Whether you are a property owner, a real estate agent, or a real estate entrepreneur, at some point you will want to minimize your manual tasks and automate some of your common business processes. That’s where real estate software comes in.
Real estate software is not only necessary for real estate enterprises and agencies, but also a great idea for startups. Nowadays, startups have a huge chance to revolutionize the real estate industry, following the examples of Airbnb and Fundrise.
According to Data Bridge Market Research, the market for real estate software used by builders and real estate agents is predicted to grow from 2020 to 2027 at a market rate of 8.90%.
Real estate software can modernize, digitalize, and automate your entire real estate company. However, choosing the type of real estate software can be quite a challenge, especially when you don’t know the details of each one.
In this article, you are going to learn about the importance of real estate software, types of real estate software, their benefits, and features.
1. Importance of Real Estate Software
Manual data entry leads to mistakes that can be avoided with the adoption of online real estate software. Real estate technologies aim to reduce the number of these errors and improve business processes such as customer, business, and property management.
Real estate software falls under the “PropTech” category, i.e. property technology. Global funding of PropTech has been rising at around 36% each year. In 2019, 78 PropTech companies were funded worldwide.
The growth of funding has made it possible for more businesses to embrace real estate technologies. For instance, Amazon released that it was entering the residential real estate market, Facebook enlarged its Marketplace with rentals and sales, and a few rent-bidding apps launched in Australia.
Almost two-thirds of survey respondents have increased their technology usage in their real estate businesses in 2019.
About 90% of responders suggest that the use of technologies for real estate companies will continue to grow over the next five years.
The study reveals 2 main ways of channeling technology:
- One-third of respondents are buying products from third-party suppliers.
- One-quarter of respondents are investing or collaborating with proptech startups.
It has been established that the most complicated step in the home buying process is finding the right property.
That is why property owners use software for real estate not only for their convenience, but also to manage the contacts of their potential customers. According to a recent survey, most purchased homes were found online.
So why you may need software for your real estate business?
There are a number of reasons why many real estate owners opt for real estate software:
1. Real Estate Automation
Integrating real estate software into your work routine will benefit you in automating:
- Lead Generation Automation. No more collecting of leads from different channels manually. With an integration ability, online real estate software allows you to gather leads automatically and keep them in one place.
- Emailing Automation. By automating your email marketing, you can create an email sequence and target different audiences. Thus, you will be able to customize your letters beforehand and create drip campaigns.
- Workflow Automation. Software for real estate also helps in automating recurring tasks, such as filling out real estate documents, creating monthly budgets, and maintaining and managing client databases.
- Accounting and Finances Automation. By automating your accounting and finances, you will have a centralized system for analyzing, managing, and organizing payment processes, purchases, transactions, and financial statements.
- Real Estate Marketing Automation. Collect leads, save them in your database, create sales funnels, and send them emails or create marketing campaigns – all in one system.
2. Relationship Retention with Customers
Any real estate software gives you great communication and marketing channels with which you can maintain close relationships with your customers.
The advantage of real estate software lies in quick responses to customers, which improves the overall customer experience and engagement.
3. Team Management
The fact is business is not only about the owner. And half of the company’s success depends on the team’s performance. Thus real estate software for team management plays a vital role.
Since real estate software can allow multiple users access, each team member can have a separate account. Your team will have the ability to create task reminders, schedule any inspections or meetings, track leads, communicate with customers, etc.
4. New Tech Opportunities
The real estate industry has evolved over the past years thanks to the spread of cutting-edge technologies in almost every possible industry. The real estate industry has even adopted some VR and AR features. Virtual property tours can save valuable time, both for customers and your staff, and eliminate customers who are not really interested in buying or renting a property.
AI has also been a star in the real estate industry. Property value estimations, chatbots, and online leasing assistants are just a few examples of how AI can be integrated into various types of real estate software.
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2. Types of Real Estate Software
Based on our experience, we can distinguish between 7 main types of real estate software, each fulfilling its own purpose. Below you can find an in-depth overview of each of them – their goals, usage, and core features for real estate business.
Company Real Estate Website
The company real estate website is a promo website of your company where you showcase your services and business. Basically, these websites serve as company business cards.
Benefits of a Company Real Estate Website:
- A New Selling Channel
Besides making phone calls to prospective buyers or renters, and creating ad campaigns to target your focus audience, you can actually build your own company promotional website and optimize it for search requests. Your potential customers would be able to find available properties, contact forms, and customer feedback on your website.
