Thousands of real estate professionals go online to research real estate software. But what is real estate software, and how can it help you improve your business? These are the questions we will address here.
What is Real Estate Software?
We cover a wide spectrum of software products when discussing real estate software. But, in general terms, real estate software is any software that helps you manage some aspect of your real estate business.
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The “some aspect” part of that definition is important because, to date, no real estate software will help you manage all aspects of your business. Instead, most types of real estate software are designed to help you manage a certain element of your business, like contract preparation.
Various Types of Real Estate Software
Below, we look at some of the most popular types of real estate software. As you will see, every kind of software is designed to help you perform a certain part of your real estate business. Please note that this list is not all-inclusive. There are more types of real estate software than I could cover in this one resource. So, at the end of this guide, I’ve listed some additional resources where you can find any real estate-related software imaginable.
Content Management Systems
Some types of real estate software are designed to help you manage property listings on your website. These content management systems (CMS) have been adapted for real estate. A good example of such a program would be Realty Manager by Interactive Tools. Such programs allow you to add, edit, or remove property listings (including house photos) within your real estate website — without any knowledge of web coding. If you have listings on your website that require constant management, you can see the convenience of this kind of real estate software.
Real Estate Contract Software
As the name implies, this real estate software helps agents prepare real estate contracts. Contracts are a big (and often time-consuming) part of the real estate business. So, real estate agents would welcome anything that can streamline and simplify the process. That’s what contract management software strives to do. One of the best features of real estate contract software — a feature you should look for when purchasing this type of software — is the ability to create contract templates by pulling in required disclosures and other commonly used items from your city and state. This way, once you have the real estate contract software set up how you want, you would enter new client details and listing prices to generate contracts.
Real Estate CMA Software
Once again, the name tells you what this real estate software does. CMA software helps you prepare comparable listings/sales reports that you can show to clients. The biggest benefits of this type of software are time savings, professional appearance, and basic mathematical functions. In addition, CMA software will help you produce an attractive and informative CMA report in less time than doing it without software assistance.
Contact Management Software
Contact management software is not to be confused with contract management software. Though they only differ by one letter, these two types of software have nothing in common. Contact management software helps you manage your contacts or client communications. Most of these applications are built around databases. First, you enter client information into the database (with details such as name, phone number, neighborhood of interest, etc.), and then you can easily search the data later.
When choosing a contact management solution, look for one that allows customization of the data fields. You want the ability to create whatever info fields for each contact that’s important to you. These programs will let you enter the basics, like name, phone number, address, etc. But what if you also wanted to label people with buyer vs. seller? Or by price range? Or by the neighborhoods they’re interested in? You’ll need this flexibility; any good contact management solution should offer it.
Real Estate Educational Software
This is another popular type of real estate software. As the name implies, this software helps you advance your professional education. The most common types of real estate educational software are test preparation programs. These programs allow you to prepare for state licensing exams and other real estate-related professional exams. For just about every real estate exam you can imagine, there’s a piece of software that can help you prepare for it.
Virtual Tour Software
Virtual tours are top-rated among real estate professionals these days. In addition, homebuyers love virtual tours, so when you add them to your real estate website, you’ve increased your website’s value for your key audience. The only problem is that virtual tours are not easy to assemble. That’s where this type of real estate software comes in.
One way to create virtual tours is to have a tour company do it for you. With this option, you shoot the photos or film footage yourself and send it to a virtual tour company that creates the finished product. But for the more adventurous agents, there is also the virtual tour software path. Using this software, the agent creates virtual tours using photos taken by the agents.
Real Estate Website Software
This software covers a pretty broad spectrum. Real estate website software can help you with many aspects of your website, from creating graphics to capturing leads. But one product rarely does it all. Instead, most real estate website software types are highly specialized, performing a certain aspect of website enhancement.
So we’ve seen that there’s a piece of software for every type of real estate business function to help you do it more efficiently and (ideally) more effectively. Does that mean you need all the real estate software on this list?
Not. I advise looking at the business functions where you spend the most time and shopping for a software product that can simplify that process. It’s also a good idea to play around with different types of real estate software before buying. Most software vendors have either a free trial or an online demo to judge the product for yourself. If you encounter a software vendor offering neither of these trial options, keep shopping. When purchasing real estate software, always follow the rule of “try before you buy.