4 Facts to Help First-Time Homebuyers Overcome Common Fears

Homebuyers
For first-time homebuyers, making the transition from renter to homeowner can be exciting, overwhelming, and scary all at once. Yet as Gary Keller and Jay Papasan write in the second edition of Your First Home,  “Those who live the most fulfilling lives base their decisions on facts, not fears.”

Below, we’ve outlined four powerful facts from Your First Home to help move anxious homeowners toward the fulfillment and abundance Keller and Papasan nod to.  Delivered with empathy, care, and your expertise – these facts can help ease fears and move clients closer to experiencing all the bounties homeownership brings.

Fear 1: “I can’t afford to buy a home now.”

Fact: Until you do the math, you don’t know what you can or can’t afford.
If you are currently paying rent, generally you can afford to buy. From a financial point of view, in the United States, the tax savings on mortgage interest alone usually make up most of the difference between your rent and mortgage payments – the tax write-offs you get at the end of year will generally help you save a lot of money.

Additionally, depending on your credit score, you can end up affording more than you realize. Note: The credit scores used for mortgage lending tend to take on a much larger picture of your overall credit score.

Finally, although there may be a higher initial cost to buying a house, if you’re planning on staying in one place for a few years, the equity you build can end up being a financial boon.

Fear 2: “I should wait until the real estate market gets better.”

Fact: There is never a wrong time to buy the right home.
Whether “right” means the right price or the right property for you, waiting for the perfect market timing seldom works to your advantage. If you don’t believe us, look back to the Great Recession when the bubble around the housing market burst, GDP declined 4.5% and unemployment rose to around 9.5%. Everyone still feels the impact of this incredible financial event. But, like those who endured the Great Depression, the people who lived through the Great Recession made it through, and benefited from an era of financial growth. In fact immediately following the Great Recession, the United States entered the longest period of rising prices and general prosperity since World War II. The fact of the matter is, even the biggest economic downturns are, well, normal. Even when there were some events that threatened to dampen the economy, like the COVID-19 pandemic, the housing market still continued to thrive.

In the end, there are two ways to make money in real estate: timing and time. That is you happen upon the right moment to purchase your home before the price appreciates, or you hold it for a long enough time so that appreciation makes your purchase investment right. If you miss the first, you can most certainly count on the second.

Fear 3:  “I don’t have the money for a down payment.”

Fact: There are a variety of down-payment options available to you.
While many people believe that making a home purchase requires a substantial down payment, as as much as 20%,, this is seldom true. Options are always available to you that require much less than this number, as low as 5%, some even less. Moreover, most states have down-payment assistance programs that can help you afford to buy.

House-hacking can also be a great way to make homeownership a more affordable option. House-hacking is when you purchase a piece of real estate and lease out one of the bedrooms or units. This rental income can then be applied toward your mortgage. Or, you can participate in home rental programs like Vrbo or Airbnb. While it may not be ideal all of the time, you could always make your month’s mortgage payment by renting your place while you’re on vacation.

Fear 4: “I can’t buy a home because my credit score isn’t good.”

Fact: A less-than-perfect credit score won’t necessarily prevent you from buying a home.
Although it’s valuable to have a good credit score, a poor one shouldn’t necessarily prevent you from talking to lenders to explore your options. You can expect that a good loan officer (or mortgage specialist) will be able to help you resolve your credit challenges, often simply by showing you how to move or consolidate your debts, or by referring you to a credit counselor who will put you on a plan.

If you’re facing the challenge of having no credit history because you are new to the workforce or have not made regular purchases on credit, there are still possible solutions that you may want to explore. One is to secure financing with the help of a cosigner, such as parents or a close relative, who is willing to stand by your ability to make the payments. Another can be finding a lender who is willing to use alternative forms of history such as student loans, rent, and utilities.

Looking For More Homeownership Resources?

Head over to the Your First Home webpage for freebies, including information on how to build out your real estate dream team and for your clients, a resource on how to determine their homeownership criteria.

Spotlight

DAMAC Properties

For over a decade, the rich and diverse real estate portfolio of DAMAC Properties has been at the forefront of the Middle East’s luxury real estate market. With an enduring passion for design and quality, the company has built a reputation for creating some of the most iconic and desirable properties in the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon. Established in 2002, DAMAC Properties has completed almost 15,800 units and currently has a development portfolio of over 44,000 units at various stages of planning and progress. DAMAC Properties' hospitality portfolio will extend to reach around 13,000 units of hotel rooms, serviced hotel apartments and serviced villas.

