Days in the real estate industry can easily get messy as you juggle tons of daily information. Luckily, technology is on our side. There are so many tech tools, including Nebula, created to make our lives easier, and it would be a real bummer to avoid this 21-century privilege.
Here, we’ll present an overview of the 13 tools that can be useful to you if you’re in the real estate industry. If you’re familiar with some of them, that’s great, it means that you’re already pretty up-to-date with digital modernisation.
We classified these tools into three categories based on their function:
- Documents, CRM, finances, and reporting tools
- Task and team management tools
- Online marketing tools
The last one we’ll present is cloud-based property management software.
This way it may be easier for you to figure which aspect of your business possibly needs auditing.
Documents, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Finances, Reports
Cloud-based tools make our business easier, as we don’t need to exchange any documents. Just put them on the cloud, and give access to others. This also means we can access our documents on the cloud from any device that’s connected to the internet.
Most people are already familiar with Google Drive or other Google tools. But, we would like to expand the options. Have you ever heard about Zoho?
Zoho is a suite of software designed for running the entire business. It comes in very handy when your job involves sales, marketing, team collaboration, emailing, business analytics, finances, or customer relationship management.
The great thing about Zoho is that all services are inter-compatible, meaning it’s easy to integrate, for example, a spreadsheet into a document, put it in the cloud storage, and schedule to email them through Zoho Mail on a specific time and date.
Zoho Books offers a plethora of features for finance and accounting. It involves tools for invoicing, reports, inventory, banking, online payment, and several more. Another huge plus of using Zoho if you’re in the real estate industry is Zoho CRM, their customer relationship management feature.
Last, but not least concerning this software suite, is affordable pricing. You don’t need to purchase full bundles for your business, as isolated features are available as standalones.
The only downside we encountered with Zoho is that the interface may feel a bit cluttered, but their team is constantly working on improvements.
One of the best things about Zoho, on the other hand, is that you can sign up for a free trial for most of the services it offers to see whether you like using it, which will allow you to decide whether you’d like to make a purchase. Additionally, some of its software services are free, like Zoho Docs, which is designed for document, presentation, and sheet creation.
The outright competitor to Zoho is Google Suite. What sets G Suite apart is an arguably better, less cluttered user interface, slightly better integration, and a free Gmail/GDrive account with 15GB of space.
However, Google Suite isn’t free if you want to use many of their more advanced features. For example, some control features that may come in handy to real estate professionals are Vault and Work insights. Vault is like a safe for archiving, searching, or exporting numerous documents in different formats. Work insights is designed to help you measure the impact of going digital with your business, as it will inform you about G Suite usage within your team.
As for communication, G Suite offers Gmail, Chat, and Meet. All of these, except Meet, are free. Chat is also integrated into other cloud-based features for creating. The creation features that are relevant for real estate professionals are mostly free and include Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Notes, and Forms.
On top of its communication tools, G Suite offers another super-useful feature— Calendar. This one is very convenient for personal use, but also for scheduling team meetings and activities.
Many people are already used to Google’s offer, which is not surprising as these most frequently used features are usually free and their interface is very user-friendly.
Streak and Copper
In case you thought Google forgot about CRM—you’re wrong. This feature is very important for many businesses, so Google made workflow and productivity software available in Gmail.
More or less, both Streak and Copper serve the same function—customer relationship management. Streak has an embedded productivity and workflow software in Gmail and allows you to do everything straight from your inbox. Streak can replace whole CRMs and provide additional tools like email-tracking. It has a data auto-fill option built-in for existing contacts. The basic management functionalities in Streak are free, but the full-featured version is paid.
Copper also helps you manage your customer relationships and is natively available within Calendar, Gmail, and Google Drive. It has one additional feature, Data Enrichment, designed to dig around the web to find details for your new contacts and automatically fills the necessary fields, while you work on building relationships. Copper has a free trial which is convenient if you want to give it a test run.
Task and team management
Team management in real estate can get messy, as the tasks are quite versatile. Luckily, there are online platforms to assist assignment organisation and delegation. These are not designed specifically as real estate tools, but that doesn’t really change much, as various different businesses can benefit from them.
Asana is a powerful and versatile tool, primarily designed for task management. It combines collaborative assignment tracking, project leading, and integration with internal and external tools. Asana is also better suited for ongoing work, rather than project work. It keeps track of task delegations, information, and progress.
Asana’s Basic bundle is free, and it’s really what it is—basic. Premium and Business are priced affordably, while you can get custom pricing with the Enterprise bundle that’s tailored to your particular business needs.
One downside that might put you off from using Asana is that setting it up can be a bit hard. However, there are some useful guides on how to start with Asana, and after you master these initial steps you’ll see that it has a lot to offer. We personally use Asana in our Console Nebula team to organise our files to bring you the very best real estate and property management courses.
Creatives and visual-type people might prefer to use Trello. This is a lightweight project management tool. Trello includes a digital dashboard for creating, arranging, and prioritising activities. It uses a system of project cards that allows teamsters to interact by adding comments, links, photos, or files. Each project card has its own formatting, reminders, to-do lists, pictures. It’s very useful as it can be integrated with Slack, and is available for mobile phones, both iOS and Android.
