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This is a list of some of the tools that I use, have used or my partner real estate agents use to run their business.
These tools and services, if used well, will help you earn more business, save you money and/or save you time.
This list will be reviewed and possibly updated or expanded as I find new tools for real estate agents and teams. The industry and the methods are constantly evolving year after year.
So I hope you are able to find something helpful to grow your business or make your systems run more smoothly.
I wrote an extensive, step-by-step guide on building a website as a real estate agent complete with all the tools I recommend and use to run this site.
If you want a more in depth look on that topic, check that out. But here is a quick rundown of the my favorite tools for running a website. Some of these tools are specifically for a WordPress site.
Fast Website Hosting With Great Support
Kinsta is a great example of a great team with a great product.
They will make your website run fast (important), are always improving and have incredible customer service and technical support.
Their speciality is WordPress site hosting (wordpress.org).
I have used a few different hosts, and finally decided to go with Kinsta after I became more focused on speed over price.
The price could be higher than other hosting, but you get what you pay for.
GoDaddy Domain Registation
Quickly Search and Obtain Domain Names
If you are about to make a real website, you need a domain first. GoDaddy allows you to easily register the domain at an affordable price.
They also have a large selection of premium domains, and a domain broker if you want to attempt to purchase a domain that is already in use.
NOTE: they also offer hosting. But after using them and Kinsta, I use Kinsta for hosting.
Best IDX Home Search for User Experience
A great home search, in addition to great content, is an important element for a successful real estate agent’s website.
There are quite a few to choose from, so your choice should focus first and foremost on a great user experience for visitors to your site.
Showcase has an intuitive search that works great on all size screens. It makes sure you will have people coming back to the site, and gives you chance to meet more clients to help.
This is a WordPress plugin, so available for WordPress sites only.
Like most IDX plugins, the large size can slow down some pages. But this is true of their competitors as well.
CRMs & Admin Software
Your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is one of your most important systems as a real estate agent or team.
Many of the greatest agents in the country have gone as far as to say that your business IS your database.
Past clients, new leads, your sphere of influence and other potential future clients will make or break your success.
Your CRM software is where it is all organized into groups, where you schedule follow up tasks, send marketing emails, build your sales funnel, automations and more.
Best CRM Overall, Best for Email Marketing
I have used HubSpot and one of it’s direct competitors. HubSpot is much more user friendly yet still keeps a robust amount of features.
I have found that this CRM can do nearly everything that I need.
HubSpot has a “freemium” model, which means you can get started using it for free. As your business grows, or you see the need to add features, you can pay for the monthly subscription.
• Create groups & email lists. You can group together different contacts easily, and add groups as you go (listing leads, buyer leads, sphere, etc.) You can also make separate email lists for sending marketing emails.
• Marketing emails. Within the CRM you can create marketing emails with a drag and drop editor. No need to use another 3rd part email software.
• Powerful automation. You can customize what happens when you get a new lead based on source, etc.
• Integrates with your website. You can integrate HubSpot with your website for tracking and also create splash pages.
• Tons of Integration. With a Zapier account, you can also integrate your IDX, forms and other lead sources so you are doing less manual entry. It also has a lot of API integration.
• Not built solely for real estate. It will take some customizing to have it work for your business. It is designed for B2B sales.
• Paying to add features. It can be a little annoying not getting all the features immediately with one monthly subscription. Great for saving money up front, but hard to know when to add.
Follow Up Boss
Best CRM for Real Estate
Follow Up Boss is a CRM made for real estate agents.
Follow Up Boss has plenty of automated follow up features, and integrates with some of the top paid and organic online lead sources to immediately send emails, texts and call a lead quickly.
Pros to Using Follow Up Boss:
• Made for real estate agents. This CRM was tailored for real estate, so the tools it offers will work right out of the box.
• Packages for individual agents and teams. Both have some different features, and the teams version has some great features for collaborating with agents on your team.
• Call routing and company number. Use a central number and send incoming calls to the agent that is assigned to that lead. You can also type to send text messages from within the CRM.
• Automated follow up plans. Easily put clients on campaigns for follow up.
• Easily text and email from the CRM. It will also log phone calls.
• Not too many features and intuitive. Not so much you will get “bogged” down, very easy to use.
Cons to Using Follow Up Boss:
• Will likely need to still use 3rd party for marketing emails. To make attractive robust marketing emails you will have to integrate with another software.