- More Powerful Personal Brand
Your real estate website is your company’s face. Presenting your identity and positioning increases the company’s brand awareness. Your company can gain extra trust and increase sales, as people are more likely to buy from familiar brands.
- 24/7 Availability
It is not necessary to wait until working hours for people to submit a request to your company – a website has no geographical or timezone limitations. Just be sure to have contact forms or virtual assistance in place.
Features of a Company Real Estate Website:
- Property Listings
For websites that are selling or renting properties, property listings are definitely a feature that your company real estate website should have.
Property listings can be added both on a home page and on a separate page devoted to properties. Usually, websites with long lists of properties have the ability to filter or sort those listings. In addition, visualizations like high-quality photos are a must for a brand-oriented website.
- CTAs & Lead Capture Forms
Any selling website should encourage users to take certain actions by placing Call To Actions on various pages, The golden rule is to have two CTAs per page. As for contact forms, they should be short, understandable, and available on each property page.
- Contact Us Page
A “Contact Us” page is a one-way communication channel for your users. There, users can leave a request to be contacted or can ask any question they like. The Contact Us page should be located both in a navigation bar and footer. In addition, to be more transparent to your users, indicate your headquarters and office addresses on this page.
Not every company real estate website needs a blog, but if you want to share your experience and show expertise in the real estate industry, then you need one.
By sharing content with your users, not only will you be able to offer some value, but also to do some content marketing.
Real Estate CRM Software
Real estate CRM software is a system for managing all the relations with customers and prospects, and managing all sales activities.
Benefits of Real Estate CRM Software:
- Client Data Storage
Every real estate agency has a database of past, present, and potential customers. This information is usually stored in multiple places, like Google Cloud, Excel tables, Word documents, or written on paper. This is not the most effective way of storing information, to put it mildly. Real estate CRM makes it easier to keep and sort customer data in one place and retrieve it as needed.
- Workflow Tracking
Real estate CRM tracks and helps to measure the progress of your business, whether marketing, selling, or revenue growth. From the results that are stored in a CRM system, you can see what is working and what needs to be improved.
Features of Real Estate CRM Software:
- Lead Management
Generate leads from different channels including MLS websites, social media, and phone calls, and gather them in your CRM sales funnel. Automatically assign your sales representatives to different leads and use lead estimations to assign leads to different stages of the sales funnel to prioritize the focus.
- Invoicing and Billing
Create, store, manage, and share your invoices and bills in a real estate CRM system. A CRM allows you to create different invoice templates and manage all the payment and transaction details.
- Client Database
Store information on your customers, such as their name, email, phone number, address, and personal information in your real estate CRM software. Access it anytime, edit, change, delete, or add any new ones.
Form various reports in your system, choose pre-existing templates, or create custom fields for reports. Group, filter, and sort your report results – all in one system.
- Automated Follow-Ups
Win some extra time by automating your follow-up emails and responses to customers. Create a sequence of emails and schedule email sending throughout a week or month.
Property Management System
A property management system is real estate management software tailored for real estate owners, managers, and operators to automate and centralize core business processes in managing properties, such as management of multiple properties, finances, communication between renters and landlords, and data storage.
Benefits of a Property Management System:
- Management of Multiple Properties
The first and core advantage of property management systems is the ability to manage multiple properties using a single software. This software includes everything that a property owner or a real estate agent needs, from signing a leasing contract to doing property maintenance.
- Data Security
A real estate company is legally responsible for keeping all the sensitive data safe. Your real estate management software is going to store customers’ personal information, banking details, and lease agreements. In order to have a safe environment for keeping all of the data, opt for either custom real estate software development or reliable commercial real estate software.
Features of a Property Management System:
- User Dashboard
There are 3 main user roles in a property management system: owners, renters, applicants. Owners have access to all the system’s functionality. Tenants are able to view tenancy details, outstanding charges, lease status, etc. Applicants have the ability to apply to rent a property and sign leases or renewal contracts whenever they want.
- Online Leases
Here is how owners and renters use an online leases feature:
- Tenant screening
- Move-in and move-out management
- Customization of an online lease agreement
- Template creation of a lease agreement
- Sending requests for online lease renewals
- Online Payments
Property management systems allow collecting rent online with third-party payment providers such as Paypal, or simply by enabling payments with credit or debit cards. Additionally, renters usually have the ability to view their account balances, scan checks, and receive receipts.
- Maintenance Request Tracking
Such systems allow tenants to submit maintenance requests and track their status. By creating a form application, renters have the ability to describe the issue, upload photos, and specify the task emergency.
