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Archive for August, 2012

Technology and Real Estate

How are you using technology to grow your real estate business? In a recent entry in his REtechBits blog, real estate PR executive Michael Beckerman explains how the digital revolution is transforming the way residential and commercial real estate professionals can gain a competitive edge in the marketplace by embracing these new tools. You can read the story below or visit the link to the blog.

These days it’s hard to miss the dramatic changes taking place in the commercial and residential real estate industries. No, I don’t mean the transformation of certain markets, or how one sector is hotter than another, or the type of companies that are making a splash. I mean the single most profound change I have seen in my 25 years of being active in the real estate industry: the proliferation of new technologies specifically focused on the business of real estate.

Never before have so many new technology companies targeted and succeeded in changing the way the industry functions from brokerage, marketing, news and information. And, these companies are not just fly-by-night start-ups, they are deeply funded, revenue producing, well-thought-out players in a variety of niches that are strongly positioned to be here for the long-term.

When I first entered the real estate industry having built a public relations firm that specialized in representing clients in the field, I immediately realized I was entering an industry that was, by comparison to many other industries, in the dark ages. It wasn’t cool, certainly not sexy, and had very little innovation. To say it was an old boys’ network was an understatement. Fast forward to today and I can’t tell you how many people I meet while wearing my new hat as a fledgling tech entrepreneur, and I say I have a site for the real estate industry and they are immediately intrigued and excited to learn more.

Now when I go out to meet with either prospective investors or someone in the tech media, they are actually interested in the commercial and residential real estate industries for the first time. It’s an exciting time to be a tech entrepreneur in the real estate industry. Why? Maybe it’s because it’s one of the last big industries to embrace technology and its time has come. Or, perhaps it’s because the tech community just saw there was little competition but a lot of money to be made? Or, maybe it was just like everything else, a little bit of coincidence, a little bit of timing and a little bit of actual insight.

As someone who follows both technology and real estate, there are so many very cool companies now innovating in this industry that I find some of the newest ideas are not coming from social gaming or social media, or pure technology, but from the real estate industry itself. Companies like CoStar, LoopNet, Real Capital Analytics and REIS have long been established innovators in the space, but now besides the information sector, innovators are showing up in all corners of the industry. A few of the ones that deserve paying attention to include:

View the space. A very cool site that takes video production and analytics to a whole new level.

42floors. Takes the brokerage model to an entirely new viewpoint by making it easy to discover and create a dream office.

ClickPay. Provides an electronic payment platform to collect rent payments, association fees and dues, and other fees.

I think one of the reasons why the market is so receptive to new ways of doing things is because the market is not as vibrant from a demand and development point of view. When everyone is super busy making deals and money, they tend to look at innovation and shrug “who needs it, everything is great!” So, in times where the market is cooled, and people have a bit more time to focus on how to be better, smarter and more innovative, technology and new ideas finally have a place to breathe. I think we are in one of those cycles. And that’s a good thing for companies like mine and the others I mentioned.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the greater Treasure Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime Boise and Meridian locations. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

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Office Space Tips and Productivity Ideas

A recent article from Gensler On Work, You Are My Density: Snow White and the Open Plan Office.

The contemporary workplace is apparently on a diet. Much lauded in the national press as well as industry publications, you’d be challenged to find any article about office design that doesn’t mention increased density. Eradicating private offices, tearing down cubicle walls and drastically decreasing square footage/person allotments—how low can you go seems to be the newest measure of workplace design success.

But does real estate efficiency equal workplace effectiveness? Do people really work better when they’re put closer and closer together?

I’ve long suspected that Snow White is the intended occupant for a densely populated open office space. She’s neat and clean and pretty and polite; she’s kind and has no bad habits. No one would mind sitting next to Snow White. She’d probably even tidy up your workstation when you weren’t around.

But the truth is, our office mates tend to be more like the Seven Dwarfs. Along with Grumpy and Sneezy, there’s Nosy and Noisy and Loud Talker, Nail Clipper, Smelly Sandwich Eater, Keyboard Banger, and Volume Too High iPod Listener. You get the picture. People are naturally imperfect and those imperfections are amplified when we’re boxed into too close a quarters.

There is certainly unused and unnecessary space in many offices and getting rid of it is good for a healthy bottom line. But workplace efficiency and workplace effectiveness, while not necessarily polar opposites, are also not the same thing; gains in one often come at the expense of the other.

At the heart of the issue is the fact that space needs are not just functional; just because your computer has shrunk, your monitor is thin, and your paper files have gone digital doesn’t mean you have no need for a buffer zone. Proxemics, the study of the cultural, behavioral and sociological aspects of spatial distances between individuals, has shown repeatedly that comfort zones do exist and being respectful of them is crucial for a person’s own productivity, as well as healthy relations with those around them.

The human need for space tends to be well understood in other areas of life. Cars are marketed as roomy and comfortable, homes as spacious and airy, high end grocery stores as having wider aisles, first class airline seats as having much more space per person. When was the last time a hotel ad bragged that they had smaller rooms? In most spaces, a lot of people in a small area is called congestion; in workplace design it’s called efficiency. It’s time we question that.

A lean office is desirable, but an anorexic one can be devastating. Finding the tipping point when the dense workplace becomes a hindrance to people getting their work done is the art and science of workplace design. Without great care, densely populated, open office workplaces may fall squarely under the old warning, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the greater Treasure Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime Boise and Meridian locations. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Property Management from The Sundance Company

As a property owner, you must think about maximizing the value of your asset. And so do we. Our more than 30 years of Asset Administration experience in the Boise Valley including Boise, Meridian, and Nampa allows The Sundance Company to offer you a high-quality alternative approach to traditional Property Management services. For instance, The Sundance Company and its Asset Administrative team will:

  • Forecast the needs of the property
  • Help to reduce your interest costs and loan fees
  • Assist in reducing renewal costs
  • Provide opportunities for reduced insurance premiums
  • Offer significant operating expense savings
  • Understand owners’ objectives and tailor our Asset Management Plan to your performance expectations and building needs
  • Advise on financing, long-term planning, market analysis and capital forecasting
  • Allow you to focus on your core business objectives while we help reduce operating, legal and accounting costs
  • Perform high-quality services such as:
    o Full financial and reporting services
    o Security/fire/safety programs
    o Supervision and training of personnel
    o Contract administration
    o Standard operating procedures manuals
    o Building operations and maintenance
    o Customer and tenant services
    o Lease administration and management
    o Ongoing building and safety inspection programs
    o Annual customer and tenant surveys

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the greater Treasure Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime Boise and Meridian locations. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

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