OfficeSpace.com and Apto partnership brings greater exposure to Apto customers.

OfficeSpaceLogo.png   +   AptoLogo

If you’re an Apto customer, your life just got a lot easier!

We’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Apto to provide all Apto users with the ability to automatically publish their listings directly to OfficeSpace.com.

This means that you no longer have to worry about updating across both platforms and can now syndicate your data on OfficeSpace.com without ever leaving your Apto account. By publishing to OfficeSpace.com, you’ll boost your listings’ exposure and lead pipeline as hundreds of thousands of tenants and brokers search for CRE space on OfficeSpace.com every month.

The best part? All it takes is a click of a button from your Apto account to begin syncing your listings, and there’s no additional cost to you.

To get started:

  • Pull up your listing on Apto.
  • Publish your listing to OfficeSpace.com with a click of a button.
  • Instantly get exposure to tenants searching OfficeSpace.com.
  • Start getting tenant inquiries directly and add/manage them on Apto.

To learn more about this partnership and Apto, check out the Apto blog.

Learn more about Apto:

Created by commercial real estate brokers, Apto is the leading web-based software for managing client relationships, properties, listings, and deals. Apto streamlines the entire deal lifecycle. Request a demo today.

OfficeSpace.com elevates technology standards of CRE industry with a new mobile website

Earlier today, OfficeSpace.com announced the launch of its new mobile website. Mobile users can now browse commercial properties and contact brokers with greater ease and efficiency.

The new website is built as a single-page isomorphic web application, a cutting edge concept in web application development. Typical single-page web applications have to load application code before a user can see anything, but an isomorphic application renders the page before the application code is even downloaded. “This leads to a significantly faster experience on mobile devices, especially when using slower mobile internet connections,” says Amol Kelkar, CTO.

Only a handful of major sites on the Internet are built isomorphic today, and OfficeSpace.com is the first one in CRE to utilize this technology. “OfficeSpace.com’s goal is to elevate the technology and user experience standards that are expected from online CRE services,” according to Kelkar. “We are leading the way with this new site.”

OfficeSpace.com plans to share their new isomorphic web platform with the open-source community.

Mobile and tablet users already account for nearly 33% of OfficeSpace.com’s traffic. “We’ve seen a 240% jump in mobile users in the first quarter of this year compared to last year. We are excited to see how our investment in mobile will empower our rapidly growing user base,” says Susie Algard, CEO.

The mobile site is available by navigating to OfficeSpace.com from any mobile device.

Example images of OfficeSpace.com’s new mobile site:

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For press inquiries, please contact Jenica Rhee at jenica@officespace.com or 503-407-5523. 

Broker Banter – Questions & Answers (The Portland Chapter)

We’re the first to admit we don’t always have all the answers when it comes to the fine details of leasing and all the questions that come with it. That’s when we turn to our commercial comrades to aid with the broadening of our knowledge base.  This week we’ve gone straight to the source to speak with Portland, OR broker Kristi Ricker.

We connected with Kristi to talk shop, and in fact, where to set up shop.

OfficeSpace: What do you think is the most important question a tenant should be asking, that they never seem to ask when looking for space?

Kristi: Zoning, tenants need to learn more out about zoning. There are so many issues in this area and if you’re not aware of this in the beginning it could hurt your chances of securing your ideal space. It’s something you should ask your broker about as they’ll be able to determine how to move forward in narrowing down your search. It’s just not something that’s on the top of your mind when you’re looking for a space and it definitely should be.

OfficeSpace: What is the best tip in negotiating a lease you think all tenants should consider? 

Kristi: The longer the lease, the better you’re going to be able to negotiate, especially if you are going to need anything done to your space. People are nervous with the idea of securing a 5 year lease, they think “What if something happens?” – but they can always put a clause in allowing them to sublease (A lease of a property by a tenant to a subtenant.).

OfficeSpace: What do tenants focus on, that perhaps they shouldn’t when searching for space?

Kristi: Recently, I’ve had clients who have looked at a space and were concerned the buildings around it were being worked on or unfinished. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always paint a pretty picture of the neighborhood, especially when it’s an up and coming urban area. I recommend looking at the bigger finished picture and inquiring about what’s being developed in the area.

OfficeSpace: What area of town would you recommend to a Start-Up in Portland?

