The Reonomy National Platform provides users with data on almost every commercial property in the USA (over 50 million properties). We provide information on the physical characteristics, sales, debt, tax, and ownership information for every apartment building, office tower, strip mall, and industrial building. Our diverse user base includes Commercial Real Estate (CRE) professionals, investors, analysts, and service providers. Some users have more of a research focus, while others use Reonomy as a prospecting tool for finding commercial property owners to contact. Designing one product on top of such a large dataset with different use cases and users was challenging, but was made possible through our team’s commitment to user research. I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to lead the design of this product from its inception. Over the past two years, we have continued to iterate on the product by broadening its usefulness and improving the user experience.
Early Product Strategy
Common User Flows
Building a list of properties
One of the most common workflows for our users is building a list of properties that match some criteria. The criteria and purpose of the list differ by segment, but the search experience is the same for everyone. An appraiser might want to build a list of sales comps by searching for recently sold properties that have similar characteristics to the subject property they are appraising. A commercial roofer may want to build a list of medium-size warehouses constructed more than 15 years ago in a specific geographic area, with the goal of building a prospecting list to drum up new business. The dynamic search system we implemented makes it simple to build these types of lists. A lot of design thought was put into each search filter to simplify the user flow, constantly checking with our users to make sure we were iterating on the right things. Additionally, we wanted to minimize the kinds of errors that can arise when searching on a database where coverage varies by county and state. I’m very proud of the search experience our team created.
piercing the llc and finding the true owner
The most important problem that Reonomy solves for many of our users is finding the true owner of a property and their contact information. In CRE, it is very common for owners to obscure themselves behind LLC’s, for example a property at 123 Main Street could be owned by “123 Main Street LLC.” To find the true owner, you would have to look up the LLC in a clunky state government website, find the signature of the person who established the LLC (hoping that this is the signature of the owner and not their attorney), and finally use another service to get the phone number and email address for that person. This process can take up to an hour per contact, while Reonomy can do it in seconds thanks to a ton of data work and third party integrations. Since there is sometimes a delay of up to 10 seconds on our end in finding this information, we designed an experience that keeps the user aware of the system state and delights them when we get the correct result.
Map-based search and analysis
CRE professionals across all user segments love maps, so I’ve been focused from the start on making the map a big part of the Reonomy experience. The map in Reonomy takes up 50% of the screen real estate, with an option to expand it to 100%. It is used both as a research visual, for users to see parcel outlines and other spatial information, and as a main component of the search experience. Users can use the viewport as part of their search criteria, or draw shapes on the map to designate their own sense of place. In the future, we will add additional layers of information and enhance the kinds of spatial searches users will be able to perform.