By Meghan Hall
The due diligence period in the commercial real estate sector can be lengthy and complicated, with a number of different processes and parties involved. As the industry looks to 2021 after a year of uncertainty, growing platform CREtelligent is looking to streamline due diligence to save investors time and money—and is actively looking for acquisition opportunities to meet its goals. The Registry spoke with CREtelligent’s CEO Anthony Romano on the firm’s plans for expansion.
Please tell The Registry a little bit about CREtelligent. What pain points within CRE transactions and asset management does the company seek to solve?
CREtelligent’s primary focus is to modernize the commercial real estate due diligence process. Its platform technology expedites transactions by providing accurate, intelligent, and ultra-fast environmental and related due diligence insights and data while simultaneously providing customers with environmental engineering experts across the country at their fingertips. The company has a world-class platform to deliver many solutions combined with an extraordinary client success team providing a white glove and concierge-like client experience.
CREtelligent aggregates local, state, and national property data to streamline the evaluation of a commercial property’s environmental condition through a proprietary interface. The result is a visualization of data that enables commercial real estate professionals to quickly assess the property’s condition and immediate or future environmental remediation investments.
CREtelligent’s solution focuses on the four criteria important in the CRE due diligence process: environmental assessment, inspection, valuation, and flood zone determination. The company can provide all these services, saving time and thousands of dollars. The wide range of innovative end-to-end solutions includes environmental prescreening tools, property condition reports, commercial appraisal services, broker opinions, property valuations, and portfolio monitoring services. The company’s full suite of solutions aims to provide enhanced environmental due diligence data to lenders, non-bank lenders, and corporate CRE professionals like retail, insurance, telecom, REITS, government, and banking industries.
The CREtelligent platform seeks to solve industry pain points by providing professional insights to empower lenders and corporate real estate professionals to make strategic decisions with instant access and interpret environmental, valuation, and other relevant due diligence data on properties.
From your perspective, what are the biggest risk factors plaguing commercial real estate transactions in 2021? Why?
CREtelligent highlights risk factors from CRE valuation and transaction perspective on the three asset classes: retail, hospitality, and office property.
Unlike past economic challenges, COVID-19 had an immediate, widespread impact on the CRE industry across the globe in 2020. According to a Deloitte report, commercial real estate investors plan to reduce costs by 25 percent on average in 2021. But cutting costs might be short-sighted — to keep up with new demand for ventilation, health-related amenities, and digital proptech, operating costs could increase by $19.40 per square foot in 2021.
Many retailers went bankrupt in 2020, a trend that is likely to continue this year as well. Many brick-and-mortar retailers burned through their cash reserves, and retailers are reimagining their commercial space due to high online consumer demand. Experts anticipate a surge of landlords will default on their loans in the first half of 2021—investors are likely to see a great deal of opportunity, while the industry goes through a deluge of transactions.
How does CREtelligent work? By how much does the platform reduce inefficiencies for its clients?
With more organizations and end-users making data-backed decisions, the platform streamlines the process and provides for greater efficiencies for customers.
CREtelligent market segments-lender services & corporate services are forced to use many vendors through a myriad of communication methods including phone, email, and online services. This increases vendor selection process, audits, and the cost of doing business. CREtelligent provides a one-stop-shop for ordering, status, delivery, and archiving critical due diligence solutions, hence reducing inefficiencies.
Who are CREtelligent’s main clients?
CREtelligent offers a wide range of innovative end-to-end CRE due diligence solutions to lenders, non-bank lenders, and corporate CRE professionals like retail, insurances, legal, telecom, construction, REITS, government & municipalities, and banking industries. The company also provides an SBA compliant environmental due diligence solution to its customers.
CREtelligent recently acquired Applied Engineering Inc., an environmental consulting and engineering services company. How does this acquisition fit in with CREtelligent’s plans for growth?
There’s a tremendous opportunity to advance CRE due diligence in the industry. Not only has the company created a platform that provides instantaneous access to the environmental conditions of a property, but also CREtelligent has a strong nationwide network of site inspection experts and an in-house team of environmental engineers that can help the customers get the insights they need – all to solve problems and make decisions faster.
The acquisition is part of CREtelligent’s overall strategy to expand its geographic footprint, enhance capabilities, and increase its customer base in the lender and corporate real estate markets. This acquisition allows CREtelligent to diversify its market presence and expand solutions to its customers.
The investment in Applied Engineering Inc. is another step for a multi-dimensional growth strategy of broadening CREtelligent’s value-based platform and solutions to customers. This acquisition will allow CREtelligent to expand the network of lender and corporate real estate customers in the Twin Cities for a more streamlined process and provides greater efficiencies for their customers.
As CREtelligent grows, where will the firm invest its money to encourage expansion?
As CREtelligent grows, the company plans to broaden its platform’s capability to its customers by delivering unbiased, insightful, data-driven solutions that optimize costs and time. The company envisions the need for enhanced decision-making before, during, and after every CRE transaction. The company plans to extend the Radius platform’s capabilities and expand its product/service offerings, providing their customers experience the one-stop-shop for CRE due diligence requirements.
The company’s DNA is focused on innovation and delivering an excellent customer experience. The recent addition of the Portfolio Risk Management platform caters to the customers’ demand in the CRE industry. The company is also planning to introduce machine learning and AI capabilities to their product innovative solutions.
What types of acquisition opportunities will the firm specifically target? Why?
The company will continue to look for opportunities to invest both organically and through acquisitions in 2021. The goal is to diversify the companies’ market presence, expand CRE offerings, and exceed customers’ expectations through new products and solutions.
As the commercial real estate industry continues to accept more tech infusion, what steps will CREtelligent take to remain competitive?
CREtelligent continues to invest in digital transformation technologies that cater to lowering the cost and bringing efficiencies. The modernization of the commercial real estate due diligence process is extremely crucial, and CREtelligent is considered a one-stop-shop for providing all the commercial real estate services.
CREtelligent is really in the early stages of building out a total platform that enables CRE investors, lenders, and corporate real estate professionals to make decisions and complete deals with greater amounts of information in less time – mitigating risks. The company believes that by making its customers more competitive it will in turn be ahead of new entrants in the market.