Hannu Käki: I see a demand for the broker
Hannu Käki is currently the CEO of RealX.pro, a Finnish real estate sales platform for the capital markets serving the brokers, investors and banks. Previously, he co-founded Kerros Solutions that helps cut corners for property managers, and he's also the CEO at RealSource.eu, an open marketplace for selling commercial real estate. Beyond that, Hannu is a Co-Founder of PropTech Finland. A lot of (similar) hats for one person made it interesting to interview Hannu.
– How do you see PropTech scene in Finland? How does it differ from other markets?
I believe when it comes to applying different solutions and being innovative, it has been one of the drivers in this country already well before the last wave of PropTech.
The current cycle is being labelled by such themes as open interfaces, harmonizing information structures or user experience on different levels. The current complex information structures are beginning to be better connected on a data level. At the same time, new creative applications are entering the market. BIM and a digital twin field is a great example of this.
– What is most exciting for you in PropTech right now?
A turn into more positive and curious approach by senior-level decision makers in real estate, this is something I am very inspired of.
I’ve been a PropTech entrepreneur for four years and one significant factor for low adaption has been the interest and motivation by senior level decision makers. This is clearly different now. Many of them have had their first real-life experiences realizing that tech doesn’t threat them. It rather helps them.
"My key message to market has been that the commercial real estate sales cycle is now 3–24 months and our target is to take the number down to 1–6 months within 2 years."
– How does RealX.pro compare to LoopNet, Crexi and other real estate sales platform for the capital markets serving the brokers, investors and banks?
Commercial real estate transaction market is a huge market – on a global level by some estimations, it is €800 billion and this somewhat excludes residential institutional deals by my experience. I like to declare to our clients that we are not the only one delivering better user experience for transactions process, there are others as well. We have a significantly growing client base in Europe and good feedback from our users.
Our target is to help our users to go through the various steps much faster and easier. We help them to create high-quality sales material, including the necessary documentation. We help them to manage the closed marketing process and even the due-diligence phase. The best part is that we also help our customers' customers, the investors, and even the banks by streamlining the user experience in acquiring the required information for decision making.
– How do you see investors of the future sourcing their deals?
My key message to market has been that the commercial real estate sales cycle is now 3–24 months and our target is to take the number down to 1–6 months within 2 years.
Yes, this will help investors to focus on other details much more when the time is saved in exploring the investment opportunities.
– There’s a sense in my world (multifamily capital markets) that if a property hits the internet listing sites, it’s already “less than choice” as so many of the best opportunities trade off market. What are your thoughts on this?
I’m well aware of this basic psychology. The key thing is that RealX.pro is exactly planned to support this type of sales strategy as well. We support all different types of strategies; off-market introductions, limited group of investors and auction type when contacting a larger group.
– As exchanges get more robust and fully-featured, how do you expect the role of brokers to adapt?
The very same question are many others asking as well. All the largest brokers have also been commenting this more or less. It is clear in any business that the environment changes.
However, I see a demand for the broker in the long run. Broker is an advisor, a consultant to advise in various questions. They can also take different roles more neutrally in the negotiations. And even in future, they can help their clients to outsource various tasks the clients don’t want to do in-house.
Questions by Logan Nagel, Petr Boruta