Commercial Real Estate Blog

Catylist launches new Commercial MLS for The Commercial Association of REALTORS® West Michigan

We’re extremely excited to announce the launch of a new Commercial MLS for our newest client, The Commercial Association of REALTORS® West Michigan! The site officially went live on October 1 and lives at: http://www.carwm.com.

A Unified Platform for Michigan’s Commercial Property

This new relationship is great news for commercial brokers around Michigan. For the past 10 years, Catylist has powered CPIX, Michigan’s Commercial Property Information Exchange operated by Michigan’s Commercial Board of REALTORS®. With both groups now on the Catylist platform, brokers from all over Michigan have access to over 24,000 active property listings and a history of over 150,000 sale and lease transaction records. Additionally, these groups have partnered with the Michigan Economic Development Council to provide a feed of listing inventory for use in attracting new businesses to the state.

Their efforts recently received some good press in the Grand Rapids Business Journal:
It’s a commercial version of David vs. Goliath
CAR making MLS improvement while trying to battle the giants


It’s a great success story, and nicely illustrates the benefits of coming together to share information.

“The Commercial Alliance of REALTORS® Board of Directors is very impressed with the exceptional features and functionality that Catylist offers. The Catylist staff provided excellent assistance with our transition to the platform, including training which prepared our membership for the change. The team working to import our information into the correct data fields ensured that our site is robust and accurate. We find that Catylist is easy to navigate, reports are simple to create and customize, and clients are well-served through the myriad of syndication sites available to subscribers.” – John Francis, President, CAR Western Michigan

Read on for the full press release…

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Catylist CIE Upgrades: Design Refresh!

Another round of CIE upgrades is upon us! We’ve just rolled out changes to our Commercial Information Exchange (AKA: Commercial MLS) platform, used by commercial real estate professionals in over 30 markets around the country. Here’s what we’ve been working on all Summer:

Major Design Facelift

We’ve freshened up the design on every page of our CIE platform. Most everything will work the same as before, but should just feel more enjoyable – photos are bigger, text is more legible, buttons are easier to see and features are simpler to use.

Here are a couple examples:

Responsive Web Design for SiteLinks

SiteLink (our service that allows you to display your CIE listings on your own website) also benefited from the design facelift. In addition, we’ve applied various “Responsive Web Design” (RWD) techniques, allowing it to adapt its appearance to phones, tablets, and other devices. Check out this example or this example using your mobile device.

SiteLink is currently the only listing service on the market with this ability! We’ll be applying the same techniques to our CIEs in the coming months.

Bookmark CIE Listings with SquareFeet

SquareFeet is a new service that allows you to bookmark commercial property listings from multiple websites onto a single list you can share with a client. It’s free to use, and makes it easy to assemble a list of spaces for a client while using multiple listing services (ie. your CIE, LoopNet, etc.).

All Catylist listing services work well with SquareFeet, and we’ve added a “Bookmark to SquareFeet” link on each listing page.

All New Server Hardware/Software

Under the hood, we’ve made some big changes as well. Our CIEs have been migrated to bigger, faster hardware, running the latest and greatest open-source software.

Thanks!

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your suggestions!

CIE Success Story: Commercial Brokers and Economic Developers working together in New Mexico

Great things are happening in New Mexico, as they use their Commercial Information Exchange to unite the marketplace.

Our business is based on helping local communities come together to share data, and we couldn’t be happier about the movement underway in New Mexico!

First, the commercial brokerages in NM came together to share data on a CIE platform. Then, they partnered with the major economic development groups providing their active property listings and establishing effective site selection platforms around the state. The result is an alliance of 8 groups, all working together with a common purpose, driving economic growth in New Mexico.

  • Brokers Win: Their sale and lease availabilities are exposed to a broad audience of businesses looking for space, with zero additional effort. More eyeballs, more deals.
  • EDCs Win: They have an accurate, timely inventory of sites to attract prospective businesses.
  • New Mexico Wins: The partnership helps makes it attractive to prospective businesses, fueling economic growth.
  • Businesses Win: The site selection process is simpler and more efficient when there’s a single, comprehensive source of information.

