How to Build a Custom Real Estate CRM That Will Pay Off in Years to Come?

November 16, 2022
11 min

As the real estate industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors, the real estate software development market is a promising field for investment. 59% of companies that invest in real estate software development experienced an upsurge in customer services, financial, and investment processes. (Source)

In the market where 93% of realtors use digital means of communication and 85% of residential companies use MLS daily, you can’t afford to be a day late or a dollar short (Source). Full-featured custom real estate CRM solutions are essential.

Therefore, in this blog post, we describe how to build custom real estate CRM that goes in line with the latest technological breakthroughs and industry demands, list the most vital features of a typical CRM solution, and how much you should spend to build one from scratch.

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What is Real Estate CRM?

Real estate CRM is an industry-centered software package designed for real estate businesses to manage incoming requests, move leads through a sales pipeline, sell properties, get feedback from customers, manage documents, transaction deadlines, and much more. Almost 70% of all real estate agents’ tasks can be handled with real estate CRM software.

Types of Real Estate CRM Solutions

CRM in real estate and commercial real estate can be differentiated by platform type (operational, collaborative, analytical), deployment type (cloud-based and on-premises CRM software), and target users. Here we can allocate the following types of real estate CRM:

Commercial Real Estate CRM

Commercial real estate CRM software is a tool that helps brokers to manage their commercial properties, listings, sales, leases, lands, capital sources, and availabilities in one place. With commercial real estate CRM, brokers visualize stacking plans, display properties on a map, search for commercial properties within a certain area, and automate general commission calculations.

CRM for Real Estate Agents

A real estate CRM system is an industry-specific tool for realtors and agents that centralizes data about residential property listings, leads, open deals, clients’ contact information, and more. CRM for real estate agents serves as a data storage and operating system that helps them find residential properties for clients and successfully close deals.

CRM for Property Developers

CRM for Property Developers is designed to track and manage data about Developments and Units within a particular Building. This type of CRM software helps property builders to track associated tasks such as transaction updates, storage of legal documents, property management, and handling of property accounts.

Property Management CRM

Property management CRM is a tool for creating and maintaining customer data and business workflows around property management. With such CRM software, property managers can automate rent collection/payment process, handle renewals and leases, track maintenance requests, get tenant notifications in time, and manage stacking plans.

 

 

Why is Custom Real Estate CRM Worth the Money?

Let’s look at the benefits of custom real estate CRM from 2 angles: financial and functional.

Financial Benefits

When a company plans to implement a custom real estate CRM, ROI (return-on-investment) is one of the key points to consider. Here are some statistics that illustrate the benefits of real estate CRM software development:

  • For companies that use a CRM, the average ROI of technology investment is $8.71 for each dollar spent. (Source: Nucleus Research)
  • Businesses that leverage CRM software see sales increase by 29%, sales productivity increase by 34%, and sales forecast accuracy increase by 42% (Source: Salesforce)
  • CRM software can increase sales conversion rates by up to 300%. (Source: Finances Online)

Functional Benefits

From the functional side, having custom real estate CRM empowers you to:

  • Add any custom functionality to meet the needs of your real estate business
  • Set multiple search criteria and queries that narrow down the search scope
  • Get a purpose-built software ecosystem environment that integrates customer relationships and project management
  • Manage a single database of contacts and segment them according to different criteria and parameters
  • Get extra scalability and better deployment performance due to the cloud hosting of your data
  • Search many objects, select specific fields, filter, and export the view
  • Smartly organize your Excel data, so you don’t mess up with numerous spreadsheets. All data is stored in one place
  • Have 360-degree view of client preferences to find the best matching real estate solution
  • Following up with potential buyers and sellers to provide personalized services
  • Measure efficiency by tracking conversions and creating sales forecasts
  • Keep customers and clients up to date about recent updates

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How to Build a CRM System Tailored to Your Business?

In this passage, we’ll describe the development steps to follow, the functionality to include, and the cost to be ready for when building a real estate CRM tailored to your niche.

Step 1. Find a real estate CRM software development partner

Consider only companies with solid experience in building real estate software solutions within multiple verticals. Always review the software vendor’s case studies and resources to ensure they have that experience and have a practical understanding of what functionality and architecture should be implemented in the chosen type of CRM software.

Step 2. Analyze business processes and define your business model

Once you’ve found a CRM software vendor, you can kick off the project development lifecycle. Before building a custom real estate CRM, a development team must dig into the current business processes, customers, and partners. Does your real estate agency work independently or has integrations with other companies?

It’s also important to understand what the current end-to-end process is, so your IT team can decide what is appropriate to implement within the system/roadmap and what functionality not to include.

