Two-thirds of homebuyers in 2020 made offers on homes they’d never set foot in. And this trend continues even though pandemic restrictions have eased. One reason: better digital real estate tools give buyers more info to make confident decisions, even remotely.
Today’s software and tools can streamline and automate many real estate tasks that once stole precious time and caused ample frustration. These tools can improve both the quantity and quality of leads, reducing dead - end follow - up, misaligned objectives, and wasted time. They’ve become ubiquitous — and indispensable — in the industry.
All of this leads to higher profits, stronger teams, and greater personal and professional satisfaction.
You can find endless real estate tools online. To help you find the ones that fit your style and needs, we asked ten real estate pros to share their recommendations for the best tech tools. The list below shows the tools they absolutely can’t live without and explains why they swear by them.
Let's find out what the experts say!
The Real Estate Experts
Here’s who we interviewed for this piece:
- Carol Escobar, loan officer, Movement Mortgage
- Amy Herington, realtor, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
- William and Diana Himmelstein, brokers for the Tenant Advisory Group
- Amy Horton, real estate agent for Keller Williams Realty
- Stephanie (Paulie) Katarivas, real estate agent at RE/Max Edge New York
- Wendy Lockhart, partner and broker associate at Lockhart Walseth Team Realtors
- John Myers, owner and qualifying broker for Myers & Myers Real Estate
- David Newcombe, co-founder and associate broker at Launchpad Sales & Marketing Group
- Michael Opyd, managing broker and owner at RE/MAX Next
- Samantha Scalzo, director and broker at S&S Global Corporation
The Best Tools for Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Price: Packages depend on business size; use the website’s online tool to determine cost
- What It Does: Boomtown generates leads, manages existing client relationships, automates lead nurturing, and moves leads through the pipeline.
- Why You’ll Love It: Stephanie Katarivas loves that she can view (in real time) who among her basket of leads is viewing her website. Boomtown also shows what properties leads have looked at and whether or not they favored them. “Boomtown is an amazing program that nurtures your leads with campaign drips, e - alerts, and mass emails,” she says. “It keeps up the good work (based on how you set it up) until the customer is ready to buy.” Katarivas reports that within three weeks of using Boomtown, she had signed five new contracts.
- Price: Ranges from $25 to $99 a month
- What It Does: This tool helps organize contacts, automate and improve communication flow, generate leads, and integrate with other top technologies to develop single - window overviews of tasks, contacts, and analytics. You can monitor agent activity, generate agent reports, and manage lead distribution.
- Why You’ll Love It: LionDesk’s innovative and intuitive tool focuses on follow - up so you can focus on your strengths. Carol Escobar says, “LionDesk has changed my business! My follow - up is phenomenal and my realtor partners know it.”
- Price: Ranges from $45 to $1,200 per month ( HubSpot has actually lowered the starting price on several of its plans to increase customer acquisition.)
- What It Does: HubSpot’s cloud - based CRM platform allows you to track leads, marketing initiatives, and customer communications using a timeline format. It provides email templates to use in connecting with clients, plus analysis tools to determine how well assets are performing.
Its recently developed Sequences Workflow Action automatically enrolls contacts in a sales or service sequence based on triggering events like status changes or field updates.
- Why You’ll Love It: HubSpot keeps on top of leads and customer interactions in real time. Its communication alerts and reminders help indicate which leads are growing cold or falling silent for too long. HubSpot consistently improves the tool’s functionality; for example, it updated the repeated tasks feature late in 2021. William Himmelstein appreciates how HubSpot helps his team keep in touch and control the narrative they have with clients and prospects.
The Best Tool for Human Resources Management
- Price: Packages are priced only after a consultation; they start at $199/month
- What It Does: Brokerkit is a relationship management tool that you can use to recruit, onboard, and retain agents. You can send emails, set up calls, update notes on recruits, and make appointments all in one place. Brokerkit automates the entire onboarding process with prebuilt checklists, an onboarding email, and text drip campaigns. It gives you a task to follow up with a retention touch with each agent every 30 days, plus it sends a blast email and/or text messages to all of your agents as needed. It also prompts you to track tasks for the internal office team.