This is precisely why the CIE model works – these types of synergistic partnerships just aren’t possible when your information is fragmented, or locked up by a big national listing service.

“These are important efforts in promoting the state and signaling that New Mexico is open for business. The website and SiteFinder will be a great resource in assisting site selectors gather the information they need and help provide an analysis on why New Mexico would be the best place to set up shop or expand.”

Jon Barela
New Mexico Economic Development Secretary

More about SiteFinder

We created the SiteFinder site selection platform last year in response to demand from both the commercial brokerage and economic development communities we serve. In a short time, we’ve launched 6 full installations, and worked closely with individual groups to add a lot of great features.

In New Mexico, in addition to the latest/greatest Demographic, Workforce, and Consumer Expenditure Data (including 5 and 10 year projections), we were able to aggregate a number of Map Layers that can be overlaid during the site selection process, including: Parcels boundaries/details, Zoning information, Traffic Counts, Energy Capacity, Broadband Coverage, Schools/Universities, Research Centers, Hospitals, Airports, Railroad, Ports of Entry.

An Essential Product for any Economic Development Organization

“Catylist’s SiteFinder is an essential product for any economic development organization. It is a valuable tool in recruiting out-of-state businesses, and our communities and local businesses use and appreciate it, as well. The data, flexibility and presentation are cutting-edge and the reports print out beautifully. I highly recommend it.”

Elizabeth Davis, CeCD
Research Director
New Mexico Economic Development Department

“CARNM is excited to be working with Catylist in providing the most current commercial real estate listings throughout New Mexico. This joint effort is a great opportunity to showcase current commercial real estate opportunities to potential entities looking to expand or move to New Mexico.”

Carl R. Grending
CIE Chair, CARNM Board Member
Sperry Van Ness/Walt Arnold Commercial Brokerage, Inc.

Read on for the original article in BizJournals:

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The Commercial Information Exchange Philosophy

The decision to come together and share data versus writing big checks to a national vendor can be a philosophical one.

Here at Catylist we’re passionate about a few simple ideas:

  • We believe that the commercial real estate industry is best organized in a grassroots fashion – from the bottom-up rather than the top-down. We empower communities, providing the tools and expertise necessary to create, maintain, and grow a shared database of information tailored to each individual market. It’s a sharp contrast with national services who take your information, and sell it back as part of a one-size-fits-all solution.
  • We believe that when a community comes together to share information, everyone benefits: owners, tenants, investors, and brokers on both sides of the deal.
  • We believe that your community should own and control the information you collect.
  • We believe that your community should make the key decisions about how the service operates. Who can join? What kinds of information should be included? Do you need a comprehensive research database, or just a place to share listing information? Where should the data be shared? We’ve built our platform to accommodate the unique needs of your market.
  • We believe that all local commercial real estate communities should have access to quality tools and information at an affordable price. For commercial real estate pros, success should be about the level of service you provide, not about how much money you have to spend.

This has been our focus for over 10 years, and it’s a strategy that’s helped us grow successful commercial databases in dozens of markets around the country.

Catylist partners with the Realtors Property Resource

We’ve been working with our friends at the RPR for over a year, and are happy to officially announce our data-sharing partnership! Four of our CIEs have already chosen to participate, sharing information about their sale and lease availabilities for integration with the various data layers and great tools provided to REALTOR® members using the RPR.

It’s a great member benefit, and over the coming months, we’ll be implementing single sign-on and deep-links to making the integration more seamless.

Read on for the full press release.

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Catylist 2012 Wrap-Up

2012 marked our 10th year in business and it was a good one! We welcomed many new clients to the growing Catylist family, rolled out some important technology upgrades, and avoided the certain doom predicted by the Mayan calendar. Here are a few of the highlights:

New Clients

Our CIE platform has been adopted in 30 markets throughout the US, more than any other provider. We added a few more to that list in 2012:

We also signed long-term renewals with many groups last year:

As part of our mission to help organize cohesive commercial real estate communities, we expanded our footprint in the Economic Development space with the release of our new GIS-enabled site selection tool, SiteFinder. We currently have partnerships in place with over 75 ED groups across the country. Here are a few that adopted our platform in 2012:

And finally, thousands of new users discovered us last year, including dozens of companies that now display all of their listing presentations on their website using SiteLink. By the way, if you’re on the fence, we’re waiving the set-up fee ($600) for all new SiteLinks until the end of the month!

