Have you ever tried to open a tin can without a tin opener? While it is possible (if inadvisable) to improvise with a sharp knife, using specialist tools is clearly much more efficient. And this is the idea behind real estate software. While it’s perfectly possible to run a property business with generic software, more targeted apps and programmes make the job much easier.
Over the past decade, we have seen a dramatic rise in the number of real estate software products being launched. PropTech has received tens of billions of dollars in funding and is increasingly being used by estate agents, facilities managers and developers. A 2019 survey reported that 58% of real estate companies have some kind of digital strategy in place.
Whether you are already using PropTech or are completely new to this technology, it is valuable to get an overview of what real estate software is out there and what it can do for you.
Why do you need real estate software?
If you work in the property industry you will be performing a number of highly specialised tasks every day – be that advertising properties, running viewings or conducting maintenance tasks. While it is possible to carry out many of these activities manually or using generic software (such as email, spreadsheets and word processing) using specialist software has many benefits:
- Makes you a lot more efficient and productive because many tasks can be automated
- Reduces the risks of mistakes and miscommunication because all information is logged centrally
- Generates more revenue – studies show that when estate agents use dedicated real estate software they tend to receive higher commissions than those who stick to manual methods
7 kinds of software you need to be using
There are many different kinds of PropTech solution out there, so where should you begin? The following types of real estate software can have the biggest impact:
1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A CRM is an all-in-one solution that lets you manage your leads and current customers in a single place. Rather than storing all your conversations in email inboxes, handwritten notes or simply inside each agent’s head, a CRM lets you collate all that information in a well-organised central hub. That means the whole company can view and respond to customer queries.
Real estate CRM’s include specific features tailored to the property industry:
- They let you ‘attach’ individual tenants to properties on your books
- Allow you to easily connect with property websites like Zoopla or Right Move
- Collect evidence of projects completed, damage, complaints and other issues
2. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
An ERP is any kind of software which helps manage individual tasks and company projects. This can be very useful in the real estate sector when you have tens or even hundreds of properties under management. Specialised property ERPs offer features such as:
- The ability to allocate tasks to individual tradespeople, including directions so they can find where a problem is on a blueprint of a property
- Allowing you to monitor progress of various activities (such as repairs completed)
- Immediately generate reports on completions per agent or number of issues solved by each tradesperson
Learn more: How do property management apps help you?
3. Marketing and social media tools
There are a variety of tools which help real estate companies to market and promote their properties. Some of these are fairly generic such as Twitter posting or Facebook advertising management tools. However, others are much more specialised to the industry, allowing you to continually update your own website with images of assets or connect with major property search websites.
4. Communication and collaboration tools
Good communication is so important in the property management sector and quality real estate software facilitates information sharing among estate agents, owners and customers. You may have already come across chat and collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack, but it can be valuable to investigate more specialist, property-specific communication tools:
- You can assign tasks and geolocate them on building plans and discuss these with workers on the ground
- Having a centralised view of all documentation around your property or properties means that tenants or owners can view the same information at once and eliminate confusion
- Complete building inspections and share reports
5. Ticketing and management
Real estate software should allow tenants and building owners to raise problems and have these addressed rapidly. Instead of resolving tenant issues over the phone or email, a ticketing system means:
- Everyone can see the progress of the ticket meaning they do not need to keep chasing agents for clarification
- You get statistics and reports on how fast your contractors are resolving issues
- Customers tend to be more satisfied with this transparent approach
6. Analytics tools
Data analytics tools are the fastest-growing type of real estate software. Analytics tools allow you to improve how your properties are run and managed in a variety of ways:
- Using artificial intelligence to predict when maintenance is needed on specific parts of an asset
- Collecting data on everything from energy usage to occupation to help you maximise profits and minimise waste
- Using smart technology to perform background checks on applicants to ensure that they are reliable tenants
7. Virtual Reality (VR) and online viewings
The use of VR and online viewings rocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic and looks set to become a normal part of the property marketing and sales process. Besides helping you comply with social distancing guidelines, this kind of real estate software provides other benefits too:
- Saves agents and prospective tenants’ time by avoiding travelling to a property they are not sure about
- Allows you to show more customers around a property
- Reduces the need for out of hours viewings – people can explore any property using a VR headset in their own time or watch a viewing during their lunch break. That means estate agents no longer have to work evenings and weekends
Many of the features of real estate software can be combined in a single application. For example, PlanRadar provides analytics, communication, ticketing and task management tools in a single interface. You can customize the software to meet your needs. It is particularly useful for regular facility management or when you’re undertaking larger scale renovations and need to monitor several subcontractors at once.
Ready to start using real estate software?
The use of real estate software has increased rapidly in the industry over the past decade, making life easier for agents, property owners, tenants and investors. To see what solutions like PlanRadar could do for you, read about our residential and commercial property management tools or contact us today for a free trial.