By Jessica Fiur, News Editor
New York—Tracking down financial, property and owner information about particular multifamily buildings is a time-consuming process that takes patience and insight into specific necessary information. Without knowing exactly where to look—or even begin—brokers can get weighed down by an overload of information.
Actovia Commercial Mortgage Intelligence, a newly launched real estate technology company, is hoping to change all that with Actovia Explorer, a cloud-based commercial real estate search and lead discovery subscription program. Currently, the product focuses on the New York metro area, but plans are in the works to expand throughout the East Coast.
Jonathan Ingber, Actovia CEO, tells MHN how Actovia Explorer can help users effectively mine multifamily data, and why it’s a “win-win” for brokers, property owners and banks.
MHN: How did you come up with the idea for this database, and why do you feel it’s necessary for the multifamily industry?
Ingber: We thought it was very important to put together something that would give the brokers an opportunity to get the information very quickly, get them the most relevant information; get the property owners and then offer them the vehicles in which they could refinance the properties they own.
The problem with the industry is that the information out there is accessible to anyone, except that it’s costly, and it’s extremely time consuming [to gather it]. The technology that is available is a little behind the times. What we’ve done is gathered all the information from relevant agencies and data providers and created a very up-to-date user interface where the user can go and query.
A lot of multifamily owners in the city are actually very hands-on owners, which means they basically manage their own buildings, they’re very busy with the operations and the financing is at the back of their minds. And when someone is there to take them along and help them with that, they’re very grateful. I find it is extremely helpful for someone to reach out and say, “You have all these buildings, you’ve got this expiration coming up, the penalties are rolling over, let me show you what I can do for you.” And that’s why the information is extremely important. Basically, it’s business intelligence for business development.
MHN: The multi-housing industry is sometimes slow to adapt to new technologies. How do you plan on getting around that?
Ingber: What’s really important is to understand the psyche of a broker and to know they’ve got so much on their plate, they have so little time to do new business development, and they need to quickly identify which property owners are looking to reach out to offer refinance opportunities. They need to have a user interface that finds exactly what they want and be able to bring the relevant information without having to bog them down with details that they don’t need to know. So we’ve done both.
We’ve taken all the databases and we’ve been able to strip out the data that’s not relevant. We’re able to merge all the data in a way where they just see what they want to see, so they’re looking at property information, just information they need.
What’s really great on top of that is the client management system that we’ve created, where not only can they find the properties, but they can track them. And the really great opportunity is they can put in a client management system, make sure they’re on top of their clients. So it’s kind of like a win-win in regards to the technology, together with the development information, that the broker needs in order to service the multifamily owner.
MHN: How do you get all your property information?
Ingber: New York City is probably one of the best areas in regards to getting information on mortgage and ownership. There are multiple databases that actually record ownership information. So as far as the information is concerned, there’s nothing there that I’m creating that no one else can do, it’s just that they haven’t done it, or it’s not worthwhile for them. But my experience taught me that it definitely is, and the fact that we’re getting large companies in that city that are interested in signing up says to me how important this is in bringing more business to the city and helping multifamily owners, and really revitalizing the industry. It’s a product that will bring more revenue to the city, and bring more rewards to the users, as well as the property owners.