Closing the Digital Deal
RE/MAX Commercial Brokers - Real Estate
“We are a “traditional” company that values the importance of giving personalized, face-to-face experiences while embracing technological and industry advancements.”
An industry built on in-person interactions embraces technological change
Investing in commercial real estate is one of the most important decisions a company can make, which is why RE/MAX Commercial Brokers, Inc. is dedicated to helping clients navigate the process with the finest brokerage services and expertise available. Whether selling/purchasing or leasing a property, clients have turned to and trusted RE/MAX agents for their timely, responsive and professional service. The coronavirus pandemic left virtually no industry untouched, but the real estate business faced a unique set of challenges. How do you show and sell a property when you can’t see a client face to face? For RE/MAX Commercial, the answer was to embrace their existing culture of sharing and learning and, in doing so, pushing themselves and their industry to become stronger than ever before.
Are there any lessons you have learned? Any new technology you’ve embraced?
Necessity is the mother of invention. As an industry, real estate is not necessarily the first to adopt a change, and we tend to go with the times. This situation forced us to adapt more quickly, and every step of our process has been pushed into automation. There are three parts to the commercial real estate process. First, there’s Interest, which is the process of the client collecting information on the property. This is followed by Inspection, which is when the client wants to see and tour the property. Finally, there’s Investment, which is solidifying and closing the deal. On all three aspects, we learned we have to find a way to get the customer “in the space” without physically walking them inside. There were already some existing technologies and there’s even more innovation now, which has necessitated the change from, “This tech might be nice to have,” to, “This is a must-have.” That includes technology like drone photography, high-end photography of floor plans and 3D walkthroughs. They’ve just become exponentially more important.
How have you maintained a sense of company culture?
Actually, we are communicating now more than ever. We previously had a monthly company-wide meeting that has become weekly. Those informal meetings that happen in the hallway aren’t possible anymore, so those conversations had to be restructured. The interesting thing is that the physical separation didn’t stop the need to communicate, and it all comes back to adaptation. The industry changed, so we changed as quickly as we could, too. Our profession was deemed essential in the CARES Act and we kept our offices open and tried to stagger employee time, we bought additional laptops and equipment, and we set up remote access to computers. Our staff and agents reacted as positively as possible and kept moving toward the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve been extremely fortunate with our agents and staff, and I’m extremely proud of how they took on the task.
Do you anticipate your business will change in any way when the community opens back up? If so, how?
We are a “traditional” company that values the importance of giving personalized, face-to-face experiences while embracing technological and industry advancements. During COVID-19, we had the opportunity to embrace technology that drastically improves the user experience. These technical and virtual enhancements are post COVID-19 assets that are already making the commercial real estate leasing and buying process quicker and more convenient. It has forced the hands of the real estate community to explore opportunities that were not previously in our immediate focus. The catalyst, for me, was a telemedicine visit I attended early in the pandemic. It was eye-opening to watch the efficient and straightforward process. Virtual touring makes it easier to receive and distribute information and has streamlined the process for owners, sellers, brokers, and clients. We anticipate that there will be a lasting, positive impact from the technological transition that will make the process easier for all involved.
RE/MAX Commercial Brokers
3331 Severn Avenue Suite 200
Metairie, LA 70002