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Real Estate Advice

Smart Construction: Building Value through Interconnected Intelligence

Article | September 15, 2021

The construction industry, whether operating at the building level, infrastructure level, or city level, has undergone significant changes over the past decade, and the pace of change has only intensified in the past year. Opaque operating models are giving way to digitalization and transparency in every aspect of the industry, leading to better accountability of the business stakeholder ecosystem and better experience and quality of life for the end customers. The value realization for the sector is coming in three different ways, each with its set of technologies, tools, systems, and processes that lead to specific value maximization. 1. Connected Stakeholder Ecosystems Every stakeholder and their interactions and service provision to building and construction has been digitalized and automated. Architects, urban planners, designers have long been using tools and technologies. The use of 3D modeling and visualization, AR/VR platforms, and drone mapping are creating intuitive means to fast-track the design iteration process and reduce errors. Innovation has been happening in building materials and technologies for smart logistics and inventory management, which is digitalizing the procure to pay cycles and reducing the cost and sustainability footprint of the industry. Infratech is being included into civil construction, and information, communication, and operational tech hardware and software solutions are being integrated at the design stage itself. The industry uses the services of a network of internal and external third party providers and managers. The combination of mobile and enterprise applications, connectivity, and internet of things devices and variables is connecting these people together. Unified frameworks and digital and AI/ML tools allow seamless construction, management, and optimization of built spaces. The sales process is becoming highly digital with the use of customer relationship management platforms, channel management applications, and digital sales aids that blend AR/VR, 3D visualization, audio, video, and digital. The governance and financial mechanisms have evolved as well. Government bodies have digitalized and permissions, access rights, and payment mechanisms are increasingly digital. Regulators are moving towards real time sensor based monitoring and centralized digital reporting on effluents and emissions, aiming to improve sustainability metrics. An array of digital and cloud financial management tools, systems, and dashboards allow every aspect of the financial flow to and from entities to be managed, monitored, and optimized. The users, in both the customer and citizen persona, have become digitally savvy and experiential. The connected and sentient building, infrastructure, and city ecosystem increasingly allows for connected living where many services can already be accessed digitally. 2. Connected Lifecycle Management The construction industry is using digital and automation technologies at every stage of projects – from design to monetization of building, infrastructure, or city systems. Ingredient technologies such as internet of things, artificial intelligence, block chain, distributed computing, edge and mesh intelligence, cloud computing, big data analytics, and data visualization are allowing the industry to plan better and act predictively. The Design phase, in addition to using design and planning tools and technologies, is increasingly adopting concepts of wellness, biophilia, and blue-green integrations to blend technology and architecture. The Build phase has significantly transformed through innovative construction materials and methods, as well as digital, cloud, and sensor based solutions to monitor staff, progress, audits, and errors in construction. The entire land records management system in the country has been digitalized, and plans are underway to use drone based mapping to catalogue all assets and sites at a national level. The Sell phase is using technologies and platforms that have disintermediated some ecosystem partners and aggregated others, increasing the flow of information, communication, validations, and transactions. From marketing to site visits to legal documentation and commercial transactions, every step has been digitally transformed through a combination of AR/VR, AI/ML, digital, and cloud technologies. The Operate phase is seeing newer models of maintenance and management of assets over the long term. Tech enabled metering and monitoring allows for discretization of pay per use type of commercial arrangements, which can be digitally contracted and managed. This allows multi-stakeholder and multi-user assets to operate seamlessly. Multiple automation and real time monitoring systems and solutions – whether fully integrated or point solutions, are enhancing visibility and improving efficiency of operational performance. The Experience phase ensures an interplay of operational and service related systems and technologies allow the users to better access services at building, infrastructure, or city level. There is a lot of emphasis on enhancing customer experience by reducing wait times, improving service levels, creating areas and systems for interaction and engagement, and delivering a better quality of work or life to the end user. The Monetization phase is increasingly at the top of mind of administrators, owners, and operators of construction assets. Long return on investment cycles and complex modes of deployment of public and private capital predicate focus on easing the flow of money and identifying multiple modes of monetization to ensure that projects can succeed. Value added services through retail, advertising, data, or service based use cases are allowing for recurring revenues to be generated. Many of these services can be digitally conceptualized, delivered, and managed. 3. Connected Systems and Services Buildings and infrastructure spaces are increasingly envisioning themselves as an interconnected system of functions, utilities and services, all managed centrally and digitally through a building level control room or an infrastructure or city level integrated control and command center. The set of technologies first adopted for smart cities - such as networking and connectivity; smart management of water, waste, lighting, power, sewage, air quality and emissions; smart access to services and retail; interconnected mobility, parking, and traffic management; and managing request-response systems and on-demand servicing and issues management - are increasingly becoming important for buildings and infrastructure projects. Transport hubs are reimagining themselves as microcities. Road assets are creating logistics hubs and multiple digital monetization channels. Buildings are transforming into mixed use spaces that are accessed and managed digitally. On-demand, surge, discounted pricing mechanisms rely on complex algorithms and predictive forecasts. Multiple indices and standard comparative metrics are being considered by users, governments, regulators, and financiers of patient long-term capital. At the building level, Green ratings and Well Building standards are being measured and reported, and creating methods of differentiating premium and non-premium buildings. Global Infrastructure rankings rate countries in the quality and density and access of road, transport, utilities, and other major infrastructure systems and projects. Ease of Living Index and Sustainable Development Goals create the benchmarks to measure and monitor the performance and impact of city systems. Increasingly, gamification through Swachh Survekshan, Municipal Performance Index, and other city, state, and national level assessments is creating awareness and improving service levels. The indices themselves rely on a set on technology inclusion within projects and technology systems to aid performance measurement.

