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Real estate agents have become more and more reliant on CRM tools – and that’s a good thing. A great real estate CRM software can have a significant impact on the success of an agent.
But why? What even is a CRM software for real estate, and why is it so important? That’s what we are going to discuss here, so get yourself a cup of coffee (or tea if you’re from the other side of the pond) and get ready to get all your questions about Real estate CRM software answered.
Here’s what we will discuss;
- What is a Real Estate CRM software?
- How to get the most use out of Real Estate CRM software?
- What is the best CRM software for Real Estate?
- How to select the best Real estate CRM software?
I know it’s repetitive, but I just want to state the obvious; any specific solution does not endorse this article, and I don’t profit or gain anything from you choosing one software over another. I only care about helping you find something that works for you.
What is Real Estate CRM Software?
A real estate CRM software is a CRM solution that can help users manage their real estate business using a single platform. Real estate agents and brokers can use the solution to conduct their business regardless of their physical location.
A real estate-specific CRM software can help a real estate agent and broker in closing deals more quickly and with fewer resources.
How? The solution will help its users manage, attract, and retain clients more effectively, and it will allow them to streamline transactions, so closing deals is more efficient.
Okay, I can hear you wondering already, “But why can’t I just use any CRM software? Why do I need a real estate-specific solution?
And that’s an excellent question, and it’s one that we can’t neglect to answer.
What makes real estate CRM different?
To answer this question, we must take a good look at the nature of real estate businesses and how it differs from other businesses.
The importance of long-term relationship management
Real estate agents and brokers make a living off potential revenue from sales, so lead management is crucial to them. Attracting a new lead is much more expensive in real estate than in other businesses, and losing a lead is very costly.
While other businesses may use CRM solutions as tools for repeat business, this often not the case in real estate. Repeat business is a rare exception – and a delightful surprise – in real estate. Or to put it more simply, people usually buy only one house, and it’s infrequent that they buy from the same realtor twice.
However, while people may not buy from the same real estate twice, long-term relationship management is still crucial. Why? Because people refer to real estate agents to their friends and family, and this referral is a vital source of new clients.
General CRM systems (any CRM system that isn’t made specifically for real estate) usually don’t accept an MLS feed. A direct MLS feed option is crucial for real estate CRMs as it means you don’t have to waste hours manually entering your listing data into market listings.
Real-Estate CRM Software Cost
Adapting a general customer relationship management (CRM) software to a real estate business can be quite expensive. Usually, a good deal of customization is needed to make the solution suitable for your real estate business, and this can add high costs to the original prices of the CRM software.
Even if the software provider doesn’t charge you extra for those customizations, you may find you need some specific plugins that you need to make or buy to make the solution do a specific function that you need, and this can cost you some cash as well.
Real estate businesses and agents require a certain level of customer support that is found in real estate CRM software. This level of support can be rarely found in other general CRM solutions, and it often comes with a hefty price tag.
As you can see, it’s all about the leads in the real estate business, and a CRM solution that’s designed for real estate can provide agencies, agents, and brokers with the specific tools they need for all of their lead-to-close cycle.
This leads us to the next question; what exactly does a CRM software offer that can give you all those benefits.
In other words,
What are the features of a real estate CRM software?
Since leads are what can make or break a real estate business, a real estate CRM platform must focus strongly on contact management. The software must be able to help real estate agents in every stage of the lead-to-close cycle.
This means that there are some differences between the features you can expect real estate CRM features and those you can find in other CRMs.
Let’s take a better look at those real estate CRM features
Contact and Lead management
A real estate CRM platform will categorize users by referring agents, competitors, leads, clients, and partners. It should also categorize or tag them as cold/warm/hot leads and satisfied/unsatisfied clients.
These are only examples, and the software should allow users to make as many tags and categories as needed. This tagging and categorization are crucial as they enable agents and brokers to strategize better, such as by offering more customized selling incentives and promotional offers.
A CRM platform for real estate businesses will have robust list management features. It should enable its users to customize database fields to create a list based on things like events, commissions, deals, or dates.
It should also allow its users to generate and attach reports, transaction documents, and property details in sync with the listing. Of course, a comprehensive list of the documents should be attached to the listing.
Email Marketing Automation
Email Marketing is essential for real estate businesses. A robust CRM for real estate should have robust email management features. These features should include drip email campaigns, frequent real estate newsletters, and pre-designed templates.
This feature allows the users to send automatic replies, such as when one of your website’s visitors subscribes to your newsletter. The software will then send a series of emails to this new user.
This is a great way to get new leads into your funnel and ask them to take specific conversion actions. These actions can be as simple as answering some questions or more advanced activities such as buying a house from you.
Real estate agents are on the road regularly, so a cloud-based mobile application is a must. A mobile CRM platform that’s accessible from anywhere means the agent is always connected and can keep working while on the road.
The more powerful the mobile app and feature-rich, the more useful it will be. However, privacy should still be a concern here, and not every agent should have access to all of their customers’ data while out of office.
Integration with Other platforms
The software should play nice with other platforms. What I mean by this is that exchanging data between your CRM software and other third-party platforms should be easy.