- Why You’ll Love It: Brokerkit helps to organize interviews, follow - ups, and candidate background checks from any device. Amy Horton loves using Brokerkit to track her recruiting efforts. She finds it a seamless system for communicating with her pipeline efficiently and effectively. She also notes that its customer support team is responsive and helpful.
The Best Tool for Lead Generation
5. Spark RE
- Price: Spark is priced according to project size and client needs; user fees are $100 per month per user, plus additional set - up fees for training, onboarding, and support
- What It Does: The Spark software platform combines real estate leads and inventory management into one system. It helps you design, build, and use registration forms for lead tracking and customizable sales reports, and it has an email marketing tool. Do not confuse Spark RE with similarly named products like Spark Mail App or Spark Membership, which are unrelated companies that provide similar lead management services not intended for real estate.
- Why You’ll Love It: Spark is a one - stop shop for capturing and tracking client leads from multiple sources. It also provides in - depth, easy - to - read reports on sales, demographics, web traffic, and other filtered variables that are important to your bottom line. The Spark platform provides tools for building effective, easy - to - use registration forms, and you can even schedule daily events. It also lets you access an ongoing list of buyer and seller contact information, plus it includes a custom template builder you can use for marketing and emailing. David Newcombe values Spark’s simplicity and finds that its all - inclusive system doesn’t need tweaking. And about the Spark team, he says, “They’re a breath of fresh air.”
The Best Tools for Marketing Your Brokerage
- Price: Choose from $119/year for up to 5 people or $30/month/person with a 25 - person minimum
- What It Does: Canva gives you access to thousands of visual templates you can edit, brand, and share on social media, websites, brochures, business cards, memes, greeting cards, infographics, teaching materials, video, and more.
- Why You’ll Love It: Canva makes creating visually stunning marketing content easy for anyone. In real estate today, visual content is a must for getting attention and making a connection.
- Price: Choose from packages of $29/month/seat or $49/month/seat
- What It Does: BombBomb creates video emails to boost your email open - and - view rates. With it, your agents can record and email video messages to current and prospective clients, thus personalizing tours by virtually walking clients through properties while sharing your insights via audio. The videos don’t even need to be downloaded to be viewed; they play right in the email, which increases your view rate. BombBomb also provides tracking and scheduling tools for emails, social sharing, and screen recordings.
- Why You’ll Love It: According to Katarivas, video is a must in real estate sales, and BombBomb gives her agents face - to - face opportunities with prospective clients, providing a warm, human touch in a stressful process. And that personal touch can ultimately lead to more sales.
- Price: Pricing depends on project size and client needs; use the website’s free demo to determine a rate
- What It Does: This all - around real estate tool offers lead generation, automated social media posts, and “live tour” functionality that you can embed in property websites.
- Why You’ll Love It: Michael Opyd describes CORE ListingMachine as a great basic, one - stop listing marketing platform that is tailor - made for less - experienced agents. “It can do social media and automate everything, plus is super easy to use,” he says, adding that by using this tool, your agents can connect via chat with potential buyers and sellers on multiple devices, plus automatically generate each listing’s marketing campaign across every social networking platform you use. Though CORE ListingMachine doesn’t offer the specific focus, targeted functions, and extensive solutions that some of the other tools on this list offer, it is quite comprehensive and effective for a single, “all in one” tool.
- Price: Ranges from $49 to $739 per month
- What It Does: Going far beyond a simple multichannel scheduling system, Hootsuite offers a range of powerful and customizable reporting features. It particularly excels at social media management, giving you the opportunity to populate all your social media from a single, convenient place and engage in social listening across platforms to enhance your social media strategy.
- Why You’ll Love It: Its specific focus on social media communications makes Hootsuite particularly indispensable to real estate professionals who use Facebook and other prominent social media sites to network and communicate with existing and potential clients. It’s great for anyone who wants to make their social media interactions easier, more sophisticated, and more effective.
The Best Tool for Mortgage Calculation
- Price: Free
- What It Does: This tool calculates mortgage amounts, affordability, amortization, refinancing, and early payoff rates. It also provides mortgage comparisons to help you and your buyers find the best mortgage for them.