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8 Steps to Find (& Stick With) the Right Real Estate Investing Strategy for You

Article | May 9, 2023

Search online for real estate investment strategies, and you’ll be overwhelmed with the information overload that hits you. Self-proclaimed experts, gurus, and never before heard of writers (because everyone has a book these days) keep posting hordes of stuff regarding where you should focus your efforts and what you should put your money into. Read a few of these sources, and you’ll see that most of the stuff is the same. It’s very unusual to find ideas that are starkly different online. Head to the store and buy books on investment strategies. Though definitely not to-the-point and instead highly detailed, once you finish reading, you will find yourself at the same spot you were before. Countless case studies, multiple options, a lot of theory, and no practical application! Don’t fret. My article today isn’t going to give you 10 more real estate investment strategies.

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Utilizing your IRA to Buy and Sell Real Estate

Article | June 6, 2022

Self-directed IRAs are the less offered and lesser known of the IRA options. That’s simply because they’re seen as needing too much effort to utilize correctly. The truth is that self-directed IRAs aren’t as complicated as they’re made out to be. Especially if you have the right custodian who offers the services you need to successfully run your account. Similar to other IRA accounts, owners can still invest in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. They can also invest in things like small businesses, boat slips, storage units, parking lots, land, and homes. Interested investors should seek legal advice, as well as input from an accountant and real estate agent for a well-rounded picture. They should also be familiar with the rules for the type of retirement account they’re using. Whether it is a Simple IRA, Roth or Traditional IRA, SEP IRA or Solo 401K, contribution limits still apply, and there are penalties for early withdrawals.

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Real Estate Technology

Why there is Rising Demand for Green Properties?

