Q&A with Propdocs founder Steven Jaffe: Part 1

by | Insights & Guides

jaffe_headshotIn part one of a two-part Q&A series, Steven Jaffe, CEO of Propdocs, talks about the benefits of bringing efficiency into the CRE industry. 



Q: Explain Propdocs in three sentences or less.

Steven: Propdocs enables real estate professionals to streamline their deals by bringing all the necessary tools into one software solution where they create, negotiate, and complete deals. It’s built for CRE, so it’s intuitive and very easy to use. It removes unnecessary complexity and inefficiencies that are a product of one-size-fits-all applications such as email, Google Workspace and DocuSign. Ultimately, Propdocs enables deals to be completed more quickly with a dramatically improved experience.

Q: What was the light bulb moment that led you to founding Propdocs?

Steven: The concept of Propdocs was formed when we saw brokers and landlords at our company Spacelist struggling to help SMB’s find space efficiently. Although most deals are typically on the smaller side, the process was just as complicated as if it were a larger deal. Pretty much everyone loses in this situation: inefficient transactions lead to unhappy tenants and headaches for all. When we saw how simple the deal process could be by using one tool instead of five, we knew we had to build a solution that would truly streamline deals that were being overly complicated. 

Q: What industry challenge does Propdocs solve?

Steven: The process and tools used by CRE professionals ostensibly do the job, but they are painful to use and time consuming. Unfortunately, in the absence of an alternative, these inefficiencies are just accepted. The challenge CRE professionals face is how to simplify the deal process when no alternative existed, until now, that is. 

These inefficiencies costs all parties in the deal time, money and unnecessary frustration. Deals that should be simple are overcomplicated and this has a cascading effect on the entire deal lifecycle. In addition, thanks to the nature of the deal process and tools used there is an inherent lack of trust between parties,  even on one side of the deal. 

These inefficiencies and trust issues cause significant delays in closing deals. However, they present an opportunity for real estate professionals to provide better services for their clients and save time. 

Q: Where do you want Propdocs to be in one year? And in five?

Steven: In one year we will have scaled to dozens of markets across North America, helping hundreds of landlords, property managers and brokers serve thousands of tenants with an amazing deal-making process. Our roadmap includes features that will save users more time and provide valuable insights into their deals they’ve never had before. 

In five years we will be expanding globally into markets that have the same challenges that real estate professionals in North America experience. We will have a wide network of partners that use Propdocs as their hub for distributing document templates for their members to leverage. We will also have integrated a wide range of business services for tenants, landlords and brokers, including insurance and financing. 

Q: Who should use Propdocs and why?

Steven: Propdocs is used by landlords and property managers of commercial properties, as well as brokers representing both tenants and landlords to save time and improve collaboration and negotiation. By removing unnecessary complexities from the deal process, time (and money) is saved by all parties involved, creating less friction around arriving at mutually beneficial terms.

Tenants will benefit from Propdocs as they’ll be invited to use it to facilitate a streamlined negotiation and close — similar to how they benefit from basic esignature tools. Happy tenants mean happy landlords. If brokers and property managers can spend less time on the deal, and more time on providing their core services, everyone benefits. 

Q: What excites you about being in the CRE industry right now?

Steven: We’re living in a very interesting time right now, and it’s not only due to Covid. We’re living through the largest generational shift in the workplace, with the average age in our industry set to drop by one or two decades in a few years. This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, a younger cohort is likely to adopt new technology that drives efficiencies in the industry more rapidly. On the other, this group has been trained for the past twenty years by people who use paper notebooks as their CRM and a fax machine to communicate. How this dynamic plays out is going to be fascinating, and we’re backing those in the upcoming generation who, despite their legacy training, have confidence in technology to help them succeed

Something else I am keeping a close eye on is the focus on experiences. This emerged from the retail sector, but is shifting to the workplace as companies encourage their people back into the office. It’s human nature to want to be social so the office will never die. But just like retail, it will continue evolving. 


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