What Is the Best CRM for Real Estate?
Real estate is continuously evolving. The markets go up and down, and home styles change over time. During the past couple of decades, the market swings and style changes haven't been the most significant changes for real estate agents and brokers, though. The business model itself has been the most substantial change. What was once a business of "hitting the pavement" and making cold calls has transformed into an industry all about skillful online marketing. Agents get leads and foster relationships, rather than knocking on doors. To be successful in this new world, brokerages and agents need the best CRM for real estate.
If you're not familiar with what "CRM" stands for, why it's needed, or which CRMs are the best ones out there, this article will guide you through all these essentials. If you're not using a CRM right now, you're about to discover one of the best ways to boost your business and improve your efficiency.
- What Is CRM Software for Real Estate?
- What Would the Best CRM for Real Estate Do Differently?
- How Can CRM Help Your Real Estate Business?
- What Is the Best CRM for Real Estate Agents and Brokers?
- How to Choose the Right CRM Software for Real Estate
- Don't Be Afraid to Experiment
What Is CRM Software for Real Estate?
The term CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Oracle defines this type of software as "the tools, technology, and processes that manage and analyze customer relationships and your interactions with past, current, and potential future customers." CRM is all about relationships, helping you know your customers better, responding to their needs, and nurturing them through the sales pipeline.
For real estate agents and brokerages, the CRM system is the central repository for clients' information. When someone fills out a form saying that they're interested in a home that you're listing, their contact information should go directly into the CRM. Similarly, when someone fills out a form saying that they're interested in having you sell their property, again, this information goes into the CRM.
At this point, an astute reader may think that a CRM sounds like a fancy word for a database. While the CRM does have a database in it to store customer information, these platforms are so much more than just a repository for customer information. They know about your entire client pipeline — from the first contact to the final paperwork when the client closes on the property.
A CRM can send an automated text when the customer sends their inquiry, notify you when you need to follow up with a customer, give you a place to store notes about conversations, send emails to clients, and many other functions. The CRM system becomes the hub for your business and helps you streamline your customer relationships.
What Would the Best CRM for Real Estate Do Differently?
Perhaps the best way to illustrate the importance of having the best CRM for real estate is to provide an example of how it can streamline communications.
Let's suppose there are two real estate agents. For this illustration, let's say that we have one agent, John, that has a great CRM system, and there's Bob that doesn't have any CRM.
John has a website. It showcases homes and provides an excellent landing page for people to contact him and inquire about properties. His CRM system sends out regular emails, which further encourages people to contact him.
On the other hand, Bob doesn't have a CRM, so he has an elementary, primitive website. To get leads, he makes cold calls. Most of these calls go nowhere. Maybe one out of 100 is interested, but many days, he has to take at least 2-3 hours a day to cold call people.
When a customer inquires about John's services or asks to look at a house, his CRM automatically responds with a text message saying that he has received the inquiry. It gives the customer some more info on the property and a link to it on the website. It also reassures the prospective client that John will get back to them soon.
Bob receives a similar inquiry, but he's too busy cold calling people to see it. After a few hours, he returns the call, but the prospective client says another agent, John, got back to them faster and answered their questions. Therefore, the client would be using John in the future.
Bob loses a prospective client. John gains one.
This example only highlights a few of the features of what the typical real estate CRM package provides. However, even these features can give an agent the competitive edge they need to gain a new client.
How Can CRM Help Your Real Estate Business?
A CRM streamlines your business and maximizes the time that you can spend on "important" work. Instead of trying to cold call, you can set up your funnel, have leads come to you, and nurture them through your pipeline.
While this assistance might seem simple, the effects are profound. Consider these jaw-dropping statistics:
- According to Active Rain, agents that earn over $100,000 spend 22% more on their CRM systems and 79% more on their website than agents making less than $35,000.
- One study by the California Association of Realtors found that 54% of people wanted their agents to respond faster, and 37% of people said that fast response times were one of their main reasons for being happy with their real estate agent.
- A statistic on The Close reveals that agents earning more than $100k are also twice as likely to use advanced technology tools like CRM software than those earning less.
- Email marketing (which requires a robust contact list) is very useful for real estate professionals. Click-through rates can be as high as 1.5%, with over 10% open rates for real estate emails. The right CRM enables these powerful campaigns.
Prospective clients expect quality customer service from their agents. The best way to provide that is to use the automated tools and processes that only the top real estate CRM can provide.
What Is the Best CRM for Real Estate Agents and Brokers?
There are 12 main CRM packages for real estate agents and brokers. Let's look at each one, including features, pricing, and agent for whom this package would be best.
Propertybase is one of the most well-known real estate CRM platforms available. Used by some of the business's biggest names, including Keller-Williams and RE/Max, Propertybase is a comprehensive full-service real estate CRM.
