In order for your brokerage to be profitable, you must be motivated, productive, and "stoked." (That’s a little Millennial term for the tech-savvy-kind of thinking you’ll need to implement.) It’s easy to get lost in the weeds of the day-to-day grind but, luckily, there are innovative tech tools out there that can help any real estate broker manage their agents' time and endless to-do lists. And, as a business owner, you know what increased efficiency translates to: Profit!
That said, if you do a quick Google search, you’ll see that there are hundreds of real estate tech tools, apps, and software programs out there. So how do you sort through all those options to find the real estate tools that best fit your agents' needs? To help you out, we spoke to 10 real estate aces and asked them to share their recommendations for the best tech tools they absolutely can’t live without and why they swear by them.
The Real Estate Experts
Here’s who we interviewed:
- Stephanie (Paulie) Katarivas, real estate agent at RE/Max Edge New York
- Michael Opyd, managing broker and owner at RE/MAX Next
- Samantha Scalzo, director and broker at S&S Global Corporation
- William and Diana Himmelstein, brokers for the Tenant Advisory Group
- John Myers, owner and qualifying broker for Myers & Myers Real Estate
- Amy Herington, Realtor, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services
- Amy Horton, real estate agent for Keller Williams Realty
- Brendan Ross, Realtor, Realty Austin
- David Newcomb, co-founder and associate broker, Launchpad Sales and Marketing Group
The 'Best Real Estate Tools' Categories
Once we got their feedback, we grouped the experts’ real estate tech recommendations into eight categories. Below, you'll find the best real estate tools for:
- Open Houses & Virtual Tours
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Transaction Management
- Recruiting New Agents
- Streamlining Team Workflows
- Lead Generation
- Calculating Mortgages
Let's find out what the experts had to say!
The Best Real Estate Marketing Tools
- Price: Packages start at $42 monthly
- What It Does: Features include automated social media posts, a lead generation tool, and a live tour function that you can embed in property websites.
- Why You’ll Love It: Opyd says CirclePix is a great basic program, tailor-made for agents who are newer to the industry. “CirclePix is a one-stop listing marketing platform. 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.
- Price: Individual Plan, $39 monthly | Individual Plus Plan, $49 monthly | Prompt Plan, $1,499 annually
- What It Does: BombBomb creates video emails with the aim of boosting your email open and view rates. With it, your agents can record and email video messages to current and prospective clients, adding some personalization to the house tour. 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. (As in, you can virtually walk clients through a house and overlay the video with audio of you sharing your insights.)
- 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.
Need some fresh new ideas for your own marketing campaigns? Check out our article for some inspiration: "10 Unique Real Estate Marketing Ideas To Grow Your Business."
The Best Tools for Open Houses & Virtual Real Estate Tours
- Price: Basic Subscription, free | Plus Subscription, $14.95 yearly | Pro Subscription, $299 yearly
- What It Does: Magic Plan is an iOS app that lets you effortlessly make floor plans with your phone -- no tape measure needed. The Magic Plan app for mobile allows you to draw floor plans and make 3D tours using your camera, which measures the dimensions of each room and then combines it all into a PDF. Pair this app with Floorplanner, and you’ll be able to add designs and drawing tools into the mix. Once synced together, 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 together, 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 for the ease of creating floor plans with no measuring tape, and finds it fun to play with the design tools for the different rooms.
- Price: Pricing depends on the types of services you need, such as image enhancement, which starts at $1.60 per photo | Virtual staging services begin at $32
- 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 them a photo, let them know how you want a virtual room staged and in what style, and they’ll work their magic.
- Why You’ll Love It: BoxBrownie makes good spaces look great and great spaces look amazing, giving your selling materials a major upgrade. Herington says she finds BoxBrownie nothing short of fabulous and their staff is great to work with. For example, one time she used the service when she was trying to win over a 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: 14-Day Trial, free | Personal Plan, $5 monthly | Professional Plan, $33 monthly | Business Plan, $49 monthly
- What It Does: Animoto is a DIY drag-and-drop video-making service that enables you to make professional-looking videos in a short amount of time. Drag and drop your photos and video clips into their templates and, viola, you have an animated virtual tour! It also lets you add soundtracks, text, logos, and color customization.
- Why You’ll Love It: 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!”
The Best Tools for Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Price: The HubSpot CRM software is 100% free. They also offer free versions of their other tools: Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub, and Growth Suite. (But if you want more bells and whistles than what the free versions offer, you’ll have to buy into their tiered pricing plans that range from $150 to $5,600/month.)
- What It Does: HubSpot offers a cloud-based CRM platform that allows brokers and their agents to track leads, marketing initiatives, and customer communications using a timeline format. It provides email templates that teams can use to connect with clients, plus analysis tools to determine which assets are performing well and which need to be revamped.
