What’s the best CRM for real estate? That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? TopProducer, BoomTown!, Contactually, Wise Agent, Realty Commander ― the list goes on and on. There are tons of great real estate CRMs and nobody truly knows what’s the best system out there. Everyone is great but they’re all not that good as everyone’s missing something that you want.
Choosing the right CRM is one of the most important decisions impacting the evolution and growth of your business. There are many factors that influence the choice of a CRM system. All companies are different, so each business may need a different system with different functionality, user experience, and pricing. For some, using a ready-made CRM solution can even be to their disadvantage. Yes, you read it right. Some agencies serve thousands of clients across different regions, have specific business processes, and want to maintain brand consistency across their product lines. Therefore, they decide to create a custom CRM.
Should you go with custom real estate CRM software or use a ready-made solution? We’re here to help you find this out. But before we go deep into the cases when custom CRM development is the best way to go, let’s take a quick look at what customer relationship management in real estate is and how realtors benefit from CRMs.
What does CRM stand for in real estate?
More customers means higher profit. But at the same time it becomes difficult to stay connected with each one individually. You interact with dozens of existing and potential clients every day and information about them is usually stored in different files. Sometimes, important things can even be written in notebooks or sticky notes. Whom to call back and when? What to talk about? You can easily get confused with the old-fashion client databases and even lose your customers as a result.
No more papers, notes, and complicated files. Modern CRM software allows you to create a single contact database and have a 360-degree view of your customers. Specifically, a real estate CRM allows realtors to:
- Create a single database of contacts and segment it according to different criteria and parameters
- Have all important information on hand
- Dive deep into their customer needs and create an accurate customer profile based on their personal information
- Communicate with customers effectively and give them full and complete attention
- Measure efficiency by tracking conversions and creating sales forecasts
- Understand causes of poor business performance based on key metrics and make the necessary changes
- Focus on their most valuable opportunities
- Reduce manual work
- Provide the best customer experience throughout the entire buying process
Today, a customer relationship management system real estate agents is a must, not a luxury. Now that you understand how important a CRM is, the key question is whether you need to use a ready-made real estate CRM or invest in a custom system.
Creating a CRM from scratch vs using a ready-made solution
Custom development isn’t for everyone. Many real estate CRMs offer basic functionality which may be quite sufficient for small agencies. But for some agencies, using a ready-made CRM solution may not be the best option. So, let’s find out what’s right for you.
We believe there are four major variables that influence your build vs buy decision:
- Use cases ― What are you going to use a CRM for?
- User roles and access levels ― How many employees and departments are going to use a CRM?
- Budget ― How big is your budget?
- Design ― Are you maintaining brand consistency across your product lines?
First, you need to define your goals for using a CRM and prioritize them. This will help you understand what CRM features you require and see if functionality that exists in ready-made CRMs caters to your needs. Typically, off-the-shelf solutions focus on covering the needs of a wide audience and may not be robust enough. But if you don’t have any specific business requirements, buying a CRM will most likely be the best choice for you.
Conclusion: Don’t build a CRM from scratch if you need functionality that already exists in an off-the-shelf system. In case you require to solve particular problems and don’t want to adapt your business processes to the standardized software, go with custom development.
User roles and access levels
A ready-made solution isn’t always cheap. Though you don’t pay too much to start working with it, you keep paying to use it. That’s why you may eventually find yourself paying more than you would if you built from scratch.
Let’s talk examples. Realty Commander ― a web-based real estate management platform ― charges $65 per month for a two-user account. But you’ll have to pay for every additional user somewhere between 15-24 dollars. TopProducer’s monthly pricing is $40 for the starter package, $70 for the professional package, and $80 for the advanced package. With Pipedrive, you have four different plans paid annually:
- Essential: €12.50 per user
- Advanced: €24.90 per user
- Professional: €49.50 per user
- Enterprise: €99.00 per user
Say you’ve decided to go with the TopProducer CRM with the professional plan. If you have 10 employees using the CRM, that would cost you around $700 monthly which sounds okay. But if you have 40 employees using it, you’d spend nearly $2,800 every month.
Conclusion: With off-the-shelf CRMs, you usually pay per user. This means that the more employees you’ll have using the CRM, the more you’ll pay. Therefore, we suggest you consider custom CRM development if you require a lot of employees and departments to use it. Custom development will cost you but it’s a one-time investment of this size. You’ll have some expenses in the future, but only when you decide to make some changes or implement new functionality.
Budget and time
Do you have thousands of dollars to be spending on your customer relationship management every month? Or do you have only $300 or even less? Money is a big factor in making the build vs buy decision. Custom development takes a big bite out of budget and time, especially when it comes to complex software systems like a CRM. So, if you aren’t ready to invest a considerable amount of time and money in CRM development, think about using a ready-made solution.
Conclusion: If you’re a small real estate business that’s short on money and requires quick solutions, check out the best CRMs for realtors and choose the most suitable option that addresses a wide variety of needs.
Custom design brings a lot of benefits. The first and most important one is improved efficiency and productivity since you can focus on user-friendly navigation, readability, page speed, and mobile optimization. Additionally, custom design allows you to accurately convey the nature and philosophy of your businesses, create the UX/UI concepts that align with your business logic and workflows, and maintain brand consistency across your product lines. The latter is quite important for big-name companies that have a unique position in the market.
Conclusion: Choose custom development if you want to decide on every design element of your CRM, need the user experience that resonates with your business processes, and expect your software products to reflect your brand identity.
To build or not to build a real estate CRM?
We hope our guide has given you a better understanding of what impacts your buy vs build decision. If you realize your agency requires a custom CRM or if you have any questions about how to create your own CRM software, message us. We’d be happy to help!