We spend increasingly more time working with commercial real estate companies (CRE) who are focused on land sales. Many use Google Maps and are unfamiliar with GIS and mapping technology. The use of GIS and advanced mapping technology can provide major benefits to those focused on land sales. Below we discuss one of our customer engagements to help illustrate.
CRE Land Sales: Make more money through better use of GIS & maps
We were approached by a company based in the eastern US focused on land sales of rural, timberland, recreational, and transitional land. Though new to GIS, the company owner recognized the potential benefits GIS might bring to his business. With WebMapSolutions help the company move from a business based on paper and spreadsheets to digital maps.
Initial Company State
1. Land sales agents shared with potential clients flyers and paper maps of available properties.
2. Detailed information on individual land sales listing were stored in spreadsheets and documents on agents computers.
3. Information about the property was collected manually (pen and paper, digital photos), then input into the company computer system. This was slow and time consuming.
4. The company web site was manually updated to add new land sales listings or to make changes to existing listings
5. National listings sites were also manually updated with new properties. Again this was a time consuming process.
Where the Company Wanted to Get To
1. Agents wanted to share with potential clients more information about available properties. Maps accessible on iPads with images of the property, and features – rivers, roads, buildings etc – were key.
2. Management of land sale listings would be greatly helped by having land sales listings data stored in one place.
3. Agents wanted to take their iPads and collect all information using a GIS based app. With all the property information collected, and images taken agents wanted to automatically submit this to the companies central database. To upload property data from their iPad with a single click of a button.
4. As the company grew manually updating the listings on the web site was becoming more time consuming and complex, keeping agents in the office performing clerical work when they should be in the field selling. An automated process was needed to save time and money.
5. National land sales listings sites updated automatically as part of the company web site update.
Process to Get There
1. A GIS design or blueprint could be put in place, guiding the work. WebMapSolutions took the land sale company through our Discovery process: defining the problem in detail, evolving the story.
2. Data – Sources, storage and collection of property data was looked at in detail. Existing data accuracy and completeness considered. Questions around what other map layers might be useful with the property information asked. Implications and processes around one source for all data discussed in depth
3. GIS – WebMapSolutions considered the technology later in the planning process. ArcGIS Online proved to be the ideal platform for this solution. Data stored centrally, which was easy to update was key. So were the many configurable apps available.
4. Applications – Management of data was focused on the use of ArcGIS desktop. Collector for ArcGIS and Geoforms for ArcGIS were used by agents in the field for collecting property data. A number of map viewers were configured to allow agents to share property information on their iPads while on-site.
Unexpected things which happened (challenges and obstacles)
Poor intent connectivity was a reality when agents were in the field. The mobile GIS apps used had to work offline. Thankfully both Collector and Geoforms provided offline capabilities. WebMapSolutions trained agents on working in offline mode.
A complete end to end system was put in place built on top of ArcGIS. Using iPads on-site agents collected data on properties and with the push of a button updated the companies central GIS. All current and historical properties for sale could be viewed and filtered (eg year sold) very easily. Agents also could search for and show clients properties which fit their requirements on their office PC or iPad. The data collected was far richer in detail with interactive property maps and features on the land shown as layers on these maps.
A process was put in place which automatically generated a new property listing each time new data was pushed into the GIS. This updated both the company web site and national listings. Agents could stay focused on sales and not data entry. Since implementing this GIS system the company have seen increased sales and have added a number of new agents.
We continue to provide ongoing GIS guidance, training and support to the company, as they move forward with GIS.
What Would have done Differently
The company were delighted with the end results. The solution put in place saved time and help-make more money. Data preparation was a key part of this project. Unexpected by the client, but through careful due diligence the final data design helped power this successful solution.
Contact us on 801-733-0723.