Identifying solutions that meet your needs
There is no shortage of real estate brokerage solutions on the market. There are comprehensive solutions designed for full agency management, as well as task specific programs. There is software for everything from back office accounting to commission calculation to document management and beyond. The market offers commercial oriented solutions and residential oriented ones. Target company sizes distinguish products as well. There are programs designed for owner-operators and others that are designed for multi-office real estate corporations. While the features included in the different solutions may vary, the idea behind all of this software innovation is to provide you with the tools to run a more efficient and effective agency and close more deals. Finding the right program for your specific needs will help maximize that opportunity.
What challenges do real estate brokerage management software systems address?
To understand the breadth of options available, it’s useful to first consider some of the concerns that real estate oriented solutions address. Some of the key business questions that today’s real estate broker software solutions address include:
- How do you effectively locate and connect with new sellers and buyers?
- How do you optimize your workflows to run an efficient office?
- How do you manage the sometimes overwhelming amount of documents that real estate offices deal with?
- How do you spot trends in the market to capitalize on faster moving property segments?
- How do you manage complex commission structures in a way that keeps top-performing sellers happy and selling for you?
- Which agents are performing well and which are not?
- How do you handling the scheduling of showings, closings, appraisals, and other appointments?
Typical modules and features found in real estate brokerage software
Let’s take a look at some of the modules that real estate software solutions provide to answer the key business concerned mentioned above.
- Accounting. Comprehensive real estate broker management solutions include back-office accounting features to help provide automation and control in terms of company financial management. Accounting modules are responsible for general ledger consolidations, accounts payable transaction processing, asset depreciation, and bank reconciliations. Accounting modules provide a real-time view into your organization’s financial health, while offering transparency to understand rates of return and cash flows.
Customer relationship management. Real estate brokering is a relationship-centric industry. Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions help maximize opportunities to connect and stay connected with buyers and sellers. A CRM module provides a centralized repository to track all contact and customer information. Having all customer related data stored in a normalized format offers a tremendous advantage in terms of marketing coordination. Many CRM modules integrate email and social media functionality to help execute marketing campaigns.
Commission calculation and processing. They’re called incentives for a good reason. The lure of big commissions is what keeps top sellers performing for your organization. Often though, delays, errors, and even just confusion in commission processing can damage the effectiveness of commissions as a motivating factor. Real estate broker solutions typically include robust and customizable commission calculation and processing capabilities for managing payouts to W2 and 1099 employees alike. Employee portals that allow agents to track their own commission payments are becoming increasingly more common in software solutions of all sizes.
- Sales analysis and forecasting. The larger the size of your typical transaction, the more variability there tends to be in your cash flow cycle. Real estate transactions are of course substantial transactions and the sales cycles can be long. This factor can lead to spiky cash flows, which adds a layer of complexity to corporate financial management. Sales analysis and forecasting modules assist by tracking milestones in the sales cycle. In addition to assisting with cash-flow projections, milestone tracking throughout the sales cycle can provide great insight into understanding where improvements can be made to turn a higher number of prospects into completed sales.
- Listing managers and web integration. It’s becoming increasingly more common to find integrated, web-based listing managers bundled with full agency management solutions. Web tools provide the ability to publicize properties on the market and often integrate with MLS search integration. A strong web-presence is a critical tool, as more and more buyer’s focus the majority of their research efforts through online searches.
- Scheduling. Juggling appointments is a fact of life for the successful agent. Scheduling programs are designed to make that juggling act easier. An integrated and consolidated scheduling resource, deployed across the organization can be an invaluable time saver that both promotes efficiency and prevents issues like double-bookings and missed appointments.
- Reporting. Real estate brokerage agency have some specific financial reporting concerns. The ability to report on sales and inventory by property type, geographic region, and responsible agent is unique to the industry. Many programs offer custom report writers that allow savvy report writers to tap directly into database fields to construct their own custom reports. The ability to save these reports as templates can be a major time saver. Additionally, management oriented dashboards can offer an important tool for quickly conveying a large amount of information in real-time to top decision-makers.
- Document management. The document and paperwork challenge for real estate brokers is a significant business issue. Document management programs offer the ability to database documents in a centralized repository. Maintaining consistent, single versions of documents is critical to removing error and loss opportunities. Document management programs facilitate collaboration by easily offering uniform access to multiple parties. The ability to pull in communication from multiple different communication channels (fax, email, scanning) and of multiple different media types (documents, phone records, video, web, paperwork) is an important feature of document management solutions.
Taking the next steps
Managing a successful real estate brokerage is no small feat. But it is significantly easier with the right software tools. Whether you are looking to augment an existing accounting solution with task specific modules or looking for a comprehensive solution, there are options on the market that are right for you. Mobile access, SaaS options, social media integration, and collaboration tools are just a few of the software trends making their way into the real estate arena and allowing real estate agencies to operate more efficiently.
If you are at the point where you are ready to find out which real estate brokerage programs are right for you, we can help. Through a brief phone call, our software specialists will look to better understand your business and software needs to help you locate a handful of solutions that can address the issues you are currently experiencing. Get started today!