013 – Jonathan Wasserstrum of Squarefoot – Now It’s Time for Commercial

Squarefoot

Transparent commercial brokerage with proprietary smart tools…

SquarefootThe real estate industry is antiquated. For most people they think of the residential real estate first, and that’s lagging enough. But technology and innovation in the commercial real estate space? That’s twenty years behind residential. An exception to this is Squarefoot, an online brokerage platform that enables companies to find commercial properties without going space to space.

SquarefootJonathan Wasserstrum, Co-Founder and CEO of Squarefoot (”a team of trusted commercial real estate experts armed with our own technology to help guide you from initial inquiry to lease signing and beyond”), joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:

  • SquarefootThe state of affairs of commercial real estate today, two decades behind residential real estate, comparative sizes of residential vs. commercial
    Enabling tenants to find space more easily
  • The problem being solved by Squarefoot is offering transparency and technology, as a listings platform,
  • Squarefoot’s biggest size deal ever, and the average size and company needs commercially
  • Playing a role in helping solve real estate problems
  • How Squarefoot clients can see the inventory
    Squarefoot aligns better incentives between broker and client, instead of commission based on deal size, a flat fee per broker, a different comp model, so its not about steering toward biggest commission.
  • Most brokers aren’t still at the same brokerage after three years, and at Squarefoot the rate is better than the industry average
  • First efficiency, not having to prospect, how inbound people search online and wind up on the Squarefoot site
  • Offering further efficiency via tech and products in the space and discovery, and a proprietary app
  • Looking ahead to the next level: agency business representing landlords
  • Commission structure in commercial vs. residential similar, and how many buildings average landlord own
  • A lack of interest from Squarefoot in competing against CoStar — being just a channel for tenants to find space and landlords to market the spaces, not a current interest in data.
  • Is Wasserstrum a technology guy or real estate guy?
    Ample Hills ice cream makes a special appearance
  • Are most companies actually tech companies?
  • 20% of market is moving every year, but it takes 5 cycles for everyone to go through a new change of process/tech, with commercial taking even longer
  • The need to ask “how do I do it better”
  • Anything that can help increase the top line, and decrease expenses, should be a welcome thing
  • A lack of Houston TX accent
  • Houston’s lack of zoning

011 – Zvi Band of Contactually – It’s About the Relationships

zvi band

CRM for real estate…

Zvi Band, Co-Founder & CEO of Contactually (a customer relationship management software and service company, and a provider of customer relationship software for various industries including real estate) joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

Complex transactions require real relationships, and intelligent CRM, and motivating software adoption

Band discusses how the real estate industry is not vastly different than other industries, and simple sales don’t require complex relationships. Buying/selling homes and properties involves complex transactions, and the process is not always neat and clean. The primary competitive advantage real estate agents/brokers have is the relationship. The right CRM keeps relationships strong. The 1.2 million real estate agents in the US. How Contactually differs from other CRMs, intelligent CRM, and delivering intelligence, prompting action. Setting a level of expectation, training brands and ease of use, and overcoming low agent use of software in a brokerage.

Accepting change, the commodity of relationships, and how culture eats strategy

Incentivizing agents to use the support systems, and one muffin for snack time. The biggest pain-point real estate agents have, how some are stuck in their model, sand some are transforming and accepting change. How agents build their own brands with relationships and web presence, and relationships are a commodity. Technology makes sure transaction is smooth, supported, making sure agents can build their best relationships. Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Brokerage vs. tech company, siloed listing data, and a rocket scientist

Why brokerages don’t always build their own CRMs, and are technology companies seeing real estate as a play? Or brokerages becoming tech companies? What’s broken in real estate that should and can be fixed, how listing data and MLS (multiple listing service) is siloed off, and a mess. Personal questions cover a rocket scientist, friends as a resource, transitioning to the public face of a company, and the duality of honesty.

009 – Thomas Kutzman of Prevu – On a Mission to Save Homebuyers Money

Prevu

Smart online brokerage enable commission rebates via an end-to-end Platform…

PrevuThomas Kutzman, Co-Founder of Prevu (a smart online brokerage focused on saving people money) and host of “Real Estate Is Your Business” podcast, joins Scott Pollack and Pavan Bahl in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

Better Technology. Better Service. Best Commission Rebates.

