Essential Real Estate Software for Investors to Improve Operations and Sales

Essential Real Estate Software for Investors to Improve Operations and Sales

The goal of every real estate investor is to turn a profit—but how much profit you garner per year and how much work it takes depends on your unique operational strategy. For example, many investors see an annual 8% return on investment for each of their rental properties. At the same time, other investors see a $65,000 gross profit per flip

But no matter your specialty, carving out more profitability by increasing your sales potential and streamlining your operations can only strengthen your business. Unfortunately, many processes in real estate investment are opaque, manual, or seem to require the active assistance of a licensed professional. But turning to a robust array of real estate software for investors can make all the difference.

Today’s property investors have a wide array of property management tools, research apps, and real-time data streams to help find new properties, manage existing investments, and stay informed about a particular niche. Keep reading to see how software can deliver truly significant results for your business without being too good to be true. This guide covers:

  • The unique potential of real estate software for investors to measurably improve your operations and sales
  • What areas of software are the most important
  • Where software offers you a better advantage than relying on professional advisors

Why You Should Turn to Real Estate Software for Investors to Optimize Your Business

In today’s extremely competitive markets, all of your real estate decisions need to be fast, well-researched, and immediately actionable:

  • Fast: Depending on your region, the real estate market can fluctuate every week. However, for most markets across Texas, inventory remains extremely low. In the first quarter of 2023, inventory was still at 2.7 months—much better than a previous trough of 1.1 months, but still far below a healthy ground of six months. This means listings move fast, and you need to be in a position to make a favorable offer as soon as a property reaches MLS.
  • Well-researched: There’s no room for guesswork in real estate investment. However, there’s no room for making decisions based on past performance either, and that means the advice of a realtor with decades in the industry can’t necessarily help you make the right decisions for your investment portfolio. Instead, you need to have constant access to real-time analytics about strategic pricing or offers, data-backed estimates for rentals within specific neighborhoods, and constantly updated market insights.
  • Immediately actionable: When you decide to purchase a property as a rental, sell an existing property as a FSBO, or refine your tenant criteria so there’s less turnover or a smaller gap between tenants, don’t put yourself in a position of waiting for a human intermediary. If you’ve made your next business decision but can’t act on it until your realtor or property manager gets back to you, that slows down all of your operations.

Related: Is Now the Right Time to Sell Your Home in Texas? An In-Depth Analysis

Modern online platforms offer users all three of these criteria, especially if you install them as apps on your phone. While it can be comforting to have the presence of an experienced realtor by your side, they can cost you a hefty 3% on every purchase or sale and the first month’s rent for finding a new tenant. If you can get the same (or even better) insights and services from online tools that operate on your schedule, you have far more control over your business at a far lower cost.

6 Must-Have Types of Real Estate Software for Investors

Like any type of business, real estate investors have multiple different facets o consider: 

  • Marketing for reaching new buyers or tenants
  • Financial operations, such as paying contractors or managing tenant billing, transaction management for buying and selling properties
  • Business strategy for ensuring your cash flow and routine operations truly support your goals 

For many investors, their control over each of these arms was limited because they had to trust realtors, property managers, or accountants. But today, you have a choice. You can control your business’s operations directly through an arsenal of business tools and apps, or you can take a hybrid approach of using a mix of professionals and professional tools so you have the blend of transparent control and expert support you’re looking for.

Whether you want to keep all the decisions in your own hands with real estate software for investors, you want that hybrid approach, or you want to shift some operations to software, you can build a tech stack that suits your preferences. Focus on the following six types of software so you can fundamentally improve your operations and sales:

1. CRM Software

CRM software can—and often should—be the hub of your business. You can manage contact records for past tenants, buyers, and sellers, as well as contact details for your professional network of real estate advisors, contractors, and property managers. With a robust CRM, you can track the status of your pipeline, stay in contact with everyone on your radar, and have a good foundation for managing and assigning yourself organized tasks. 

