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"The Internet Impacting on Commercial Real Estate"

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10/1/99 Interview with James Marrelli (
225 W. Hillcrest Drive, #100
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

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The Lowdown on CommercialSource

  1. Understanding developments in the commercial side of the market is helpful to residential agents and other real estate professionals as well as commercial agents and brokers.
  2. CommercialSource is the official commercial real estate Internet site for the National Association of Realtors; the aim is to help people navigate the commercial real estate business more efficiently. 3. CommercialSource is a vertical portal that provides access to the commercial real estate sector; for professional users, the site is about saving time and energy, and about creating community by getting people to connect.
  3. The site is divided into six different channels: property listings, financing sources, news, products and services, industry resources and NAR® resources; the "channels" are tracks that give users different ways to find what they need.
Internet Changes That Impact Commercial Real Estate

  1. Adoption of the Internet as a tool by commercial practitioners is gaining ground on the residential sector; savvy commercial agents are using the Internet to differentiate themselves from the competition and to take the lead within their field.
  2. The issue that is focusing now is who will set the rules for commercial real estate on the Internet; will the answer be profit-driven sites or the industry itself and how will the brokers participate?
The Major Players

  1. Four or five companies are pioneering online commercial real estate with varying business models.
  2. PropertyFirst is a relatively new company with innovative ideas; they are making significant headway in creating a commercial MLS.
  3. LoopNet is the largest aggregator of commercial real estate listings at present.
  4. COMPS.COM is doing a great job with DealPoint.
  5. CoStar [formerly RIGS], the largest aggregator of space availability listings, is working toward transferring its proprietary CD information to the Internet.
Professional Support for Online Commercial Services

  1. Organized real estate is providing support for online services through professional associations such as the NAR and its affiliates, including CIREI and SIOR.
  2. The NAR has at least 150,000 members that practice commercial real estate at least part of the time; 75,000 practice more than half the time, and 25,000 practice it full-time.
  3. There is also a niche for residential specialists who occasionally handle a commercial sale; the Internet can assist even the smallest player listing the smallest of commercial properties in making that property available to appropriate potential buyers.
  4. The residential agent with a commercially oriented listing will find both RealSelect and HomeStore adaptable with their content, platform and audiences to accommodate such a property - HomeStore is the parent company of RealSelect.
Relationships of RealSelect

  1. The HomeStore site addresses a large marketplace centered on homes - new and existing homes, apartments, and luxury properties as well as services and products.
  2. A large segment of information and service dealing with real estate overlaps partly into the residential arena of HomeStore and partly into the commercial arena, which is the focus of RealSelect and the CommercialSouce site.
  3. RealSelect works with the NAR in close partnership on many different levels concerning commercial real estate, including Transact '99, the recent Chicago conference on global commercial real estate; other sponsors include the Urban Land Institute and the Real Estate Cyberspace Society. [Note: You can listen to the panel on "Technology's Effect on the Commercial Practitioner" on Real Estate Cyberspace Radio.]
  4. RealSelect drives the strategy for commercial real estate on the Internet for the NAR; the NAR is very progressive and willing to explore new ground in making information available to members and potential new members through CommercialSource.
  5. Over time, CommercialSource will be a much more robust system than it is today; RealSelect and the NAR agree that the Internet is a primary window for sharing information that binds professionals together; upgrades are already under development for CommercialSource.
Comments on Other Commercial Sites

  1. The new CIREI member site fits the trend toward developing more tools to assist members to do their business more efficiently; content of a particular site reflects the group sponsoring it.
  2. Sites of other organizations, such as the North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors and COMMREX, also represent the trend.
  3. Marrelli cautions that developers of sites be sensitive to the paradigm of the commercial industry because use of the Internet is a major departure; tools to assist commercial industry practitioners should be designed to really support them - a positive example is COMPS.COM.
Down the Road

  1. The barriers to doing commercial real estate deals internationally will certainly fall within a few years; CommercialSource is positioned as a global access point to be ready for such an extension of business activity.
  2. The emergence of commercial real estate on the Internet is a fast moving train; the commercial industry is being solidified as a community.
  3. Technical tools for the commercial side will become more advanced and navigation for commercial professionals will become much easier.
Personal Favorites on the Web

  1. Additional commercial sites: LoopNet; PikeNet; Its A Big Deal.
  2. Other business sites:; Thomson Investors Network;; KnowX.
Contact Information for James Marrelli:

(v) 805-557-2555
(f) 805-557-2699

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:
North Texas Commercial Association
A Big
Thomson Investors Network