There is no question that for commercial real estate agents, technology has not only changed the way we conduct business, but also the real estate values themselves. At the turn of the century, we were dealing with numerous technologies that would help us help our clients with more information and faster service. Keeping up with all those services, many of which failed, was not easy. They continue to proliferate from better ways to prepare marketing packages to keeping track of our deals. However, even more significant are the technologies supporting online purchasing from consumers’ computers or smart phones. These practices have had tremendous impact on product-oriented retail stores. A good example of this impact is Toys r Us going out of business. Many more examples have occurred, and are on the way. This article refers to mattress stores now feeling the impact of online purchasing. Online retailers are nightmare for stores like Mattress Firm
Another example is how technology has changed the office. More and more offices are adapting the open concept and reducing the amount of space occupied per worker. Additionally, many office workers and professionals can work from home. Another change is that files are now digital which reduces the amount of physical file storage needed. The reduction in amount of space needed per worker has affected office space values. Suffice it to say that Commercial Real Estate agents can no longer just look at the market values based on location, condition, prevailing interest rates, cap rates, etc. Today, real estate values are greatly affected by the influence of technology. Who would have thought that warehouse space storing the inventories that used to be in retail stores would become the new “darling” of the real estate food groups?
Another big technology that is growing in prevalence is called Blockchain (a blockchain is a decentralized platform that can hold consistent information that cannot be edited, copied or deleted but that can be available to a large group of people or organizations). This technology will easily change the way we conduct our business in many ways. It’s obvious that there are huge changes being driven by technology and real estate agents need to pay attention to these changes so that they can be well-informed advisers to their clients. These big mega-trends are looming and will continue to get bigger and bigger. These changes in technology were once thought of as possibly putting Commercial agents out of business, but the speed of change is causing an even greater need for solid advice on these macro trends. Real estate training programs and continuing educational courses will be needed to address this fast-paced change so that agents are equipped with the knowledge and skills to be relevant advisers to their clients.