Commentary: Technology Sprouts Efficiency: Internet Tools Help Industry Achieve More with Less

Article excerpt

The World Wide Web continues to transform the commercial real estate industry like nothing else in its long history. The tools available via the Internet have not only dramatically sped up the time it takes to complete transactions and expanded the platform commercial brokers have to market their properties, but they have also provided professionals a wealth of research information at their fingertips.

As a result of the availability of so much information via the Internet, commercial real estate firms say they are able to accomplish more with less. Many of these tools are cost-effective when compared to the personnel cost it would require to accomplish the same tasks a few clicks of a computer mouse can now do. With such an abundance of sales comparison, ownership, demographic and market analytical information available, the industry is in the midst of its most-efficient period in its history.

Sales comparisons and property data

Oklahoma commercial brokers have a number of choices when it comes to online sales comparison services, including the emerging Oklahoma City presence of Kansas City-based Xceligent at www.xceligent.com. The company earlier this year expanded its platform of services into Tulsa. These services include sales comparisons, tenant data, listing information, aerials and a broadcast e-mail system.

According to Steig Seaward, an executive with Xceligent, the initial reaction from the Tulsa market since the company's entrance in January has been similar to positive feedback encountered in Oklahoma City.

Seaward said Xceligent continues to focus on improving the quality of its Oklahoma City data by utilizing advisory boards made up of local industry professionals who review the quality of the company's database.

"The advisory members have spent a considerable amount of their own personal time to ensure that buildings are consistently classified throughout the market and that the availability information is accurate," explained Seaward. "We just completed the first-quarter review of the marketplace and the advisory members certified the availability, vacancy and absorption numbers."

Another online sales comparison service more local firms are utilizing as a supplemental service in addition to their primary service is Loopnet's Recent Sales. At www.loopnet.com, users can search for sales comparisons not only in most major areas of Oklahoma, but all over the nation for less than $30 per month. When available, Loopnet also includes sales comparisons such as capitalization rates and links to its original sales listing information.

Ownership data

Obtaining correct contact data for commercial real estate property owners is one of the holy grails of commercial real estate research. Having such data gives commercial brokers an upper hand on the competition. Because this data is so vital to the industry, more online companies are providing ownership services.

One of the oldest providers of ownership contact information is Lexis Nexis at www.lexisnexis.com. The company is known for being one of the top providers of contact data for attorneys and law enforcement agencies across the nation. For commercial real estate purposes, the Web site helps users find executives of limited liability companies and provides contact information for most of those executives. …