There are quite a few features of this CRM:
- Brokerages can manage leads and route them to agents seamlessly.
- Follow-ups happen automatically — Propertybase can handle sending out emails and other forms of communication.
- Propertybase integrates with every MLS platform, thereby making it easy to manage and promote listings.
- ROI tracking makes it easy for brokerages and agents to analyze their business and make changes that impact the bottom line.
Propertybase's advantages are many, including that the developers have built it for brokerages and agents to create a seamless experience. Being able to aggregate leads and simplify communications is significant for most people in the business.
Pricing: Propertybase does not publicly disclose its pricing. However, some websites suggest that it could be around $99 per user per month.
Who would find this the best CRM for real estate: Larger brokerages and very successful agents. There's a lot of power here, but it's overkill for smaller agents.
Contactually is another reasonably well-known CRM in the business since it has been around for over ten years. Originally, Contactually was an independent business, but Compass bought them a little while back. With over $3 billion in deals closed by agents using Contactually, it's safe to say that this platform has had a powerful impact on the people who use it.
Some of Contactually's top features are:
- Manage contacts with ease. See when you last communicated with them and what the next communication should be.
- Custom templates make sending out emails a breeze. There's no typing by hand as Contactually will automatically fill all the fields for you.
- Organize your deals on Kanban-like boards to remind yourself and others of their stage.
- Automate your processes by setting delays and actions for each contact. For example, you can set a rule like "when contact is added, in five days, call to check in."
Contactually has a significant UI advantage over some of the other CRM platforms. While other CRMs look disjointed and complicated, this one looks gorgeous and clean. It's wonderfully organized and makes it very easy for all real estate agents of varying tech competencies to start using it.
Pricing: $69 per month for the base plan. The accelerator plan costs $119 per month and has access to lead nurturing content and priority support.
Who would find this the best CRM for real estate: Most agents would be hard-pressed to find a more elegant and clean solution than Contactually. However, the pricing may not be suitable for people who are just starting in the business and need to build up some capital.
Used by some of the top real estate companies in the country such as Exp Realty and Coldwell Banker, Wise Agent is another fantastic software package for real estate agents.
Some features of Wise Agent include:
- Powerful lead automation tools let you follow-up at the right times. Wise Agent even has capabilities to send automated texts to acknowledge an inquiry ASAP.
- Get a landing page complete with real estate templates and automatic integration with Wise Agent. These pages can be ready in minutes and give you a significant web presence.
- Automated drip marketing lets you send fresh content without having to worry about the details. You can set it, forget it, and watch leads come to your inbox.
The integrations that Wise Agent has is one of its most significant advantages. Wise Agent works with Facebook for Business, Gmail, Google Calendar, Docusign, Equifax, IDX, SEO Experts, AWS, YouTube, and many more partners. With that level of integration, it's easy to build a CRM pipeline that works for your business.
Pricing: At $29 per month or $299 annually (about $25 per month), this CRM solution is one of the less expensive ones around.
Who would find this the best CRM for real estate: The fact that Wise Agent offers so many features for just $25 a month makes it a compelling option for many agents. Wise Agent is arguably the best CRM to try for agents who have never used this type of software. Its low cost makes it easy to recommend in general.
Follow Up Boss
Follow Up Boss has an impressive claim to fame in that 11 of the 50 top teams in North America use this CRM software. If the top teams on the continent feel that this CRM has some value, clearly it must be working for them and be worth an investigation for other agents.
After looking at the feature list, you'll quickly see why so many people love Follow Up Boss:
- Follow Up Boss always runs in the background. Emails and texts go out to leads instantly, making it seem like you're impressively responsive.
- At the start of the day, you'll see what you need to do grouped into tasks. This beautiful breakdown makes brokerages and agents incredibly efficient.
- Automatically pull in your leads from 200+ sources. Distilling all your contacts into one system is incredibly powerful.
Follow Up Boss' main advantage is, as the name implies, its process for ensuring that agents follow up promptly. Follow Up Boss makes it super easy for agents to stay on top of their lead pipeline between the better organization and automated assistants.
Pricing: Base pricing starts at $69 per user per month. They also offer a Pro version for $499 per month that allows a maximum of 10 users (so about $50 per user, if you use the maximum number of licenses). Finally, they offer Platform, which costs $1,000 for up to 30 users per month ($33.33 per user).
Who would find this the best CRM for real estate: Any agent or brokerage that needs prompt, reliable communication would find this solution fantastic. Additionally, if you're getting leads from all over the place and need them in a central location, this CRM works best.
IXACT Contact: One of the Best CRMs for Real Estate
Also trusted by some of the business' biggest names, IXACT has a real estate CRM and marketing solution that tends to be one of the better ones. Founded in 2007 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the developers behind IXACT are well-known for their stellar customer support and their excellent product. Here are some of IXACT's more notable features:
- Integrate all your contact information from multiple sources. Additionally, they have a mobile app so that you can access all this information from the palm of your hand.