• Not as customizable. There is a large amount of features for real estate teams, but if you want a CRM for branching out into other business ventures you may have to look elsewhere.
Streamlined Transaction Management and Task Assignment
Monday is not a CRM, but is an addon for task management. I use Monday for managing general to-do tasks and for checklists for each transaction.
You can probably do this in a CRM, but I have found enough value in Monday to use it as a standalone.
Make a template board, for example “listing template”, with all of the tasks that go into getting a listing on the market, getting it under contract, and getting it to closing.
You can easily assign tasks to different people on your team, create a shared calendar of tasks and integrate it with your CRM using Zapier.
Monday has a calendar sync as well.
You can also share your board on a private page of your website so that your client can login and see what you and your team have been doing.
This is great to show your clients how hard you are actively working for them.
For sales tasks and managing your contacts, look to your CRM. But for transaction management, I use Monday.com.
Automate Tasks and Data Entry Between Your Tools
Again, not a CRM, a crucial piece of technology that can help you connect your CRM to a huge number of other tools that you use such as calendar, IDX and a ton of other real estate related and other software.
Zapier will give you a number of “zaps” and actions for free each month. Then you will need to update if you go over a certain amount.
Automation is the name of the game here, and will save you a ton of time with having to do data entry from your various software. They are also highly customizable with lots of “if..then” scenarios for each zap.
It is also “freemium”, so you will have to pay once you get to a certain number of automations/tasks.
Most real estate agents spend a lot of time at their desk. For me, I am writing real estate content, setting up showings, running comps, talking with other agents, negotiating contracts and more.
Even if you are in the field showing homes a lot, it is a game changer for the times you are at your desk, or for a staff member to use once you hire.
It took me a long time to optimize my desk setup. Once I did, I got more done, faster and more efficiently. Here is what I use day in and day out to run this website and my real estate sales business.
Laptop: Apple MacBook Pro
Best Laptop for Business & Reliability
Whether you use Mac, Windows, or another operating system, a laptop is a given. Laptops are essential for real estate agents, I use mine to plug into my desk setup.
Apple’s MacBook Pro is not the cheapest option. But I have found that they last, sync up with iCloud/iPhone seamlessly and are easy to use.
The laptop gives you flexibility over a desktop because you can take it with you and send a contract, for example, from a coffee shop.
I currently use apple products, many agents I have worked with use and love the MacBook Pro. You can even find a refurbished one if you are on a budget.
Computer Monitors: Acer or HP
Best Tool For Administrative, Contracts & Market Research
This is the pillar of my desk setup, which I did not utilize until I was 6 years into the business. Having an extra screen ends up saving you a ton of time when performing tasks.
You can plug the monitor into your laptop, so you will be using the laptop screen and monitor…or buy 2 monitors and the correct adaptors to just use the monitors. You can close the MacBook and the system still runs on the monitors.
This allows you to save time because of less switching between tabs and programs. It also makes copy and pasting much easier. I have several colleagues and friends that use 3 screens. I stick with 2.
Acer has more budget friendly options, while Samsung offers better image quality.
Used For Connecting Monitors to Laptop
Most laptops link to monitors via an HDMI cable. Double check that your laptop has the HDMI port. If not, you will have to look for another type of cable that is compatible.
USB or Wirelsess Keyboard
You will want to have a keyboard that is not attached to your laptop to use at your desk. This way you do not have to lean in, and if you go with 2 extra monitors you can even shut your laptop and just use the 2 (usually larger) monitors.
USB or Wireless Mouse
Same as the keyboard, the purpose here is to not have to be right in front of your laptop. This will make your desk setup run much more smoothly.
Great For Researching While Talking
Real estate agents talk on the phone…a lot. Headsets (and now for me AirPods) have given me the biggest ROI of any tool listed here.
They are fairly affordable for what they give you: freedom to talk on the phone and do other tasks at the same time. Like lookup listings, schedule showings, draft an email, etc.
I recommend not going cheap here, you get what you pay for in sound quality both input and output. You want the person you are talking with to understand you clearly.
AirPods work with bluetooth, so you do not need an Apple product to connect them.
Whether you are running your business as an LLC or you are an independent contractor, you are going to want to keep track of revenue and expenses.
Hopefully, you already have a separate bank account for your real estate transactions. If you do, the below software can track all transactions from that account and you will just need to categorize them.
