Here's what we're covering in this week's (packed) edition of the GEM Crystal Radar
- We're hosting our first ever GEM Diamond Retreat in a lava cave (yes, it's real and it's as sweet as it sounds).
- An update on the GEM Proptech Index.
- Build to rent and property maintenance were the major themes covered at IMN SFR West.
- Urban agriculture companies have yet to crack the code to success, but could new tools like advanced HVAC equipment be the solution?
- Real Estate News did a great job summarizing four prevalent brokerage models: traditional, capped, fee-based and business generation.
- Author Ramit Sethi renewed the buying versus renting discussion, and the merits of reinvesting the difference.
Keep reading for complete analysis on the storylines above.
New on the Geek Estate Blog:
In an effort to modernize the AEC industry, Assembly OSM is a modular construction company that utilizes aerospace precision technology to streamline and enhance the construction of high-rise buildings...
GEM Diamond’s newest Biz Intel series: Real Estate Data Intelligence. Our goal is to summarize the top of the funnel for any data needs...
This week, Drew Meyers explores the opportunity for agents to serve as the HOA/community/neighborhood historian. Before that, Drew Meyers made the argument that the time is now for a Kiva for real estate to emerge.
As always, links surrounded by the ❇️ emoji indicate exclusive GEM Diamond content. If you would like to have access to all links, please consider GEM Diamond membership.
GEM'S FIRST EVER SLEEPOVER
By: Drew Meyers
Ever since meeting Brian Mommsen at CREtech in October of 2019 and then partnering with Resident on GEM’s first VIP Dinner right before Covid shut down the world, the dinner table has been the core relationship building block for GEM Diamond members. Deep conversations, vulnerability, and new connections across sectors. All overlaid with incredible cuisine.
That doesn't mean dinners will be all we ever do—there is insatiable demand for deeper interactions. That’s the gap the conference circuit doesn’t, and can’t, deliver on.
Stagnation is the enemy of community. I am always thinking, “What’s the next iteration? How can GEM create more meaningful conversations and relationships?”
When Greg Fischer told me earlier this year, “I have an inside connection at a gorgeous resort space in Bend that would work for a GEM retreat,” I was immediately in. Having visited family in the area since I was a kid, I love Central Oregon. I've been wanting to do a multi-day GEM experience for a couple of years, to thread the needle between dinner and “conference.” And I'm always beyond excited to collaborate with Greg. A lava cave experience was icing on the cake.
Enter the inaugural ❇️GEM Proptech Getaway❇️, an exclusive retreat bringing together visionaries, industry leaders, venture capitalists, and seasoned practitioners in the world of proptech. Taking place April 4-6 in a beautiful venue away from the distractions of a bustling urban core, this will be a deep foray into relationship building in a casual environment. We’ll blend cuisine and conversation with collaborative working opportunities, an exploration of a new startup idea using generative AI, and curated networking for personal and professional growth.
❇️As I’ve said before❇️, small is the new big. The Proptech Getaway will be centered around a Bend version of our flagship GEM Community Dinner—capped at 24. We already have a third of that committed.
If you’re in for a memorable escape that delivers growth, connection, and innovation—all in one go—❇️grab your spot now❇️. At $300 for the first 11 confirmed seats, and then $400 for the second 11, it’s a no brainer. This price point covers costs—GEM remains a community built for you, not a profit-first events company.
And, don't you want to say you attended the first ever GEM Proptech Getaway? Those in attendance will help mold it, and I’m confident it will become a signature GEM experience for years to come.
Please Note that the event is only for our GEM Diamond Members. GEM Diamond members receive exclusive access to in person and virtual events (like the one above), full access to our business intelligence articles, more weekly content, and a private networking platform. 600+ of the key practitioners changing the real estate landscape are already in the group. Think you should be in? Apply now.
Proptech Weekly Index Update
Consisting of 31 stocks, the GEM Proptech Index had a combined market cap of $186.687B, a 6.26% increase from the previous week.
IMN Take: Build to Rent (BTR) and Property Maintenance to the Center
By: Nate Smoyer
BTR absolutely DOMINATED the opening session at the ❇️IMN SFR West Conference❇️ last week in Scottsdale. Many comments were made to suggest BTR is not only the tool to broadly help increase housing affordability, but also the right product to meet what’s most in demand. Evidence of this is the recent slowing of rent rate increases and the continued high-cost of ownership (yes, home values are up year over year—don’t listen to the YouTube doomers).
There could also be one reason the BTR segment is gaining steam, and that’s potential pressure coming from DC. Lawmakers have proposed a bill setting out to regulate or place restrictions on large investors buying and investing in SFRs. That’s not to say BTR would escape the wrath of this bill if it were to go through—but there wasn’t a lot of discussion particularly worried about future legislation.
With the rentals space there’s also a lot of effort being put forth to increase the ease and accuracy of tenant screening. Let's save that topic for another day though, because there’s a lot to consider with the future of tenant screening capabilities.
Property maintenance was by no means a secondary point of discussion. I was able to conduct several interviews with founders on-site who are either working on solving some of the challenges around maintenance or serve a role in maintenance. Companies such as Lula and RentCheck are ones to follow. A notable mention in this space of course is Property Meld (located here in the snowy Black Hills). There are many more, but that’s also a separate article to write in mapping this side of the industry.
Let’s Build Better Tools, Not Farmers
By: Logan Nagel
Urban agriculture companies like Gotham Greens ($310 million) and Plenty ($400 million) have amassed tons of capital, but growers like Infarm ($500 million) and many others have gone bankrupt. There’s no lack of demand for this kind of produce, from local bistros to national grocery chains like Walmart and Kroger. But margins are low and farming indoors is not for penny pinchers. Building out existing space is expensive. Growing requires both labor and plenty of light, and relying on artificial lighting results in massive energy bills. Controlling the variables and making high-quality results easily replicable is the name of the game, but scales of production beyond a few microgreens for the restaurant next door is no cakewalk.