- IXACT Contact can store copious data on each lead, including addresses, phone numbers, social media profiles, etc.
- IXACT's "Keep in Touch" dashboard lets you set up automated reminders for important events like birthdays, keep-in-touch calls, and move-in anniversaries.
IXACT's mobile app is arguably its most significant advantage. While some of the other CRMs on this list have a mobile-friendly site, IXACT's app makes this platform one of the top real estate CRMs.
Pricing: $39 per month, if you pay month-to-month. That price comes down to $33 if you prepay annually.
Who would find this the best CRM for real estate: This solution has an excellent price and a quality set of features. Anyone looking for that nice price-to-feature balance would be well-served with IXACT Contact.
ClientLook is one of the more interesting real estate CRMs on the market today. It's one of the only CRM solutions targeting commercial real estate. It's the only CRM that includes virtual assistants in it. Due to that, it can make some reasonably hefty claims in terms of productivity enhancements.
Some of ClientLook's features include:
- Access to virtual assistants means you can do things like scan a business card and have them enter the contact info in the CRM. You can also call the VA team from the road and have them document the details of the meeting into the CRM.
- A refreshingly simple user interface is easy to navigate.
- You can track sales and lease comps with ease within the CRM software itself.
ClientLook targets commercial real estate, and their virtual assistance feature is a significant advantage in that respect. There isn't another platform quite like it on the market.
Pricing: ClientLook gives the first six months free, but after that, brokerages will pay $89 per user per month if they prepay annually or $129 per month if they pay each month.
Who would find this the best CRM for real estate: Commercial real estate brokerages would be well-served to give ClientLook a look.
RealNex targets commercial real estate brokerages who need to streamline, accelerate, and integrate their contact solutions.
Some of RealNex's top features are:
- RealNex includes a custom-designed portfolio of marketing materials that you can auto-generate. These materials will make your business look incredibly professional.
- Give your website a sophisticated search, as well as property exploration capabilities.
- Collaborate to share insights from within the CRM tool itself.
RealNex's advantage is that it was built from the ground up specifically for commercial real estate. As such, the top-end package includes everything necessary for a commercial real estate brokerage or investor to succeed.
Pricing: The CRM itself is $79 per month, prepaying for 12 months. If you pay monthly, it's $99 a month. However, the complete package is the best deal at $129 per month, prepaid, and $169 a month, paying month-to-month.
Who would find this the best CRM for real estate: Anyone in the commercial real estate business should check out ClientLook. It has quite a few features that would be hard to find in another package.
Apto also targets commercial real estate businesses that need to manage contacts, listings, and store details about properties. It is a fully web-based software solution, so agents and brokers can access it anywhere.
Apto has a few standout features that prospective users should know:
- Stellar organization abilities mean that you can easily access your data when and where you need it. Since it's in the cloud, you can access it from your desk or on the road.
- Apto can organize and suggest follow-ups so you can connect with people at the right time. It can also make sure you follow-up with the correct information.
- Automation removes tedious tasks.
- Apto focuses on all aspects of the deal flow, from prospect to close.
Apto's most significant advantage over some of the other commercial real estate CRMs is that brokers built it for brokers. Since people who work in the industry made this software, it has many subtle features that will save commercial real estate brokers and agents a substantial amount of time.
Pricing: The basic version runs for $129 per user per month, while the pro one goes for $149.
Who would find this the best CRM for real estate: Commercial real estate brokers who want to have a CRM that can handle everything, from initial contact to closing.
BoomTown is a fully-featured CRM solution for residential real estate brokerages who want all the bells and whistles that a CRM could provide. Founded in 2006 and having over 250 employees, BoomTown offers a robust CRM software package that many real estate agents use daily.
Some of BoomTown's more prominent features are:
- Success Assurance means that real live humans will reach out to your prospects in as little as 90 seconds to help figure out what they want and get them on your calendar. They also nurture every lead for up to 365 days after initial contact.
- With predictive capabilities, BoomTown routes inquiries to the agents that will close on them best.
- BoomTown has both an app and web presence, so your agents can access everything no matter where they are.
BoomTown's Success Assurance is arguably this platform's most significant advantage. Instead of agents needing to contact and nurture leads through the pipeline, BoomTown outsources all that work, saving the brokerage time and money.
Pricing: BoomTown is expensive. They don't disclose their pricing online, but some other sites report it as $1,000+ per month. Their contact forms ask how much money your brokerage makes, and the minimum you can enter is $1 million per year, so the premium pricing isn't surprising.
Who would find this the best CRM for real estate: Well-established brokerages who already make many thousands per year and want the best of the best when it comes to CRMs and concierge service.
