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).
No, I’m not talking about our company or website. I’m referring to the leasing term that inspired our company name. This article was published today on Pepper Hamilton, LLP’s site. If you’re in the market to lease commercial space (and you’re lucky enough to be working for a growth company that is actually growing) then you should get familiar with this concept as it can be really help you plan accordingly for future expansion. And make sure you hire a broker that knows how this works and how to structure an offer. And hire a good real estate attorney:
A right of first offer (ROFO) to lease is a contractual provision granting a tenant a preemptive right to lease additional space during its lease term. A ROFO is particularly useful in cases in which a tenant expects to grow during its lease term. When carefully negotiated, a ROFO can be beneficial to a tenant and not detrimental to a landlord.
A ROFO should require a landlord to present a tenant with an offer to lease any vacant space before it offers to lease the space to third parties. In some instances the parties agree that the ROFO will only apply to certain spaces (such as space that is contiguous to the tenant’s existing premises) or will not apply to space that is vacant at the time of lease signing (at least until it is leased and becomes vacant again). Once presented with the offer, the tenant has a set time in which to accept or reject it. The landlord may only offer the space for lease to third parties after the tenant rejects the offer or fails to respond to the offer during the period of time provided in the ROFO provision. The time period the tenant has to consider the offer is a point of negotiation. Landlords typically desire a shorter review period to avoid any delay in dealing with third parties. Tenants usually desire a longer period since the decision to take additional space is not always easy to make.
The terms of the actual offer will also be negotiated by the landlord and the tenant. For example, the landlord and the tenant may agree that, if additional space becomes available for lease, the landlord must offer that space (the ROFO Space) to the tenant on the same terms and conditions as the tenant’s current lease. Tenants usually desire this arrangement since they have already approved the terms of their existing lease. In addition, this would mean that the term of the lease for the ROFO Space would be coterminous with its existing premises. Generally landlords do not like to be bound to the current lease terms for ROFO Space because as time passes, the existing lease terms may be more favorable to the tenant than what the landlord could get from a third party. Likewise, if the term for the ROFO Space will be coterminous with the existing lease term, then the landlord could have to forego a longer-term lease with a third party in exchange for a shorter (coterminous) term with the existing tenant.
If the parties are going to use the existing lease terms as the basis for any ROFO, the landlord should insist that those terms will only apply if the tenant exercises its ROFO right in the early part of its existing term or, alternatively, that the existing term and the term for the ROFO Space will both be extended for some minimal term. Other adjustments to existing terms of a lease with respect to the ROFO Space are also warranted. For instance, if the term of the lease for the ROFO Space is going to be shorter than the term for the existing premises, the landlord has a shorter period of time to recover concessions (such as tenant improvement costs). Accordingly, if the ROFO Space term is going to be shorter than the original term those concessions should be reduced to account for the shorter term.
In the alternative, landlord and tenant may agree that the landlord’s offer of ROFO Space to the tenant will be same as that offered to a third party. Generally this arrangement is preferred by the landlord as it prevents the existing tenant from taking the space at what the landlord might believe is a below-market rate. In this case, the landlord gets the same deal as it was willing to do with a third party. However, this may not be acceptable to a tenant because it will then likely have two or more separate spaces with different lease expiration dates. The tenant should insist on making the terms of the lease for the ROFO Space and the existing premises the same. As such, the tenant should be willing to adjust the economic factors with respect to the ROFO Space to account for the shorter term. The tenant should also be willing to agree to extend its existing term, if needed, to ensure the landlord has an agreed to minimum term for the entire space if the ROFO Space is being added to the existing premises later in the existing lease term.
A third alternative for the parties is to provide that the ROFO Space will be leased at the fair market terms. There are many ways to arrive at fair market terms, such as using appraisers and arbitration. However, a properly drafted ROFO avoids the need to use this alternative because a landlord should not be permitted to offer terms to the tenant which are then materially improved when offered to a third party following the tenant’s rejection of the offer. Once the tenant rejects an offer made by the landlord, the landlord should have to re-offer the ROFO Space to the tenant if the landlord concludes it has to make the terms more favorable to a prospective tenant, for example because it is asking for a rental rate that is too high. This procedure should effectively determine the fair market terms. Accordingly, a tenant should insist that the landlord be obligated to re-offer ROFO Space to the tenant if the terms change significantly. The parties need to consider the entire economic package, such as allowances and base years not just the rental rate, in order to be able to compare one offer to another. Typically, the parties agree that if the terms of a landlord’s offer to a third party are materially more favorable to the third party than those terms offered to the tenant, then the ROFO Space has to be re-offered to the tenant on such more favorable terms. The parties usually agree in the ROFO what is “materially more favorable” in terms of a percentage change in the economic package. In this case the tenant should expect to have a shorter period of time to accept those more favorable terms than it had when it received the first offer since at this point the tenant should have already determined the terms upon which it might be willing to lease the ROFO Space. This process should continue until the space is leased to the third party or to the tenant.