For example, an integration with Google’s apps such as Docs and Sheets can make you more productive.
A CRM platform can, and often do, offer more features, but we don’t have the space to discuss all of them in more detail here. However, you can learn about the most important features of CRM software in 2019. This will give you a better idea about the differences between global CRM platforms and those explicitly made for CRM businesses.
How to get the most use out of real estate CRM Software?
Aha, another excellent question, sir. If you’re going to decide on getting a CRM software, you must have an idea of how to get the most use out of it. Let’s get to it.
- Make it your one-stop-shop for information
The main idea behind a CRM system is that a computer can handle databases much better than a paper note, so your CRM software should be your main tool for this.
You can use it to stay organized, find any info quickly, and get updates on properties, opportunities, and clients in seconds.
- Facilitate Contract and Transaction management
Your agents should rely on the solution to accelerate any process that usually involves paperwork and logistics. This means they should be able to upload contracts to the software and allow your customers to view essential data and ask crucial questions.
- Streamlined communications
Your agents may forget some details about the interactions with the customers, such as how their last phone call went or what past issues they had.
However, a CRM solution will record everything. This means that even if a customer hops from one agent to another for whatever reason, the process will still go on as if nothing happened.
Most solutions will allow agents to take notes on their communications (such as emails or phone calls), which the managers can then view to get a better idea of what was going on or where was the agent intended to go with the process.
- Attract, nurture and convert
The CRM solution shouldn’t only help you convert your leads to customers, but it can also help you attract new leads. Some platforms will have robust marketing campaign management features that allow users to target and attract customers on social media.
- Stay Up to date & beat the competition
A real estate CRM solution will help you find new opportunities faster. Instead of spending hours viewing sites such as Zillow and Trulia to seek new opportunities, the software will integrate all of these websites into the software.
This will help you find new opportunities in your area more quickly and give you a leg up in the race.
What is the best CRM software for real estate?
When the time finally comes for you to pick a Customer Relationship Management software for real estate, you will find that there are plenty of options.
With that being said, you don’t have to spend hours searching for the best CRM software. Instead, I’m going to give you a brief about 5 of the best CRM software for real estate you can get.
The best CRM software for real estate
- IXACT Contact
Wise Agent is a customer relationship management software that was built from the ground up for real estate agents. This CRM doesn’t have a steep learning curve, meaning users find it almost intuitive to use.
It offers plenty of features and available integrations to help your agents and brokers make the most use of it. They also have outstanding customer and tech support that will solve any issues you might face.
- Contact and transaction management
- Landing Pages
- Marketing Automation
- Lead Automation
- Time Management
- Document Storage
- Social Media
- Monthly Newsletter
Wise Agent also offers a wide range of integration with third-party apps and services like Facebook, Gmail, Mailchimp, and Evernote.
You can get Wise Agent for $29/user/month if you pay month-to-month, or you can go for the annual payment options, which save you 14% and costs $299/user/year.
Complimentary onboarding included, and they offer a 14-day free trial.
Propertybase is more than a CRM; it’s an all-in-one real estate platform. This solution is feature-rich and scalable so it can not only help businesses grow, but also grow with them.
Real estate businesses of all sizes can use Propertybase thanks to its customizability that makes it easy for a business to configure the solution to fit its specific needs.
- Contact and Transaction Management
- Listing Management
- Lead Generation and Management
- Marketing Automation
- Mobile App
- Dashboards and Reporting
- MLS integration
- Agent Websites
- Brokerage websites
There are also third-party integrations available that extend the solution’s capabilities and functionality.
On Propertybase’s website, they state that they offer two pricing plans, Silver and Blue. However, the prices for each plan are not available. A 14-day free trial is available for all plans, and additional add-ons are available for an extra fee.
Contactually is an online customer relationship management tool. This tool allows its users to oversee and manage all their communications – with suppliers, contractors, and clients – using an intuitive interface.
Its heavy focus on contact management makes it one of the best real estate CRM software options as it can relieve users or lots of manual tasks while making sure communications are conducted on time and according to the plan.
- Contact and communication management
- Sync email, phone, and communication history
- Custom Templates
- Communication Automation and Personalization
- Pipeline productivity
- Team management
Contactually offers two pricing plan;
- Professional ($69/month)
This plan includes bulk messaging, access to their apps, communication personalization, deal management workflow, integrations, and more.
- Accelerator ($119/month)
This one adds upgraded support, access to their library of templates, lead nurturing features, and more advanced features designed to help your business get up and running quickly.
They also offer a two-week free trial.
LionDesk is a CRM designed to be the most efficient CRM software for real estate agents. It aims to be the all-in-one solution for realtors, agents, brokers, lenders, and teams to use and rely on to improve their operations and supercharge their communications and interactions with clients.
LionDesk sets itself apart from other CRMs by offering some real estate-specific features as well as some advanced ones. These include video email and video texting.
