Reonomy’s Customer Spotlight Series highlights professionals from across CRE and focuses on their experiences with data and technology—including their thoughts on the largest growth opportunities for organizations leveraging data, and how data providers should think about innovation to best serve their customer’s needs.
In this edition of the series, we had the pleasure of hearing from Mike Gennaro, Commercial Real Estate Sales & Leasing at eXp Commercial.
In this interview, Mike discusses:
- His transition from cabinet and furniture-maker to Commercial Real Estate Broker
- The benefits of collaborating with other brokers and leveraging CRE data to make more informed decisions
- The cost of being unable to adopt new technologies in commercial brokerage
Tell us about your role. What are the tools or workflows you have in place that make you and your team successful?
I’m the commercial listing agent in Zachary, LA, a growing town of 20,000 people. My team members are in neighboring cities, and we share referrals that fit our niches as well as direct buyers their way.
After four years in the traditional brokerage setting, I joined the agent-owned, cloud brokerage platform, eXp Commercial. The opportunities within the all tech platform are endless, because I have tools like Reonomy that help me satisfy client expectations.
The greatest opportunity for me is to work with a buyer that wants to redevelop an area, because it adds such positive buzz to our market. The product that I sell is my city, so it’s highly important that it stays vibrant.
Describe how the data landscape has changed since you originally started in CRE.
In the past, CRE was all about who you knew. CRE is now a tech industry that is structured around getting data to the right people at the right time. Relationships are still important, and they can be fostered through various tech platforms and in-person meetings.
Have you worked in any industries outside of CRE? If so, describe the data landscape. How does it compare to data within CRE?
Before CRE, I was a furniture and cabinet maker. I leveraged social media platforms to communicate and market to my customers. I was an early adopter of CNC technology which is a way to generate custom woodworks with a giant programmable router table.
While I was making cabinets, I noticed that I would only listen to real estate podcasts and this went on for seven years. There was a specific moment when I knew I was going to make the switch. I was being interviewed for a local business podcast, and the host asked me what my plans for the future were. All I could think of was real estate. I blanked and then fumbled for about 10 seconds of air-time, which seemed like an eternity! For me, selling real estate is like trading baseball cards as a kid—I cannot get enough.
What is the most significant benefit of having access to Reonomy’s data?
Reonomy fills in the blanks where GIS data cannot help. The massive cache of client contact information, legal descriptions, and property ownership records is invaluable.
What are your organization’s largest blind spots when it comes to CRE data today?
When I worked for a boutique regional firm, the blind spots were more evident. The limitation was in the adoption of new technology and getting career agents on board with the tech—not to mention the cost of the tech.
In your opinion, what are the largest growth opportunities for organizations leveraging CRE data?
Organizations that leverage CRE data can experience limitless growth, because there are no physical limitations to what you can do with high-quality data. Brokers in California see the same information as brokers in Louisiana. Clients will benefit in a real way when brokers cooperate with each other and leverage CRE data to make more informed decisions.
What advantage do you have over other brokers in your region, not leveraging CRE data?
The advantage is in what I refer to as future-proofing. Brokers that do not adapt will be left behind. It’s very hard to catch up when you resist change for too long. I have several clients that cannot send an email, so they also can’t sign documents electronically or receive property reports instantly. The net effect is a slower process and fewer opportunities, which calls into question their sustainability long-term.
What should the PropTech industry keep in mind when innovating on technology for the CRE industry?
Data providers’ biggest opportunity is to help agents continue to produce financial results and to reinforce workflows that yield success.
In his current role in Commercial Real Estate Sales for eXp Commercial, Mike collaborates with agents in the Baton Rouge MSA and his eXp Commercial colleagues nationwide to help businesses and individual investors buy, sell, and invest in commercial real estate. For the benefit of his clients, he stays up to date with market trends and networks with real estate professionals through various events and online platforms.
Prior to eXp, Mike held a Commercial Real Estate Sales position with Derbes Falgoust Commercial Real Estate, LLC.