In the early 2000s, there used to be a pretty clear delineation between firms offering web and software solutions for the commercial real estate industry and those offering traditional consulting services. But the field of property management has been evolving so rapidly, it’s becoming more commonplace for service providers to combine traditional consulting expertise with web applications.
For example, RETransform, a global firm with offices in Dallas and New York, has been providing business management services for commercial real estate portfolios for more than 12 years. The firm’s capabilities range from asset valuation for brokers to accounts reconciliation for landlords to lease audits and lease abstraction for tenants, according to R. John Greenberger, chief operating officer with RETransform.
For companies that are opening new locations or have recently acquired new real estate portfolios, RETransform can eliminate the need for extra personnel, office space and equipment to manage the financials. That can help cut management costs anywhere from 20 percent to 60 percent, depending on the market, Greenberger says. RETransform can also provide ongoing reviews of CAM charges and rent escalations, going through a client’s accounts every two or three months to make sure the charges have been properly administered.
Up until recently, however, RETransofrm did not have its own software. That’s why in January, the firm announced its acquisition of PropertyView Solutions Inc. (PVSI), a Dallas-based provider of property management and accounting software. Part of the reason for acquiring PropertyView was to gain market share in the multi-family business, according to Greenberger, since RETransform has largely been concentrating on office and retail properties.
But the main benefit of the transaction is that the company will eventually be able to offer its clients a complete suite of services online. PropertyView’s Peak and Remanage products cover demographics, property information, vendor management, work orders, purchase orders, accounts receivable, accounts payable, general ledger and budgeting.
“PropertyView has a completely innovative software package. It includes account receivables, CAM charges, rent charges. It tracks work orders and purchase orders,” says Greenberger. “A lot of software packages don’t have a general ledger, for example. This handles anything.”
What RETransform hopes to do over the next two years is upgrade the PropertyView software from a desktop solution into a web application and make it available for retail, mixed-use and other kinds of commercial portfolios. This will give the firm’s clients the option to either buy access to the web application, fill it with their own data and perform accounting and management functions themselves or combine the web program with real life expertise from RETransform’s consultants and analysts.
“We’d love to be able at one point to sell the whole package—it’s your data, your information, but at the same time, we can also run your receivables for you,” Greenberger says. “That’s our goal—a full suite of innovative services.”
RETransform’s roster of clients already includes Grubb & Ellis, Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy, Vornado Realty Trust and General Growth Properties, among other commercial property brokers and managers. The firm also works with Netflix on their warehouse portfolio.