Is the Multifamily Market Softening?

How Software Can Improve Your Real Estate Investing Efficiency

Like many successful sales professionals, Matt Whitermore’s career has developed to meet various needs that he has identified over the years. While he was in college, he worked as a real estate agent connecting renters with property managers and landlords. Today, he is an experienced real estate investor with a wealth of hands-on commercial real estate experience. More than that, he is a consultant for Investor Management Services, a firm that specializes in selling software solutions to syndicators and investment firms.

Through his connections in college with landlords and property managers, he was able to shift gears from being a leasing agent to focusing on selling investment properties. After gaining extensive experience in this space, he jumped into the analytics side of the business to learn the ropes from a different angle. In addition to making the transition from sales to analytics to technology as a means of rounding out his knowledge, Matt Whitermore wanted the flexibility to become a seasoned investor as well. Today, he is looking at investing in a multifamily property in Albany with his fiancee.

The majority of Matt’s professional attention is focused on selling Investor Management Services’ solutions. The solutions offer a variety of resources that ultimately promote investor efficiency. The cost ranges between $1,000 to $5,000 per month depending on the features. These features include everything from an investor portal to a CRM. Subscribers can do everything from accessing K-1s to monitoring their portfolio’s performance.

The solution stands apart from other products on the market with its back-office automation features. For example, it enables different investors in a syndication to monitor their distributions in real time. These calculations are made automatically, so the solution enhances efficiency and ensures accuracy. This unique aspect of the software has been developed based on the review of thousands of operating agreements. Because of this, it is a robust tool that is practical in most syndication structures. It is fully functioning today.

Matt Whitermore describes the main objection that potential customers have with the Investor Management Services solution as cost. Often, this objection is with newer investors who are focused on running a lean ship. However, Matt has noticed that the prevalence of this objection has decreased in recent years as investment managers have been eager to leverage technology.

Matt has been involved with Investor Management Services for approximately 18 months. Since he joined the company, he has seen the solution evolve considerably. For example, some early clients provided feedback on the overall layout of the solution. Investor Management Services took that feedback to heart to make thoughtful updates. Today, it has more than 500 clients, and the solution has a great feedback system. This enables the developer to progressively improve the solution and to add features that its clients ask for.

Most recently, Investor Management Services has focused on evolving the program to meet the more complex needs of funds and larger investment firms. For example, some institutional clients often have a layer of syndicated equity that is not present with other clients. In some cases, investment groups also have an option for investors to exit their position. These are only a few of the situations that add to the complexity of needs that Investor Management Services’ larger clients may have.

While the solution is relevant to large commercial real estate groups, it is equally beneficial to small or one-person operations. Matt Whitermore states that many of the one-person entities that he works with initially are using email and Excel as their primary technologies. With this in mind, the main objection that Matt faces relates to the need for a more advanced product. Because the software solution is scalable from the smallest investor to institutional investors, it is a solution that can grow with a client’s unique needs.

For a smaller client, one person often wears many hats in the operation. The solution promotes investing efficiency by migrating asset management, distributions, and other factors to a single platform. This saves time and energy. More than that, it becomes increasingly important as that small investor grows his or her portfolio.

For both one-man shops and smaller syndications, the solution has a range of other beneficial tools. The ability to portray a professional, established image is essential when these entities are trying to gain investor interest and achieve other goals. The solution enables the easy production of professional investor statements and other documents that have the entity’s logo on them.

When Matt Whitermore talks about the progression of his career, he discusses how important his previous experience with investment sales and analytics has been to his current role. He understands customers’ needs and expectations. At the same time, he understands what his solution offers and how it can help clients achieve their goals. This enables him to bridge the gap and to truly help his clients find a solution that offers true benefits to them.

While many industries have wholeheartedly embraced technology, real estate has been a hold-out in this area. However, Matt states that true investing efficiency is rooted in identifying opportunities that technology offers. This extends far beyond what Excel can do. For example, the Investor Management Services solution has automated functions that are crucial for a waterfall structure and other purposes. These functions are simply not feasible through Excel and they offer true value to investors. Regardless of the size of the commercial real estate investor’s portfolio, there may be ample room to leverage technology more robustly.

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.

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Joe Fairless