to change it, ask us and happily we'll do it for you.
Understanding the Business
You will start to hear this from us more and more as we ramp up our new messaging. When you buy commercial real estate, you're not just buying a building, you are acquiring an operating or future business. That business has a product (space), customers, competition, and a market. We've worked hard to make sure you get numbers that are more realistic than you can get anywhere else. But none of that matters if you can't understand the context of how the four elements of the business are affecting the numbers.
So we've added six new data points about the business operation (Operations, Management, Competition, Marketing, Accounting, and Legal), which you enter in Section Five. These narratives are possibly the most important thing that can be written about the property, because it will give insights into how a buyer will extract value from the property beyond "Hey, let's add a pool and raise the rents!" Once again, the more you put into researching and writing a factual narrative, the more interested potential buyers will be, so take your time.
We've put a brand new subtab on the Property tab, called "Business", where these six points are available for anyone to read. We've also renamed the "Details" subtab to "Physical", so that there is a clearer differentiation between the physical and operational aspects of the property. We understand this concept may time some time for people to get used to, but we are confident that once you use that information to complete a deal, you'll never want to be without it again.
Changing the Conversation
Another theme you'll likely hear more from us about soon is this idea of changing the conversation. Investing in real estate should be an amazing opportunity, but the thinking is too often focused on how much an investor will spend, and not how much they will make. When a property has (or can get to) solid cash flows, the price is a function of that opportunity... and investors will get creative about how to seize that opportunity.
So we've reorganized the "Summary" tab to make it much easier to understand the financial opportunity first, and the price and physical details second. We've moved the Financials to the top, so you can easily see the three most important numbers from the Cash Flow Statement for the current year, along with their corresponding indicators. No need to be confused about if the GRM is based on the Gross Scheduled Income or the Net Operating Income; because they are right next to each other, you'll know the GRM is a factor of the Gross Scheduled Income.
As you switch between scenarios, these numbers will be updated in real time, so you can start to compare which scenarios are better, without having to dig deep into the numbers.
Underneath the Financials are now the Key Details of the property (Price, Year Built, Units, etc). We've reorganized the data in this section to follow a more logical progression, and like the Financials section, now groups related data together. All of these changes should help brokers focus the conversation on the investment opportunity first, and the cost of the opportunity second.
Throughout the last month, we've been rolling out all sorts of minor visual and functionality improvements, and fixed a number of outstanding issues. We've revamped the core of the New Property Wizard to do its work more efficiently. We've tweaked the design to be much more usable on phones and tablets. And we're doing more testing on other devices, so we can make sure the experience is consistent across all platforms. We're constantly rolling out updates, so if you see anything that should be fixed, please let us know.
On the Horizon
The next few weeks are going to be very busy, and some neat things are on the way. More about that in a future post. Check out what's new, and tell us what you think.