Is CRE ripe for disruption? Absolutely! 

By Jonathan Schultz

What You Need to Know

I’ve always been a big fan of disruption. When I started my own company in 1990 focusing on commercial real estate brokerage and advisory services, I was trying to disrupt at that point already. At the time, the only way I was able to disrupt was by partnering with CoStar; I was the second person in New Jersey to buy it. The tools and resources that I was now armed with would allow me to differentiate myself in the market.

CoStar took the research department out of the big firms and the complexity needed to create that on your own, whereby a small start up like myself could have the same market information as large companies.  It gave me the opportunity to get into a business and provide data and services where I otherwise would have been average.

At that point it wasn’t disruption per se, but it was a start. It gave me the availability to use real estate technology in a different way that allowed our business to morph into something greater and move into different sectors.

In the early stages of my career, accounting systems all tried their  best to truly be an all inclusive product, but in reality, they only focused on accounting. Despite being disrupters in their own right, this made it very difficult to take the information and to use it effectively – especially when you compare it to the way we use big data, data mining and measuring now. The entire process was very much in the dark ages, but so was our industry! This doesn’t mean their products weren’t good, or inefficient, but they pale in comparison to what we can do today.

Will commercial real estate be disrupted?

Absolutely! Today, there are millions and millions of dollars being poured into real estate technology investing like never before! Obviously we have a tech market surge in all markets, not just real estate. Yet, when you consider the size of the real estate industry and the impact that it has on our economy as a whole, it’s a great opportunity. This will literally change efficiency, the ability to communicate with and reach clients/prospects, and the quickness of deals.

How will this disruption take place?

It’s technology that will disrupt this industry. If I’m a person that took my entire operation and retooled it to what it should be and my competitor didn’t, I’m leading the curve. I would now have an advantage on how to sell in a much more efficient manner and have the ability to run my organization in a way that will be more efficient. This would also allow you to deliver a service level that you weren’t able to before.

I am able to scale into different markets and become a competitor in areas where I wasn’t one before. Of course, there are so many more reasons why our industry is ready for disruption. This is just the tipping point.


This blog post has been republished with permission from the Jonathan Schultz blog

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