- Why You’ll Love It: Elegantly simple, extremely user - friendly, and absolutely free, this is just the best tool on the market for calculating mortgages. It’s quick, easy, complete, and free, providing you and your buyer with immediate information, including comprehensive calculations on early payoff and interest - only mortgages. As director of a brokerage, Samantha Scalzo uses the tool with clients and her agents. She finds it to be the simplest way to estimate monthly payments for purchase.
The Best Tools for Open Houses & Virtual Tours
- Price: Ranges from free to $39/month when billed annually (note that the price doubles when paid monthly)
- What It Does: Despite the continuing importance of photographs, more and more people are demanding videos as an essential part of the property vetting process. An extremely easy - to - use video - making tool, Animoto employs “drag and drop” functionality to help you make professional grade videos yourself. It allows you to customize color and add elements such as soundtracks, logos, and text.
- Why You’ll Love It: Animoto gives you the ability to provide incredible virtual tours. It isn’t only extremely user - friendly, but it enables you to produce videos extremely quickly. Scalzo says she adores Animoto because it’s intuitive to use, with little to no learning curve. “Imagine if you were your own videographer with film and design at your fingertips,” she says. “Animoto is a user - friendly program that makes video easy!”
- Price: Pricing depends on the type and number of services that you require with no subscriptions: Image enhancements start at $1.60/photo; a full virtual renovation ranges between $24 and $176, while a streetscape is $400 and an external large project is $600. A free trial allows you to generate three image enhancements to try before you buy.
- What It Does: BoxBrownie is a digital web hub that provides photo enhancement services at a per - photo cost. With this service, you can virtually stage digital photos, take an exterior scene from daylight to dusk, remove items, add digital furniture, and even enhance images like floor plans. Just send BoxBrownie a photo, identify how you want a virtual room staged and in what style, and the tool will work its magic.
- Why You’ll Love It: BoxBrownie makes good spaces look great and great spaces look amazing, giving your selling materials a major upgrade. Amy Herington finds BoxBrownie nothing short of fabulous and its staff great to work with. She once used the service to win over a prospective client who had already sold all their furniture. Instead of offering staging services at an increased expense, she tapped into BoxBrownie and created photos of their house perfectly staged. “I was able to ‘WIN’ a listing because of the ‘outside - the - box’ thinking of creating photos that showcased the home by using this service,” she says.
- Price: Ranges from free to $599 a month
- What It Does: This tool makes floor plans with your phone -- no tape measure needed! The Magic Plan app allows you to draw floor plans and make 3D tours using your phone’s camera by measuring the dimensions of each room and then combining the images into a PDF. Pair this app with Floorplanner, and you’ll be able to add designs and drawing tools into the mix. Once synced, you can edit and decorate each room you’ve measured. You can even generate 2D and 3D views of interior and exterior areas, then upload them onto websites and social media platforms. The basic free plan is pretty scaled down. To get full access to PDF and 3D - making tools, you’ll need to go for the Pro Subscription.
- Why You’ll Love It: When integrated, these two tools can create individualized, client - focused renditions of properties to scale. With the Pro Subscription, you can create a virtual walk - through experience. Scalzo says she loves using it to easily create floor plans and finds it fun to play with the design tools for the different rooms.
14. ShowingTime / Now with ShowingSuite Features
- Price: Pay only for the features you actually use. For example, ShowingTime Appointment Center is $45 per month per seat, after the free trial.
- What It Does: Fans of ShowingSuite will be happy to know it hasn’t gone away. As of July 2022, it will become part of ShowingTime, bringing two powerhouses in real estate technology together. ShowingTime provides a key link between the virtual world and the real world. It automates and streamlines scheduling, MLS, live phone support 24/7/365, reporting, and communications all in one place. If you’re currently with ShowingSuite, know that ShowingTime also allows you to show homes virtually and is integrating – not discontinuing – most ShowingSuite features.
- Why You’ll Love It: ShowingTime’s a la carte pricing option lets brokers choose how they want to use the tools, so if you prefer another tool for certain tasks, keep it. ShowingTime provides you with the tools you need to make the best use of your time, save money, and still be there any time for your clients. You can sleep easier knowing someone will always be on the other end of the line when a potential buyer or seller calls. ShowingTime has more advanced options to customize your experience and get the most out of the suite of tools.