Article | June 9, 2022

The belief that green properties bring multiple benefits for both residents and developers is becoming universal. The real estate buyers are realizing the integral role played by the green buildings in minimizing carbon emissions and contributing toward one of the biggest global agendas – Climate Change. Across the UAE, some landlords are evaluating the cost and the benefits of making their portfolios greener to meet the expectations of the property buyers as well as the tenants who are becoming more environment-friendly. Rising international focus on climate change, Conference of the Parties (COP26) summit and UAE’s net-zero initiative to minimize emissions and pledging to invest almost $165 billion in clean energy by 2050 are the other major reasons for the landlords to construct green buildings. Covid-19 has created an urge for employee safety to ensure they feel comfortable coming to the office. To take employee safety to the next level, corporations are choosing green properties to prioritize employees’ well-being and adapt to their occupational strategies and achieve their sustainability goals. What is a Green Building? The World Green Building Council (WGBC) defines a green building as – “a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment.” Some of the features suggested by WGBC which make a building green include – Efficient use of energy, water, and other resources Use of renewable energy, such as – solar energy, pollution, and waste reduction measures, and the enabling of re-use and recycling Good indoor environmental air quality Use of materials that are non-toxic, ethical, and sustainable Consideration of the environment in the design Construction, and operation Consideration of the quality of life of occupants in design Construction, and operation Design that enables adaptation to a changing environment Exponential Rise in the Demand for Greener Properties There has been a huge rise in the demand for greener and energy-efficient properties not only in the UAE but across the Middle East. As per the Knight Frank – 2021 survey – proximity to green space and good air quality topped the list of location features and are more important to home buyers in the Middle East than their global counterparts. Half of the respondents cited the energy efficiency of their next home as being a ‘very important‘ issue, compared to 42% of global buyers. There has been a rising demand for green and energy-efficient properties in the UAE. The region is at the pinnacle in the Middle East in the national concentration of sustainable buildings and stands at the 14th spot in the world with 869 green-rated buildings, according to the 2nd edition of Knight Frank’s (Y)our Space report – 2021 which surveyed almost 400 businesses worldwide on their workplace strategies and real estate needs. This sends a strong signal to the developers and planners to embrace building green properties to attract eco-friendly homebuyers in the UAE. Reasons for Rising Demand for Green Properties Here are the top 7 reasons for the rising demand for Green Properties in the UAE 1. Increasing Awareness The last decade has witnessed a colossal rise in the awareness among the UAE real estate developers and homebuyers about sustainable construction practices and the adverse effects of climate change, rising energy consumption, and carbon emission on their health and life which has significantly increased the demand for greener properties. The rising awareness about the advantages of green buildings is very evident from the leading studies conducted recently. The research conducted by EcoMENA in 2021 titled – ‘Green Building Trends in the Middle East’ reveals that in the last decade, green building design has become a top priority of real estate developers across the Middle East. The number of LEED-registered buildings has increased rapidly across the region, from 623 in 2010 to more than 2500 in 2020. UAE is ranked among the top 10 countries that hold LEED certifications in the world with Dubai ranked 3rd in the list of cities having the highest number of LEED-certified buildings. UAE has more than 600 LEED-certified projects. 2. Supportive Government Policies UAE has launched the ‘Net-Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative’ to reduce carbon emissions and will invest over AED 600 billion in renewable energy to minimize carbon emissions and move the nation towards cleaner energy. Other initiatives launched by the UAE to reduce carbon emissions which will increase the sales of green properties include – UAE Vision 2021, the UAE Centennial 2071, and the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, which sets a 50% target for clean energy in the country, among others. The UAE government has already established several sustainable development goals which serve as a guiding principle for most upcoming real estate projects in the region. 