Although Nicola Crosby Real Estate Investments is based out of Vancouver, BC, the private equity real estate group has a portfolio that spans the United States and Canada. The effectively-managed 10 million square feet in their portfolio and nearly $2.5 billion assets under management have developed the firm’s good name.
The internal team focuses mostly on active asset management, which means, “we don't employ an in-house leasing team,” said Anthony Paes-Braga, an asset manager with the firm. “It’s nice to leverage third-party teams with boots on the ground, but when you have so many brokers in different markets, everyone has a different way of doing things.”
As a result, leasing updates came in through a variety of mediums. “We would get the leasing updates by Excel spreadsheet, email, and even the odd napkin every once in a while,” said Anthony. “The biggest challenge was getting the reports on a timely basis.”
That all changed one day when Anthony was touring some properties in Calgary, Alberta. “One of my brokers pulled up VTS on his phone to log a tour.” It was the first-time Anthony had seen the platform, so he spent the next 15 minutes playing around with it. He was sold.
“We're a small team, so we're always looking for ways to find efficiencies by using software tools. It was pretty easy to roll out VTS” said Anthony. “It works well out of the box, which is hard to say for a lot of software solutions.”
The Nicola Crosby team had begun using VTS Landlord Standard.
“We’ve already experienced a bunch of benefits from using VTS,” explained Anthony. “The most immediate one is the standardization of reporting, which is huge.”
He added, “But that just makes my life easier. The real value of the platform has come from how it has enabled us to proactively manage our deal processes.” Nicola Crosby has investments in some “markets that are challenged right now” and VTS has enabled Anthony and the team to see the ongoing tours and associated tenants in real-time.
The result is that “we can get offers out within a few hours versus days,” said Anthony. “In the old way of doing business, they circle back with the tenant rep broker and you’d maybe get feedback a week later...if you're lucky.” He added, “We've actually secured tenants because we've been able to push out an offer same day, and I don't think that would happen without VTS.”
At the end of the day, Nicola Crosby will continue to leverage VTS and technology “because we’re a small team and it allows us to work more efficiently and stay small focusing on our core business of asset management,” said Anthony.