New Technology

We think it’s nice (and altogether too rare) for a technology vendor to roll out new and improved features on a regular basis for free. Here are a few of the things we delivered last year:

  • Launched our new CIE Mobile App for use on all smartphones and tablets.
  • Launched the new Report Builder, a flexible tool for generating beautiful PDF reports by mixing and matching information from the CIE with your own customized pages.
  • Added support for “Private/Pocket Listings” including the ability to generate listing proposals.
  • Improved our Email Hotsheets to include very specific data on changes to property listings that match your preferences.
  • Developed company-branded catalogs to make it dead-simple to share selected listings with your clients.
  • Integrated 2010 Demographics free of charge for all our clients
  • Increased the speed of searches by 4x.
  • Imported 40,000+ commercial listings from Point2, an aggregator of listing data from over 300 MLS sources nationwide

Thank You

Thank you for your continued support. We’ve got big things in the works for 2013.

Catylist partners with Point2, adds 40,000+ new Commercial Property Listings!

We’re excited to announce our new partnership with Point2.  Point2 aggregates property listings from over 300 different MLSs around the country.  We’re importing commercial properties from these markets each night, giving CIE subscribers access to a huge, new inventory of sale and lease availabilities.  

To search our growing database of commercial property listings for sale and lease, join a Catylist CIE!

Find a CIE in your area, or learn more about CIEs

Catylist CIE Upgrades: Easier listing input and new features for the Report Builder

We’ve just rolled out several new features to our Commercial Information Exchange (AKA: Commercial MLS) platform, used by commercial real estate professionals in over 30 markets around the country.

Quicker to Add/Edit Listings

We’ve made big changes to the listing input section of your CIE.  The new design should make it quicker and easier to add your listings and keep them accurate and up-to-date.  Here are a few of bigger changes:

  • We removed the tabs and many of the subsections.  Things should be easier to find and quicker to access – fewer clicks, fewer page loads.
  • The text is now larger with more spacing – easier to read.
  • It’s now easier to add additional use types, create separate for sale/lease listings, etc.
  • We improved the visibility and content of the help tips and examples for each field.

Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Easier to Report your Transactions

Your CIE is a community effort, and the more information you share, the more valuable it becomes.
We’re always looking for ways to improve the number and quality of transactions captured by your CIE.  As part of the improvements to the listing input pages, we made the process of changing a listing’s status (from Active to Sold, etc.) more intuitive by adding a “Change Status” link.  Now, when a listing is marked sold or leased, we pop up a window that asks you for just the most important information about the transaction.  You can still enter more details if you like, but we hope this will encourage all members to contribute at least the date and price of the deal they closed, generating more comps and better market stats.  

Include your own pages in Reports/Presentations

We’re really pleased with the feedback we’ve gotten on the new Report Builder.  We’ve added some great new features based on your suggestions.

You can now upload your own files for inclusion in any report, including Word documents, PDFs, PowerPoints, or spreadsheets.  These files will be appended to the end of the report, and stored for use in future reports.  For instance, an agent can now integrate their own market analysis directly into the PDF generated on your CIE, and a company administrator can upload company marketing materials that any of their agents can integrate into the proposals they create, etc.  This really opens the door for you to use the CIE as your central place for generating reports and proposals – we’re excited to see the kinds of materials you create!

Additional Report Builder Upgrades

  • Remove Page Numbers – There’s now an option to remove page numbers, allowing you to shuffle the order of pages after a report is printed.
  • Include Demographics for Any Location – You can now include a demographic report covering any geography – just enter your target area. 
  • Improved Speed – We’ve improved the speed of reports with lots of listings, like large company inventory reports.