Many CRMs will feed into other tools you use, such as email marketing tools, invoices, and financial records. You can also schedule meetings and track touchpoints if your business relies on regular contact with leads. 

This type of software is essential if you want to grow your real estate investment business beyond a single passive investment property or a few flips. It’s counterintuitive to try and keep all the details in your head or rely on a realtor or property manager to keep you up to date. If you want to start selling or leasing properties without a licensed realtor, having a functioning CRM that’s already full of contact records and your property details puts you in a good position for lead nurturing.

2. Property Management Software

If you prefer buy-and-hold real estate investment strategies, then property management and tenant management protocols will be a significant part of your operational focus. Depending on your style, you might use a comprehensive property management service, have maintenance management but handle the tenant agreements yourself, or manage everything in-house. No matter which process works best for you, digitizing it can streamline your operations.

Many property management services already operate through dashboards that manage your notifications, agreements, and payments on one side, and then tenant agreements, payments, and communications on the other side. When you feel comfortable handling the process for yourself, these same tools can allow you to seamlessly pick up the process without a lot of manual work.

3. Data and Market Research Software

Earlier, we discussed how fast the market can change. That’s why it’s important to have your own market and research tools. You can gain deep insight into changing prices and inventory levels, upcoming developments that will affect property values, and more. Handling your own research can even keep you better apprised of local ordinances around short-term rental restrictions or news that affects your bottom line. 

Ultimately, having fast tools with near-real-time data that you can explore at your convenience make you a more knowledgeable investor.

4. Analysis Tools

If you have online investment and retirement accounts, you probably have a brokerage dashboard that informs you about changes in your investment values, ROI and growth over time, and activity across each account. Real estate investors need the exact same analytics for their properties. Robust analysis tools can tell you:

  • The growth in each property value over time
  • The expenses you’ve incurred on each property
  • The revenue and cash flow coming in from each property

Related: Q2 2023 Texas Real Estate Market update – Real Estate Real Fast EP21

These insights can guide your process of deciding which properties to retain and which to sell. Otherwise, you might be operating in the dark.

5. Lead Gen and Marketing Tools

One of the biggest expenses in any business is lead generation or marketing. But in real estate, that subject can get complicated. If you’re selling a property with a traditional real estate agent, for example, it’s often their obligation to find leads and make sure buyers see your property in a positive light. However, while the norm is for listing agents to get a 3% commission, there’s no norm on what marketing and lead generation services you might be getting for that steep price. Your agent might put a lot of time and effort into photography, open houses, and online listings, or the property might essentially sell itself. 

As an alternative, many real estate investors turn to individual marketing tools and flat-fee listing brokerages that can help you list your property on MLS without paying a commission to an agent. Focusing on software gives you much more granular control over the process and the results. You get to decide what MLS listings say, the photographs, what websites the properties are marketed on, and all other details. Just as important, prospective buyers become contacts in your CRM, not a realtor’s.

6. Transaction Management and House-Selling Tools

Similarly, if you’re familiar with real estate transactions, you don’t need a realtor with a 3% commission to handle the paperwork during the closing period—in fact, you may be surprised by how much of all that administrative work and logistics management is really done by the title company and the lender. With transaction management tools built for real estate investors, you can digitally manage processes like:

  • Reviewing and negotiating offers on properties (as both a buyer and a seller)
  • Managing title work
  • Keeping track of appraisal processes, closing costs, and all the to-dos for a pending property sale

Start Building Your Tech Stack With Real Estate Software for Investors

Experienced real estate investors don’t need to continually pay blanket fees for real estate services or management. Instead, you can trim down expenses by switching to software tools that give you far more control over your business operations and let you decide what you really want to pay for. By peeling away opaque realtor services, property management companies, and advisory or consultant services, you gain a stronger grasp of how the industry operates and how you want your own business to run. At ListingSpark, we empower real estate investors by offering individual services ranging from flat-fee MLS listing to photography to smart listing price analytics tools that help you price your for-sale properties. Explore our real estate investment software to see what levers and pulleys you want more control over for your own investments.

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