- Contact Management
- Property Management
- Video Email and Video texting
- Lead distribution
- Calendar & task management
- Power Dialer
- Scheduled Texts & emails
- Enhanced Drip Campaigns (Email, phone calls, and text messages)
- Email tracking
- Deal and Pipeline management
There are two pricing plans offered with LionDesk:
- Pro ($25/month)
This plan gives you basic features but limits you to 500 emails/month and 200 MB of document storage. You also don’t get outbound texts, video texting, or custom local area code phone numbers.
- Pro Plus ($49/month)
This is their all-in plan, so naturally, it gives you all the features. You get up to 1,000 outbound calls per month, up to 5,000 emails per month, 100 included video texts, and up to 1 TB of storage for your documents.
LionDesk offers a 30-day free trial. No credit card required.
IXACT Contact is a CRM software real estate businesses can use to be more productive and efficient. This CRM aims to offer everything a real estate business needs in one place so users can conduct their business using a single platform with a single database.
IXACT Contact also offers a robust set of tools and features to keep users in touch with their present clients and rekindle relationships with their past clients.
It also focuses on pipeline management and productivity to enable users to make decisions quickly and intelligently.
- Dashboards and Widgets
- Business pipeline management
- Task and Calendar Management
- Emails and Letters
- Team Management
- Agent Websites
- Google Sync
- Concierge Setup service
IXACT contact keeps things simple by offering a single pricing plan that you can choose whether to pay monthly or annually. If you go for the month-to-month payment plan, it will cost you $33/month, but you can save 15% with the annual payment as it costs only $39/month.
You get a free trial with both plans. There are no contracts or cancellation fees. You can also contact them for custom pricing.
How to select the best real estate CRM software?
Choosing a CRM platform for your business can be quite tricky. Due to the unique nature of Real Estate, there are some unique challenges.
You can get a good look at how to choose the right CRM software for your business here, but we are going to try and make things a bit simpler here.
You see, even though there are millions of businesses around the world, every business is different. Each business has a unique set of challenges that you may never find with another business. Each of these challenges requires a solution, and it’s quite tricky to find a one-size-fits-all solution for your business.
Set a budget
That’s a natural step. Write down your estimation of how much could this real estate CRM software cost you. You can ask friends and colleagues how much they pay for their CRMs or take a quick look online for the pricing of different real estate CRM solutions.
Just put down a range, this will help narrow down your options later on.
Define your challenges
The first step in selecting the best real estate CRM software for your business is by identifying the unique challenges your business faces. Some challenges are common among real estate business that you can start with.
One such example would be that real estate agents have very tight schedules and are always on the road. You’re very likely to face this challenge as well, so write this down and start listing what other challenges does your business needs.
Prioritize Your challenges
What is the most critical problem to solve? What is the most crucial aspect do you think of your business process that could use real estate CRM software?
Take a look at the list you’ve created earlier and start listing down those challenges.
What features or benefits can solve those challenges?
Convert those challenges to features or benefits that can solve those challenges. For example, the challenge of having your agents always on the road that we mentioned earlier can be solved by a fully-featured mobile app that offers most of what the desktop version provides.
A web-based solution could also be a friendly solution to the same challenge since your agents will be able to access the data from anywhere at any time as long as they have a device that can connect to the internet.
Now you should have a list of the features or benefits you need — time for our next step.
Set down your limitations
How many emails will you need to spend every month? What’s the number of leads do you need to attract? How much storage space for your documents do you need? How many real estate agents do you want to have access to the app?
Answering those questions will help you greatly in the matching step.
Match the solutions
You now have a set of features you need, the limitations you can work with, and the price range you’re looking into. It’s a puzzle game now, but luckily not a difficult one.
Start by taking a look at lists, for example, If you’re a small business or a startup, you can check our list of the best CRM software solutions for startups here. If you’re a large business, look for solutions for large firms, and so on.
Quickly, you will be able to eliminate solutions that don’t fit your needs or budget, and highlight ones that you think will do.
Then, you will be able to see if what they’re offering in your budget can meet your needed set of features/benefits and your limitations. Soon enough, you will have two or three options left that you think is the best.
You can check the reviews now and pick one, or…
Test them out with free trials and demos
Before paying for a solution, it’s a good idea to try it out first. You want to know whether this solution will indeed work for you before you make a payment.
You probably want to go for annual plans to save a bit on the subscription, but you shouldn’t pay until you’re sure that you will indeed use the app for at least a year.
Take your time testing them out and ask for demos, work with the app for a couple of weeks or a month to get a feel for how well it suits your business.
Don’t forget about the little things
There are plenty of little things that we miss that are often important. For example, some apps have a setup fee, some have cancellation fees, and some have certain features hidden in modules that are not included in their pricing plans.
I like to take my time and call them to talk directly to a salesperson. I can ask them whatever I have in mind, and they are often beneficial in clearing things up.
There are also things like scalability. Migration from one solution to another can be a pain, and so you want to make sure the app will be able to scale as you do. Scalability doesn’t only mean being able to handle more clients, but to also offer more advanced options that you may not need now but will do in the future.
One more thing that’s also pretty important is the integration library available. You probably are already using a couple of software solutions, and you will want your CRM to play nice with these. Some apps have an open API that you can use to build your integrations, which is pretty helpful.
I recommend you also take a look at the difference between CRM and marketing automation here.