Real Estate Investor Software

66 Replies

Hello, does anyone one know of any good software programs for real estate investing. I have been looking at Profit Grabber, 360 Real Estate Investor Software, Real Estate Prospects, and React. Let me know your thoughts

Hey @PHILIP GIZZI - what kind of software are you looking for?

To be perfectly honest - every single professional real estate investor I know never used software other than Excel and maybe Quickbooks for taxes. I use nothing but Excel. I think a lot of gurus and trainers like to upsell people on using software, but in reality, software (in my opinion) is a way to make people feel like they are investing - but actually aren't.

Too harsh? Thoughts?

I have yet to meet an investor who put together a deal using 'software,' but I see a lot of salesmen pitching it as the cure-all for the investing blues. Kind of like the guys back in the day selling tonics and liniments that will grow your hair, cure any disease, smooth wrinkles, remove stains, and make your knees stop hurting when it rains.

I use the internet, Excel, Word, and a good old beat up HP 10BII. Sometimes I use paper and pen as well.

@Chris P. -

I think you absolutely need software to have a central place to have all of your contacts, manage your direct mail campaigns, and to have the ability to write notes that conncect to your contacts. For instance, each time I speak to a seller I will put a note in the computer. When they call me back in 6 months after turning down my offer and say to me "you offered me 60K", I can look back at my notes and say "actually it was 50k".

You can enter your contacts, merge and print your direct mail campaigns. Even if you use an outside service to do your mailings, you have to have a way to keep up with these people.

I have used a program by Act that is made by Sage since I started. It is available in office depot or online. I only use a tiny portion of what it is capable of doing. There is a stand alone version and a cloud version. If you go with the cloud version, you can put that on your own hosting. Don't pay that monthly fee they charge. You can put it on a site like Hostgator for under $10 a month.

It's not specifically for real estate but it works great. I did a several posts here on BP about using a database and this software.

http://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2012/04/30/systems-managing-direct-mail-campaigns-investors/

http://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2012/05/14/setting-up-your-database-for-your-real-estate-investing-business/

http://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2012/05/07/how-using-a-database-in-your-real-estate-business-makes-you-money/

Sharon

What about apps? Are there any good mobile apps that do all of this? Or at least different apps that cover parts? Sharon, I support Act Premium in my day job... I can't bring myself to ever look at it again on purpose.

@Aaron Mazzrillo I must respectfully, but vigorously, disagree with what you say about never meeting an investor who put together a deal using software.

My company has provided investment analysis software for 31 years and in that time we have known literally thousands of investors for whom a detailed and comprehensive financial analysis was key to their decision-making process and to their success -- and often to their avoidance of bad deals. We've seen it help beginners as well as experienced, sophisticated investors working with everything from a rental condo to a regional shopping center. We've seen it help investors secure financing, attract equity investors, and choose between alternative investments.

You are correct that in my industry, as in many, there are snake-oil salesman as well as those who simply provide products of poor quality or questionable value. A builder could buy a cheap power tool that breaks in a week, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't benefit from a good one. Hopefully, the fact that a company like mine can prevail for over three decades suggests there are software tools that offer genuine benefit to investors -- tools that indeed help them put deals together.

While I can agree that there are plenty of snake oil types, that can be said about almost everything. I would also point out that the original question does not specify a specific strategy or what he intends to accomplish with "RE software" and thus, providing a specific answer to a very broad question is not feasible.

I will also agree with Frank in that specific software applications that are quality can produce positive results for the investor. Call me bias as I developed software for rehab flip analysis and acquisition assistance, but it truly holds its weight in gold for me.

@Sharon Vornholt I sent a good deal of the following message directly to another member in a private message, but i thought it would help advance the discussion here.

We have a 3 person team. I handle marketing and sales, my buyer meets with sellers and negotiates the deals, and a VA who answers the phone, takes down seller and buyer information, set appointments and handles marketing related research and everything else i can keep her busy with at the moment.

@Sharon I checked out the posts you mentioned on ACT and i like the sound of what your doing. I'm a little turned off by the price tag of the versions they have now as they stipulate a price per use that is $200+ for the basic, not web access version. For the cloud access version is $411 PER USER! That's a little steep (though i've bought course for more that simply sat on the shelf) Another software that I've been looking at has video demos at realinvestorsoftware.com. I've been swapping emails with the developer, who is an investor out of Florida, John Shroeder. He has a few posts here on Bigger pockets. Currently we are using a product called SI Lead manager which is in beta. It was created by Scott Costello, who hosts a blog called the Struggling Investor (SI). I contacted him and agree to beta test his upcoming version so it has a great deal of the functionality i'm looking for. I just wnat to make sure that before i get too many leads in the software i've made a fully informed decision to handle all the leads we get.

Given your history with ACT, I would be very interested to hear your opinion of the demo video for RealProspect http://www.realinvestorsoftware.com/

Is there anything in that video that ACT doesn't do or would appear to handle better?

I'm trying to make a very informed decision because once we decide which CRM software to go with for the long run, i don't want to regret it. SILM is free for us right now (you can check that one out at strugglinginvestor.com), RealProspect would run us about $550 for 4 installations, and ACT would run between $600-1,200 depending on which version we needed.

