My new Chevy Bolt EV

I’m Charged Up

 12th September 2017    David

Fully chargedEVs, Plug-In Hybrids, and Commercial Real Estate

I’m charged up. Got a Bolt. No, I’m not saying I am going somewhere. That would have been “Gotta bolt” or “Got to bolt.” Do people even say that anymore? No, what I mean is that I just got a Chevrolet Bolt EV a week ago. I’d been driving a Toyota Prius for ten years, and it is a terrific car. It has 190,000 miles on it and has no signs of dropping dead anytime soon. We swapped out our Suburban which was coming to the end of its lease because we only have one child left at home, as opposed to the four we had when we got it. We don’t need something that big anymore.

So far, I am really enjoying the Bolt. It handles great, has fantastic acceleration, it’s comfortable, and has tons of cool features that weren’t available in my Prius. I will admit that for years I’ve had low-grade Tesla envy. There were two things that kept me from getting one, though. The first was the cost, and the second was “range anxiety,” the concern that I would not have enough juice in the battery to make it back home. The Bolt solved both of those concerns for me. Its cost is about two thirds to half of a comparably equipped Tesla Model S and it has a range of 238 miles on a full charge, although as you can see in the picture to the left, it shows a 261 mile potential range. I did need to install a Level 2 charger at home which provides twenty five miles of range an hour, though, otherwise you only get about four or five miles of range per hour of charging on a regular outlet.

This post, however is not a car review. It is real estate related. Driving an EV has newly sensitized me to the general lack of public charging facilities in the New York suburbs. In my town, there are three, all located at the train station. Some of the adjoining towns have none, and these are pretty affluent communities.

On the same day I picked up my Bolt, I got an email from my gym with a survey in it. I’ve been going to this gym for 17 years, it’s a nice place, and there is a great sense of community among its members. The last question on the survey gave you an opportunity to say what you would like to see added to the gym. My suggestion was EV charging stations. The assistant manager just wrote back the following: “Thanks for your continued feedback and loyalty to the club.  I don’t think we have had anyone ask about the charging stations, its something to consider down the road.  Please let us know how else we can help you be successful with your exercise program.”

And here’s my response back to him:

“Thanks for getting back to me. You might want to think about it sooner than later. Here are a few reasons why:

1) EVs are here to stay now. More people will be buying them and leasing them as new less expensive models come to market.
2) You’ve got a new competitor in Lifetime Fitness coming to Chappaqua, and even if they don’t have them, the neighboring Whole Foods will! Saw Mill Club does not offer EV charging.
3) It will enhance Club Fit’s green cred.
4) You don’t have to provide the electricity for free. Most charging stations require payment, done through a mobile system. Check out ChargePoint or EVGo.
5) Club Fit could be the first public EV charging stations in all of Briarcliff. Ossining only has two located on 9A behind the Village building and Chappaqua only has 3 at the train station.

6) Good management knows what their customers want before their customers do.”

I also had the opportunity to talk with one of my town council members over the weekend. As mentioned above, we have three public chargers at the train station, and during the week, you need a town parking permit to use them. I suggested to the councilwoman that the Town Board look into providing EV charging in all of the public parking lots, and use its influence to have chargers installed in the town’s shopping centers and gas stations. As EVs and plug-in hybrids continue to gain traction, their accessibility will be another metric by which homebuyers judge a community before purchasing. She replied that she thought it was a good idea. The board and planning department would look into it, and also see if any public grants were available.

