What is real estate software?

Real estate software helps agents automate workflows and processes so they can spend more time building and strengthening relationships. There are three major categories of software for real estate teams: CRM software, marketing automation tools, and property management software. Real estate professionals in the buy/sell vertical face a number of serious challenges. Among the most commonly listed are unreasonable price expectations, a shortage of buyers or sellers in the local market, and too many competing agents. Many of these challenges can be addressed through better relationship management and data-driven marketing. But the industry also has a strong need for property and investment management solutions.

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What are the types of real estate software?

The real estate industry is one of great breadth and complexity, with agencies that specialize in different property types (multi-family, single-family, commercial, vacation/short-term), as well as different occupational areas, such as leasing, sales, property management, and investing. In the current market, clients have innumerable options and greater control over the decision process, which leads to fierce competition between firms. Agents themselves contend with long, intricate buying cycles and a mountain of clerical responsibilities, struggling to balance relationship management with productivity and compliance.

Real estate CRM

Industry-specific real estate CRM software is designed to help agents manage relationships with various stakeholders (buyers, sellers, developers, financial institutions, etc.) and optimize the sales cycle from showing to contract. Most systems are built around contact/account management and workflow automation, but some may also include task management features, which can be useful for house flipping or development projects. Here are some common features you can expect to find in a CRM solution:
  • Contact or account management
  • Sales pipelines and forecasting
  • Calendars and task management
  • Workflow automation
  • Collaboration tools
  • Document and file storage
  • Social media integration
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Native mobile apps
  • Geolocation and navigation

Marketing automation

Marketing automation (MA) software is one of the most common solutions deployed in conjunction with CRM. That’s because it’s predicated on collaboration between sales and marketing. Your agency can use marketing automation software to build targeted campaigns and engage prospects across multiple channels with the hope that these prospects will eventually become new clients. Throughout the customer journey, your CRM will accrue contact details, demographic information, and historical data about each lead order to build a stronger relationship in the future. For this reason, many consider both CRM and marketing automation to be essential. Some CRMs offer basic marketing automation features out-of-the-box, but these are typically limited in scope (web forms, mass emailing, automated follow-ups). A dedicated MA platform, on the other hand, will provide more robust features, including:
  • Email campaigns
  • Auto-responders
  • Templates and editing tools
  • Drip programs
  • A/B testing
  • Lead management
  • Social media marketing campaigns
  • Landing page builders
  • SEO and content management tools
  • Reporting and analytics

Property management

Property management software addresses the administrative needs of owners and investors across a variety of rental property types, including multifamily, single-family, homeowner’s association (HOA), commercial, vacation/short-term, and even self-storage facilities. Most solutions provide tools for managing the leasing relationship (screenings, inspections, rent collection, move-out and contract renewal), as well as maintaining the property and related assets. More so than with CRM and marketing automation, you’ll notice the segmentation between different scale property management solutions — namely, integrated solutions vs. “best-of-breed.” Best-of-breed tools are designed to automate specific functions within the broader property management spectrum, such as rent collection or maintenance management. They may be simpler and more affordable, but they don’t offer the end-to-end usability of an integrated system. Here are some of the features you can expect to find in a property management solution:
  • Tenant management
  • Tenant self-service portals
  • Rent payment processing
  • Applicant screening
  • Work order management
  • Accounting and financial management
  • Document management
  • Prospect tracking
  • Unit inspection forms
  • Integration with ILS (internet listing service)
  • Native mobile applications
  • Reporting and analytics