3. Lower Construction & Operational Cost Research conducted by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) reveals that the cost of installing green building features and technologies is significantly overestimated. Many developers perceive that the upfront cost of a green building is, on average, 17% higher than the original cost of a similar traditional building, however, that’s not true. The research by the U.S. Green building Council (USGBC) reveals the initial cost of a green building is only 2%-3% higher than its non-green counterpart. Moreover, green buildings consume 25%-35% less energy than non-green buildings and have 14% less operation and maintenance costs than their traditional counterparts. Modern property owners also prioritize renting or leasing green buildings or apartments due to their cost benefits. Green buildings also allow developers to save 20% of the initial construction cost annually by reducing energy consumption. Furthermore, green buildings allow developers to complete large-scale green projects at a much larger scale resulting in more revenues and business expansion. Using incentive technology such as Virtual Power Plants (VPP) combined with an onsite solar asset will further allow real estate developers to reduce the operational cost and utility cost and explore new models of maximizing income outside of increasing rent and making their properties more attractive for eco-friendly homes buyers. 4. Lower Rents & Service Charges Green properties are a win-win situation for every stakeholder. Due to their lower construction cost and energy consumption, green buildings have minimal operational costs. This is indeed good news for the homeowners and tenants as lower operational cost of the building leads to a reduction in their energy bills, service charges, and rents. The lower service charges and rents often result in higher resident satisfaction and occupancy rate for the landlords and developers. 5. The rise in Environment-friendly Buyers Rising awareness about the adverse impact of emissions on the health of humans as well as on the environment has attracted a number of homebuyers toward green properties. This is encouraging real estate developers to construct more green properties to foster quick sales. Two years ago we had to convince property developers to go green and think about efficient energy. The majority didn’t know what ‘green’ meant and assumed there was an extra cost attached. Now developers want to go green and some are achieving Leadership of Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, an internationally recognized green building rating system. Many large developers are creating their own green design guidelines to be followed by smaller developers building on their plot of land.” Khalid Bushnaq, CEO of Energy Management Services (EMS) There has been an exponential surge in buyers prioritizing green properties as they support a cleaner environment for future generations. 6. Investors Prioritizing Greener Properties for Letting & Sales There has been a rise in the investors and businesses prioritizing the green credentials of a property while making their purchase decision. This will indeed spur their saleability and rentability in the coming days. To cater to the demand of modern and environment-friendly buyers, real estate developers are coming up with greener properties and are evaluating the cost and the benefits of greenifying their portfolios. 7. Rising Sustainability Concerns There have been rising concerns about sustainability among both residential & commercial clients. Corporates across the globe are showing great interest in going sustainable and prioritizing sustainable buildings for their offices. According to the 2nd edition of Knight Frank’s (Y)our Space report, “40% of firms have set a net-zero carbon target and, of those, 77% are aiming to achieve this by 2030. 87% of firms surveyed had less than half of their current global real estate portfolios either ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’. Rising sustainability concerns among the buyers will accelerate the sales and rents of the green properties and will play a crucial role in minimizing the emission rate of the UAE. Summary Here is the summary of the article – There has been a rise in the attractiveness of greener properties among buyers across the UAE to reduce carbon emissions and move towards a healthy lifestyle. Climate change, COP 26, and UAEs investment in clean energy by 2050 have been the major drivers in raising awareness of green properties Along with the residential, the commercial sector is also prioritizing moving their offices to green properties to prioritize employee’s safety and adapt to their occupational strategies A Green building is a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment. The Knight Frank – 2021 survey on Middle East buyers reveals that proximity to green space and good air quality topped the list of location features. Half of the respondents considered the energy efficiency of their next home to be a ‘very important’ issue, compared to 42% of global buyers. UAE is ranked 14th in the world with 869 green-rated buildings The top reasons for the rising demand for green properties are as follows Increasing awareness Supportive government policies Lower construction & operational cost Lower rents & service charges Increase in environment-friendly buyers Investors Prioritizing Greener Properties for Letting & Sales Rising sustainability concerns among the buyers

