Explaining “Beta” To Commercial Real Estate Pros

Blogging for the community of commercial real estate professionals means taking the conversation online. And as we all know, the online world and the “real” world have some pretty big differences.

One such difference is vocabulary.  The appearance of mysterious techie terms can be disorienting.  For example, our site is in a beta stage right now.

A what?

The good news for our understanding is there are plenty of parallels between the online technology world and the commercial real estate world.  Both are home to economic engines, commercial properties and development projects of all sizes and shapes and scales.  This means they share lots of important similarities.

Interestingly enough, the very word “real” appears in “real estate” thanks to a very old need to distinguish real, tangible stuff – land, buildings, improvements – from other kinds of property.

There are definitely properties online  – commercialsource.com is one – so that means there’s development and sale and appraisal and utilization and all kinds of parallels to the commercial real estate world.

So what is a beta then?

As it turns out, we can turn to our own commercial real estate industry for help in understanding.

When a web site or a software program is in its earliest stages of development, techies refer to it as being “in alpha”.   That means it runs, but some features aren’t working right because it’s still being built.  This is similar to the early stages of construction on a commercial real estate project.

The next stage (and the next letter in the greek alphabet)  is “beta”.  This is where just about everything actually works.  The equivalent concept in CRE is early occupancy, where tenants contend with painters and last-stage electrical additions as the new property approaches prime time and its complete set of features appears.

So welcome to CommercialSource.com’s beta site.  Let the conversation begin!

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