We are now on a cliff edge. Prior to the pandemic, many commercial landlords could sit on their estate and their arrears. It was ‘business as normal’. But since March 2020, technology-based solutions have become a necessity for landlords and managing agents.
The first thing landlords had to do was start collecting cash, and at a time when many could not get more than 50% of their cash every month – being an all-time low – they realised a lot of the information they needed was siloed. During the pandemic, businesses realised that their systems were not up to scratch and that they have not been able to report all that data back to their stakeholders, from gas certificates to rent reviews.
The sector is only now starting to realise that the right software can truly increase a company’s bottom line, mainly by taking out some of that manual cost and inefficiency. And so integrating technology into your core decision-making has become purely table stakes in this changing commercial market, with fit-for-purpose smart solutions the only solutions.
What we offer with Re-Leased is a cloud-based, mission-critical property management tool. What we are trying to do is solve a lot of the business problems these landlords and managing agents have on a day-to-day basis, and we are actively fighting silos.
One example is rent. It is the oldest form of subscription. People have been paying rent for thousands of years, yet in commercial real estate that rent is still being collected by cheque, wires and bank transfer – some of the oldest technology you could possibly use. On top of this, reconciling that cash and chasing accounts is a huge administrative drain.
We focus on developing the best commercial real estate software in the world and integrate it with other best-in-class products, and in doing so we offer tremendous value
Landlords hold a lot of risk, and the best-in-class tools that we integrate manages all that risk for you. What we have done is build a payments engine that enables commercial landlords to collect and reconcile their rent seamlessly without the heavy administrative burden.
Lease lengths are no longer 20 years minimum. We are starting to see a rise in five- to 10-year leases. And this means commercial landlords need to actively manage these leases. I have noticed that, in a very short amount of time, they have started to call their tenants ‘customers’.
However, customer demands are changing and you can only treat them like customers if you have the software in place and the data and everything speaking to each other. What has changed is that we are now looking at rent reviews much earlier, and if we do not speak to those customers directly then they are going to be on the move.
Property managing agents have a similar challenge. They have always wielded some technology – they have to as margin-based businesses – but they are also always on the back foot as landlords’ problems become their problems. With a system like Re-Leased, however, a lot of that management is brought in-house, increasing profitability. Furthermore, we have customers that have been able to significantly increase their tenancies under management as a direct result of using Re-Leased.
Another change is any business that wants to recruit the best talent needs to know that for most people under 30 the systems a company has in place, its ESG policy and the technology it is adopting are key. This has been a rapid change in the employment market, and a trend that will only grow moving forwards.
Finally, we are also seeing landlords start to ask questions about their competitors and how we can analyse this through data. This was arguably essential before, but the pandemic has sped up this sea change quite significantly. We are now getting a lot of requests to see data on one ‘pane of glass’, presented accessibly and benchmarked against the market, which is something that has just not been accessible to the market to date.
We always talk about it as having one source of truth. Most landlords, of course, do run great businesses in their own right, but their data is spread across various silos. Having one single source of truth such as Re-Leased’s CREDIA platform lets your data and decisions run off the back of your mission critical tools, which makes your day-to-day business more efficient.
There are some pitfalls. What Re-Leased does not do is point at all this great software out there and tell companies to go plug it all in. Employees can become concerned about the way technology is used in their business, and often the first thing to do to show everyone how amazing it can be is to implement an expense management tool like Expensify or Concur.
One company we were speaking to did exactly this, and it ended up being the precipice to start them on a digitisation journey of change and integration. These tools integrate with just about everything, they have great usability and they remove time taken up by expense management teams. A few years on and this same company is moving to their next phase of technology adoption.
I have heard of people talking about what AI and machine learning can do for real estate. I am super excited about AI and machine learning, but I do not think 99% of the industry can even touch it yet. You must get the plumbing right first.
Advanced customer value
Ultimately, Re-Leased is a financial platform in the cloud and it controls the mission critical management of commercial property. We are specifically built for commercial property, which adds a lot of value for our customers. Many of our competitors have residential products and try to use these in the commercial sector, and that just does not work.
With our platform, all the money flows through Re-Leased, allowing landlords to properly manage their arrears, their rent reviews and so on; and globally we process $10bn (£7.34bn) in rent and opex a year. Our software helps the stewardship of property management. But where it gets exciting is implementing an integrated approach. We focus on developing the best commercial real estate software in the world and integrate it with other best-in-class products, and in doing so we offer tremendous value.
The commercial market has changed extensively in the past few years. Landlords have been forced towards fit-for-purpose smart solutions and our customers are going through a journey. Integrating AI and machine learning is the next step. Our aim at Re-Leased is to lead the way in technology, staying one step ahead of that changing market.
Re-Leased creates user-friendly, automated and intelligent commercial property management software. Designed for successful property owners and managing agents to use on mobile or web, Re-Leased is one central hub for property management and accounting, bringing together all your people, accounts, lease management, inspections and maintenance and more. Complex tasks are simplified and streamlined, giving you back time so you can focus on growing your business.
To learn more, visit www.re-leased.com
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