By Jack Stubbs
In the current era of commercial real estate tech, companies are continually striving to implement technology into their business models and operating strategies. Ten-X Commercial, a company founded in Irvine, California in 2009, is one platform looking to transform the way that commercial and residential properties are sold.
We recently spoke with Maureen Waters, chief commercial officer of Ten-X Commercial, about the platform, how it seeks to streamline the commercial real estate transaction process by partnering with brokerage firms, and what lies ahead for the evolving commercial real estate industry.
What can you tell me about Ten-X Commercial (where and when the company was founded, current objectives, etc.)? Where does the company operate geographically?
Our platform offers three distinct transaction solutions for selling commercial real estate, “Live Bid,” our signature auction-based format; “Offer Select,” which mirrors the traditional commercial real estate transaction process in which sellers list their price and desired terms and buyers make their offers; and “Managed Bid,” a hybrid approach that allows prospective buyers to submit indicative bids and concludes with an auction between shortlisted buyers.
Who within the commercial and residential real estate industry does the platform serve and who are some of the company’s primary clients?
Properties from all 50 states have transacted on Ten-X Commercial and we have a global investor database of over 350,000 qualified buyers. Buyers and sellers who utilize the Ten-X Commercial platform range from small, several-person investment shops to major institutions and REITs. We have partnered with many of the largest and most prominent real estate firms. We’ve also worked with brokers at every major global brokerage and many regional brokerages that are seeking the tools and support to accelerate their business.
Brokers turn to Ten-X Commercial to expand their global reach to find the unknown buyer while closing more deals faster. Sellers also value our global reach as well as the transparency and certainty of close. Buyers use Ten-X Commercial because of the wide array of properties on our platform and the upfront due diligence we provide, which reduces risk.
To what degree does the company aim to address a broken or inefficient workflow in the property transaction process? How does the platform aim to increase transparency and collaboration between buyers, sellers and brokers?
In addition to boosting efficiency, one of the major advantages of Ten-X Commercial is that it provides greater certainty of closing by structuring the due diligence process into the transaction from the start. In the standard offline transaction, a buyer is given a unique escrow and due diligence period (immediately prior to closing), in which he/she has the ability to evaluate the property. If any issues are found, the buyer will frequently try to renegotiate or walk away from the deal, creating a major hindrance for sellers and brokers.
On Ten-X Commercial, all due diligence materials—titles, physical assessment reports and rent rolls—are provided upfront. After the information is compiled online, the deal enters a 45-day due diligence review and marketing period, in which Ten-X Commercial uses artificial intelligence to target and drive pre-qualified buyers to the property’s online listing and broker. Since buyers have already reviewed these materials during the 45-day period, i.e., before submitting offers or bids, there’s reduced risk and a higher rate of closing without re-trades. It’s a much more transparent way of operating for all parties involved.
Given that real estate has historically been known as an interpersonal industry that places an importance on networking and relationships, how will tech continue to shape the industry over the next 12 to 18 months?
CRE deals have always been driven by broker relationships, and at its core, Ten-X Commercial is a tool that allows brokers to grow their business. Every deal on Ten-X Commercial is led by a broker. In fact, when sellers come to us to sell a property they own, if they don’t have a listing broker, we always refer them to one. Brokers need to run the most comprehensive marketing effort to secure strong offers for their properties, and our role is to help brokers streamline the process, expand their reach, and close more deals in less time. We don’t think of ourselves as reshaping this interpersonal industry. Rather, we are helping the various players—brokers, buyers and sellers—expand their networks even further.
Is there anything that particularly excites or concerns you about the direction in which the commercial real estate market is heading? Looking ahead, what factors do you think will continue to play a role as the industry continues to evolve?
It’s a very exciting time in the commercial real estate industry. It’s our belief that as technology progresses, big data will play an even larger role in the transaction process. The myriad of information available today is only as powerful as the insights and strategy behind it. The real power, in our opinion, comes from the marriage of data insights and industry savvy.
We’re also starting to see signs of AI transforming real estate, and we are leading the charge to bring this from concept to reality. For example, with machine-driven algorithms, Ten-X Commercial has the ability to recommend properties to investors based on their previous investments on the platform, or to intelligently target the most likely, qualified buyer for a particular property. The implementation of AI in our space allows us to further our mission to make commercial real estate exponentially more efficient by intelligently matching buyers with sellers and the properties they would like to invest in.