Kristi: The inner Southeast, Northeast and North Portland are very hot right now. They were predominantly industrial areas and now they’ve turned into these very creative pockets with great opportunities for startups, restaurants, retail and more.

OfficeSpace: What are you starting to see more of in Portland?

Kristi: Tons of startups, restaurants, breweries, delis – there’s a great food scene here.

OfficeSpace: And lastly, what makes Portland great?

Kristi: Portland‘s so diverse, we have a little bit of everything for everyone. Everything goes here – that’s what I love about it. I see all these new ideas here and they seem to work. If you have a crazy, fun new idea, there’s a great support network for that here. It just seems out of the ordinary things work here more than other places. Nothing is guaranteed but your chances of making it a go seems to have better odds in Portland.

Kristi has over 15 years of real estate experience in the greater Portland area and has recently started her own company.

Need Office, Retail or Industrial Space in Portland? Visit us here – OfficeSpace.com/Portland

Has Pinterest Helped Your Business Grow?

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media websites on the Internet. The mere act of talking about Pinterest is trendy. Penning an article about how to use Pinterest to grow your business-well, that’s even cooler.  This is not one of those articles.

At OfficeSpace.com, we’ve been reading these articles promising success stories of Pinterest and we, too, have been pinning diligently. We developed a strategy and pinned our favorite offices, office supplies, furniture and photos of spaces featured on our own website.  We have 175 pins, 18 boards and 16 followers.  These just all seem to be numbers without meaning at this point and we keep having this discussion- so what?

There’s talk about what the social media phenomenon is worth if they sell. Forbes thought $7.7 billion last April, but one major question remains: how does pinning actually turn into business?  We read about the large affiliate fees that Pinterest earns but not sure how that translates into revenue for us.

Sure Pinterest seems like great fun for crafts and food, but what about branding? I always see tips but haven’t heard many success stories.

To other CRE-industry folks out there, we’re curious: are you using Pinterest? Do you find that it has made a difference in your personal branding or grown your business?

We’d love to hear your stories!

The Evolution of #CRE

By now, we’ve all heard the joke about brokers and the fax machine.  It’s no secret that commercial real estate has a dinosaur reputation when it comes to technology but times “they are a changing”- sort of.  Some brokers have embraced it while others haven’t.

While Facebook- Does it Extend to CRE? pointed to split camps on Facebook and CRE, there is less debate on Twitter, social media’s 140-character microblog.  Twitter is a conversation where experts come out on top of an array of business topics including  our industry’s very own #CRE.

However, not everyone or every top broker is on Twitter: an evaluation of the top 3 brokers (as determined by Co-Star’s annual awards) across 3 disciplines in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago showed that none of these brokers had Twitter accounts.

With that said, there is an excellent community of brokers, brokerage firms and CRE services on Twitter performing some highly effective habits:

1. They are framing themselves as CRE experts by offering their opinion and feedback on various topics, articles and their own blog.

2.  They are using Twitter to promote their Twitter newsletters, blogs and websites.

3. They insert a little personality and conversation to take away some of the “your broker is invested in the sale more than you” façade.

4. They are forging relationships with others.

5. They are creating excellent name recognition with their strong presences online. You often see the same names come up over and over again for recommended tweeters as they align themselves with the connotation of #cre.

Just as important as what one does, there are “don’ts” that effective CRE tweeters practice as well:

1. They are not promoting their spaces or at least, not to excess.  While it seems to be a more popular practice on other mediums such as Pinterest, few major tweeters are listing spaces on Twitter

2. They are not spamming followers with useless and annoying information and hopefully, not viruses.

3. They are not going off topic: top CRE tweeters are known for their CRE expertise.  They are not known for their sports knowledge, photos of their family or anything else.

Are you part of the #CRE community yet? If not, no better time than the present to get started and find us @officespace!

Facebook- Does it Extend to CRE?

There’s been a lot of talk regarding why CRE brokers should not promote their business on Facebook. The main gist: Facebook isn’t a professional network. None of your friends are on Facebook looking for a 5,000sf office or a 10,000sf industrial warehouse.