- Channel Manager
Posting properties on various platforms can be time-consuming. The property management system stores all the links of posted properties, allows you to view their status, and add or remove a vacancy if necessary.
Real Estate ERP Software
ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning system, is software that is designed for helping to automate, streamline, and manage all of the work processes of a real estate enterprise.
Benefits of an ERP:
- Centralized Channel
ERP combines all real estate software and systems that are responsible for the company’s internal and external processes, such as CRM, Property Management System, and different financial systems.
Though only having a CRM or property management system may be beneficial in the initial years, an ERP system is definitely a one-stop-shop necessary for big companies.
- Automated Business Processes
Get your inner processes up and running by creating software that is able to automate repetitive and manual tasks, thus speeding up the process between different departments of your organization.
Corporations have large and complex processes. Their simplification and automation can save a lot of costs. Automation can handle up to 40% of repetitive work tasks, raise productivity by 1.4%, and help to avoid wasting around 22 hours per week.
Features of an ERP:
ERP is a complex software that consists of different modules, each responsible for its own assignment. ERP may include about 10, or sometimes even more, modules depending on the enterprise’s needs.
The 4 most used features of an ERP for Real Estate:
- Property Sales Management
Using ERP for a Real Estate enterprise can easily track and manage leads, and help in moving leads across the sales pipeline, keeping track of sales progress, and generating sales reports. ERP allows property owners to completely handle their sales process.
- Property Rental Management
ERP helps to manage tenant rents by allowing renters to pay online and automatically renew their leases. In addition, property owners are able to create rental agreements and keep tabs on their property rental profitability.
- Financial Management
ERP helps to monitor the expenses of corporations. With a real estate ERP, real estate agents can do fast bank reconciliations, and generate financial and rental tracking reports. It also allows you to create income and cash flow statements, balance sheets, and reports about capital changes.
- Facility Management System
ERP software makes it possible to monitor properties, get automated maintenance notifications, manage bookings for the properties, and track property maintenance issues.
Real Estate Marketplace
A real estate marketplace is a platform mediator between sellers or buyers and renters of commercial and non-commercial properties.
Benefits of a Real Estate Marketplace:
- No Property Buying Needed
Real estate marketplaces are simply mediators between those who want to sell or rent and the other ones on the receiving side. Your platform can offer, for instance, either long- or short-term renting, just like Airbnb does or simply list properties for sale.
- Alluring Opportunity for Investors
Investors are interested in marketplaces. There has been $72.4 billion of investments in marketplaces overall. Investors love how marketplaces grow, and perform.
Plus, if you decide to build an online marketplace in the real estate industry, you are going to hit the jackpot.
Features of a Real Estate Marketplace:
The first step that a user is going to take in the real estate marketplace is property searching. A basic search system should allow users to first enter an address/zip code where they would like to rent or buy real estate.
- Property Listings
The second step of user flow is viewing the property listings. Listings can be shown as a list, a grid, or on a map. Furthermore, filtering and sorting are helpful if your real estate agency has many properties to show.
- Property Page
A property page includes all the essential information on the property. High-quality photos and videos go a long way towards impressing customers. A real estate marketplace can include more features on this page, like floorplans, building overview, or new listings near the house.
It is important for a site to allow booking of a time slot for a tour around the property if a customer is planning to buy; booking a room, or a house for short- or long-term rentals. This feature is a must-have for any real estate marketplace.
- Payment System
Thanks to third-party marketplace payment providers, users can securely make payment transactions on the platform, such as paying for short-term rentals.
- Property Posting
Property posting is a feature that is used by the other side, namely property owners. Mainly, everything that a customer sees on the property page is the result of a real estate owner indicating it while posting a property.
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Real Estate Listings
Benefits of a Real Estate Listing Website:
- Easy Sales Channel
Promoting a company and its properties is not easy. It is particularly challenging for young real estate companies. Real estate marketplaces and listings do all the marketing tasks themselves – they advertise their platforms and properties on them. Thus these online platforms obtain an extra commission, and agencies get new deals.
Features of a Real Estate Listing Website:
- Advanced Search
As in a real estate marketplace, customers should be able to search initially by address or zip code. Then, they should have the option to expand their search by sorting by price or most recently added, and filtering by the type of property or number of rooms, etc.
Provide options to view a listing in different ways: by list, grid, or map. With a real estate listing website, a real estate agency has the ability for users to add properties to their favorites for better navigation later and always include property photos.
- Property Page
A property page includes property images, a map with a pinned address, facts and features of the property, and the ability to contact the property owner or a real estate agent.