PrevuKutzman touches on how commission rates too high in real estate, with rates in the US/NYC being double and triple than other developed countries, and how his experiences along with his co-founder Chase Marsh led to creating a solution with Prevu. He continues that in New York City the average real estate price is $1.5-2 Million with high commissions, and how it really is not free to be represented by buyer’s agent because it’s built into the price because of commission split with buyer’s agent. How Prevu gets up to two-thirds back on commissions of buyer’s side to the customer, receiving money back as a commission rebate check. It is not because of a lesser service, instead using technology for better experience for buyers and to make agents more efficient, plus a lower internal cost structure. Controlling the consumer experience and the quality of service and interaction. Despite some 30,000 licensed agents in NYC, 10% of them are doing 90% of work. The Prevu brand acquires leads and customers digitally, and provides more stability and experience/activity for Prevu agents. Plus, why it is a scalable model, and best for major markets.

Engineering a smarter buying experience

PrevuHow Kutzman has been looking at it through the lens of other industries have changed like travel and financial, changing the way agents com into the industry and their expectations of stability, and why you’ll never learn a profession doing it part time. Prevu’s compelling value proposition, the impact of the new tax reform on real estate, and why it won’t impact most people. And, making use of a commission rebate, and expanding to other markets.

Charitable giving, learning, and treating people well

Personal questions cover giving back, a focus on charitable giving, Children’s International, and Code2College which encourages STEM careers at a high school level for underprivileged and minority teens, and how encouraging tech careers at earlier ages leads to greater success. The NYU Violets, how Kutzman was encouraged to save and buy a property instead of having cancelled rent checks, making sure if you didn’t know something, go take a class to learn it. How there are a lot of great real estate people, and a lot of great technology people, but few have a lens on both areas. As time goes on, more people will know both. The meaning of success, a great mentor, treating people the right way serving you well, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”, and “Principles”.

 

002 – David Walker of Triplemint – Empowering Value and Engineering a Positive Customer Experience

Creating the best possible client experience when buying, selling, or renting a home…

David Walker, Co-Founder and CEO of Triplemint (a high tech real estate brokerage) joins hosts Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

Pushing the envelope, a shift in the industry, and a major pre-market value proposition

Walker discusses why there’s room for so many new players, how despite the Internet and technology in other industries, the real estate industry lags 10 years behind, and in the last few years a transformation has begun. How the modern buyer and seller are smarter and looking for tech forward brands in all they do, how Triplemint is pushing the envelope, consumers are leading the charge, how more can be offered than just the agent, and the right equation of offering fantastic humans plus tools. There is a similar shift in real estate as in financial services, what’s changed is a demand for tech, an ease of actual transaction, speed to close, managing properties seen, and transparency of data. And, how to show more properties to buyers than they can see anywhere else, using predictive analytics. One major value prop is understanding trends and patterns and the data to determine someone is likely to list their home, adding a new value prop pre-market that’s fair for the consumer to have, earlier in the value chain. It’s not about convincing people to sell. Adding more data to the pricing picture. Plus, diligence to fiduciary responsibility,

A high NPS score, acquisition sources, and the impact of great agents

Customer service satisfaction survey measuring chance of referring business in the form of a Net Promoter Score (NPS), evaluating agents, and competing against established firms for that talent. How it used to be about highest splits and nicest offices, and now about the value a company can provide to the agent to do business and to the buyers and sellers. Two-thirds of transactions are acquired digitally by Triplemint, acquisition via agents and platform, and how it is one thing to get customers and another thing to offer more value and close transactions and get referrals. Triplemint’s off-the-charts NPS score of 91, with an average survey of 9.7/10 and a testament to the team. Triplemint boasts success due to fantastic agents, great and powerful technology, and empowering value.

Expansion, the future of agents, and working with a friend

Looking ahead at expansion beyond NY, how the consumer is getting smarter, and wanting to empower them to do so. Will the need for agents dissipate or is the consumer seeking agents who provide real value? And personal questions cover a surprising mobile app, The New Classics, Fantasy Football, working with a college friend and rowing teammate, an Iron Man, overcoming disagreements, working real estate, and teaching English.