Project descriptionEquity Tree Portal is a deal management portal for commercial real estate. The main idea behind it is to make the management of investing workflows easier, more effective and as transparent as possible. Principals and investors can successfully operate deals and keep track of all the details about investments, make budget calculations, and easily contact users of the portal.
Many humble beginnings can become a solid foundation for future success. For our client, Ekaterina Stepanova, the business of real estate investing also grew from small things.
Ekaterina Stepanova, born and raised in Moscow, Russia, moved to the USA thirteen years ago. Having started with single family investing, she gained new experience and got to learn a lot of different things related to real estate investing. Over the course of a few years, while adjusting to a new life in the United States, Ekaterina gradually transitioned her business to the area of commercial real estate; to be more precise to mobile home park investing. Although mobile home park investing is a highly competitive field, she successfully managed to start and grow along with achieving her goals. Now she is a principal at M2K Partners that owns and operates mobile home park communities across the country.
Ekaterina is also a founder of Equity Tree Portal, the program our team has worked on and the project we would like to tell you more about.
In the very beginning, the concept with the program is that it would make management of investment deals much easier for a lot of people, be it is a single family or multi-family investing.
The plan was to create the software that would enable users to have their own portals, with the ability to manage deals (also known as “offerings”), and to contact investors among other things.
First, we created mockups to plan the visual structure of the portal. The vision included the view of the portal from the perspective of a principal and investor respectively, and the way these different roles would need to use the platform.
In this way, various separate functionalities were built in order to meet the requirements for these users.
When someone uses the system as a principal, they have their own portal with a chosen name and logo and their own branding that they can amend. They are able to start working on the platform absolutely from scratch, create deals, and invite new investors.
As a principal, they have access to everything in the portal, so they can keep track of every single detail and all the processes at any given time.
Major options for principals include:
- Creating deals (offerings);
- Publishing them to any investor they choose in the portal;
- Tracking deal performance;
- Contacting any investors and communicating with them within the portal itself;
- Exchanging documents with investors;
- Starting investment workflows within any deal.
Deal management functionality allows the principal to fill in financial summaries that include offering price, price per unit, current occupancy, NOI, cap rate etc.
One of the most important things is the option to control and manage deal performance with the help of the deal performance dashboard.
Speaking about the platform, Ekaterina says in an interview on the YouTube channel, “We Close Notes”:
One of the features in our current platform was very important to me. I thought of putting a budget into the portal, so each deal has a very clear map: from what was planned, our projections, to actuals. And so, each and every month we can compare, whether we are on track or off track.
The dashboard allows calculations to be made about actual costs and projected ones, and to keep track of anything that occurs with costs over the course of each month and quarter, and to see the visual representation of the dashboard in a graph that effectively shows the state of budget within the exact deal.
Moreover, the principal also can fill in distributions for investors in the offering, making summarized calculations for every investor for each month in total over the year.
As an investor, the user can view the deals in the portal and access those offerings that are published to them for investing purposes.
When the principal sets the stage of the deal as “funding,” the investor can start the investment process workflow, which gives both principal and investor an opportunity to control, manage and confirm the steps that are taken in the workflow. It begins with an investor making an offer, and then goes through different steps including processing approval of documents and wire details, and eventually ends with the investment being complete. The whole process is fully transparent to the principal who can see the status of the investment at any given moment.
After finishing this crucial part of the system, we constantly assessed the functionality and made new updates to the portal, making sure that the platform is as effective and efficient as possible.
“We want to bring absolute transparency,” Ekaterina Stepanova states in the same interview about the program.
And the platform actually shows the way to make investment management easier and clearer. What’s more, the portal can be used by people in different areas of real estate investing.
As Ekaterina explains, if someone is a single family investor or if they are setting up a partnership, purchasing smaller properties, they can still use the platform.
This can suit someone who wants to find a way to operate investment processes and make sure that everything is going smoothly, while keeping in touch with investors all the time within the portal.
All things considered, we think that whether someone is a beginner in real estate investing, or already an experienced business owner, this tool can help direct an effective path for investment management.
To close this case study, we would like to bring up Ekaterina’s words in one of her interviews about investing:
Everyone needs to find their own place in business, or in investing career. They really need to find out what makes sense to them, what they feel they can really do well, and enjoy. Because everything takes time, and it definitely takes perseverance, and persistence and experience.
On that note, we can affirm that anyone can start something entirely different and new, and, by perseverance, move forward with their business and achieve new goals.