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Becoming an industry leader in the commercial real estate development space is challenging because it is a highly competitive and capital-intensive field. And with the United States on the brink of a recession, that goal is even more elusive as lenders face increased federal government scrutiny and buyers feel pressure to pull out of deals amid rising interest rates.
However, owners' representatives can outpace their rivals by adopting a forward-looking strategy built around next-generation software for real estate developers. With a robust technological framework in place, leaders can set their firms up for success regardless of the external conditions.
Recruit & Retain A+ Team Members
Commercial real estate companies need dedicated and passionate employees to become industry leaders. But finding highly motivated individuals with expertise during a nationwide skilled labor shortage is challenging. Teaching A+ players to trust each other, communicate effectively, and put their egos aside for the good of the organization takes time and effort. And outfitting them with tools and processes that enable optimum flexibility, connectivity, and productivity can be expensive. But when all of that hard work is done, you have a team capable of achieving ideal outcomes across a portfolio.
But recruiting top-tier talent is only half the battle. In the Great Resignation era, firms have to offer strong incentives to keep their best workers on staff. Good pay, quality benefits, and a positive work environment are essential, as are removing obstacles that prevent your team members from doing their best work. Leaders need to eliminate tasks from their team's workflows that have been found to sap enthusiasm and breed dissatisfaction.
Accordingly, owner's reps should use technology that automates tedious administrative tasks like preparing monthly cost reports. Putting together draw request packages that can be hundreds of pages long is essential to real estate development. But compiling all the necessary files can feel like doing busy work that can make workers feel undervalued.
By integrating with your firm's existing email base workflow, cutting-edge intelligence platforms can automatically capture the data from invoices, proposals, bids and more needed to create a monthly cost report. By taking laborious tasks off your workers' to-do lists, modern solutions give time to focus on high-value, rewarding assignments. And it lets your team members know their time and contributions are valued.
Provide Stakeholders with Easily Digestible Project Updates
Owner's rep firms looking to become the next industry leader must establish a reputation for excellence. Owners need to know that you can shepherd complex projects to completion before they trust you with their hard-earned money. And the most effective way to overcome your stakeholders' doubts is by giving them easily digestible project updates.
Monthly cost reports can feature granular insights into how every cent of a multimillion-dollar project is spent. But developers need to provide their partners context for those expenditures and why they were necessary. Firms need satisfactory answers to all their backer's questions, and decision-making based on gut instincts isn't going to cut it. You need to earn the faith of your stakeholders with transparency and hard data. Even better, presenting information via an interactive dashboard features real-time data and allows you to drill down into individual costs.
For example, let's say an owner asks why you replaced steel bar joists with concrete planks on your warehouse project. You could explain that supply chain disruptions, soaring demand, and inflation made that building material change necessary. Or you could use a real estate development software platform to show how that one unanticipated cost could make the entire project unprofitable.
Emailing attachments verifying your project progress isn't the most efficient way to communicate with your stakeholders. Owners typically do business from a 30,000-foot perspective and consume important information via executive summaries. Asking someone who is likely pressed for time to look through a bunch of PDFs might give the impression that you don't respect their time and aren't a high-level operator.
That's why it's a good idea to use software built for real estate developers to allow outside users to view project data in real-time. Technology can give stakeholders access to the information they want in a concise and visually dynamic presentation.
By providing quality project updates, owners will come to trust your judgment and want to work with you again. They can even become advocates for your company that will help you secure significant projects in the future.
Keep Your Organization on the Cutting-Edge
To claim the top spot in the commercial real estate industry, every aspect of your organization must be cutting-edge. You can act with agility and certainty if state-of-the-art digital platforms maintain your portfolio data. Making quick, surefooted decisions at the highest level is a differentiator between average firms and industry leaders. As with employee retention and stakeholder relationship management, using purpose-built software built for real estate developers can provide a significant competitive advantage.
First, it's essential to understand why ubiquitous force-fit solutions can't help your organization reach the next level. Spreadsheet programs can store a wealth of project data, but they lack the functionality commercial real estate project management requires. Typing bids, invoices, and change order numbers into an endless sea of rows and columns can be profoundly dull for project managers. It's also a risky method of record-keeping as data-entry errors can prompt lenders to reject cost reports.
Moreover, software built specifically for real estate developers offers a level of visibility off-the-shelf solutions can't provide. If you need a single data point to prepare for a new project – say the cost per square foot of opening a life sciences research center in a major city - tracking down that information can be a hassle. You might need to contact your accounting department to find your required data set. Or you might find that information you're searching for is stored on a laptop lost in your last office relocation.
By contrast, a cloud-based intelligence platform lets you and your team access your portfolio data whenever and wherever you need it. Making your firm's operations as frictionless and agile as possible will give you an edge over competitors relying on the last century's most advanced technology.
Companies don't become industry leaders by getting there first or trading on past successes. They dominate the field by pushing for innovation when everybody else is content with business as usual.
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Tag(s): Real Estate Development
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