- Why You’ll Love It: HubSpot keeps on top of leads and customer interactions in real time. It sends alerts and reminders about communications sent, received, and responded to so that you can easily determine which leads are growing cold and which clients aren’t getting back to you and may require additional hand-holding. William Himmelstein loves Hubspot because he says it helps his team keep in touch and control the narrative they have with all their clients and prospects.
- Price: Two-week Trial, free | Professional Plan, $59 monthly | Accelerator Plan, $99 monthly | Concierge Plan, $399 monthly
- What It Does: Created by a real estate firm, this is a CRM tool that was built to help agents and brokers keep better track of each client relationship. By syncing your communication history with each client across multiple devices, it analyzes, tracks, organizes, and prioritizes your relationships. It also provides communication templates for marketing, messaging, and recruitment.
- Why You’ll Love It: Opyd has used Contactually for almost 10 years. He has it set up so that every morning, he gets a reminder email on who he needs to follow up with that day. “Its bucket system also makes it easy to put clients and potential clients into the right categories,” he says. He sets up his own specific set of individualized rules per “bucket,” allowing him to message each relationship individually. Even better, Contactually actually remembers when you don’t reach out - it tracks your communication timelines and reminds you to complete unfinished tasks, essentially allowing you to maintain and/or reinvigorate customer relationships. It’s also easy to set up, provided you already have a customer database in place.
- Price: Launch, Core, Growth, and Advance Plans range from $800 to $1,950 monthly
- What It Does: Boomtown is a tool that helps real estate pros generate leads and manage existing client relationships.
- Why You’ll Love It: Katarivas says she loves that you can view (in real time) who is on your website, as long as they’re in your basket of leads. Boomtown also lets you know what property each lead looked at and whether or not they favored it. “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 says that within three weeks of using Boomtown, she had five new contracts signed.
The Best Real Estate Transaction Management Tools
- Price: Real Estate Starter Plan, $10 monthly | DocuSign for Realtors Plan, $20 monthly
- 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.
- Price: Value Plan, $3,599 yearly | Professional Plan, $7,999 yearly | Premium Plan, $19,999 yearly
- What It Does: Qualia is a cloud-based all-in-one real estate closing management platform. It streamlines transactions and provides real-time updates on closings for buyers and sellers via web and mobile apps. With a Qualia account you can manage, pay, and reconcile vendor transactions in one place. Surveys and lien searches are also integrated into your account.
- 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.”
- Price: Plans for individual agents start at $29 monthly. There’s no standard pricing, and all other plan levels require a consultation, followed by an individualized quote.
- 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 says she 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.”
The Best Tool for Recruiting New Agents
- Price: Packages are priced out only after a consultation has been provided.
- What It Does: Brokerkit is a relationship management tool that brokers can use to recruit, onboard, and retain agents. According to Jim Turner, Brokerkit’s CEO, Brokerkit integrates with Google G Suite, giving you the user experience of a high-end CRM with your Gmail and Google Calendar. 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 the broker 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 out to all of your agents or groups of agents as needed. It also prompts you to track tasks for the internal office team and assign them to each other.
- Why You’ll Love It: Brokerkit helps to organize interviews, follow-ups, and candidate background checks from any device. Horton says she loves using Brokerkit to track her recruiting efforts. She finds it to be a seamless system for communicating with your pipeline efficiently and effectively. She also says their customer support team is responsive and helpful.
The Best Tools for Streamlining Your Agents’ Workflows
- Price: Prices range from $11.99 to $40 per user per month, but that may go higher based on your company’s needs.
- What It Does: Asana is a web-based software tool designed to keep teams in touch and their workflows humming. It provides easy-to-access project differentiation tools so you can readily track, assign, and receive tasks with due date reminders. It also lets you 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.
14) Dropbox Business
- Price: Starts at $12.50 per user per month
- What It Does: Dropbox Business is a web-based document management and file storage system for documents and photos. It password-protects all of your team’s content and allows you to remotely wipe files from lost or stolen devices. It also lets members share content effortlessly across multiple devices, keeping everyone in the loop.
- Why You’ll Love It: Storage and time-saving are top of the list. As a brokerage owner, Myers says he 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 Tool for Real Estate Lead Generation
- Price: Spark is priced according to the size of project and client needs. User fees are $100 per month per user, plus additional set-up fees for training, on-boarding, 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, customizable sales reports, and it has an email marketing tool.
- 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. Newcomb says he loves Spark’s simplicity. He finds it to be an all-inclusive system that doesn’t need tweaking, plus he loves working with the Spark team. “They’re a breath of fresh air,” he says.
The Best Tool for Calculating Mortgages
- Price: Free
- What It Does: This free web tool lets you calculate mortgage amounts, affordability, amortization, refinancing, and early payoff rates. There’s also a mortgage comparison calculator.
- Why You’ll Love It: 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, Scalzo uses the tool with clients and her agents. She finds it to be the simplest way to estimate monthly payments for purchase.