In real estate, they say ‘time is money.’ Making money requires operating efficiently and positioning a property to bring the best price in the shortest time possible. Pretty straight forward, right?
But what if your objective is not to make the “most money”? What if the objective is to stabilize a property, even if the cost to stabilize it exceeds the ultimate price you can get in a sale? What if the objective is to achieve a social good, like promoting first-time home ownership or improving housing opportunities for low-income families who can’t afford to buy a home, but who still deserve safe and decent housing?
Our subscribers are “mission motivated” organizations who are involved in acquiring and selling real estate, but their motivations go beyond just getting the highest sale price. Usually, they are operating to achieve policy objectives, social goods, and community impact. Their jobs can be much more complex than a private sector real estate investor; and because most of these organizations are publicly funded, they have to operate with a high level of transparency, accountability, and efficiency. This is where our ePropertyPlus is vital.
ePropertyPlus is a data management solution for managing the property data and business processes for groups that acquire, stabilize, and repurpose distressed real property assets. It has a comprehensive feature set that supports planning, acquisition, portfolio asset management, marketing, and sales or leasing of property.
In designing ePropertyPlus, we follow a “one size does not fit all” approach, ensuring the software is flexible and adaptable. We’ve been leaning into that idea a lot in the last year and taking action on suggestions from our subscribers s when building out new features and functions. We’re pretty excited about those new features and functions and wanted to share the most recent and upcoming ePropertyPlus enhancements.
ePropertyPlus includes a turnkey marketing platform that allows ePropertyPlus subscribers to offer properties for sale or lease on their website. They can publish detailed descriptions, images, URLs, and application forms that are unique to their business needs.
Most of our subscribers have policies that dictate who can buy a property and for what end uses. In answer to this, our Application tool was recently enhanced to incorporate improved conditional formatting. Instead of publishing several application types for different use cases, our subscribers can apply “if this, then that” questions on a single application form. This allows the subscriber to structure relatively complex sets of questions into a single form and simplifies the user experience for the applicants. Subscribers can also use a “revise and resubmit” option that allows them to review an application and, if it needs updates or clarification, return it back to the applicant to update. In this way, ePropertyPlus helps track the back-and-forth communication and change history, while making it much easier to discharge real property where there is much more at play than price.
Another enhancement recently added is something we call dynamic pricing. Think of it this way: most property offered for sale has a purchase price. A buyer who makes a qualified offer at or above that price can win the property. However, in a competitive market, where a property may get multiple offers, the seller can consider the various offers and take the one that is highest. That empowers the seller, but leaves buyers in the dark about what price they need to offer to win the property. ePropertyPlus historically supported a fixed purchase price structure, and it likely caused some of our sellers to leave money on the table, so to speak.
Dynamic pricing can be understood as a situation where ePropertyPlus allows all prospective buyers to know up front what the competing offers are and in real time. Similar to a live auction, it starts with a purchase price, or the minimum offer amount an applicant has to pay. As offers are submitted, ePropertyPlus tracks the offers and updates the minimum offer on the Public Site to match the most recent/highest qualified offer. Other applicants will now see what the new minimum offer amount is and be able to submit an updated offer. The original applicant can match or opt-out and the competing offers can go back and forth until someone is left with the highest offer. The benefit to the seller – our subscriber partner – is they are able to get the highest qualified offer possible. The benefit to the buyer is they know what they are competing against.
A third change we are working on is expanding automations and workflows across ePropertyPlus. In ePropertyPlus, an automation is a system-driven data update or action that is triggered automatically when a user makes a manual update. In other words, if a user updates a field, the software can update several other fields. A workflow is a set of nested actions that can be configured to support a complex business process with lots of “if this, then that” branching options. As a user takes a specific action, ePropertyPlus offers up the next step in the workflow, either as a single action or as a series of actions that advance the user’s business process. Workflows ensure that the steps in a process are followed in the right order and keep everyone informed about who has the next action. Used in combination with validations, which require users to enter appropriate data correctly, ePropertyPlus improves data integrity and data leverage.
Right now, users can configure automations and workflows across ePropertyPlus Services and Applications. . With the enhancements about to drop, automations and workflows will be available more universally across modules, allowing much more complex processes. It will significantly expand the number of actions a user can set in motion, based on a single field update.
For example, let’s say an organization has a property for sale and receives an offer via its Public Site (pictured above) in ePropertyPlus. A staff person might then review the application and determine the applicant is qualified. Using a workflow, the staff person would update the status of the application to “Meets Minimum Qualification” – that’s a single step. The workflow subsequently sends a notification inside ePropertyPlus to another staff person to initiate a closing; changes the status of the property from “available” to “temporarily unavailable pending sale”; and communicates next steps to the applicant via email which includes documents the applicant needs to review and sign. Once an application status in the portal is updated to “Application is Under Review”; the system then sends out a request to a third party vendor for a property inspection via the Service Management tool, so the organization can update its understanding of the current condition of the property.
Sounds really handy, right? It is. We think it’s going to dramatically increase the value of ePropertyPlus as a force multiplier that allows a small staff to make a big impact. We also plan to roll out this enhancement, like the others, as part of the software – not as an additional option that subscribers need to purchase.
The point of software is to shift work onto computers, and to make work easier, more efficient, and more satisfying overall. We think the current and upcoming 2023 enhancements to ePropertyPlus achieve that goal.
If you would like to learn more about how we apply our domain expertise in community revitalization and the lessons we’ve learned from our subscribers to building the best software we can, contact us for a live demonstration. In the decade since we released ePropertyPlus, we’ve never stopped investing in making it the only software system you need to manage your full property lifecycle.