These reasons mentioned above are something every owner of commercial real estate, multifamily real estate and every municipality should take into consideration when deciding whether they should add EV charging stations. And, it’s not just EVs they need to accommodate, but also plug-in hybrids, which almost every major car company now offers. Office, retail and multi-family real estate are going through periods of major disruption. Corporate downsizing, telecommuting or co-working have all had an impact on office vacancy rates in most markets. If the CEO is driving an EV and your building doesn’t have a charging station, chances are she’s going to pick a different property. Online retail and accelerating home delivery times are creating havoc in occupancy at malls and community shopping centers. When someone’s charging their car at your shopping center, they are probably going to be spending an hour there. Don’t you think your tenants want customers to have another reason to shop and hang around your shopping center? When millennials who own or want to own an EV or plug-in hybrid drive up to apartment building and it doesn’t have a charging station, they’ll pick one that does. Potential tenants or customers often have choices among comparable properties, and having charging stations at your apartment building, office building or shopping center may give you the edge you need.

Because of its tougher emissions laws, California is way ahead of most of the country in providing a robust charging infrastructure. A look at ChargePoint’s maps of Los Angeles or Silicon Valley show hundreds of public stations in dozens of locations. No doubt that is where the rest of the country will ultimately get. But if I were an owner of an office building or shopping center anywhere in the country, I would not hesitate a minute to add charging stations. It’s a relatively inexpensive amenity to add, and you can actually get paid for it.

Sure, it’s a lot sexier to talk about self-driving cars and their impact on real estate, but EVs and plug-in hybrids are already here and more are going to be hitting the street really, really soon. Why wait to install EV chargers? Tesla has hundreds of thousands of orders for its Model 3, Chevrolet can make 50,000 Bolts a year, Nissan’s new Leaf will get 150 miles on a charge, Volvo will soon only be selling electric only or hybrid cars. EVs are not going away. Become an advocate in your community for EV charging stations before you run out of juice!

Summertime

Summertime, and the Listin’ Is Easy

 15th August 2017    David_Perlmutter

Summertime, and the listin’ is easy,* or really just easier, but that doesn’t scan as well. I’ll explain. When you sign up for a free trial individual user Premium Membership to QuantumListing, we’ll add your first listing for you.  And we are happy to add more, but we want you to have a little skin in the game, too, and really it is just a little. Right now, you are saying, huh? Have a look at the chart below.

screen-shot-2017-08-15-at-7-46-34-am

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s say you have twelve listings, and you want us to add them for you. First, you register for QuantumListing, and then you are sent to your profile page. On the left side of the page, you’ll see the number of days left in your Premium Membership. Click on the number and you’ll go to a page with payment plan options. In this example, you’ll click on the 3 month/$24.99 option and then the Create Order button. This will bring you to the payment page. Click on the PayPal button to securely complete your transaction with PayPal or your credit card.

If you are doing the free three month trial membership, all you have to do is send your listing flyer or information sheet to info@quantumlisting.com with the words “Please add this” in the subject line and we’ll take care of it (send us your password, or we’ll give you a new one which you can change when we are done adding your listing or listings). If you choose one of the other membership options, we’ll give you a call to discuss adding your listings.

That’s it! Sounds easy, right?

 

*Sorry about that, Ira Gershwin.

Barrier

What is the greatest barrier to trying a new commercial real estate listing service?

 2nd August 2017    David_Perlmutter

We understand that people are reluctant to try new real estate technology, and we want to understand better what those reasons are. That’s why we conducted the following poll, “What is the greatest barrier to trying a new commercial real estate listing service?” The results were quite interesting. Only 24% of the respondents said that their greatest barrier was that they were happy with their existing service. That’s hardly an enthusiastic endorsement for the market leaders.

The largest cohort, 48%, responded that they did not try new a new listing service because of the expense. Another 15% felt that the time to add listings was what’s holding them back from trying a different service. 13% answered Other, but did not specify what in reply comments.

 

 

At QuantumListing, we’re trying to remove the friction points for people to try our service. First, we give a three month trial to new users, and after that, we offer several low cost Premium Membership options for individual users and enterprises. Premium Membership comes with an incredible array of features, and it’s all for the same price. We don’t ask you for your payment information up front, so there is no automatic charge if you don’t opt out. You have to opt in to remain a Premium Member. If you don’t want to add listings, it is free to search all of our users’ listings nationwide.