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Spotlight

DAMAC Properties

For over a decade, the rich and diverse real estate portfolio of DAMAC Properties has been at the forefront of the Middle East’s luxury real estate market. With an enduring passion for design and quality, the company has built a reputation for creating some of the most iconic and desirable properties in the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon. Established in 2002, DAMAC Properties has completed almost 15,800 units and currently has a development portfolio of over 44,000 units at various stages of planning and progress. DAMAC Properties' hospitality portfolio will extend to reach around 13,000 units of hotel rooms, serviced hotel apartments and serviced villas.

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SmartRent Launches Alloy SmartHome Hub+

Business Wire | January 25, 2024

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EVORA Global Announces Acquisition of Metry

Business Wire | January 25, 2024

EVORA Global, a leading provider of tech-enabled sustainability solutions to the real asset industry, today announces its strategic acquisition of Metry, Europe’s number one platform for environmental data collection. The move will establish new standards in data excellence and technological innovation, delivering comprehensive data solutions for the global real estate and infrastructure investment industry. The acquisition signifies an improved level of data automation and quality for EVORA’s clients, achieved through direct connections to fiscal meters and hubs. This approach eliminates data gaps and reinforces the overall reliability of information provided into their analytics and content management platform, SIERA. EVORA's dedication to data quality and validation underscores the company's commitment to ensuring that all sustainability data is analytics-ready, combining external data sources with EVORA's expertise in regulations and carbon accounting, whilst simultaneously upholding the highest standards in the industry. Metry's customers will gain access to EVORA's expertise in setting strategy and implementing net-zero carbon initiatives in their real asset portfolios, broadening the value proposition available to them. This collaborative expertise - integrating human insights with advanced technology - is a testament to the forward-thinking approach of both companies. "We are thrilled to welcome Metry into the EVORA family," said Pradeep Menon, EVORA Global CEO. "This strategic acquisition marks a significant milestone in our journey to empower real asset investors with the tools and data needed to drive sustainable practices in the built environment. It will enable us to offer unparalleled services to our clients, solving for the climate challenge.” “This the perfect match,” said Magnus Hornef, Metry CEO and co-founder, who will be joining EVORA’s Executive Committee as Chief Data Officer. “We are enabling each other to make a bigger impact faster and I’m really excited about expanding our data collection capabilities to all of EVORA’s customers. It is a giant leap towards connecting every building with reliable data and automated collection.” About EVORA Global: EVORA Global is a premier sustainability advisor, providing comprehensive, industry-leading climate solutions for real asset investors. With over a decade of experience, EVORA is dedicated to addressing the climate challenge posed by the real asset industry, focusing on the needs of investors in the built environment. Its clients include many of the biggest names in global real estate, including Invesco Real Estate, Hines and M&G. Founded in 2011, the company now has over 200 staff and 150 clients. About Metry: Metry is the #1 platform for environmental data collection in Europe, with a primary focus on energy data. With over a decade of expertise, Metry empowers companies to develop and use energy-saving technologies and IoT solutions, contributing to real change for the environment. Currently serving over 200 companies in more than 10 countries, Metry is actively expanding internationally to offer full data collection coverage in Europe.

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Cushman & Wakefield Collaborates with Microsoft to Enhance AI Technology Platform

Business Wire | January 25, 2024

Cushman & Wakefield, a global leader in real estate services, today announced the firm is working with Microsoft to deploy an advanced suite of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. “We are committed to seamlessly integrating our people with the right technology and processes to enhance service offerings to our clients. Today’s launch of the use of Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service and Copilot for Microsoft 365 at Cushman & Wakefield again demonstrates our ability to pair robust technologies with market intelligence and expertise,” said Salumeh Companieh, Chief Information & Data Officer, Cushman & Wakefield. Since 2018, Cushman & Wakefield has been focused on aligning business, data, and operations. Results to date range from an 80% material reduction in operational cycle time, to a reduction of client supply chain costs via proprietary supply chain network optimization capabilities. Azure OpenAI Service Azure OpenAI Service is a cloud-based generative AI solution that offers customers a range of capabilities, including access to cutting-edge AI models, backed by the power of Azure. With Azure OpenAI Service, Cushman & Wakefield can benefit from the power of cloud computing, data analytics, and artificial intelligence to deliver innovative solutions for its clients and stakeholders. Azure OpenAI Service enables Cushman & Wakefield to create custom copilots that can enhance customer experience, improve operational efficiency, and increase competitive advantage. The platform enables developers to build, deploy, and manage AI solutions for various scenarios and domains. Some of the features of Azure OpenAI Service include machine learning, cognitive services, bot framework, computer vision, natural language processing, speech recognition and more. Microsoft Technology Centers Microsoft Technology Centers are facilities that provide immersive experiences and deep technical engagements in 50+ locations around the world. Microsoft Technology Center architects collaborate with academic, industry, and government partners to advance the state of the art in AI and create positive impact for society. The Microsoft Technology Center is providing Cushman & Wakefield with access to cutting-edge research, tools, and top specialists from Microsoft and its partners to develop powerful and adaptable applications that use AI features. It is also providing insight into various areas and problems that need AI solutions, with learning and improvement through feedback and advice. Copilot for Microsoft 365 Copilot for Microsoft 365 brings the power of next-generation AI, grounded in the user and company’s data, to Microsoft’s workplace productivity tools like Teams and Outlook and Word. It works alongside users to provide suggestions, summaries, generate, analyze and explore content and data across documents, presentations, spreadsheets, notes, chats, email, meetings, and more. Ensuring the safety and security of interactions with Generative AI is a crucial value driver for Cushman & Wakefield. Copilot for Microsoft 365 offers a high level of security for how the firm leverages GPT models, providing confidence that data is not exposed for training and does not leave the company’s ecosystem, thus safeguarding confidential information. “With this next generation of AI, we have a unique opportunity to accelerate innovation at Cushman & Wakefield and across commercial real estate,” said Laura Craig, General Manager, Data & AI, Microsoft. “We’re collaborating with Cushman & Wakefield to bring together AI advances that benefit from Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service and Copilot for Microsoft 365 to empower the firm’s professionals with new, AI-powered tools.” About Cushman & Wakefield Cushman & Wakefield is a leading global commercial real estate services firm for property owners and occupiers with approximately 52,000 employees in approximately 400 offices and 60 countries. In 2022, the firm reported revenue of $10.1 billion across its core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, and valuation and other services. It also receives numerous industry and business accolades for its award-winning culture and commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and more.