Step 3. Define the source of property information

The next step is defining the source of property information and how the company wants to store it. Does your real estate agency use a centralized database or aggregate the information from different sources?

Step 4. Define the type of database, object model, and security model

According to the business model and processes, the development team defines the type of database, its design, the object model, and the security model. Data modeling is critical here as if it’s not done correctly, you’ll run into all sorts of problems down the road, like lengthy delays, productivity loss, frustrated customers, and damaged business relationships.

Defining the security model is also imperative due to the diverse users within a real estate CRM implementation. It’s also important to understand the current end-to-end process, so we can decide what is appropriate to implement within the system. All this dictates how the team will construct the system.

Step 5. Agree on the features set

Using custom real estate CRM, you should be able to enhance your customers’ experience from the first touchpoint until the sale is complete. So, discuss thoroughly with your vendor the features set.

Step 6. Make project estimates

Define the scope of work, required human resources, and amount of money with your development team. After some discovery, design, and road mapping, start building out the first parts of the system.

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Custom Real Estate CRM Features

The power of Custom real estate CRM systems is that you can hand-pick the exact features you need for your business that are not available through out-of-the-box software and pack them into a single solution.

Here is a list of features your custom real estate CRM should include.

Sales Automation

Advanced real estate CRMs have integrated modules for sales automation, where users can move opportunities from one stage to another, track the lead flow, make sales forecasts, identify the bottlenecks and inefficiencies across the company and adjust them effectively.

Sales automation is a core feature of real estate CRM.

Analytics & Real Estate CRM Dashboards

This functionality allows brokers and clients to review all statistical data in one place. By building custom dashboards, your users and managers will be able to:

  • Create visually appealing and accurate graphs and charts based on the raw data collected by the platform
  • Create reports about closed deals and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns
  • Analyze daily/monthly/yearly commission volume
  • Track deal pipeline
  • Get a history of interaction with a specific client: emails, user calls, and sales meetings.

Security Model

The security model is another fundamental aspect of any custom real estate CRM. It defines how different users, such as salespeople, real estate agents, and brokers, access different types of records.

With a security model in place, you control access to data, modify existing security roles, create new security roles, or change which security roles are assigned to users. Each user can have multiple security roles.

The type of security model depends on the business model of your real estate company: do you need to keep your leads separate from one another, or do you need an open system with unrestricted information sharing flows?

Marketing Automation & Analytics

Whether you advertise your property listing on Facebook or the website or send promo emails, you need to market your listing to your target audience in a meaningful way. And to do that, you need to gather data about your customers, their previous interactions with your marketing activities, their behavior on your website, emails open rates, etc.

With a real estate CRM with built-in marketing automation functionality, you can track lead engagement and analyze the results of marketing campaigns.

MLS Integration

MLS (multiple listing service) platforms are portals that real estate brokers and agents use to advertise property listings and find customers. MLS integration with real estate CRM saves brokers a significant amount of time. Instead of switching to various programs, you can promote properties on multiple listing websites and portals right from your CRM.

Commission Calculation

Make your CRM track commissions for multiple real estate roles and payout orders. Use this feature for forecasting your commission if you win an opportunity.
Here’s how one of our tools – AscendixRE CRM – helps brokers to track their commissions.

AscendixRE has given me the ability to create follow-up reminders to reach out to former clients has been invaluable. I have been able to use that same dashboard to let me know which deals I have not been paid for. It reminds me every time I pull up my dashboards, which means I don’t let my hard-earned commissions slip through the cracks by forgetting to follow up with landlords who still owe.

Brandon Vandermyde, Senior Vice President, NAI Excel

Email Integration

Your real estate CRM software should easily synchronize with Gmail, Mailchimp, Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, or any other email service. Such integrations enable you to:

  • Write and receive emails inside CRM
  • Synchronize all of your data like subscribers into real estate CRM and link them to existing contacts and leads in your org
  • Create new leads inside your CRM for email addresses that don’t match existing leads, providing your sales team with more contacts to reach out to
  • Update regularly contacts and leads inside your CRM with email outreach campaigns
  • Get better visibility into your marketing engagement activities
  • Target your audience with more personalized content like specialized digital ads
  • View all subscriber activity and campaign success statistics to understand your customers better.

Document Management

This feature provides your real estate agency with flexibility within document management, improved client satisfaction through faster document retrieval and company response, better internal collaboration, and more accessible data obtainment.

With your documents stored and managed online, the old times when organizations were desperately looking for an extra hard drive to store their materials easily fade away.

Contact management

By adding this feature into the box, you can use custom real estate as a full-cycled contact management software. This feature allows you to:

  • View, create, edit, or delete contacts
  • Import/Export contacts into Excel spreadsheets
  • Mine targeted lists of contacts to make calls and send emails to
  • Get automatic reminders on lease expirations or when it is time to get in touch with your contacts
  • Easily monitor and plan your sales activities.

