CRM for Real Estate

We are all on the go.

I know I am, especially as a busy real estate agent.   Often I don’t have time to sit down at a real computer (laptop or desktop).  When a client calls and wants to see a house, I don’t just jump, but leap!  In the Austin market, homes sell very quickly, and to be able to get the ones my clients want I have to act immediately.  I need all my information immediately, and everywhere I go.  And I don’t want to have to worry about it being outdated or backed up.

Real Estate ContactsWhen I started as a Realtor, I really didn’t know how important it was keeping track of everything.  Who is interested in which neighborhood?  Who is flying in from California next weekend?  Who needs to get a contract signed.   No longer is it just my phone that is ringing.  I get emails all day long, am constantly texting, and as you know I’m all over Facebook and Twitter.

How does one handle it all?

I rely on technology.  Around the office, I’m known at one of the most techie guys around.  Of course we have a full time computer specialist on staff, as well as a person handling all of the social media for our company.  But we are all independent business people here.  Even though we all work for a broker (or are a broker), we have to get and grow our own business.

It seems like everybody does something a little differently.  And it seems like there isn’t a single solution either.

What is a CRM

Day planner for Real EstateSimply put CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management.  It’s a way to organize and communicate with all your leads, buyers, sellers, investors, and even renters.  It is a way to track their name, email, phone number, house address, and more – whatever you enter.  I usually start with basic business card information, and add stuff as I go.

In the last century everybody would run around with these little file-o-faxes, or day planners.  But now everything is digital.

Basically it’s my little black book, but all digital.  I store everything about my clients there, birthdays, favorite wines, kids names, you get the idea.

Why do I need a CRM?

I need a CRM because I sometimes have a hard time keeping track of everything.  I may be driving on my way to a listing appointment and thinking about that when my phone rings and it’s a different client about a different property.

If you are like me, when your phone rings the first thing you do is check your caller ID to see who is calling.  If it is just a number sometimes I have a hard time associating the name with the number.  One feature of the CRM is it associates the client’s name with their number so when they call I get that information right away.

Plus I need more.  I need access to my calendar.  I need directions.  I need everything.  Immediately.  And I’m on a budget.

Some CRM for Real Estate

I didn’t have time to  write real estate crm reviews for all these products, but I have tried a lot of them out

  • Daylight
  • Salesforce
  • Base
  • REA Real Estate Assistant
  • Clientlook
  • Apto
  • Insightly

A lot of these companies/programs have been around for a long time, and I’m sure they all have their benefits and drawbacks.  All I know is when I started selling houses, I needed something FAST.  I didn’t have a lot of money to invest, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time learning a system that I wasn’t sure was going to work for me in the long run.

One thing I kept running into with these out of the box CRM solutions was that they either had a bunch of features I didn’t need, or they didn’t have the features I really wanted.  I hated being forced to do things their way, instead of my way.

What is the best real estate CRM?

For me, the best CRM is platform independent I can use it on a Mac, PC, Tablet, or Phone.  It does automatic backups,  because I never remember to do that.  It has a calendar, contacts, notes, document storage, and a to do list.  It is easy to set-up, and has lots of documentation in case I run into a problem.  Plus it’s low cost, or even free.

In summary:

  • Platform independent
  • Automatic Backups
  • Lots of features
  • Easy to use
  • Low cost

Google for Real Estate

Enter Google, and their suite of business apps.

google_appsWhat?  I didn’t know google had programs I could use in my business.  Well, they do,  And they are easy to use, free, and work on both Macs and PCs (Plus tablets, and phones).

They have lots of support on-line that teaches me how to use the different programs when I get stuck and need help.

Since the apps live in the cloud, I never need to worry about backing everything up.

The best part is it is free, and since it is Google I don’t have to worry about them going out of business.

There are lots of different features, too. The parts of Google that I use for managing my real estate business:

  • Mail
  • Contacts
  • Calendar
  • Drive

Over the next week I’ll be writing extensively how I use each of these features.  Mostly I just have the regular set-ups for each of them,  but the way I use them is a bit specific to real estate, and hopefully you will find that helpful.

Most likely you already have an account with Google, so the set-up is almost nil, and unless you have tons and tons of emails, the cost is free.  I know you get 15 Giga-bytes of storage for free, and the next level is 100 GB, for only $4.95/month.  That’s cheap!

Each of the different apps is linked to each other, too, so I can schedule a meeting right from my mail program, and then link it to the people who I’ll be meeting with on contacts.  I can also share and collaborate with documents using Google Drive,

It’s really easy!  I suggest you try it out!

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4 Replies to “CRM for Real Estate”

  1. Awesome article, I didnt want to spend alot on crm neither but this is helpful and what do you think about buiding a personal real estate website or paying a monthly to use their copyrighted template other company that existed already whats the differences.

    1. Patricia,

      Thanks for your comment – I use WordPress as my website. It’s free, and super easy to use. I did pay for a theme initially, because I never found one that I really liked. And then I spent a lot of time customizing it to make it look the way it does. I’m not a fan of paying someone else a monthly fee over and over and over when I can learn how to do it myself, and make it exactly the way I want.

  2. Eric,

    First, I want to congratulate you on blogging about topics other than “why you should buy your home from me.” You’re an example to other realtors in Austin and have no doubt that you’ll achieve great success because you’re providing useful and free information to your colleagues.

    I came across your blog because I’m in desperate need of a CRM and currently looking at insightly.com. What are your thoughts? Google gets too complicated for me at times. I have Base already installed too and it’s okay but missing some features. Let me know your thoughts on the others you referenced in the list above. Thanks.

    Joy

    1. I’ve never tried Insightly – Google just works well for me.

      What specifically are you looking for in a CRM? I think when you identify exactly what you need, you will find your answer. – very Zen – huh?

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