What Is a Real Estate CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, a type of software that helps professionals keep track of large contact lists. Industries that depend on networking, knowing lots of people, or maintaining numerous contacts for their success rely on CRMs. Sales reps, PR professionals, and real estate agents number among the top CRM users. For general (non-industry specific) CRMs, you can read Salesforce’s definition.
Related: Can I Make Money on Rentals?
Why You Need a Real Estate CRM in the First Place
Remember that time you ran into an acquaintance at the grocery store, but forgot their name and where you met them? The consequences of that awkward conversation probably didn’t extend beyond the minimal discomfort you felt in the moment. However, in professions that rely on human connection and strong networks, those awkward conversations can lead to lost leads and sales, and they can damage your reputation if they leave clients with a bad impression.
CRMs prevent these mishaps, however minimal or major. They help professionals build client trust and confidence. Good relationships with customers start when an agent remembers a client’s name and specific details about them.
A CRM aids that effort by storing details about each person like a rolodex, but with way more functionality. It can send reminders to follow up with clients, automate redundant tasks (such as looking up LinkedIn profiles), scan business cards, and send “thank you” emails. In short, it remembers what you can’t.
What Makes a Good Real Estate CRM?
A good real estate CRM should make it easier to move clients through the pipeline.
For example, if you attend an event and meet 100 new people, a good CRM will store those new contacts and save details about them (e.g., met after the keynote, mentioned they have kids, moved from Ontario, might buy a house when their lease is up, follow up in 6 months).
What to Look for in a Real Estate CRM
For a good real estate CRM, look for software designed specifically for the real estate industry. Its pipeline management capabilities should move clients through the standard real estate stages: Lead → Phone Call Scheduled → Meeting Scheduled → Agreed to Work Together → Touring → Closed Sale. Make sure the CRM can send automated emails, can store detailed (not just general) information about each person, and fits your budget. For more information about what to look for, read our full list of features you’ll definitely want in a CRM.
A Comparison of 3 Top Real Estate CRMs
With so many CRMs to choose from, finding one that works for you will take time and energy. Our comparison of 3 top CRMs provides insight into some key factors to consider when searching for your top CRM choices.
AptAmigo’s apartment locators use a custom built CRM designed to optimize the company’s workflow and boost the number of clients each sales rep can work with at any given time.
What we love:
We designed AptAmigo’s CRM to fit the exact needs of our niche in the real estate market. It not only addresses the requirements of most real estate professionals, but matches the precise demands of the apartment rental market and our company’s collaborative workflow.
Its hyper-detailed features enable easy handoff between teams, and help apartment locators manage every single step of the customer journey with the additional help of excellent automation. This CRM provides, for instance, extremely specific search filters that can meet the demands of the pickiest clients out there.
Apartment locators can also track a wide variety of performance statistics to help them set goals and assess their strengths and needed improvements. And, thanks to its integration with Notion, we can track historical market data to see how rental markets change from year to year.
Despite its detail-oriented design, the learning curve is relatively low. Since our new agents start making deals in their first week on the job, they need the ability to jump right in and use it. We won’t pretend to be impartial here. Our custom software is the tool that enables our apartment locators to make this company so successful.
What could be better:
We tailored this CRM to AptAmigo’s precise company structure and workflow. Unless you work for AptAmigo (and we think it’s an amazing place to work), it won’t match the exact system you have in place.
Salesforce serves as a general, cloud-based CRM for businesses of all types with lots of features and functionality. It is a solid, name-brand contender in the CRM market, especially for businesses without the capacity or desire to build their own custom software.
What we love:
Salesforce’s CRM offers tons of features with the potential to optimize laborious tasks, such as managing contacts, tracking sales activity, and analytics. They designed their software to support multiple teams throughout a company, including marketing and customer service. Users can also customize it (for a price) to support scalability as their business grows.
Because this CRM is one of the biggest and most well known on the market, many major companies use it. The resources they gain from this network of users allows them to offer good compatibility features and smooth integrations with email and outside apps.
If you prefer to not create your own custom CRM, but want to tailor every detail to your company’s precise needs, Salesforce belongs on your list of CRMs to consider.
What could be better:
While Salesforce provides tons of useful features and functionality, some users complain that it contains too many. Folks new to the software often feel overwhelmed and report a steep learning curve. Moreover, you can adapt this general business software to the real estate industry, but it’s not built specifically for real estate workflows, and it takes a good amount of up front work to set it up in a way that will work for you.
Keep in mind as well that this CRM comes with a high price tag, and the more customizability you want, the higher the price.
Contactually (Out of Business as of March 2022)
Contactually caters to real estate brokerages and manages the real estate pipeline from start to finish. It helps brokers manage their business and their agents, and it helps agents manage their contacts and client pipelines with forward-thinking technology.
What we love:
This industry specific tool requires less effort to set up since it already contains the features most needed by real estate agents and brokers. In other words, many features that would require customization in a general CRM will already be in place. Contactually provides excellent automation tools to boost communications with clients and automate workflows. They aim to bring the real estate industry into the 21st century with innovative software the industry desperately needs. This software would serve traditional real estate brokerages well.
What could be better:
Compass, a big real estate brokerage, recently bought Contactually. They operate on a traditional brokerage model that specializes in luxury homes. This transition leaves Contactually with an uncertain future at the moment. As they hammer out and announce what directions they plan to take the software in, a clearer sense of what this new ownership will mean for the company’s future will emerge.
Neither Compass, nor Contactually mention much about the rental market, although Compass does provide rental listings on their site. Because rentals in traditional real estate models tend to be treated like the stepchild in fairy tales, neglected and underappreciated, software that serves traditional real estate agents suffers from the same limitation. That’s why, as a rental service company with a non-traditional real estate workflow, AptAmigo chose to build its own CRM.
Work for AptAmigo
Interested in becoming an apartment locator and using AptAmigo’s proprietary CRM? AptAmigo always wants to find talented new agents. Learn more about apartment locating careers, and apply!
AptAmigo is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and does not discriminate based on race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law, in connection with any aspect of employment at AptAmigo.
Karrie Fuller earned her PhD in English from the University of Notre Dame. After a decade of teaching college-level writing and English courses, she brings a wealth of expertise about writing, editing, and content management to AptAmigo's marketing team.