All things equal, would you choose to use an old fashioned typewriter or a computer? A computer of course. Why? Better quality. Better efficiency. Better interoperability with other tools you use on a day to day basis. Real estate companies are now faced with a similar choice when it comes to leasing. Does it make sense to continue drafting and editing leases the old fashioned way or use lease automation software? This article explores why the old fashioned way should no longer be acceptable to real estate companies.
The old fashioned way means relying heavily on tools not designed specifically for leasing, in particular, Microsoft Word. There are two main byproducts of using Microsoft Word as the primary tool for leasing:
- It is an extraordinarily manual process.
- At the end of the day you’re left with a static document.
Let’s take each of these in turn and discuss the real life implications.
Anyone who has drafted or edited a lease the old fashioned way knows how manual it is. Blank spaces need to be filled in. Identical information needs to be entered multiple times. Relevant language needs to be located in prior deals or language libraries, or even drafted from scratch. The list goes on and on. And the more manual a process is, the more wasted time there is and the harder it is to ensure consistency.
Wasted time results in slower document turnaround times and inflated costs. Speed is vital in leasing. Slower document turnaround times lead to unhappy tenants, increased risk of deals going sideways and is even part of the reason leases take so long to close. Inflated costs lead to real estate companies having to pay for unproductive time and losing an opportunity to reallocate saved time to other time sensitive matters.
Lack of consistency across a portfolio results in increased risk and decreased control. Increased risk comes from the fact that language inadvertently inserted or not deleted in a lease can have real financial and portfolio management consequences. Decreased control comes from simply not having certainty that every time a lease is completed it includes the correct language that leads to desirable and predictable business outcomes.
While leases are completed once signed, the information contained in leases is accessed and relied upon long after that. With the old fashioned tools being used today, leases are static documents. This means that the only way to access the information in leases is through manual review and the only way to get the information into other software systems is by re-keying it multiple times. The result: wasted time re-keying information and reduced quality of the information that real estate companies rely on to manage their portfolio.
Fortunately, real estate companies aren’t stuck with the old fashioned tools anymore. Lease automation software exists and anyone interested in moving their legal leasing process into the 21st century should check out LeasePilot (www.leasepilot.co) – a document automation platform designed specifically to streamline commercial leasing.