Trello’s main advantage is that it has a very easy setup and a user-friendly interface. It requires minimum data to reach the dashboard. It also has a colour-blind-friendly filter, so kudos to their design team for designing inclusive software.
The pricing is similar to Asana’s packages with a free basic bundle, while the business and enterprise range from $9,99 to $20,83 per person, per month.
Slack is a project-management tool primarily designed to facilitate team communication. It can incorporate social media feeds, and archive notifications, files, projects, and messages. It can also integrate all the above-mentioned platforms (Asana, Trello, Basecamp, Zoho, or Google Suite) and many more.
Their pricing tiers are quite affordable, as it has a free trial version, and later plans start from $6,67 per user.
Basecamp is a team collaboration app that allows assigning and tracking tasks, file upload, and group and individual chatting. It has a built-in calendar handy for viewing upcoming assignments and events. This app is very user-friendly and easy to navigate.
There is a free 30-day trial for experimenting with Basecamp’s features, and after that, pricing starts at $99 per month.
Mailchimp is the most popular newsletter tool, period. If you want to reach out to your email list more often, inform them about new offers, discounts, or blog articles, Mailchimp allows you to streamline your emails and do them in bulk. It also has a built-in solution for CRM and inbound campaigns.
Though it has solid autoresponders, its advanced automation features are not that developed (sending emails based on recipient’s actions, for example). But, what it does have is a lot of integrations—WordPress, Canva, Slack, Zoho, Google Analytics, etc.
Mailchimp offers quite a generous freemium plan where you can test out most of the tools available, but the plan is restricted to sending 10,000 emails to 2000 subscribers. For a real estate business, we assume this is a decent deal. In case you need an upgrade with more features and support, Mailchimp’s pricing is quite affordable—their Essentials and Standard plans cost $9,99 and $14,99 respectively.
Sendinblue is an alternative to Mailchimp, as their feature set is quite comprehensive. It includes CRM, marketing automation, SMS, transactional emails, Facebook ads, etc. This means they have slightly better-developed automation, but on the other hand, app integrations are not as extensive as they could be.
The SMS marketing tool is Sendinblue’s unique feature, and this one seems quite useful for the real estate industry. Agents and managers in this branch tend to have closer relationships with their clients, and it’s not uncommon to communicate not only by email but by SMS as well.
Sendinblue allows you to track the performance of your campaigns in real-time, and in multiple ways, as it offers device and geography reporting, heat map reporting, click stats, and more.
When it comes to pricing tiers, Sendinblue has a free plan with nice features, but the number of emails per day is limited to 300. Depending on the size of your company and the number of subscribers, this might be too low. A positive side is that upgraded paid plans are quite affordable and range from $25 to $66 per month.
This marketing platform offers lots of pro features like automating a huge portion of your marketing funnel. Like Sendinblue, they offer a good scope of advanced online marketing features such as intelligent list automation, subscriber list segmentation and design and spam testing to prevent your emails from ending up unread.
A possible downside is that they don’t offer a free bundle, but they do have a free trial. Also, their paid packages are quite affordable and feature-rich.
Canva is not a newsletter delivery platform but it’s an essential tool for online marketing, and even content creation, especially if you want to cut down on design expenses. This is a very simple, but efficient design DIY platform that helps you create any basic visuals you might need for your business—be it flyers, brochures, banners, or social media visuals. It offers thousands of templates that can be modified, or you can upload your own.
Canva allows you to streamline your teamwork, and offers a free beginner’s plan suitable for small teams. Upgraded bundles cost between $9,95 and $30.
Cloud-based property management software
Last but not the least, we invite you to consider moving your work onto a cloud-based property management software. These types of tools are extremely beneficial for real estate agencies as they can automate a lot of the above mentioned processes, but they are designed to specifically address the needs of real estate professionals, or that is, property managers, in particular.
A well-designed property management software includes numerous features and integrations that allow you to organise, keep, and track all of your tasks and communications. This includes features like leasing, fee tracker, reporting, inspection records and tracking, maintenance records and tracking, etc.
If you’re wondering how this type of tool could benefit your business, take a look at this detailed buyer’s guide to property management software.
Our experience so far is that property management software significantly helps improve employees’ efficiency and workplace satisfaction.
To become and remain successful in the real estate business, it’s important to stay up-to-date with tech innovation. Technology helps us automate and organise tasks and operations that are diverting our time and money from the most important aspects of our business. Here, we listed several tools that may come in handy when it comes to documents and administration processes. These tend to get messy, and tools like Zoho, Google Suite, Streak, and Trello can help you keep your work well-organised.
In real estate business, tracking tasks and team management is very demanding, so we suggest platforms like Asana, Trello, Basecamp, and Slack, that can help you keep and track your team’s efforts in one dashboard.
For online marketing, we suggest experimenting with tools like Mailchimp, Sendinblue, Getresponse.
Of course, for real estate business, cloud-based property management software is a specialised solution that can replace almost all other individual tools, except maybe those for online marketing support.
The tools included in this overview are all designed to streamline your team’s working process and help you organise better. Most of them are rich with features and external integrations, and are considerate of the importance of CRM.