In order to help prospective users with the other pain point mentioned in the poll, the time to enter their listings, we’ve got a solution for that as well. We’ve started offering users “white glove” set up, where we’ll enter your listings for you. However, even if you add your listings yourself, it does not take much time. Yesterday, we timed Eli the Intern as he added a listing on the QuantumListing.com website. It took him one minute and fifteen seconds to add a listing. This was the fourth listing that Eli added, so he knew what he was doing. He’s also competitive and wanted to put up a good time. Nonetheless, it gives you a good sense of how fast and easy it is.

Ideally, we prefer that you pay for a year’s Premium Membership for us to do the white glove set up, and since we offer all new members three free months, it would give you fifteen months of membership. In this particular case, though, we decided to give this user (actually three users at the same brokerage) white glove set up because we had an interesting conversation with him. This company is situated in Rockland County, NY and are members of the Hudson Gateway Association  of Realtors (HGAR). He puts his commercial listings on HGAR MLS site. He feels that the MLS has one thing going for it that other listing services (including QuantumListing) don’t. They require that the brokers send a signed exclusive agency agreement (and extensions if/when applicable) before they’ll permit a listing on their site. As a result, the information is more accurate and reliable. All of the commercial listing services have bad information of one kind or another, either naming an agent who isn’t the current exclusive agent, or having a property that is no longer available. I wrote about this issue back in November of 2015 in a post, The Fallacy of Accurate Information Services.

One of our objectives at QuantumListing is to keep the cost of Premium Membership low. We don’t have the infrastructure in place to review listing agreements for each of our users’ listings, and since that is not the current standard in commercial real estate, I think there would likely be substantial resistance to requiring that. We are working on a new module that will help with the issue and accelerate user acquisition but I prefer not to discuss it until it’s ready, which will be quite soon.

So, what should be your takeaways from this post? 1) Not many people are happy with their commercial listing services, but don’t want to change because of the expense and time required to change. 2) QuantumListing can alleviate those two pain points. 3) We have something in the works that is really exciting!

The Broker List

Expand Your Network with The Broker List

 21st April 2017    David_Perlmutter

tbl logoWhen you start a new business, you need to expand your network. Early on, someone pointed me in the direction of The Broker List. According to the website, it is “The CRE Community’s First FREE Online Platform for Finding Brokers, Deals, Services and Vendors.” The Broker List and its founder, Linda Day Harrison, are among the great unsung resources in commercial real estate. There are approximately 5500 registered users on the site. It is an incredible tool to expand your network if you are looking for commercial real estate resources anywhere in the country.

Don’t let the name fool you, though. The Broker List is much more than just a list of brokers. It has a panoply of resources available to its users. If you are in commercial real estate and are not a member of The Broker List, join. You don’t always know  where your next deal is coming from, and it as likely coming from someone you haven’t met yet as it is coming from someone you know. There is no downside to expanding your network.

And, if that’s not enough of a reason to join The Broker List, consider some of the other features the site offers for free. You can post your listings and your requirements, and TBL will broadcast them to your market for free. If you are a real estate blogger, they’ll syndicate your content for you. Every member of TBL gets their own RSS feed. You also get periodic digests of Haves and Wants in your market.

At the center of it all, though, is Linda. If you want to know who you should know in a particular market for a particular asset class, Linda will help, and incredibly, asks nothing in return. In her orbit, there are no competitors, only colleagues. Linda is the rare person that not only knows that the high tide lifts all boats, but also provides the full moon to make the high tide even higher. She personally vets all of the marketplace advertisers on her site, and if your company does not pass her smell test, you’re not getting on. Linda and The Broker List also oversee a monthly real estate tech founders call. Each month serves up a new topic of interest and lively discussion.

