Before 2008 if you would have asked someone what their favorite app was, they would have probably said, “nachos.” Now the average American has 32 apps installed on their phone and there are 2.2 million apps in Apple’s AppStore. The pace in which these small programs came to dominate our lives is dizzying.
The explosion we have seen in real estate technology, especially SaaS (software as a solution) tools for brokers, has also quickly changed the way sales and leasing professionals interact with each other and transact deals. Many tech startups have similar, if not identical offerings, and every vertical of the industry has its own specific solutions. How to juggle all of these products together can be annoying, but is quickly becoming one of the important skills for a professional to have.
For this reason we have started our database of CRE companies. They are often updated by the company’s themselves and are meant to help our community quickly understand each technology’s value offering. We encourage you all to browse, rate and, if they haven’t been already, list companies.
Some categories have a lot of options. In CRM alone there is VTS/Hightower, Apto, REthink, ClientLook, REA and many more. While they all set out to accomplish the same goal of organizing workflow, the little differences can be the difference between usefulness and annoyance. The Massimo Group has even had the CEO’s of some of these companies go head-to-head in what they call The Great CRE CRM Debate, you can watch a video of it here.
Real estate marketplaces, which CoStar has traditionally had Draconian control over, now has a number of powerful competitors like RealMassive and Xceligent. While shear size of the marketplace is important, other factors should weigh in as well. Integration for a platform into a CRM or marketing platform can save hundreds of hours of work for a busy broker. Also, the marketplace should help its users understand general trends of any given market. RealMassive uses the data from the nearly 5 billion square feet on its site to inform users of listing length, average conversion rates, closing rates, and cancel rates for various types of properties.
Social networks have become prevalent to the point of being obligatory. But, outside of the usual players like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram (I am intentionally leaving out Snapchat) there are now networks that focus solely on CRE like RealConnex, a platform connecting real estate professionals to capital, investments, services and each other. It’s often time consuming and expensive for real estate advisors and brokers to prospect and find new clients. But with an industry specific networking platform, you can streamline the process of building relationships with developers, sponsors, investors and lenders.
Even if the meat and potatoes of a professional’s tech stack has been determined, there are always new niche tools that can be folded into the mix. CommissionTrac is a good example of a useful add-on to almost anyone’s bundle of programs. Their software helps brokerage teams track and maintain their agent’s commissions and payroll information.
All of this new software is allowing commercial real estate landlords and brokers to promote their properties and themselves like never before. Sure, the deluge of options can be overwhelming, but brokers who don’t utilize the latest tools risk missing out on opportunities.