Real Estate CRM Cost

The real estate CRM software development cost estimation is one of the required steps at the beginning of the development process.

Let’s outline some important factors to consider for better estimation:

CRM System Complexity

The more advanced solutions you decide to develop, the more resources you’ll require. If you’re a small real estate agency, don’t build too complex CRM unless you want to overpay for the features you will never use. If the price question is on the top of your list, make sure you prioritize with your CRM vendor the functionality for your real estate CRM, setting clear boundaries between must-have and nice-to-have feature sets.

Tech Stack

This point impacts the development cost significantly. Your CRM software provider will help you to define the appropriate tech stack for your real estate agency based on your requirements and the availability of developers proficient in chosen technologies.

Engagement Models

Custom real estate CRM software development cost depends on how you engage with the development team. Let’s take Ascendix engagement models as an example:

  • On-Demand model (Ascendix Manages Your Project)
  • Dedicated Team (You Manage Ascendix Teams)
  • Offshore Team (All Team Members Work from Europe)
  • Blended Team (You Work with the US and European Teams)

Whatever engagement model you choose, the real estate CRM software development company will provide full-cycle development services.

Software Developers’ Rates

The project cost estimation also includes expenses on developers’ salaries. The rates vary depending on whether you choose in-house or outsourced CRM development and on developers’ location, fields of expertise, and hands-on experience.

 

 

Build vs Buy Real Estate CRM

Many real estate companies have difficulties choosing between building a custom real estate CRM internally or buying an off-the-shelf solution. You may be a part of a small real estate business that’s short on money and requires a quick solution, or a large company with hundreds of employees and numerous departments that require custom solutions.

What suits one company doesn’t mean to suit yours. Therefore, the decision to build vs buy is changeable.

However, we’d like to outline the main (not all) factors that might affect the build vs. buy argument:

  • Focus/Core Competence ― What will you use a CRM for?
  • Time to market – How long do you need or expect CRM to take to solve the problem?
  • Budget ― How big is your budget?
  • Quality – What elements do you consider critical for assessing the quality of CRM? (E.g., solution’s completeness, stability, feature set, technical capabilities, bug count, etc.)
  • Training – How much time will be needed to train your team to use the new CRM?
  • Support – Who will support your CRM software?
  • User roles and access levels ― How many employees and departments will use the CRM?

Don’t build a real estate CRM from scratch if you need functionality that already exists off the shelf. If you need to solve industry-specific problems, however, standardized generic CRM solutions will barely help, so just go with custom development.

Custom Real Estate Software Development Company

The results of real estate CRM solutions development are purely in your software development partner’s hands. Even though there are myriads of companies that offer custom solutions, not many of them have years of experience in the Real Estate industry.

So, while selecting a CRM software vendor, pay attention to the company’s maturity in Real Estate and whether they’ve got industry-oriented software solutions in their portfolio.

For example, Ascendix Tech is a real estate technology advisor and product authoring company with as many as 16 years of hands-on real estate experience under our belt. We have built a number of custom proptech solutions that helped (and still do) companies in real estate, commercial real estate, and Proptech industries digitalize their operations and better serve their customers. For example, we helped JLL improve their CRM adoption by six times, and built custom real estate listing software for Colliers.

By partnering with us, you’ll get a tech-driven competitive advantage over your competitors, a dedicated team of experts, and eventually a tailored-fit CRM software solution that will serve you for many years to come.

At Ascendix Tech, we have 25+ years of experience in CRM consulting, 10+ years of expertise in delivering technology solutions for real estate companies, and 10 years of custom software development background.

This tried-and-true combination allowed us to build our Proptech software products and help dozens of prominent market players meet their business goals and serve thousands of clients worldwide.

We develop, implement, support, and carry out any supporting processes during the software development lifecycle. Contact us and jumpstart your custom real estate CRM implementation today.

Real Estate CRM FAQs

How much does it cost to build real estate CRM?

Real estate CRM software development company should provide you with an estimated CRM development cost, which may approximately start from $50,000. To get an exact project estimate, feel free to contact us.

What is the role of CRM in real estate?

The primary role of real estate CRM is to help realtors and agencies deal with the following challenges:

  • Ineffective manual processes and employees’ overload
  • Numerous human errors
  • Poor customer service because some of the client requests get lost
  • Loss of documentation due to disorganized data tracking process
  • Inefficient collaboration of departments.

Best real estate CRM solves these challenges through automation, allowing specialists to focus on selling properties and constantly increasing customer satisfaction.

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