For commercial real estate lenders, the process of uncovering,organizing, and interpreting data on a property's mortgage or debthistory has always been a time-consuming and error-prone endeavor.Over the last several years, however, the industry has witnessedthe emergence of CRE technology capable of quickly surfacing andaggregating property data points—including debt history and lenderinformation—from a variety of disparate sources.

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The unprecedented speed with which lenders are now able toaccess previously hard-to-find information has already begun totransform the way lenders conduct—and attempt to grow—theirbusinesses. Freed from the burden of tedious discovery work,lenders have been empowered to rapidly identify and formrelationships with leads, generate new business, research theircompetitors, and ultimately, close deals. Below, we'll dive intofour of the primary ways in which CRE data platforms will continueto transform the way lenders approach their work.

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Opportunity No. 1: Identify High-PotentialLeads

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Until recently, the ways in which CRE lenders were able togather property information were extremely limited. Lenders couldvisit their county clerk's office and dig through microfiche debtrecords or disorganized registry of deeds databases; they couldwork with a title company to pull a list of outstanding deeds oftrust on a property; or, more recently, they could use an onlinedatabase to generate and download a property report—usually forbetween $30 and $50 a pop. Needless to say, this state of affairswas hardly conducive to efficient, large-scale research.

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What's more, once a property's debt information was pulled,lenders were left to calculate the property's remaining balancebased only on the recorded interest rate and the assumption thatthe current owner had paid the mortgage every month since itsorigination. At best, the results were an approximation.

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However, thanks to the mass digitization and consolidation ofCRE property data, this inefficient status quo has finally startedto evolve. Today, lenders can leverage CRE data platforms toquickly search for specific properties (or groups of properties)based on dozens of criteria, including asset class, mortgage size,lien information, previous and/or ongoing lender involvement, anddebt characteristics like mortgage origination and/or maturitydate. This improved precision enables lenders to dedicate theirtime and energy to contacting only those property owners who arelikely to be in need of their services. Opportunity No. 2:Quickly Generate Meaningful New Business

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Reaching out to property owners in need of mortgage refinancingis not only time-consuming—it's also time-sensitive.Fortunately, in addition to consolidating property information, CREdata platforms provide lenders with one-click access to owners'contact information.

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This spares lenders the hassle of tracking down elusive (andoften outdated) ownership information, freeing them up to spendmore time developing—and closing—actual deals. Many of theseplatforms can also be used to build and export comprehensive leadlists that facilitate the execution of highly-targeted marketingcampaigns.

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Opportunity No. 3: Better Understand theCompetition

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As a lender, it's always a good idea to be aware of what thecompetition is up to in your particular market niche. The abilityto quickly identify all properties associated with a competitor isone of the most powerful means of getting—and staying—a stepahead.

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Sophisticated CRE data platforms can consolidate informationabout what the competition is doing, so lenders can stay informedwithout having to manually conduct competitive research.

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Opportunity No. 4: Better Understand the CRE LendingLandscape at Large

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It's important to pay close attention not only to specificproperties in which you may be interested, but to the debtcharacteristics of similar properties across the industry at large.If numerous properties in the area have fast-approaching mortgagematurity dates, that might indicate an upcoming marketdownturn.

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Making these connections is nearly impossible when you'reworking with individual data points, but emerging CRE tech can helplenders connect the dots and achieve a more panoramic view of theentire CRE lending landscape. These insights allow you to makemeaningful, informed decisions and drive your business to greaterfuture success.

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Rich Sarkis is CEO of Reonomy. The views expressed here arethe author's own and not that of ALM's Real Estate MediaGroup.

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