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SmartRent Launches Alloy SmartHome Hub+

Business Wire | January 25, 2024

SmartRent, Inc., the leading provider of smart home and property operations solutions for the rental housing industry, today announced the launch of Alloy SmartHome Hub+, the Company’s first thermostat with an integrated smart hub device developed under its Alloy SmartHome hardware brand. This innovative product, one of few on the market that integrates a thermostat with a smart hub device, operates on Z-Wave protocol and has less hardware to install and maintain. In addition to the built-in thermostat technology, Alloy SmartHome Hub+ establishes a single interface to control connected smart home devices, enabling users to turn off multiple lights in a home at once, remotely lock and unlock doors, receive alerts and automatically notify maintenance when a sensor detects a leak. “Alloy SmartHome Hub+, a device years in the making, is our latest solution that paves the way for the next generation of smarter living and working in rental housing,” said SmartRent CEO Lucas Haldeman. “Designed with our customers’ needs in mind, and inclusive of the feedback they’ve shared about the desire for less hardware, Alloy SmartHome Hub+ delivers sophistication and convenience, all while driving rent growth. Feedback from our beta pilot has been positive, and customer interest indicates eager demand to deploy this solution at scale. We are proud to bring Alloy SmartHome Hub+ to the market at large and to continue eliminating obstacles and easing implementation in the industry.” This high-value yet economical device builds upon existing SmartRent technologies by consolidating the hub hardware within a smart thermostat, which streamlines procurement, expedites installation and IoT setup. Alloy SmartHome Hub+ can be configured and paired with most HVAC systems and is compatible with smart locks, smart lights, leak sensors and other Z-Wave devices. About SmartRent Founded in 2017, SmartRent, Inc. is a leading provider of smart home and smart property solutions for the multifamily industry. The company’s unmatched platform, comprised of smart hardware and cloud-based SaaS solutions, gives operators seamless visibility and control over real estate assets, empowering them to simplify operations, automate workflows, benefit from additional revenue opportunities and deliver exceptional site team and resident experiences. SmartRent serves 15 of the top 20 multifamily owners and operators, and its solutions enable millions of users to live smarter every day.

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EVORA Global Announces Acquisition of Metry

Business Wire | January 25, 2024

EVORA Global, a leading provider of tech-enabled sustainability solutions to the real asset industry, today announces its strategic acquisition of Metry, Europe’s number one platform for environmental data collection. The move will establish new standards in data excellence and technological innovation, delivering comprehensive data solutions for the global real estate and infrastructure investment industry. The acquisition signifies an improved level of data automation and quality for EVORA’s clients, achieved through direct connections to fiscal meters and hubs. This approach eliminates data gaps and reinforces the overall reliability of information provided into their analytics and content management platform, SIERA. EVORA's dedication to data quality and validation underscores the company's commitment to ensuring that all sustainability data is analytics-ready, combining external data sources with EVORA's expertise in regulations and carbon accounting, whilst simultaneously upholding the highest standards in the industry. Metry's customers will gain access to EVORA's expertise in setting strategy and implementing net-zero carbon initiatives in their real asset portfolios, broadening the value proposition available to them. This collaborative expertise - integrating human insights with advanced technology - is a testament to the forward-thinking approach of both companies. "We are thrilled to welcome Metry into the EVORA family," said Pradeep Menon, EVORA Global CEO. "This strategic acquisition marks a significant milestone in our journey to empower real asset investors with the tools and data needed to drive sustainable practices in the built environment. It will enable us to offer unparalleled services to our clients, solving for the climate challenge.” “This the perfect match,” said Magnus Hornef, Metry CEO and co-founder, who will be joining EVORA’s Executive Committee as Chief Data Officer. “We are enabling each other to make a bigger impact faster and I’m really excited about expanding our data collection capabilities to all of EVORA’s customers. It is a giant leap towards connecting every building with reliable data and automated collection.” About EVORA Global: EVORA Global is a premier sustainability advisor, providing comprehensive, industry-leading climate solutions for real asset investors. With over a decade of experience, EVORA is dedicated to addressing the climate challenge posed by the real asset industry, focusing on the needs of investors in the built environment. Its clients include many of the biggest names in global real estate, including Invesco Real Estate, Hines and M&G. Founded in 2011, the company now has over 200 staff and 150 clients. About Metry: Metry is the #1 platform for environmental data collection in Europe, with a primary focus on energy data. With over a decade of expertise, Metry empowers companies to develop and use energy-saving technologies and IoT solutions, contributing to real change for the environment. Currently serving over 200 companies in more than 10 countries, Metry is actively expanding internationally to offer full data collection coverage in Europe.