A ROFO should not be confused with a Right of First Refusal (ROFR), which permits the landlord to market the building/space to third parties during the lease term, without first offering it to the tenant. Typically, with a ROFR the landlord finalizes its deal with the third-party tenant before it has to offer the same deal to the tenant. The tenant is then given a set time in which to accept or reject the offer. Landlords prefer ROFOs over ROFRs because ROFRs deter third-party interest as they leave open the possibility that a third party might spend valuable time and money negotiating a deal only to have the tenant swoop in at the last minute and take it.
ROFOs can be mutually beneficial to landlords and tenants, if drafted carefully. When negotiating a ROFO, it is important for both parties to understand what is important to the other party and to be flexible so that each party’s goals can be achieved.
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.
Post a client tour on Rofo (toured 5,000 sqft at 123 Main Street with a law firm) and the following happens:
1 – a Tweet goes out with a link back to you.
2 – an update is added to your profile on Linkedin.
3 – your activity is added to 123 Main Street so that prospects can see your expertise.
4 – your local real estate network is updated on Rofo.
The same with listings, local news, completed transactions, and any other projects that demonstrate your activity and expertise. It’s organized in one place. You have complete control of your data and marketing and its simple and efficient.
Today we officially launched our app for Twitter. And I want to take a few minutes to explain why we think it’s important, helpful, and pretty damn cool.
Our mission at Rofo is simple – to help you build more meaningful real estate connections. We’re focused on building tools to help you share the right information with the right people at the right time. Your network wants an organized and timely way to hear about your activity.
Your extended real estate network wants to receive information in different ways, on different platforms, and in different formats. And the challenge for you is that you can’t be everywhere at once. What information do you Tweet (if anything at all)? What do post on Linkedin? And what information and updates do you share through email? RSS, PDF, CSV? You’re covered. We think you should post once and then get to your offline business.
With your Rofo profile you can now have your listings and updates sync with Twitter. This is in addition to Linkedin (through our one-of-a-kind real estate app). Your connections can also receive updates directly through Rofo.
When you sign in to Rofo, you are prompted to link your Twitter account and add our Linkedin app. Once your accounts are linked, you’re done. As you add updates like recent tours, completed deals, local news, and listings, your updates will sync with Linkedin and Twitter.
Everything is organized and mapped on your Rofo profile and gets tagged to building pages. Its a win for your network and for prospects searching for a local expert. And its a valuable time saver for you. Please take test drive.
As always, more to come…
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.
We’ve been busy introducing a lot of new features for commercial brokers, property owners, and tenants to connect. With the launch of our new commercial building pages and real estate profiles there are now more ways to make our platform work for you no matter your role in commercial real estate.
We’re thrilled with the amount of listings and profiles being added everyday. For those of you outside of the US, we’re listening. I can’t give a firm estimate on our international expansion but know that it is coming soon.
Lastly we’re excited to be working with 2 new local landlords who have a combined portfolio of 8 million square feet: Wareham Development and Dollinger Properties. Both companies have a diverse portfolio of office space, lab space, r & d, and retail.
A real estate Update on Rofo is any real estate activity related to a space or property outside of marketing a listing. Samples of Updates include a property tour, a sale, a completed lease, or any project related to a space or property. Just like property listings on Rofo, an Update gets attached to the property/building page on Rofo as well as your profile. And with our real estate app for Linkedin, updates will also appear on your Linkedin profile.
Here’s how it works:
1) sign in to Rofo and click ‘post a new update’
2) select the type of update and some basic info about the property
3) add a description to the update
Your activity now gets mapped on your profile. And it also gets added to our searchable building pages.
Building pages on Rofo are searched by tenants, buyers, brokers, property owners, and service providers. And its great way to make very targeted real estate connections related to a specific property or neighborhood.
We surpassed 265,000 listings added to Rofo over the weekend. Thanks to our most recent members for joining Rofo and adding the following listings:
Since our initial site launch (more than 3 years ago – wow) our goal has been to simplify the search for real estate/office space/a new location. Our approach has been listings focused – make them easier to find, easier to search, and surround them with helpful info like maps, similar listings, and local amenities. And we’ve partnered with some great companies to make it even easier to discover available properties.
We’ve been quietly introducing real estate profiles on Rofo over the last few months. They’re now jam packed with functionality and supporting the idea of building more and better real estate connections.
Since launching our real estate app for Linkedin about 18 months ago we’ve spoken with
many thousands of people in real estate (tenants, brokers, landlords, buyers, investors) about profiles geared for real estate. One of the key features was designing a profile that demonstrates where they are experts – everyone wants to know they’re working with the right person. Listings come and go but being able to show the buildings you tour, the leases you’ve signed, the sales you’ve made, the active requirements you have, and the projects you’ve completed provides for a lasting (hate to say it) timeline.
Which leads us to building pages. Over the last few years Rofo has been building a very very large database of searchable properties in the US. With your Rofo real estate profile you can literally ‘tag’ all of the properties you have toured, leased, sold, etc.
We think this has so much benefit for all stakeholders in the real estate transaction. Its sharing just enough information to generate more connections (and hopefully successful transactions) without compromising any proprietary info you want to keep for your inner circle.
And it all integrates with Linkedin (through our app) so you can keep your Linkedin professional connections in the
We welcome you to start building your real estate profile on Rofo, build more connections, and tagging the properties and markets that you know.
We have a long list of features we’ll be adding over the coming weeks. And, as always, welcome your feedback and suggestions.