Archive for the ‘Product Updates’ Category
We’re excited to unveil a new (and easier way) for commercial real estate brokers, agents, property managers and landlords to present available listings on their own website.
The Rofo listings widget (please help us come up with a better name) is:
And it’s easy to use. It’s packed with functionality, easy on the eyes, simplifies data management, keeps you in control of your listings data, and leverages Rofo’s tools for lead capture and routing on any device!
The Google map is interactive, Yelp amenities (like parking and coffee shops) are integrated, and your website visitors never leave your site! Your listings and your traffic. If you have videos of your properties on Youtube they will be displayed. If you have attachments like floor plans, they will also be displayed.
Best of all, it’s one single line of software code. Your web developer will enjoy this. And you can place it on as many sites as you like.
Need to mention again that it’s free. Oh, and if you want/need to update other listings sites and brokers in your market, they can subscribe to your RSS or you can export to Excel and email the file.
Here’s a live widget to get a better sense of the experience:
Recently we’ve been getting a lot of questions related to integrating property listings on a corporate website. Rofo offers many built-in tools to help our customers publish their commercial real estate listings wherever and whenever you’d like. And a flexible, light weight, listings widget is one of those tools. Our widget offers a clean, simple design that integrates well with any site and, more importantly, it keeps your website visitors on your website.
Here’s a sample widget from a commercial property owner in San Francisco:
The size of the widget is easily customized and we offer a few versions depending on how you want to filter and display the data.
We can also provide you with the raw data if you’re interested in creating your own app. Our friends at World Business Chicago are doing some really innovative things with commercial property data, enterprise zone data, and other tax credit data.
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been rolling out an entirely new way for commercial real estate companies (and teams) to control their data, market themselves, their listings, and their real estate activity.
Companies (brokerage firms, property managers, commercial landlords, developers) can now create a home on Rofo that promotes their portfolio of buildings, their latest news and activity, and their team.
Company pages also serve as a listings management platform. Once a portfolio of listings has been added you’re able to easily manage and share both online and offline. Quickly print a professionally designed flyer for a tour handout. Power your own website with a listings widget. Export your listings in multiple formats to easily share with partners, executives, and other systems and websites that require listing data. Take full control of ‘building pages’ on Rofo with photos, video, amenity info, tenants, and descriptions.
With company pages you can easily manage your listing updates, add/remove/reassign team members to properties/listings, and invite other team members to join.
Team pages work the same as company pages. Most commercial real estate brokers work in teams and now Rofo provides a flexible platform to market your team’s expertise, activity, and latest news. Your network can keep up with your team’s updates by following your page (and eliminating the need to email blast your contacts with attachments).
And with team and company pages you can share listings and updates with anyone (they do not need to be subscribers to Rofo).
Please contact us anytime to learn more about promoting your company or team and taking control of your real estate.
Besides the massive amounts of rent and commissions generated by these social media giants for a few brokers and landlords, how else is the CRE industry benefiting?
I was asked this question by an institutional landlord yesterday who is no stranger to signing really big tech deals (Dropbox was one of their recent deals which started at 40,000 sqft during the first tour and ended up being 85,000 sqft – that is rapid growth).
But as we dove into this topic the question was less about why should they participate and more about defining a strategy to be active participants. How do you make it consistent, local and relevant? I’m pretty neutral on the whole social media ROI debate. Like anything in life, the returns are usually good when you commit and not do it half-assed. And, up front, you need to define the expected return and goal.
The role of Rofo, as I told him, is to help make it just a little more efficient. And provide a platform that enables professionals to organize and promote what they do. We link accounts so when you add an update on Rofo it also appears on Twitter, Linkedin, and wherever else those accounts are connected (usually Facebook). So for this landlord I asked what they do a lot of on a week to week to basis. The answer, of course, was update listings, tour brokers and tenants, and sign leases. All of those activities are marketable events on Rofo and really good Tweets. It’s similar to how the local restaurant utilizes their changing menu to add followers.
To the extent you can leverage your professional real estate activity as a reliable source of Tweets and updates you not only save a bit of time but hopefully answer the question “What the hell am I supposed to Twee?”
Sort of but not exactly. We got a call today from a brokerage customer today in New York City saying that they just picked up an exclusive for an amazing apartment near Union Square. They wanted to add the listing to their profile and have it automatically syndicated to Linkedin and Twitter. The problem was that we didn’t support this type of listing on Rofo or within our app for Linkedin.
We discussed it for about a minute, decided to just do it, and voila, you can now add your apartment listings to your Linkedin profile and Twitter. Here’s a shot of the new listing type on Linkedin:
And here’s a picture of this luxury pad:
We have some more serious product announcements coming next week (hint – we just signed our first customer in Spain).
Rofo connections is built right into your Rofo account. You simply sign in to Rofo, click the connections tab, and view chronological updates from your network. Likewise, your connections can easily view your most recent updates. Could be an updated listing, a recent tour, a completed deal, project or a piece of local news. You decide what you want to share and how much detail you want to provide. And it integrates with Twitter and Linkedin – update once and done. The idea is that it gives you and your network an organized view of the latest activity and hopefully reduces the size of your email inbox.
Here’s some background on the issues we’re taking on:
It’s been a few years since I was immersed in the day to day of real estate brokerage. 2007 was the last year I brokered office and lab space requirements in the San Francisco Bay Area. When I started Rofo in 2008 my thinking wasn’t that the industry is broken and ripe for the proverbial disruption. Rather, the industry was inefficient and needed to be organized. Here are some examples (certainly there’s more):
1) The pdf blast – a broker in our market would get a new listing, make a pdf, and email blast it. I think I got about 20 of these per day. Scan and delete.
