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Online Commercial Real Estate. What the Next Three Years Will Look Like

Number 3Is this going to be a prediction post?  A post that allows the writer to spew out a 10 item list of things to come, with of course no accountability.  That’s not the intent at all.  I think of this as somewhat of a roadmap of what I see today for Commercial Real Estate and what the online experience for Commercial Real Estate will evolve into 3 years from now.  Well, let’s go.

Commercial Real Estate and social relationships:

Right now we are just beginning to get online and connect with other people within our business.  We are starting to form online groups and communities. We are creating individual and brand profiles. Believe it or not we are also actually having discussions and interaction about Commercial Real Estate as a business in general.  Some may be more advanced than others.  At the very least, out of want or necessity we are connected more to the Commercial Real Estate world and its community than ever before.

We become more socially functional:

The Commercial Real Estate groups and communities become there own operating systems.  Embedded widgets and applications within the communities and profiles make the experience more useful and dare I say fun.  A huge untapped area for this is the inter-office or inter- brand applications.  Some users may sponsor, create or utilize these applications and face (god forbid) the actual consumer or client.  It’s possible to see these applications have a value that can be monetized.

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The online Commercial Real Estate experience is completely social:

Every Commercial Real Estate website is now social, even if it chooses not to be. Within the industry more and more people look to online peers as possible influencers and look to others online for recommendations.  Clients also will look to their online peers for that recommendation and for the Commercial real estate brands that will help make that decision. The online Commercial Real Estate groups and communities will aggregate any and all data, creating a new kind of social Commercial Real Estate inbox that gives the word transparency a whole new relevance.

Content becomes personalized and accurate:

Clients will share their identity to gain a more personal and relevant experience.  The created online networks will provide the true and accurate data. The client will use this data to create a personal Commercial Real Estate experience. Commercial Real Estate brands will need to distribute this data to the online communities or become obsolete, or irrelevant. The online communities will become the new brands. The online client will create the new Commercial Real Estate market.

Where are you now?

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OK, three years out, starting now.  Do you think this won’t happen?Do you think the industry won’t evolve?  Think of some online communities that are not related to Commercial Real Estate. (Amazon, Facebook,) Not really a concern to you and or Commercial Real Estate. Think again, maybe you won’t have a choice.

Written By

Broker/Owner in Lafayette, IN, whose passion is Commercial Real Estate with focus on Technology, Social Media, and Networking.



  1. Candice A Donofrio

    March 24, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    The future is now–and much of what you cite is already happening. 🙂

    Also, commercial transactions will be more efficient because of e-transactioning and greater access to due diligence information, which will bring more previously resistant ‘old school’ clients online–or increase their confidence in the systems so they will approve tech-savvier associates to do so.

    • Duke Long

      March 24, 2010 at 4:10 pm

      You would be amazed at how many people give me the ..Huh or What?? I know it’s out there now…kinda having a little fun watching some people squirm and hang on!

  2. Emily

    March 25, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I defintely agree that CRE will be a completely online world in the next few years. I am amazed at how many commercial real estate companies I have came across that don’t even have a website! Its hard to keep up even for those of us who do…

  3. Benjamin Bach

    March 26, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Great stuff Duke
    I met a new client on twitter this week. They were publically discussing their need for new office space; I introduced myself and offered to help. SM wins again!

    • Duke Long

      March 26, 2010 at 10:09 am

      Sweet…I also had a client find me this week via google.3500 sq. medical. They mentioned that they read though all of my stuff.<<>.but it could be growing!!!!!

      • Duke Long

        March 26, 2010 at 10:11 am

        Ooopss should have been…. SM is just one piece of the puzzle but….

    • Office Space Chris Hancock

      April 1, 2010 at 12:09 am

      I too pulled a client off of twitter just recently. After successfully inking the lease last week, I have since been in contact with 2 people referred from this 1 twitter client.

  4. Chris Fyvie

    March 26, 2010 at 8:02 am

    When the dinosaurs of the industry finally realize they can no longer ignore the world of social media because their clients demand it and the little black books are replaced by contacts on LinkedIn, followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook we will see some real momentum for change. The question is, will we see the revolution within 12 months or 12 years?

    Until then, I will continue to be one of the few to frolic in the unlimited potential of the internet within the CRE industry in Toronto.

  5. Chris

    March 26, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Not to spoil the party, but in the 10 offices of a regional firm I do work with, maybe 1 client “demanded” social networking and that was AIM. And we’ve been offering online collaboration for clients years before it was “popular” (and not to brag, but we were the first real estate company – residential or commercial – to have a website – 1996!). Few use it and it’s not because of the interface/access issues. They’d just rather save the step of logging in and use email instead.

    Or the client has their own system (driven by government data retention requirements). Many companies that have to comply with those regulations just can’t use social networking unless they can capture it. And while brokers don’t have to comply with SOX, HIPAA or whatever, the electronic discovery law passed in 2006 should put brokers (and other types of businesses) on alert about this. For an ED request you have to provide electronic records of documents/correspondence used in the normal course of business (and that includes marketing and sales type communication) that matches your data retention policy document (everyone has one, right?)

    Not to say there isn’t value in social networking for prospecting and relationship building. We started keeping stats last year of deal sources and while “previous relationship” and sign calls top the list, there are enough deals coming from online sources to prove its value.

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