Leveling the Playing Field: Online Auctions Remove Barriers

Online auctions

Former commercial real estate broker Anthony Falor is now the managing director of the National Hospitality Group of Ten-X, an end-to-end online transaction platform for commercial real estate (CRE) that, since 2009, has helped transform the CRE business. However, as Falor explained to LODGING, there is no need for CRE brokers to be alarmed by this evolution.

When talking about the Ten-X platform’s usage, Falor suggests that the traditional brokerage model hadn’t been serving potential CRE buyers as well as it could. “Traditional processes that focus on more traditional buyers within a particular state or region limit buyers’ exposure to purchase opportunities. In addition, the nature of the typical broker-client relationship can pose significant entry barriers to many financially qualified but atypical would-be players.”

He says technology like Ten-X is designed to work in partnership with brokers to enable them to introduce all potential buyers—not just ‘the usual suspects’—to a broader range of opportunities both in terms of geography and asset classes. “In recent years, we’ve gone farther to open up the real estate industry; we’ve gone national and international with buyers. We have introduced more high-net-worth individuals to opportunities, including those such as 1031 exchange buyers, who are very time-sensitive, and crossover investors who want to diversify their portfolio.”

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Falor notes that the first to embrace Ten-X’s technology were institutional investors, who used the platform to efficiently transact properties. Thanks to the credibility they conferred, others followed. “Although when we began, which was during the economic downturn, properties were smaller and often distressed, now we offer all kinds of properties—repositioning, cash-flowing, projects-in-the-making. You name it, we’re doing it—anywhere from $2 to $52 million.”

Falor says the platform offers “total transparency and democracy” in that “the computer doesn’t differentiate”: In the Ten-X platform, everyone sees what the offer price is and what the next bid increment is, and they all have the power to click. This, he says, levels the playing field for everyone—including traditional hoteliers who sometimes believe that they have been unfairly shut out of opportunities. “The big benefit to what we do is that the seller alone controls whether he or she bids or not, and is therefore always in control of whether he or she wins that asset.”

Falor notes what he calls “misguided resistance” from brokers who feel they are being displaced by Ten-X technology. “In reality, with our platform, you still have to have a broker on every deal. We are not a for-sale-by-owner site, and there are many things a human can do that technology cannot. We have been able to successfully communicate to brokers that we’re their partner, an enhancement of what they already do. By including technology, brokers can give their sellers an absolute confidence level that the market saw the asset and no stone was left unturned.”

 


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