Founding a much needed tool
Commercial real estate has a small segment of innovators that are pushing for transparency in the industry, some focusing on data, others focusing on listings, and others focusing on connecting brokers. One of the ways theBrokerList founder, Linda Day Harrison is seeking to improve the commercial sector is by streamlining the process of connecting brokers, which anyone who has been in the industry for more than a day knows is easier said than done.
Like various other technologies in the industry, there is “a major dysfunction in databases” of brokers, Harrison tells AGBeat, which is complicated given that brokers traditionally market to each other more than to consumers. During a deal, an agent may need a referral on a commercial real estate professional whose expertise is in Industrial in Chicago, but if you haven’t seen the person that comes to mind in a few years, they may not be at the same firm or even in the same area.
These contacts used to be managed by hand with collections of business cards in Rolodexes, then Excel allowed assistants to monitor “I’ve moved!” emails and update and sort a manual spreadsheet, but this meant thousands of Excel documents across America that were inevitably inaccurate and out of date. Harrison says theBrokerList is the next evolution of this process, as agents opt-in and update their information in one central location (even certification databases are often inaccurate), acting as a compliment to LoopNet, CoStar and LinkedIn – a place to pull everything together.
What sets theBrokerList apart and is impressive is that they have taken painstaking steps to insure quality, verifying every new member and never scraping other databases. The team tracks down each member by hand to make sure they are where they say they are and do what they say they do so that a fresh residential real estate agent can’t just decide to be called a commercial expert and get featured on the site, as they have never had any listings, nor are they with a reputable commercial broker. This extra step may ruffle some feathers, but we agree it is important to the integrity of their database.
What started out as a WordPress blog experiment has blossomed into a highly demanded tool that could do a great deal of good in the industry by connecting commercial agents and keeping them current and connected.