Each, day 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 real estate business? These are the
questions we will address here.
What is Real Estate Software?
we talk about real estate software, we’re actually covering a wide
spectrum of software products. In general terms, real estate software is
any software that helps you manage some aspect of your real estate
The “some aspect” part of that definition is important,
because to date there is no real estate software that 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 for example.
Various Types of Real Estate Software
we look at some of the most popular types of real estate software. As
you will see, each type 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 possibly cover in this one resource. So at the end of this guide,
I’ve listed some additional resources where you can find any type of
real estate-related software imaginable.
Content Management Systems
types of real estate software are designed to help you manage property
listings on your website. Basically, these are content management
systems (CMS) that have been adapted for real estate purposes. A good
example of such a program would be Realty Manager by Interactive Tools.
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
Real Estate Contract Software
name implies, this type of real estate software helps agents prepare
real estate contracts. As you well know, contracts are a big (and often
time-consuming) part of the real estate business. So anything that can
streamline and simplify the process would be welcomed by real estate
agents. That’s what contract-management software strives to do.
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
simply enter new client details and listing prices to generate
Real Estate CMA Software
Once again, the
name tells you what this type of 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. CMA
software will help you produce an attractive and informative CMA report
in less time than doing it without software assistance.
Contact Management Software
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.
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. All of these programs will let you enter the basics,
like name, phone number, address and the like. But what if you wanted to
also label people with buyer vs. seller? Or by price range? Or by the
neighborhoods they’re interested in? You’ll need this kind of
flexibility, and any good contact managements solution should offer it.
Real Estate Educational Software
is another popular type of real estate software. As the name implies,
this kind of software helps you advance your professional education. The
most common types of real estate educational software are the test
preparation programs. These programs help you 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
tours are extremely popular among real estate professionals these days.
Home buyers 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, virtual tours are not an easy thing to
put together. That’s where this type of real estate software comes in.
way to create virtual tours is to have a virtual 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 who creates the finished product.
But for the more adventurous agents, there is also the virtual tour
software path. Using this software, the agent creates his or her own
virtual tours, using photos taken by the agents themselves.
Real Estate Website Software
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. Most types of
real estate website software are highly specialized, performing a
certain aspect of website enhancement.
we’ve seen that for every type of real estate business function, there’s
a piece of software to help you do it more efficiently and (ideally)
more effectively. Does that mean you need all of the real estate
software on this list? Obviously not. My advice is to look at the
business functions where you spend the most time, and shop for a
software product that can simplify that process for you.
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 through which you can judge the product for yourself. If you
come across a software vendor who offers neither of these trial
options, then keep shopping. When purchasing real estate software,
always follow the rule of “try before you buy.”
* You may
republish this article online if you retain the author’s byline and the
active hyperlinks below. Copyright 2007, Brandon Cornett.