As one of the first real estate-focused CRMs to market (since 1982), Top Producer is most certainly worth looking into for many real estate agents and brokers. Some of this software's top features are:
- Social media insights and in-depth contact analysis let you get ahead of the game and develop meaningful relationships with clients.
- This CRM has built-in texting and email, with history. It also includes proven real estate email templates that you can use for your communications.
- Top Producer integrates with 150+ lead sources and integrates seamlessly with plenty of software packages.
Top Producer's competitive advantage is its rich history. With over 35 years of catering to real estate agents and brokers, this software includes everything you need without any bloat. It's a comprehensive, well-rounded package at a competitive price. That's hard to beat.
Pricing: Billed monthly, packages per user start at $40 and go up to $80. However, those low and high packages come down to $33 and $66 if you opt to prepay the full year.
Who would find this the best CRM for real estate: Agents and brokerages seeking a comprehensive, mature, stable platform to improve their contact lists and automate follow-ups.
HubSpot is the leading CRM solution for all industries. Founded in 2006 in Cambridge, MA, HubSpot offers the complete CRM solution for many industries, including real estate.
Some of HubSpot's more prominent features are:
- Powerful integrations mean that you can link HubSpot everywhere. Contacts that come in from your website, calls, real estate sites, etc. can all funnel into HubSpot.
- A robust data analytics pipeline will save agents significant amounts of time and money.
- One cannot overlook HubSpot's attractive and aesthetically-pleasing UI. Most people can find their way around with minimal training.
Overall, even though HubSpot's core market isn't real estate, it winds up being an excellent real estate CRM. Its most significant advantage over competitors? HubSpot is free forever. It's the only zero-cost CRM on this list, which is a pretty substantial competitive edge. It's undoubtedly the best free CRM for real estate.
Pricing: Free. Yes, free. Although there is a catch: the core product is free, but there are upgrades that cost money. Some of those won't be too much, but some plans can cost thousands per month.
Who would find this the best CRM for real estate: If you want to get started with a CRM and don't want to invest any money, this is the only solution on the list that will get you an entirely free CRM package.
Zoho is an excellent CRM system, although its primary target market isn't real estate agents. Since Zoho is not a real estate CRM, it doesn't advertise that the big brokerages use it. However, many large companies use Zoho, including a division of Amazon, Bose, Netflix, and Suzuki.
Some of Zoho's best features are:
- Zoho's well-designed and intuitive UI means most agents and employees have no issues getting started using this CRM package.
- This CRM software has a focus on reliability, security, and a mobile-friendly interface. If you're concerned about keeping customer data safe, Zoho is a fantastic option.
- Zoho has hundreds of integrations. With Zoho, you can customize your workflow exactly how you want it to maximize your efficiency.
Zoho's most significant advantage over some of the others on this list is that its primary market isn't real estate. That might sound counterintuitive, but its low price and wide use mean that what Zoho offers is a rock-solid, exceptional CRM solution. And, if you get stuck using it, there are plenty of resources online to unblock you since it has so many users.
Pricing: Prices range between $12 and $45 when paid yearly. If you elect to pay month-to-month, prices are between $18 and $55.
Who would find this the best CRM for real estate: Small brokerages or agents who want a stable, robust, common CRM. The fact that this CRM does not target real estate can be a positive as it means there are plenty of tutorials, articles, and FAQs online to walk you through everything Zoho has to offer.
How to Choose the Right CRM Software for Real Estate
Looking at each of these 12 real estate CRM packages, you might be wondering how to choose the best one. Each listing had some clues for the type of person for whom it might be best, but that may not consider your particular brokerage's needs.
Ultimately, the best real estate CRM software is the one that helps you reach your goals. It complements your natural talent for connecting, communicating, and closing customers by helping you keep on top of deals, important dates, and providing automated communication methods.
Therefore, to pick the right CRM, think about where you spend most of your time, where you could use the most help, and what feedback you've heard from clients. Are your communications slower than clients would like? Then maybe you'll want a CRM like Wise Agent that has automated responses through texting and email built into it. Do you want the ability to have a big-picture overview of your deals and get fluid, seamless reminders of who you need to contact next? Then the UI and usability of Contactually might be a good option.
Finally, there's also the price factor. If you're a new agent, spending $100 a month on software is quite a significant investment. New agents might be better to try the free or $25 a month CRM packages. However, if you're an experienced agent earning a sizable sum of money, the more expensive CRM suites are almost always worth it.
Don't Be Afraid to Experiment
We looked at 12 of the most popular CRMs that real estate agents and brokers use. Most of these packages have free trials, so, before you shell out hundreds or thousands on a fancy CRM system, try them out. Find out which one works best for you and integrates it with everything you need.
Once you find the right CRM, you'll discover new ways to be more productive and grow your contact pool in ways you never thought possible. Not only will your life be more comfortable, but you'll make more money.