One of the other neat things The Broker List has put together is The DNA of CRE Survey, which is done in conjunction with Buildout. The survey has now been done twice, and is rapidly becoming a touchstone for the industry to take a good look at itself. Infographics and raw data are generously provided for all of us to examine what makes us tick as an industry.

One of the important findings of the survey is the importance of relationships in dealmaking. As a result, last year The Broker List  andQuantumListing cooked up the first #LetsGetSocial Meet Up to coincide with ICSC RECon in Las Vegas. It was held at the Aria Sports Bar on the Sunday before RECon gets into full swing. On pretty short notice, we had about 60 attendees. In true Linda fashion, she engaged her network and expanded the hosts from just the two companies to include Buildout, RealMassive, and Julie Augustyn who was then with Office Depot and now Foundry Commercial (sorry if I’ve forgotten anyone!). This year, the host roster includes all of the previous participants plus The News Funnel and Michael Lagazo of SVN. We’ll be convening at 5:00 pm on May 21st at the Sports Bar at Aria. It’s a cash bar, but play your cards right and someone might buy you a drink! RSVP if you want a name tag by filling out THIS FORM.

And thank you to The Broker List and Linda, for all that you have done for me, QuantumListing, Perlmutter Properties and the entire commercial real estate community.

Related :
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QuantumListing Serves Your Listings to Your Website

 20th April 2017    David_Perlmutter

Did you know that mobile-friendly QuantumListing serves your listings to your website, and its at no extra cost? Once you’re a Premium Member ($79.99/year for Individual Users, $899.99/yr for Enterprise Users) and have added your listings to QuantumListing, there are a couple of easy ways to do add your listings to your site.

The simplest way is to link your Account page to the menu bar at the top of your website. This is a “set it and forget it” solution. The Account page is your home base on QuantumListing. It is where you go to add, edit and delete your listings. There are several other features on your account page, but we’ll focus on the listings for now.  Listings appear on your Account page in the order that you added them, with the newest at the top.

dresRochester, NY’s Donovan Real Estate Services has a link at the top of their menu bar that sends users to their account page on QuantumListing.  When they add, edit or delete a listing, they don’t have to worry about making changes on their listing service and on their website because the pages are one and the same.  When you click on their Listings link, it takes you to their Account page on QuantumListing. I liked this solution so much that I did the same thing on the Perlmutter Properties website!

Recckio Real Estate in Buffalo, NY took a different approach. You don’t click directly from their menu bar to QuantumListing. Instead, they have a Search Properties link. When you click on that, you see a few featured properties, and then there is a button to go to see all of their listings on their account page at QuantumListing.

The QuantumListing sharing widget is another option for serving your listings to your website available for those of you willing to do a little bit more work. The sharing widget generates a snippet of code that you can embed on your website to serve your listings. You can customize the colors to emulate the look of your website. It also allows you to choose which listings are shared and in what order. You can generate more than one snippet, giving you lots of flexibility and options on how you deploy your listings on your website. For instance, you could have a page on your website for each asset class, or a page each of for sale and for lease listings. You can also select listings to illustrate a blog post, too. Here’s an example of how I did that on the Perlmutter Properties Blog.

Personally, I love it when I look at Google Analytics and see that users are being referred to QuantumListing.com from other sites. It’s free marketing. The toughest part of a start up is user acquisition. If other users can help generate the traffic to our site at no additional cost to them or us, it is a win/win solution. We’re all creatures of habit, and admittedly for most commercial real estate searchers, QuantumListing is not the habitual site they are first going to today for their commercial real estate search. As more users adopt QuantumListing for its mobile-friendliness, it’s ever expanding and improving array of features, and as a high quality, low cost alternative, we’ll gradually change the habits of the commercial real estate industry. Delivering your listings to your site at no extra cost to you is a great way we can work together to change those habits. Give it a try.

Related :
QuantumListing is the new crowd-sourced real estate listing platform for commercial real estate agents, owner and tenants