2) Deals in the market – we’d each spend a lot of our time calling around and trying to get information about who was touring, what they toured, the size of the requirement, etc. The issue was that the broker who had the requirement didn’t have an effective way of sharing what they were working on with many people. Same was true for announcing completed deals (not talking about sharing comps).
3) The broker requirements email blast – This was the solution to number 2 and only as good as your targeted email list. Would receive maybe 10 per day. Those would get deleted (how exactly would you organize this in email). 4 weeks would pass and you’d have an idea for one those requirements but you couldn’t remember who had it.
Numbers 1 to 3 is just the inbound stuff. There’s also the stuff I was generating.
4) My pdf email blast – I’d get a new listing (or a new suite would open up). I’d organize all the info and give it to our marketing assistant (who had a tiny marketing budget and supported 6 active brokers, managed the website, PR, advertising, inputted comps, produced tour books, dealt with lunch, you get my point). We’d finally do an email blast of the space. That email would get deleted.
5) My requirements – I would tour a requirement and want to get the word out to other brokers and landlords.
6) My deals – I would complete a deal and want to get the word out to other brokers and landlords.
7) Prospecting – I almost forgot. For items 4 through 7, I needed to get that info out to prospective and past clients (and that was before before Twitter and Linkedin).
Assuming your network consists of 100 brokers and 300 clients (lumping together landlords and tenants so that number is probably bigger). That is a ton of information to circulate and track. And no one wants to be the spammer.
Rofo connections is free to use. Just register or sign in to your Rofo account.
First, I just want to say that we are overwhelmed by the amount of adoption of our products (both from an emotional and technical perspective). Its always been my dream to hear “We need more servers. Things are getting stressed.” Not sure if its an indication of an improving market, building products that you actually need, or related to the anxiety of CSGR and LOOP possibly coming together.
And international users – we are working as fast as possible to make Rofo available.
We introduced Real Estate Updates a few months ago (we’re already seeing knockoffs in the market. Our Moms would say “that’s the highest form of flattery.”) Now you can add photos to your updates. Now you can show photos from your tours, completed transactions and finished projects (yes architects, builders, designers, etc are all welcome to add their portfolio to our massive searchable database of properties.) And you can insert all of this into your Linkedin profile page with our app.
The second feature we want to highlight is the ability to attach floor plans to your listings on Rofo. This adds to your ability to insert Youtube videos and unlimited photos. The very first question that occurs through Rofo is “can you send me the floor plan”. It just got a little easier.
Stay tuned for a major feature announcement that we think will greatly simplify the blocking and tackling of real estate (hint: what do you spend the majority of your time doing?)
We took a couple of incremental but significant steps today toward fulfilling our goal of creating the most inviting, relevant, open and personal real estate platform.
Here’s a screen shot of my profile page on Rofo to give you a sense of some of the things you can do:
Couple of things to note:
1) you can now add photos to your real estate updates
2) your real estate updates (and photo) will appear on the corresponding property page
Its free to sign up and create a real estate profile that integrates with Linkedin. You can attach your profile and work to as many buildings as you’d like. Some examples include completed sales or leases, build-outs, architectural work, interior or exterior design. And, of course, active property listings.
Rofo is currently searching for a new office space. It’s a time consuming and thankless task. There’s a lot of choice, too many spaces to tour, and not enough information online to weed out the bad matches.
It’s ironic. Rofo is in the business of simplifying the search for commercial real estate. We spend each and every day thinking about ways to make the discovery process easier. How do you gather and assemble all of the listings? How do you capture really good descriptive content that allows you to make an apples to apples comparison? How do you avoid touring the bad spaces?
There are some ways to solve this using technology. But ultimately it comes down to social interaction and getting recommendations from knowledgeable people who have already been there. But how do you find those people?
Rofo’s answer to this: create a leasing profile and post it to Rofo.
Every month thousands of businesses post their requirements on Rofo. And every month thousands of proposals/recommendations are sent and connections are made.
The reason it works is that no two space requirements are the same. The space size, the budget, the timing, the amenities, the important deal terms – they are all different. And when you search office space listings online it is not clear which space will meet the majority of your needs and which landlords actually have a reputation for performing on their obligations.
It all starts with you – the searcher. Take the time to be as descriptive as you can about your requirements. Do you have a budget? Do you know your projected headcount? Do you know generally where you want to commute to? Put as much of this down and the quality of your connections will only improve.
Rofo will be rolling out even more functionality in the coming weeks to help with making the right connections. Stay tuned…
There’s a very basic challenge in performing an online search for commercial real estate that is unique to commercial real estate: neighborhoods and zip codes.
The industry has submarkets. Consumers (or occupants) know neighborhoods. Consumers and the industry don’t think in terms of zip codes. Downtown San Francisco (I use this example because we rent there) is the Financial District, the North Financial District, the South Financial District, North of Market, Embarcadero, etc. Getting all of this to match up and provide for a meaningful search, no matter what you call it, is no easy data task. On top of that most consumers (myself included) have little patience in refining/redoing their searches before they bounce. The polygon search thing is a cool feature but how big should my polygon be? I don’t want to miss something just outside my border.
We have a new solution and will be rolling it out to our site in the coming weeks. For now, it’s available here to preview. Its still in Beta so go easy on us. This is currently set up to search buildings (not active listings, comps, tenant requirements, announcements, active tours/brokers). The thing to try is the map and the search box. Type in an address, cross street, neighborhood. Or just click on the map.
Look forward to your feedback.