Faster Searches

Searches on your CIE are already fast, but we’ve made some optimizations to our search algorithms that should speed them up considerably.

Better Listing SEO

We’re continuing to look for more ways to drive traffic to your listings.  We’ve made a few additional changes (smarter URLs and the inclusion of microdata) that should improve the search engine (ie. Google/Bing) ranking of property listing pages when searching by address. 

Thanks!

All of these changes came directly from feedback we’ve received from you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your suggestions!

Catylist CIE Upgrades: New Report Builder, Private Listings, and Redesigned Market Monitor

We’ve just rolled out several new features and upgrades to our Commercial Information Exchange (AKA: Commercial MLS) platform, used by commercial real estate professionals in over 30 markets around the country.

Redesigned Market Monitor

When you log in to your CIE, the Market Monitor is the first page you see. We’ve redesigned it to be more visual, communicating the same information with fewer words to read – View a Screenshot. It’s also now available on the Mobile CIE, so you can keep up with the latest activity wherever you are.

New Report Builder

You can already use your CIE to create a wide variety of PDF reports. To make that easier and more flexible, we’ve created a section dedicated to assembling reports of all types. Two key changes:

  • All report options in one place: No matter what you need, you can now find all report types on the same page – no more hunting around the CIE for a particular report.
  • Mix & match pages to create packages: Different reports can now be combined to create customized packages.

For instance, let’s say I’m helping a client find some retail space for her business and I’ve identified several properties that could meet her needs. I can now create a printable PDF that starts with a cover page (including my company logo and some notes), then include a full page map showing the location of the properties (including relevant demographic overlays), multiple pages of detail for each space (including unlimited photos), a page describing local market trends, and a targeted demographic report.

View: Sample Report 1, Sample Report 2

You can access the new Report Builder under the “Tools” menu or by clicking to “Customize” any report.

Private Listings, Listing Proposals

In the past, it’s been difficult/impossible to use your CIE to create listing proposals, since it would require inputting a listing that you don’t yet officially represent. We’ve made a few changes to work around this.

You can now add “Private” listings to your CIE. When adding a listing, you’ll see a new option at the bottom of the page to “Keep Private”. Private listings are only viewable by you and your company administrator. Use them to create proposals for listings you’re trying to win. Once a new private listing is complete, you can use it to create a comprehensive proposal using the new Report Builder, rather than trying to piece together a proposal outside of your CIE.

We hope this helps you pitch and win new business. We’ll be adding more features to this in the near future, so please send us your ideas and suggestions!

Monitor Traffic for All Listings

We’ve added the ability for you (as an agent) to see a combined traffic report that includes all hits for all of your listings. This makes it easy for you to see which sites are providing the majority of your leads. You can access this via links on the “Market Monitor” or “Manage Listings” pages.

Also, AgentLink hits are now included in the traffic numbers, so if you’re using our software to power your personal websites you can now better track the traffic and the ROI.

Integrated 2010 Demographics

We’re happy to announce that your CIE will now include basic Census 2010 and ACS demographics free of charge. You’ll see these updated demographic stats on all listings, as map layer options, and as an optional component when creating various reports. View a Sample Demographic Report

Thanks!

All of these changes came directly from feedback we’ve received from you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your suggestions – we’re planning another round of upgrades for the Fall!

Indiana CIE Injects Half a Million Public Records

We’ve been working closely with the Indiana Commercial Board of REALTORS® over the past several months to aggregate and import local public records. The result is a major influx of valuable information into the ICREX database, including 54,000 statewide sales disclosures and 451,000 building and land records.

“ICBR has been working aggressively to improve the level of service ICREX provides. The new data layers are a vital component in making ICREX a complete, one‐stop resource for those in the commercial real estate industry. ICREX is now an efficient source of accurate, reliable information at an affordable cost.” – John Caffray, ICREX Chair and Associate Broker with NAI Harding Dahm

This is a great step forward in their goal to establish a comprehensive and accurate commercial real estate database for the state of Indiana. Read on for the full press release…

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