CRE software: Tools to find deals and evolve business ops
Commercial real estate software is now more important to integrate than ever. Here, learn how to best fuel your team and organization.
The commercial real estate industry has evolved at encouraging rates in recent years. What was once considered an industry lagging behind the times, is now one catapulting itself into modern times. The use of commercial real estate software serves as the best example of this. Today, there are tools to help virtually any player in CRE with their day-to-day tasks and operations—on an individual or company-wide level.
Commercial real estate software
CRE teams and companies across the country are adopting software tools to improve lead generation, research, analysis, prospect outreach, general business operations, and much more.
Who uses CRE software?
Why do they use CRE software?
Sales Brokers & Investors
Prospecting, Property Analysis, Property Valuation, & Database Management
Mortgage Brokers & Lenders
Prospecting, Loan Origination, Loan Servicing, & Database Management
Building Service Providers
Prospecting, Marketing, & Mapping
Property Owners & Property Managers
Property Management, Budgeting, & Accounting
Property Valuation & Database Management
The software categories that we’ll check out:
Loan origination software
Commercial real estate prospecting software
Investors (individual or team)
Contractors and more
In any industry, it’s a simple equation. The more leads you can generate, the more potential business there is to be closed.
But here’s the thing: There are many different types of property owners, and many different types of businesses looking to connect with those owners. Therefore, there are many different ways to generate commercial real estate leads. The Reonomy web app includes a set of filters that allows almost any CRE company to find leads and get in touch with them, in any US market.
With Reonomy, commercial investors, brokers, lenders, and service providers can identify off market properties and property owners with very specific profiles, in any market, in a matter of seconds.
Sales brokers can spot owners likely to buy or sell in the near future
Mortgage brokers can find owners likely willing to refinance
Investors can find properties likely to sell off market
Roofers can find old or damaged buildings based on asset type and size
Solar installers can find new property owners with certain sized buildings and lots
All of that hardly scratches the surface. You can also use the platform to identify off market properties based on the following:
If the asset is in a Qualified Opportunity Zone.
Who the business tenants are.
If the property is currently in pre-foreclosure
Additionally, seeing the transaction and debt history on properties allows for continued prospect analysis. Any CRE company can not only discover, but qualify the leads they generate using Reonomy. You can even access the contact information of owners within the platform to turn your prospecting efforts into real dollars.
Commercial real estate investment software
Investors (individual or team)
Commercial real estate investment software could be considered synonymous with analysis software. Whereas prospecting tools help you discover potential leads, commercial real estate investment software helps potential buyers research and understand assets and owners. Investment software can help you understand the surrounding market’s effect on an asset, as well as distinguish property values, potential NOI, transaction histories, and so on.
Reonomy’s research tools allow CRE professionals to analyze the properties that they discover while prospecting. You can dive into prospect properties and owners of any scale to find property values, analyze the physical layout of a parcel, study the transaction and debt history of owners, and ultimately make more informed investment decisions.
PropertyMetrics is a commercial real estate analysis company geared specifically towards helping you understand properties and markets, while letting you document your analysis along the way. They allow investors, developers, and appraisers to easily create sharable proforma’s online. PropertyMetrics also offers publishing software for CRE professionals to create memos, flyers, market reports, development proposals, and more.
REscour frames themselves as a “market intelligence” tool for those in commercial real estate. Whereas PropertyMetrics is targeted towards a variety of professional types, REscour is aimed more specifically at brokers and how they interact with their research teams. REscour is a place for brokers and researchers to upload and aggregate their research, thus building a more holistic picture of the markets they are considering investing in.
Commercial real estate valuation software
Investors (individual or team)
Investment software will often offer property valuation capabilities, but those capabilities may not be the main focus of the platform. Commercial real estate valuation software can more or less be looked at as commercial appraisal software. Valuation software factors in a lot of the same information as investment tools, but will be more specifically geared towards property appraisals and strict valuations.
Reonomy CRE comps
Reonomy offers comparables on all asset classes above a single-family home—from duplexes, to land, to skyscrapers, warehouses, and on. Real estate comps can be used to find the property values of similar, recently sold assets to that of your target property. By seeing the sales trends of a market, along with what certain asset types are selling for, you can glean the present day value of almost any property.
Bowery is one of the many companies looking to take the outdated processes of commercial real estate and bring them into the present. The company is taking a tech-driven approach to property appraisal, with James Dunne, formerly of CBRE as Chief Appraiser. The company brings together public record data that appraisers would typically use in the process of valuation, cutting out the need to manually collect and record that information. Bowery has created a way for appraisers to build accurate valuation reports much quicker than the typical antiquated ways of doing so.
While MRI Software offers a great deal of investment and financial tools for real estate, they offer valuation software specifically for commercial real estate appraisers and analysts.
The software enables appraisers the ability to value “complex assets” more accurately, delivered through either a desktop or SaaS platform—however the user prefers.
Commercial loan origination software
Lenders (individual or team)
There are two main categories of commercial mortgage software tools—one being prospecting software. The other? Commercial loan origination software.
Encompass Lending Platform™ by Ellie Mae
The Encompass Lending Platform™ is a software tool that handles the entire loan origination process, from initial customer relationship management and on. Put in place by Ellie Mae, this tool is designed to help lenders originate more loans at a lower cost through more efficient processing.
