Does Your Brokerage Need a CTO?
Many of the top commercial real estate firms around the world have hired a Chief Technology Officer to manage all the technology the brokerage uses to operate. Every single commercial real estate firm in today’s day and age is a tech company essentially, which means hiring a CTO could elevate the firm to the next level.
What Does a CTO Do?
A CTO oversees all of the implementation and adoption of new technology for the firm. The CTO makes sure that the brokerage has all of the right technological solutions to overcome all challenges. They are involved in everything from the business strategy and planning to research and development. The CTO advocates for the service platform and are the forward-facing representatives of the brand and will show how new technologies will add value to the commercial real estate industry.
Advantages of Having a CTO
Commercial real estate is a competitive industry and it seems like top firms are introducing new technology on a weekly basis. This means these firms have to constantly be innovative and find new ways to boost efficiency using tech products, find new integrations and adapt to an ever-changing viewpoint with AI, mixed reality and predictive analytics altering the daily workflow. A CTO can help navigate the firm through vetting technology and determining which will be the best for the firm, so they can stay on track to beat out the competition.
A CTO can also help project into the future and help determine how to stay ahead using technology. It simply is not enough to stay up-to-date on current and new updates. Think about all of the industries that have been killed off due to advances in technology. To stay competitive in the commercial real estate industry, the firm needs to employ forward thinking. A CTO can help become the brokerage’s visionary.
Beyond serving as a visionary, the CTO can also make sure the firm is utilizing all existing technology to its fullest potential. A CTO can bring more color and insight into the technology the firm is already using and help customize solutions for the firm. When a CTO cuts out inefficient and lengthy, unnecessary processes with more automated and modern ones, this can greatly improve the internal communication and help eliminate redundant tasks and improve reporting for better decision-making.
Does Your Brokerage Need a CTO? The Answer
Technology has become one of the biggest drivers of commercial real estate and your firm will quickly fade away behind competitors if you do not have a technology strategy that is spearheaded by a CTO. The CTO can promote a firm’s solutions and can position the brokerage as an industry leader.
As more and more technology enters the industry, it will be hard to keep up and stay relevant without a knowledgeable person who can articulate a vision for the firm’s future in regards to technology. Hiring a CTO can be costly, especially since it is crucial to find the right individual for the job, but the benefits cannot be matched in a competitive industry like CRE.
Take the Comments of Previous Landlords Seriously
A previous landlord can tell you everything you need to know. Here are a few questions to ask the previous landlords of a potential tenant:
- Would you recommend this tenant without reservation?
- Has the tenant ever had any issues with any neighbors?
- How long were they a tenant?
- Did you return the tenants full security deposit or did you need to hold funds for repairs?
The answers to these questions should weigh heavily on your decision to sign a tenant. Keep in mind that sometimes bad tenants don’t have marks on their credit scores or have never been evicted.
Hold an In-Person Interview
A credit score alone is not the sole indicator of a quality tenant. Many people can be jobless and have a perfect credit score, so it is crucial that you meet with potential tenants in person. Call on their references and pay attention to the tone of the references and ask directly if the person is a good tenant who meets their obligations.
Have a Solid Lease
The best thing you can do as a landlord is to have a bulletproof lease agreement that offers no loopholes for the tenant. Feel free to constantly tweak the lease as your needs change as a landlord or property manager. Ask a more seasoned and veteran company to see a copy of their lease to tweak to your liking and business model. Having a good lawyer on your team will also help ease any friction and answer any questions.
Screen All Tenants
When you have co-applicants interested in a space, it can be tempting to only screen one, but you should screen all applicants. Every renter has a different past, a different credit score, background history, etc. You need to get a full picture and screen every person applying to ensure all tenants are of quality.
Review Compliance to Housing Laws
Intelligent landlords will review compliance to Fair Housing Laws in combination with local and state regulations. An important component of screening is maintaining a consistent process for everyone. Having written guidelines and scorecards will allow for more transparency and stricter guidelines. Having documentation in the event of an issue from a tenant or an audit can help save you from paying unnecessary fines.
Utilize Third-Party Services A third-party company will pull credit scores, evictions, and background checks, and call the previous landlord to see if a tenant should qualify. You can do all of this on your own, but having a professional third-party company take care of it can reduce liability and give you a more consistent process.