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Real Estate Technology

Cushman & Wakefield Collaborates with Microsoft to Enhance AI Technology Platform

Business Wire | January 25, 2024

Cushman & Wakefield, a global leader in real estate services, today announced the firm is working with Microsoft to deploy an advanced suite of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. “We are committed to seamlessly integrating our people with the right technology and processes to enhance service offerings to our clients. Today’s launch of the use of Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service and Copilot for Microsoft 365 at Cushman & Wakefield again demonstrates our ability to pair robust technologies with market intelligence and expertise,” said Salumeh Companieh, Chief Information & Data Officer, Cushman & Wakefield. Since 2018, Cushman & Wakefield has been focused on aligning business, data, and operations. Results to date range from an 80% material reduction in operational cycle time, to a reduction of client supply chain costs via proprietary supply chain network optimization capabilities. Azure OpenAI Service Azure OpenAI Service is a cloud-based generative AI solution that offers customers a range of capabilities, including access to cutting-edge AI models, backed by the power of Azure. With Azure OpenAI Service, Cushman & Wakefield can benefit from the power of cloud computing, data analytics, and artificial intelligence to deliver innovative solutions for its clients and stakeholders. Azure OpenAI Service enables Cushman & Wakefield to create custom copilots that can enhance customer experience, improve operational efficiency, and increase competitive advantage. The platform enables developers to build, deploy, and manage AI solutions for various scenarios and domains. Some of the features of Azure OpenAI Service include machine learning, cognitive services, bot framework, computer vision, natural language processing, speech recognition and more. Microsoft Technology Centers Microsoft Technology Centers are facilities that provide immersive experiences and deep technical engagements in 50+ locations around the world. Microsoft Technology Center architects collaborate with academic, industry, and government partners to advance the state of the art in AI and create positive impact for society. The Microsoft Technology Center is providing Cushman & Wakefield with access to cutting-edge research, tools, and top specialists from Microsoft and its partners to develop powerful and adaptable applications that use AI features. It is also providing insight into various areas and problems that need AI solutions, with learning and improvement through feedback and advice. Copilot for Microsoft 365 Copilot for Microsoft 365 brings the power of next-generation AI, grounded in the user and company’s data, to Microsoft’s workplace productivity tools like Teams and Outlook and Word. It works alongside users to provide suggestions, summaries, generate, analyze and explore content and data across documents, presentations, spreadsheets, notes, chats, email, meetings, and more. Ensuring the safety and security of interactions with Generative AI is a crucial value driver for Cushman & Wakefield. Copilot for Microsoft 365 offers a high level of security for how the firm leverages GPT models, providing confidence that data is not exposed for training and does not leave the company’s ecosystem, thus safeguarding confidential information. “With this next generation of AI, we have a unique opportunity to accelerate innovation at Cushman & Wakefield and across commercial real estate,” said Laura Craig, General Manager, Data & AI, Microsoft. “We’re collaborating with Cushman & Wakefield to bring together AI advances that benefit from Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service and Copilot for Microsoft 365 to empower the firm’s professionals with new, AI-powered tools.” About Cushman & Wakefield Cushman & Wakefield is a leading global commercial real estate services firm for property owners and occupiers with approximately 52,000 employees in approximately 400 offices and 60 countries. In 2022, the firm reported revenue of $10.1 billion across its core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, and valuation and other services. It also receives numerous industry and business accolades for its award-winning culture and commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and more.

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