M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal — Fall Preview — September 17 - October 21, 2021 — 5C


Commercial Mortgage Banking

have thought of a number of topics for controversial articles over the years, By Brenner Green, Real Property Capital, Inc. What is Proptech, How Does it Impact the CRE Market, and Do We Actually Need it? I

I had no idea what he was talking about, and told him we still put together PDF “deal books” with Excel cash flow models, and email them out. This may sound old fashioned, but I remember stamping out holes and inserting the plastic bound spine with a velobind machine (look it up if you are not familiar) and sending literal deal books to lenders, in FedEx envelopes. Think of what that must have cost my bosses back then. Despite having been pitched on a dozen or more platforms that will do everything from doing my loan packaging to

organizing my files, or even one that will harass my clients automatically for all the due diligence they owe me (sounds like a winner, doesn’t it?) we have only pulled the trigger on so called proptech once. A couple years ago, we paid over $7,000 for a system that was to help us query county property records to search for mortgage leads by looking at fields such as loan amount and recording date. There was still a fair bit of additional work to do in order to track down an actual person who was the owner contact and a phone number, if it were possible at all. In a

year of effort, we generated zero deals despite having a team of four using the data- base, identifying owners and making cold calls. And to all you office leasing brokers, god bless you, we are making cold calls to literally sell money to people, it should be one of the easiest sales jobs around. Now, a couple years later, one of the biggest title insurance companies is providing es- sentially the same service, for free. And yes, again I’m old enough to remember the stone age when my boss would make me go to the county courthouse and look this same info up in

the actual deed book, scribble it down by hand, and bring it back to him. The point here, is that since the internet became a thing, 25 years ago, people have been searching for ways to automate the commercial real estate business. Frankly, I am all for it. I would love to spend more time on the beach with my kids, or mountain biking or hunting with my dog. But in reality, things haven’t really changed much. Very early in my career, there was a web site calledMortgageramp.com. I was told it would eventually continued on page 12C

and I almost always steer clear as in my middl e age I have become more sensible ( I would like to think any- way). But at

Brenner Green

heart, those who know me know I am an aspiring luddite at my core. One of my favorite lines is “you will know I have made it when you see me with a flip phone instead of a smart phone.” I tend to abhor technology for technology’s sake, and I THINK THERE IS WAY TOO MUCH TECH BE- ING PIMPED IN THE COM- MERCIAL REAL ESTATE SPHERE. Ironically my first task in real estate as a college intern was to revive an abandoned database project for real estate appraisal and to then travel around the country teaching it to appraisers, most of whom were 20 to 30 years older than me. Once entered, data points fed into macro enabled ap- praisal reports in Word (high tech at the time) and actually saved time by not having to type in things like property ad- dress, square footage, etc. over and over. Perhaps I was sold on the Microsoft Office Suite at that point, but let’s face it, WordPerfect and Lotus123 were already dead, Google Docs was 20 years out and it was the only game in town. In Wharton undergrad at the time (late ‘90’s), they taught a course called “OPIM,” I for- get what the acronym stood for, but essentially it was the mastery of Excel. Mastery of Excel made you an authority in finance back then. Nearly 25 years later, I still run an entire company using Office Suite. We have a proprietary database to keep track of the capital sources, and we back the data up on the cloud, but that’s it. Last week a referral source of mine made an intro for me to have a call with a friend of his. Having no idea what the topic was, I dialed, we made a quick intro and he was off and running using acronym after acronym while pitch- ing me on an app that would apparently streamline my packaging and underwriting. I had to cut him off to confess

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