In conjunction with every other aspect of our daily personal and professional lives, technology is changing how listing agents are reporting to owners by two different software programs. View This Space (“VTS”) and Hightower are competing for dominance in this wide open field. Originally adopted by the largest owners in the country like Blackstone and Equity Commonwealth, I can see a day when every owner of size will operate on this platform. To date, its usage has been mostly dictated by the owner to the listing agent.
The JLL Indy agency team is currently using both platforms. VTS is being used on behalf of Equity Commonwealth and Hightower has been incorporated for LaSalle Investment Management; both for projects of over one million square feet. While both products are very similar and used for similar purposes, there are varying opinions regarding the pros and cons of each system.
Here is some of the feedback related to View This Space:
- High level review of metrics of in-progress lease deals
- Good snapshot on health and performance of portfolio
- Thorough way to consolidate deal proposals going back and forth
- Everything is located in one place
- It can show where deal activity is in certain markets
- It can provide metrics behind marketing efforts (i.e. graph showing spike in activity after marketing campaign)
- The system is becoming more Landlord friendly and they are listening to owner feedback by making the correct improvements such as improved metrics
- When all Leasing Agents for a specific owner are using the same platform it provides a standard way of presenting info across all markets and buildings in one portfolio
- Their mobile app provides real time updates regarding comments, tours, etc.
- Streamlines the process from prospect through lease execution
- The system can show where the deals are in the market and which Tenant Rep firms are the most active per market
Alternatively, Hightower users have the following views regarding their platform:
- Ability to interact with information and data throughout the software. The software provides for smooth and easily accessible changes from page to page. Ultimately, anywhere you look on one of its webpages has the ability to click into greater detail or more information.
- Numerous customizable reporting tools allow you to view properties as high as a portfolio level to as detailed as tenant specific.
- Simplifies the process of tracking prospective deals as all of the prospects details are available for review. Additionally, you can receive notifications when terms are adjusted which helps you stay as current on a deal as possible.
- The dynamic stacking plans, which list vacant spaces and the spaces’ activity, provides for more visualization of what is available building by building.
- Including tenant rights and encumbrances in the software helps you stay current and informed for all deals. Whereas previously there was never an easy way to visualize encumbrances.
- Anywhere in the software you can change a suite and it automatically updates throughout the asset.
- Mobile app can be used while on building tours to quickly input feedback or reference details of deal
- While there aren’t many dislikes, the system truly relies on the upkeep and accuracy of information input by the leasing team. If information were not updated in real time or if there were inaccurate terms listed for existing leases then the software would be unreliable.
- One improvement that would be beneficial is a more dynamic way to select historical information entered into the system, such as leasing activity in a certain month, number of leases signed in one quarter, etc. From an asset management standpoint, it would be useful to be able to capture historical information for a defined time frame rather than only being able to look back since inception.
- It would be useful to have the ability to add reminders for upcoming expirations or renewal options, but this is not yet available.
Both platforms can provide speed, accuracy, organization and consistency for both brokers and owners. Essentially, their systems integrate your entire leasing activity and financial modeling in one convenient location and in real time. The future is definitely bright for VTS and Hightower, as they are a powerful tool which can help us keep up with our fast paced industry and stay on track with leasing assignments. Savvy listing agents will start recommending these systems to owners.