Commercial real estate brokerage is a competitive industry where most professionals earn a living through commissions paid on each transaction.
That makes finding clients, managing projects, and coordinating all in-office activities critically important.
Thankfully, there is a growing body of commercial real estate brokerage management software tools that can be utilized by commercial teams looking to establish themselves as market leaders.
Brokerage Management Software for Commercial Teams
In this article, we take a look at an array of commercial real estate software programs and how they may be utilized by CRE brokerage teams.
The categories of software that we’ll look include the following:
- CRM and Lead Management Software
- Project Management
- Office Management
CRM and Lead Management Software
There are different types of CRE lead management software, but most are considered “CRM” systems of some sort.
CRM, which stands for customer relationship management, systems can significantly boost brokerage team productivity when used consistently.
CRM software can be used in many ways, ranging from lead generation to pipeline management.
Some CRM systems, like Salesforce, are used by companies of all kinds. There’s another category of CRM systems, though, which have been created specifically with commercial real estate teams in mind. These include:
Apto, a web-based software for commercial brokers looking to manage contacts, property information, listings and deals.
Propertybase CRM, a cloud-based real estate platform used by CRE brokerage teams to manage leads, run marketing campaigns, and more.
Property listings, photos and other information can be integrated with various MLS products and stored in the CRM database.
A separate “back office” module helps to facilitate paperless closings, secure transactions, and a brokerage intranet for team members.
ClientLook, a CRM platform specific to commercial real estate professionals that is widely utilized by national brokerage firms such as Cushman & Wakefield, Colliers, and Newmark Grub Knight Frank.
ClientLook can be used to track contacts, properties, listings and comps company-wide. ClientLook provides a suite of “Concierge Services” to assist with time-consuming commercial real estate brokerage tasks, such as showing coordination, email marketing, and tenant verification.
Many in the commercial real estate world are already familiar with AscendixRE given its robust CRM offerings for CRE brokers.
But many do not realize that AscendixRE has a new product on the market, AscendixRE Land, which is a CRM software application designed specifically for CRE land brokers.
The platform was designed to assist brokers working specifically on farm, ranch, recreational, commercial land and other land transactions.
No other CRM platform exists that is exclusively made for land brokers, with specific data sets and fields integrated that apply to land brokerage.
AscendixRE Land organizes valuable information about landowners, land buyers, vendors, listings, properties, and properties available for lease, redevelopment or sale – all in one central location.
Reonomy is another way for commercial brokerage teams to source new deals.
Unlike CRM systems, which are used to manage client relationships and deal flow, Reonomy is best utilized when prospecting for new deals.
Reonomy can be used for lead management in several ways. It provides easily searchable, building-level information that can be found by location, asset class, building size, year sold, debt balance, and more.
It also provides highly valuable owner contact information which is essential when trying to convert a lead into a deal.
That information can then be uploaded into your company’s CRM system – in many ways, Reonomy is the precursor to populating your brokerage company’s CRM system.
CRE Project Management Software
Commercial real estate deals can be highly complicated, involving multiple parties – the buyer, seller, architects, attorneys, appraisers, lenders, brokers and more.
With so many moving parts, it’s critical to have a strong project management software to keep everyone on the brokerage team on point.
Here are some of the most popular CRE project management software applications:
IC Project is a project management software for CRE brokers that allows users to create a task, determine its deadline, and then assign that task to specific team members.
IC Project then notifies team members accordingly, sorting tasks by due date to create prioritized to-do lists.
Deadlines are automatically integrated into a shared calendar so everyone can monitor and stay on top of impending deadlines.
IC Project also provides a work time tracking tool, which is a helpful way for brokerage teams to track how they’re allocating their time each day. Knowing how you spend your time allows you to see where there’s room for improvement.
For instance, if a chunk of your day is spent shuffling through stacks of paperwork, perhaps some of the paperwork could be automated, thereby freeing up that valuable time for other responsibilities, such as business development.
ProofHub helps simplify the management of complex tasks.
Users can create custom workflows that breaks tasks into “stages,” and for each stage, you can assign responsibilities for individual team members.
There’s also a proofing tool that makes it easy for project collaborators to mark up and comment on documents; these edits can easily be shared with other team members such as the project architects.
For instance, a commercial broker may be working with a restaurant group to find a new location.
The broker can upload floor plans into ProofHub and the restauranteur can mark up the floor plan indicating what sort of tenant improvements may be needed before committing to a lease.
ProofHub also makes it easy to create Gantt charts, which allows users to set dependencies between tasks. For example, a commercial broker may be working with an investor interested in redeveloping a vacant lot.
In order to do so, a series of tasks must happen, each reliant on the other: an architect must be engaged to do some preliminary massing, then the owner must do some underwriting to ensure the numbers associated with that massing pencil out.
If any zoning relief is needed, the owner must know how big of a building they intend to build so they can file for the necessary zoning variances.
A Gantt chart can keep all these tasks organized, by dependency, and ProofHub allows users to easily edit those milestones in a way that then adjusts the schedule for follow-on tasks accordingly.
CRE Office Management Software
Commercial real estate is loaded with paperwork, from contracts to reports, appraisals and more.
CRE brokerage teams find it particularly beneficial to use document generation software to organize, save, and file documents in a way where they can be recalled on a moment’s notice.
In other words, no more calling the office manager and asking them to track down a lease agreement from four years ago!
Egnyte is one of the most popular cloud-based tools for document storage and sharing.
Files can be shared amongst all brokerage team members and third parties as needed, when needed, and importantly – stored safely when not needed.
Users can grant access to those who need the documents, and prevent access from those who don’t.
It makes file sharing incredibly easy among large groups, particularly when sharing multiple versions of a document or especially large documents that cannot easily be transferred via email.
DocuSign and dotloop are two of the most commonly used tools for electronic signatures.
While both are relatively similar, there are two key differences: DocuSign signatures are not automatically dated as they are when signed through dotloop, but dotloop does not offer as robust integration with other software programs, like Microsoft Suite, Salesforce, and Dropbox.
However either are excellent options for brokerage teams finding themselves needing to frequently sign (or initial) documents.
CRE Accounting Software
Payroll tools are critically important to commercial real estate brokerage teams. This is because payroll works differently in CRE vs. other industries: CRE brokers are more reliant on commissions, and checks can vary in size and frequency compared to other industries that pay employees on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
CommissionTrac is a favorite among brokerage firms. This CRE accounting software makes it easy to manage each agent’s commissions, and can even automate a majority of the firm’s accounting needs.