Yes, Facebook is fairly social and personal but on the other hand, as the largest social media engine, Facebook is a perfect branding vehicle for a brokerage firm or individual broker. It’s easy to control content for the most part and is a much more visual medium than many other social media tools. The photo album feature is easy-to-use and links come with a nice preview, even when you are sharing a link from another Page. Coy Davidson and Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial are great examples of broker and brokerage pages with depth.

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First, create a Page for your professional life.  Leave your profile personal so your friends who are interested in CRE can follow you on the Page and you can spare the rest.

However, don’t just create a Facebook page because you feel you have to have one. It’s a waste of time to create a page and never use it to communicate with your customers or worse, randomly update it every few months which definitely sends the wrong message. If you have a Facebook page, you’ll want to ensure that it looks as professional and polished as everything else you do.

When posting, it’s important to think about customizing your message for Facebook. Even though sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Slideshare, and blogs provide a way to link back to your Facebook page., you want to post with care. Many Facebook pages look like a mishmash of photos, slideshows, hashtags and bit.ly’s and other items not properly formatted for Facebook. There are few discussions, replies or status updates formulated specifically for Facebook. In short, it looks sloppy and abandoned.

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Facebook culture leaves very little patience for spammers so you want to think twice before linking your twitter feed to your Facebook feed. If you want to use the same tweet, re-do it for Facebook by taking out the hashtags and leaving the URL text out of the body of the update. Real estate is still very much visual and Facebook leaves much more opportunity for photos. Make use of the photo album feature and facilitate and lead discussions. Facebook’s newest format Timeline lends itself to numerous branding opportunities. Create the perfect Timeline cover, include tidbits about your company history in the timeline and rearrange your featured items along the top right (the “photos” box cannot be replaced).

Does Facebook translate for CRE? Yes, absolutely! It’s a great visual social media tool to reach many users. Time might be a premium and there are better websites for CRE specifically, but if you’re going to do it, do it right.

A Successful Start-Up Story – Founder’s Instinct, Go Direct.

As I discussed on my last article, The #1 Mistake Many Start-Ups Make When Managing Growth-Remember the Garage?, I wanted to share with you an anecdote from a well established web company in Seattle, that will remain anonymous, let’s call them Dot.com.

Looking Good, Billy Ray! Feeling Good, Louis!

The year is 2010, and Dot.com has done extremely well for themselves. The founder’s acquired the domain name and other assets for under $5,000 and proceeded to build it into a top 100 most visited websites in the US, over a span of 7 years.

They have gone through a couple of office moves. Each move they upgraded and eventually ended up in some Class A space in the heart of Seattle, which  has a fairly competitive office market.

Shortly after they move into their space, they are already needing additional space. They had a couple hockey sticks in their growth chart! The founder heard that the neighboring tenant was looking to sublease some space, exactly what Dot.com was looking for.

Let’s Make a Deal

The founder calls his trusted commercial broker who found them their current digs and instructs them to place an offer of $15/sf on a short-term lease on the neighbor’s space. The broker informs him that they didn’t even get as much as a response to our offer from the landlord’s brokers. The founder assumes that maybe the offer was insultingly low.

The next week, the founder just happens to run into the neighbor and decided to ask about the space, nothing to lose since they already rejected the offer.  It was clear at this point that the neighbor never even saw the offer. Much to the founder’s surprise, the neighboring tenant seemed remarkably eager for Dot.com to pick up their space. They shook hands and came to an agreement for $3.60/sf on the spot.

This is just one example where the broker channel was ineffective and this isn’t necessarily a knock on brokers but more a reflection of the commission based compensation model that brokers live in, a you get what you pay for mantra.

Bravo to the founder for going direct and cutting out the middleman; probably another reason why Dot.com is still so successful.

#CRE a Little Spam Sandwich For Everyone?

Social Media is all you hear about these days and Commercial Real Estate is catching this wave.

But I have to ask, why does it seem that the twitter #CRE is a regurgitation of other’s breaking news retweeted to insure that the headline has been reinforced subliminally?  Is anyone really responding to the new “hot” listing via twitter? Is this just the nature of twitter? or are we taking the proverbial ‘first steps on the moon’? Am I just missing the point?

I especially love some of the well respected tweeps start talking about the spamminess of #CRE yet they too are contributing their share of 150 or so retweets/day.  I guess we are all guilty of this and the sense of lost opportunities by not getting on the social media express is tough to ignore.

I certainly don’t have the answers but would love to hear from you!