I guess as a wish list i want the software to:

manage different TYPES marketing lists like absentee, probate, code violations. Different ITERATIONS of those lists (March, April, May) different SCHEDULES (once a month, once a week, 4 total mailings, 8 total mailings etc) and when you combine a list with a schedule you get a CAMPAIGN (March Code Violation plus 8 mailing once a week). You can schedule campaigns on your calendar with reminders. It handles returned mail codes, change of address etc. Then you get calls from sellers leads which are matched up with prospects in the database. This removes them from future mailings, and you can take down the seller information, property information, loan/debt information, include satellite/map/street view, maybe incorporate Zillow valuation tools, places to load your own comp data, etc. Calculate seller financing terms and lets you play with the amortizations vs. expected rents.

This is all stuff before the deal is made. I don't want all this stuff to make the deal for me. I just want it to help me make a decision and it would be nice to have it in one place.

Now after the seller meeting you could upload pictures, contracts, POA's, repairs evaluations and estimate from different contractors, inspection reports and anything else you need to help arrange closing and prepare the deal for sale.

No deal with the seller? No problem put them on a follow up drip campaign. Keep notes of your conversations for future reference like @Sharon says she does in Sage ACT.

It just seems to me like of all those people who are really hitting it hard with marketing and getting lots of deals, there should be some pretty slick solutions out there that do this kind of thing...So far I've heard of Sage ACT, tested SILM, and watched some demo videos of RealProspect. Of all of them, RealProspect Seems to be the closest this to my personal ideal. What else is out there?

Chris -

I responded to your PN. Since I don't have the cloud version of ACT, I don't know if you can upload pictures etc. Perhaps someone that works with this cloud version of Act knows those answers.

Chris. I'm in the middle of the realprospect trial. For what it is it's a very good database that not only you can store leads but do an email blast to your buyers that you have in your database,manage your direct mail campaigns,etc but it's not what I'm looking for though but that's because I'm looking for a different model.

For the price I say it's worth it.

I was researching date bases at the same time @Sharon Vornholt wrote her posts about Act! and made the decision to go with Act! I paid a consultant for about 8 hours to train me and I have not looked back. I too use very little of what it is capable of, but Act! works great for me. I input Excel data for the mailings I do and export the same excel data for the mailings that I hire out. I am a strong believer in follow-up and note taking and Act! works great for that. Once you leave Excel and Word and move to a data base you will wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

I haven't chosen any software, but @Frank Gallinelli 's RealData REIA Express looks good for the price ($159 one time). But I don't think it has CRM, and it's a client app, not web/cloud based. Still, the deal analysis stuff looks pretty straightforward, which is good for a newbie like me.

For the CRM piece, I'll have to look at Zoho, but I think HighRiseHQ has a free plan (only up to 3 deals and 250 contacts). Anyone have more comments on these?

Wow, thank you gang for the great advice on the different kinds of software to use for RE investing. I must say Realinvestorsoftware seems affordable and Realprospect too. I will investigate some of the no obligation software mentioned on this forum.

I am considering Quickbooks with excel integration and if properly set up could be sufficient. I would like to see a software program that combines accounting, prospecting, marketing and the integration of pulling comparable to determine a property value. In addition, a program that allows one to make multiple offers directly from the program. All one has to do is fill out the purchase contract and send it via fax or e-mail. Another nice feature is to integrate with MLS.

@PHILIP GIZZI , a short aside, but it is often easier to separate your accounting software from your customer / tenant / prospect database. And also from your project management tools. Different things do different tasks better. There are so many things to choose from now. We'd like to hear what you eventually choose.

About the accounting / financial management tools, QuickBooks is my preference. It needs to be set up correctly, but then you have an industry standard small business tool that you can trust. Your accountant will know how to use it, and you'll be able to depend on it for years. There's the online version if you want to access it anywhere (or on mobile).

Good luck!

Along these same lines, does anyone use "NeatDesk?" I use Excel pretty much exclusively but am getting the need for some supplemental software to keep track of Business Cards, Invoices, PM Reports, Receipts, etc... While Excel does a great job with the numbers, there are times I need a narrative as well, such as items repaired, who the meal was with, etc...

I just went though the process of finding a CRM solution for direct mail, lead tracking, project tracking and contact management. I wanted to have a cloud based solution so I can access the data from my day job if need be. I used the trial version of IXACT, realty juggler, and researched Salesforce, Real Estate Investor Software, ACT and many other solutions. After all this research I ended up going with Zoho due to its flexibility to tailor it to my needs (you can create your owns fields for leads, contacts, etc), the ability to pull up and edit the info on the web and my iPhone and the price ( there is a free version but I needed something more powerful so I pay $12/month).

I once worked for a real estate technology company where I sold and serviced real estate appraisal software. The notable difference with that market is appraisers have numerous protocols, government regulations, and processes to follow in the delivery of their appraisal work. Plus, saving time on things as miniscule as keystrokes and digitizing data become huge deals that only quality software can solve.

A few times, I approached the owner (and on separate occasions, the management) of the company suggesting their development of tools for real estate investors since this industry is focused entirely on every other type of real estate professional except investors. The demand was not there. At the time, I did not know of Bigger Pockets or other readily-accessible communities, and was not able to conduct thorough research on the need for investor software. At one point, I decided I would do the research independently and develop tools, myself.

Now, I'm glad I went no further.