- Contact forms
If customers are interested in taking further action, include a contact form. Though multiple CTAs and contact forms may be perceived as a bit pushy, they still do the job of keeping your users focused on the goal, namely buying or renting.
- IDX/MLS integration
IDX (Internet Data Exchange) is a software standard or set of rules and policies which is used for showcasing MLS (multiple listing services) properties on a real estate listing website. IDX helps to maintain up-to-date information about a wide range of property listings, thus, generating more leads.
Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform
A real estate crowdfunding platform is a website that helps property developers to raise funds from multiple accredited and non-accredited investors.
Benefits of a Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform:
- Billion-Dollar Market
The real estate market is an extremely lucrative industry. It is estimated that the real estate market will reach a value of nearly $7227 billion by 2022. The Real estate crowdfunding market is forecasted to account for approximately $868,982 million by 2027. More and more crowdfunding platforms appear due to the extreme value and investments in real estate.
- Large Pool of Property Developers and Investors
This benefit is a result of the above-mentioned advantage. Since there are numerous new investments in the real estate industry, there are many property developers and investors who need to be connected. A real estate crowdfunding platform can be their destination point.
Features of a Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform:
Like any other real estate platform, a real estate crowdfunding platform has common features such as registration, an investor’s dashboard, search functionality, property listings, a property page, investing process, and application forms. Let’s have a look at the core features of crowdfunding platforms.
The registration process is different for investors and property developers.
Investors can do either a basic registration process or a complex one. They will still need to include information about their investment intentions, tax reporting, and so on. The difference is that at what point they are going to enter this data: during registration or the investment process.
Property owners usually register with social networks, and only on the application form do they put their personal information.
- Investor’s Dashboard
The investor’s dashboard is the feature that helps investors to get information about their past and current investments to see how much they have earned and invested.
- Property Page
A property page should have full information about the property, just as other similar real estate software. However, in a real estate crowdfunding system, a property developer should also indicate:
- Project timeline (when a property was acquired, updated, etc.)
- Information about the building, and/or building plan
- Market analysis
- Investing Process
The investing process usually differs from platform to platform. However, it is a multi-step stage where investors include their personal and payment information, choose how much they can invest, etc.
- Application Form
An application form is created for property developers seeking funding. These types of application forms ask for company, contact, and transaction information.
3. Custom Real Estate Software Vs. Commercial Real Estate Software
Pros and Cons of Custom Real Estate Software
Custom real estate software is built “from scratch”, tailored to particular business needs. Yet, it will take more time to develop a product.
Pros of building custom real estate software:
- Customization to specific needs
- Limitless possibilities of features
- High-quality real estate software you can count on
- Scalability and opportunity to add more and more features
- Simple integration with third-party providers
- Custom UX and UI specifically tailored to your target audience
Cons of building custom real estate software:
- Takes time to build
- Relatively costly solution
Pros and Cons of Commercial Real Estate Software
Commercial real estate software is subscription-based software that provides prebuild features for property management, sales, and other needs.
Pros of using commercial real estate software:
- Relatively lower prices
- Fast launch time
Cons using commercial real estate software:
- Limited functionality and set of features
- Very limited customization abilities
- Not a scalable solution
- Reliance on the provider’s tech support
- Lack of support for some currencies and languages
To sum up, the real estate software market is a billion-dollar industry that has raised an unbelievable amount of investments over recent years.
The emerging trend in the real estate industry is PropTech, meaning businesses that build “property technology”, or real estate software. There are many benefits to building real estate software, one of which is automation.
There are 7 types of real estate software, each suitable for a particular purpose. To simplify:
- Company real estate website – use to promote your brand and business, get more online exposure, and have an additional selling channel.
- Real estate CRM software – use to organize internal business processes and improve sales.
- Property management system – Makes managing multiple properties across different channels easier.
- ERP software – use if you need assistance in the management and handling of your real estate enterprise.
- Real estate marketplace – Don’t want to buy any properties but still get into real estate business and profit off? Choose this option.
- Real estate listing website – Have a real estate agency and want to get more profit by selling other real estate agencies’ properties? Choose this.
- Real estate crowdfunding platform – Want to connect investors with property developers and get a commission? This is your best option.
Sloboda Studio has been a leading company for 10 years in the web development market. During the last 5 recent years, our team has been building software for the real estate industry. We have already built marketplaces, management systems, and CRMs for the real estate market. If you are interested in building any type of real estate software, feel free to contact us for a consultation.