Commercial real estate brokers are, generally, antagonistic to online sales platforms. Technologies that streamline the sales process are often perceived as reducing—or even worse, replacing—the value of a broker. That’s left the door open for others who see these new technologies as an opportunity to provide a better client experience and achieve the client’s goals.
Count Matthews Real Estate Investment Services in the latter camp. The brokerage firm is using online auction sites like CREXI, Tex-X, and RealINSIGHT, as a tool to increase buyer leads and improve the execution of the deal. In a challenging market like we have today, it is proving to be a valuable strategy, with clients seeing the results.
A New Tool in the Toolbox
Robert Anderson, VP of auctions at Matthews REIS, says the firm’s auction strategy is in part about distribution. “We use auction sites as a tool, which is the way it should be used,” he says. “It isn’t for every asset, but it is a good tool to rejuvenate a marketing effort, create a call for action or to sell a distressed asset.”
Anderson worked at Ten-X and CREXI over the last decade, giving him inside experience about how the technology works and how to best utilize it for clients. It involves weighing the pros and cons of the different platforms and determining which is most advantageous to successfully executing for the client. By weighing the nuances between the platforms, from scale to a more tailored experience, Anderson can hand select which is best for a particular asset.
The process looks much like it does for a traditional deal. Brokers contact leads, both from internal buyer data and those provided by the auction platform, and utilize the same fundamentals to analyze the asset quality and determine pricing expectations. “We put together the same fundamentals on a traditional deal that we do on the auction site. That isn’t being done elsewhere,” adds Anderson.
Clients Are Convinced of the Benefits
Using an auction platform expands a deal’s reach and exposure and creates demand. Matthews is focused on having at least one deal on each of the three major auction platforms at all times—and clients have quickly seen the benefits of the model. As a result, Anderson says, “I think volume is going to more than double in the second half of the year. At Matthews, we are expecting to take what we have done in the first half of the year and multiply it by five.”
Matthews sees this as an opportunity to use technology to improve client services. We want to be more advantageous for our clients,” says Anderson. “And we are putting forward a disciplined approach.”
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