The Best Tools for Streamlining Your Team’s Workflows
- Price: Ranges from free to $25 a month or a customized subscription
- What It Does: A web - based software tool, Asana facilitates open communication between your team members and streamlines their workflow processes. Its suite of tools allows you to track projects in real time, as well as assign and receive tasks with due date reminders. It’s also a great place to store important documents.
- Why You’ll Love It: Asana takes very little training to use artfully. As a managing broker, Opyd uses Asana to organize group projects and keep everyone on point. He loves that it can be used on phones, tablets, and computers. He also likes the easy - to - create templates for tasks like onboarding new agents.
16. Dropbox Business
- Price: Starts at $12.50/month
- What It Does: This web - based document management and file storage system for documents and photos password - protects all content and allows you to remotely wipe files from lost or stolen devices. It also lets team members share content effortlessly across multiple devices, keeping everyone in the loop.
- Why You’ll Love It: Storage and time saving are top benefits of this tool. As a brokerage owner, John Myers uses Dropbox because he loves to go paperless and can store every document required for every transaction in an orderly fashion. “You have access to every document in every file [on your phone] at your fingertips,” he says. “Implementing this technology into your business can save you a ton of time.” Opyd adds that Dropbox is hands - down the best storage tool around because it provides tons of storage at a reasonable price and is more efficient than using an external hard drive.
The Best Tools for Transaction Management
- Price: Ranges from $10 to $40 a month
- What It Does: DocuSign automates the entire contract and agreement process, including preparing, signing, and managing all the various documents. It also handles payment requests via cloud, mobile, and web platforms.
- Why You’ll Love It: Opyd says he loves DocuSign’s e - signature program because he can quickly sign forms from his computer, laptop, or phone from anywhere -- and so can his clients. Need a P&S signed quickly? DocuSign takes the printing and scanning (or faxing!) out of the process. Opyd finds the program simple and easy to use because of the quick drag - and - drop function that allows him to add signing areas to documents. This allows real estate brokers and agents to solidify binding agreements virtually anywhere and at any time. The NAR (National Association of Realtors) version of this tool includes a comment section and reminders/notifications section, as well as REALTOR®-logo branding and the ability to include signer attachments.
- Price: Plans for individual agents start at $29/month
- What It Does: Dotloop is an end - to - end real estate transaction management software program. It consolidates storage, compliance, digital signatures, and form editing onto one intuitive platform.
- Why You’ll Love It: Katarivas relies extensively on Dotloop. “Dotloop is an online workspace that connects everyone and everything needed to complete a real estate transaction in one place,” she says. “It allows you and your agents to edit, complete, sign, and share documents without ever needing to print, fax, or email.”
- Price: Ranges from $3,600 to $20,000 annually
- What It Does: Qualia is a cloud - based closing management platform. It streamlines transactions and provides real - time updates on closings for buyers and sellers via web and mobile apps. Qualia allows you to manage, pay, and reconcile vendor transactions in one place. Surveys and lien searches are also integrated into your account. Qualia’s price tag can be intimidating, but this one tool does a lot and maximizes your time and effort, in effect scaling up what you can accomplish as one person.
- Why You’ll Love It: According to Scalzo, Qualia is the easiest way to track your entire real estate closing timeline with all your contacts, communications, and deadlines in one place. “Being able to partner with a title company that closes with Qualia tells me that they're looking to do tech - forward things that streamline the entire sales process, especially the contract - to - close process,” Scalzo says. “The platform is seamless, user - friendly, and helps everyone know where they're at in the transaction.”
How to Choose the Right Real Estate Tool for Your Needs
Considering the wide array of digital real estate tools, you shouldn’t be surprised that they specialize in a broad spectrum of functions and contain so many different features and solutions. So which of these tools is the absolute best? The answer to that question depends entirely on your unique wants and needs.
Are you lacking in overall client or property management, or can you most benefit from honing your specific lead generation, home - showing, document production, or firm administration capabilities? By cherry - picking the particular digital tools that are best for you, you can turn your weaknesses into strengths and make your strengths even stronger. The tools on this list are a great place to start!
Originally published on August 22, 2019.
Updated March 25th, 2022 by Leigh Clayborne