Commercial real estate has become an increasingly tech-driven industry, with new tools opening doors that many investors never knew existed. For institutional firms, real estate investment management software has revolutionized the way that teams can find, analyze, underwrite, collaborate and execute on new deals and opportunities. For fear of process overhauls, some firms cobble together functional tools that each take on a piece of the larger puzzle. However, this approach normally fails to achieve the same operational efficiencies that holistic, dedicated software solutions deliver. Regardless of where your firm currently stands, this blog post will help you understand the operational and analytical benefits of upgrading real estate investment management software.
Top 6 Reasons to Upgrade Your Firm’s Real Estate Investment Management Software
1. Centralize Deal Data, Documents & Information to Gain Real-Time Visibility
It shouldn’t take analysts extensive time to learn where a pipeline deal stands or how it compares to historical comps. Unfortunately, legacy software that siloes information can prevent teams from making precise, fast decisions. Outdated solutions also present stumbling blocks for stakeholders seeking to understand the state of their pipeline. Real estate investment management software should aim to solve these problems in a few ways.
First, centralizing all deal information, including data, documents like letters of intent, status updates, notes about recent communications, and more ensures that everyone in the organization can learn everything about a deal in just a few clicks. Most software is cloud-based, so all updates should be instantly reflected across the platform. This gives everyone the ability to check the deal software for updates with full confidence in the answers, rather than sifting through email inboxes and spreadsheets.
At a higher level, this also gives executive leadership real-time visibility into the deal pipeline. Viewing a pipeline report should provide instant answers about where deals stand. In turn, leadership can strategize and deploy resources accordingly.
2. Track Data Throughout the Asset Lifecycle (and Only Source It Once)
Every deal begins with an acquisition, but most don’t stop there. Depending on your investment strategy and the property itself, that deal could move to the development team, or much later on, to dispositions. Many real estate investors store data in team-specific spreadsheets, which aren’t necessarily updated regularly. As properties change hands, this data may not be visible or accessible to other teams, which means that team members taking on the asset must seek out relevant information in what can become a lengthy process.
By managing deals in the same software, your firm can benefit from a single source of truth. All teams can look to the software for accurate, up-to-date information on deals and portfolio growth. Because different software options operate in unique ways, not all are designed for every type of deal. During your software search, be sure to look for a solution that can streamline various legs of the asset lifecycle.
3. Standardize, Document and Maintain Accountability for Steps in Your Processes
Thoroughly vetting, analyzing and underwriting your deals involves several parties and spans numerous stages. But, that doesn’t mean that the process needs to be convoluted. Real estate investment management software should include task management functionality, allowing your firm to standardize a repeatable process aligned with how deals currently flow through your pipeline. While some software has limitations, others, like Dealpath, are configurable based on the intricacies deal flow.
For example, if your firm requires approval from the Managing Director of Acquisitions before and after underwriting, the standardized task checklist should reflect that. Other standard steps, such as comparing deals against historical comps, can be notated as well. Robust real estate investment management software should also enable you to create conditional checklists based on factors like the state, property type, and other details that may require unique steps. Documenting this process provides visibility into where deals stand, creating accountability in the process. Clear-cut task lists also expedite training for new analysts, who might know real estate, but not firm-specific procedures.
4. Collaborate Internally and Externally Through Real Estate Investment Management Software
Leveraging standardized tasks lists, real estate investment management software should open new opportunities for your team to collaborate in a faster, easier and more visible way. Many teams still collaborate via extensive email chains to push deals through the pipeline and learn where they stand. Instead of this process, software should provide a clear view of which tasks are assigned to respective team members. When certain deals require more thought and input, software should also facilitate conversations for relevant parties to opine on next steps.
While empowering your team to collaborate in a highly streamlined, organized manner holds boundless operational advantages, real estate investment management software can open new avenues for external collaboration, too. It’s important to note that not all software options allow this. Implementing one that does, though, shifts the burden of submitting deliverables from internal to external parties. For example, previously, the onus of following up with an environmental consultant for overdue reports may have been on an analyst. By utilizing real estate investment management software with external collaboration capabilities, you can grant collaborators selective access to your software, which would allow them to submit the report directly. To protect sensitive internal data, confirm that the software allows you to provide selective access, rather than free rein.
5. Easily and Confidently Analyze Deals in a Data-Driven Process
By now, all real estate investment management firms look to their data as a way to guide strategic investment decisions. Lacking the right software, though, analyzing deals in a precise, data-driven manner can take significant time and bandwidth. More often than not, investment managers are less than confident about the accuracy of those findings.
One key benefit of centralizing your deal data in real estate investment management software is the ability to add power, precision and speed to data-driven deal analysis. Standardizing your data helps ensure that you can compare apples to apples, instead of carefully formatting it for the sake of one calculation. Because data is centrally located and updates are reflected in real time, your firm can leverage data from new pipeline and recent deals to identify both baseline metrics and trends.
For example, if you’re considering acquiring a new multifamily property in Chicago, the optimal real estate investment management software should enable you to compare that property against historical cap rate data based on similar deals in the same market. By taking this holistic approach to deal analysis, you can gain a thorough understanding of the market to maximize ROI.
6. Turnkey Reporting
Report building is a crucial function for investment management teams, but it’s rarely an easy or straightforward task. Siloed data adds significant complexity to this process, often requiring acquisition teams to confer about where deals stand and confirm all data is accurate. Building historical reports for particular market segments can become even more confusing, especially when certain data points may have changed, but weren’t properly updated across every spreadsheet. After everything is said and done, it’s not uncommon for teams to be hesitant about the result.
Rather than taking this process on manually, real estate investment management software should provide turnkey reporting functionality that expedites this process utilizing standardized, real-time deal data. For example, Dealpath users can instantly create pipeline reports based on certain criteria. To give executives a thorough overview of every deal in progress, users can generate comprehensive pipeline reports. If executives are curious about deals in a certain stage, they can simply filter that view to generate a more targeted pipeline report.
To the same end, users can also filter deals in the pipeline or based on historical data to unearth trends in certain markets. As your firm reconsiders its investment strategy, the ability to discover new trends in emerging markets could be an invaluable competitive advantage.
Choosing Real Estate Investment Management Software for Deal Management
Deal management software allows investment managers to nimbly and precisely collaborate on pipeline deals and make strategic, predictive decisions based on data. For real estate investment management firms determined to pursue the best deals in the market, deal management software has become an essential part of the tech stack.
The process of selecting a deal management platform, though, can be fraught with confusing considerations. Download this free guide to learn the 5 questions you should ask before purchasing a deal management solution to ensure that it behooves your organizational goals.