Encompass brings together all of those involved in the lending process on the residential and commercial side of things, centralizing the process of origination to a single hub.
OpenClose is a tool for lenders to use when analyzing potential borrowers and deciphering eligibility for loans of various sizes. Basically, this tool can help originators qualify borrowers more easily, and more accurately. The software enables loan officers to make quicker decisions on borrowers at the point-of-sale.
LendingWise is a very diverse loan origination and servicing software. One of LendingWise’s main points of marketing is that their software enables true scalable for lenders of all sizes. The software is made to handle end-to-end loan management. LendingWise offers a great deal of software options for commercial real estate professionals (not just debt professionals), including CRM capabilities, loan origination, loss mitigation, loan servicing, asset management, and much more.
Commercial real estate CRM
All CRE professionals and teams.
It’s one thing to be able to generate leads and convert them to customers. It’s another feat to successfully manage and continuously manage strong relationships with all of those customers as your business grows. That’s where a real estate CRM comes in handy.
Salesforce has long been the go-to cross-industry CRM, providing customer management capabilities for companies of all sizes—commercial real estate companies included.
With Salesforce, you can manage and organize the leads you generate from Reonomy or anywhere else, as well as track your marketing campaigns and client interactions. Salesforce allows for integration with a number of other tools, making it one of the most functionally versatile CRMs on the market today.
On the other hand, REthink is a CRM built specifically for commercial real estate companies, serving as the “digital rolodex” for CRE professionals. It offers tools to help agents rep tenants, landlords, buyers and sellers, while also offering the tools to automate the entire sales cycle. From proposal to close, to accounting management, REthink offers a full-range CRM to help commercial real estate professionals end-to-end, from prospecting, to transaction, to accounting, and so on.
Another CRE-specific CRM is AscendixRE. AscendixRE actually layers on top of Salesforce, converting it into a custom commercial real estate CRM for brokers. As Salesforce does, the platform offers deal, pipeline, and contact management. The company also offers a custom CRM software tool specific to land brokers.
Commercial real estate marketing software
All CRE professionals and teams.
Aside from directly finding leads through prospecting software, there are also a number of marketing tools that you can use to automate and assure that your daily marketing efforts are effective, efficient, and scalable.
Hubspot is the tool that allows you to bring all of your marketing efforts into a single platform. You can use your Reonomy leads list to create prospect lists for outreach. You can also schedule social media posts, articles, and much more. Across a variety of dashboards, Hubspot allows you to automate your marketing tracking and attribution, as well as stay up to date on the performance of your past and present campaigns. As your team grows, Hubspot only becomes more and more useful.
WordPress is a content management system that gives all types of professionals, CRE or otherwise, the ability to host their own web content. One of the best ways to generate high-value leads on a consistent basis is to have your own website, and write useful, informative articles on that website for your target clientele. By creating a clear brand image and supplying your ideal customer-base with the information they need to be successful, you’ll be able to create a steady inflow of high-converting website visitors, on a short and long-term basis.
Another way to generate leads on-demand, albeit at a cost, is to utilize Google Ads. Google’s ad software allows CRE professionals to run targeted ad campaigns based on specific search queries and geographies. It’s important that CRE professionals of all kinds take advantage of building their presence online. Google offers a full suite of marketing software, from paid ads, to Google Analytics and Search Console. The two latter tools can be used to optimize onsite content and track how viewers are engaging with that content—not to mention that they’re both free of charge.
SharpLaunch is a commercial real estate-specific marketing software for building owners, asset managers, and brokers. Used by many of the top CRE firms in the US, including CBRE, JLL, and Cushman and Wakefield, SharpLaunch handles everything from website building, to lead management, marketing analysis dashboards, email marketing, and more.
Commercial real estate mapping software
Best for: Roofers, contractors, energy providers, investors, and sales brokers. For many commercial real estate professionals, it’s also very helpful to view real images of buildings and plots to get a better feel for the layout of the property. In most cases, mapping software will come alongside other CRE software as a package-deal. For example, within their suite of tools, REthink offers a mapping tool that can be linked to your CRM and used to send direct mailers and emails.
Reonomy also allows users to roam an integrated Google Map freely within the platform. You can use Reonomy’s “draw” tools to search for properties within a custom polygon shape or radius. There are also a number of other useful commercial real estate mapping software tools you can use to search and view properties.
Google Maps is, of course, a great resource for viewing real estate, as long as you’re familiar with the address of the properties you want to look at. Using Google as a mapping tool offers quite a bit of freedom, but does not have a CRE focus.
For more real estate-centric mapping tools, you can usually find maps built for any state or county, built on geographic information systems (GIS) mapping software. For example, if you were to search Google for the name of a location plus, “GIS map/mapping tool,” you’ll likely find an interactive map built on GIS software. Take the City of Chicago—if you search, “Chicago GIS map,” in Google, the first result will bring you to the City of Chicago Interactive Mapping Website.
Roofers and contractors can also turn to storm tracking apps in the case of wanting to scope out properties that might need work in the near future, then connect with the owners even before a storm reaches them.
Software for every need
While there is no such thing as an “all-in-one” piece of commercial real estate software, there are options across the board for both individuals and teams. The software tools mentioned above help with virtually every task associated with the day-to-day of a broker, investor, lender, appraiser, and building service provider of any kind. With the right set of tools, you can be well on your way to dominating your market.