Or, if you use a pro bookkeeper they can do this for you.
Using these systems will save you a ton of time when it comes to give do your taxes.
Quickbooks is the gold standard of accounting software for small businesses. It has a great combination of a user friendly interface and a large number of financial reports.
New features have been added over time for the same subscription since it is cloud based, and that has included even more functionality for real estate agents.
• Easy to use on all devices. Once you connect your bank account, you will be up and running with categorizing your past transactions. From there, it is intuitive.
• Add an accountant/bookkeeper. You can easily invite a professional of your choosing to manage your books for you. They also will help you find a pro if you do not have one.
• Many professionals work with QBO. Bookkeepers almost always have experience with the software.
• Track your business and growth. They have a bunch of financial reports to choose from, and you can go back to previous years to see where to tweak expenses, etc.
• Payroll/Payment Services. You can pay your employees and/or contractors fairly easily with QBO. And this also makes it easy come tax time.
• Mileage tracking. You can track all of your drives from your device and then later categorize them business or personal for writing off mileage.
• Receipt capture. You can take photos of receipts and upload them to match later to transactions or create a new transaction.
• Affordable. For what QBO offers, the price is right.
• Pre-filled out chart of accounts for real estate agents. They have a lot of categories for expenses already set up once you select that you are in real estate.
• Not all the features they add you will use. At times, the software feels like it has a lot going on.
• Advertisements for their services. Intuit (the parent company) is aggressive with banners in the software to try to get you to add on services. It is not a big deal, but may be annoying for some.
Best Free Software
Wave Accounting is a direct competitor to QBO. They are a newer software and have a different model to attract users: the bookkeeping software is free.
You only pay if you accept payments on the platform or sign up for their payroll.
• Very clean and intuitive user interface. The software is much less “busy” than the competition.
• Free to do your own books. You can get started with your bookkeeping for free, where other services charge monthly.
• They also offer professionals. You can connect with a bookkeeper or CPA from the platform.
• Less reports & information. There are some limitations on what Wave can do, especially as your business grows.
• Less add on features. The lack of the mileage tracking is a big minus, because automatic mileage tracking is a crucial tool for real estate agents.
Photography & Video
For photographing properties, I call in professional photographers. For both photos and 3D scans (although I host the scans), I use a local photographer and marketing company.
However, it is a huge advantage to having technology to take photos. Although I do not do the final photos for my listings, I take coming soon photos, community photos and other photos for marketing purposes.
Drones With Camera
Great For Capturing Unique Images
Drone photos are some of the coolest pictures you can take, and also are very effective at catching attention of homebuyers and sellers.
They are also great at showing neighborhoods/ areas from a different perspective. You can see where the amenities are relative to the homes, get elevated photos of homes easily and more.
These photos are also great for marketing material, whether print or online.
Here are some of the most popular drones on the market for taking both photos and video.
If You Want High Quality Images
Every year, the gap between standalone digital cameras and mobile devices such as the iPhone seems to narrow.
In certain situations though, the digital camera still has distinct advantages. The real question is, will be worth it be worth it for your purposes to upgrade over the mobile devices’?
I take outdoor photos of non-moving objects that need to be high enough quality to be used for this site. And I have found that the latest iPhone works for me.
I also occasionally shoot video for walkthroughs. But I have not found the need to upgrade from what I have.
With that said, agents I partner with swear by their digital cameras. Especially if you are going to be shooting videos. Make sure you find one that is well reviewed for video capability.
Host 3D Property Tours
Most professional real estate photographers offer a 3D scan. I use a pro to do the scan, then use Matterport to host it with my own account.
This allows me to have control over my properties, and also keep them active longer so I can show examples to future sellers. Here is an example of a property page I used to market a client’s home, and the 3D tour is near the bottom.
If you are a listing agent, this is one of the tools you will want to be able to offer to sellers. Buyers love the walkthroughs, especially if they are doing research from out of the area.
Best For Paid Leads
If you are looking for a paid source of leads, Bold Leads goes the extra mile. There are lots of options for paid leads out there, but Bold Leads has lots of different features to customize a solution for you.
They have lead follow up options (concierge), exclusive leads, ad management and a CRM to keep track of your leads.
They will also integrate into your own CRM with a couple of options, the cleanest being Zapier.
The cost per lead of these sources can fluctuate depending on the market, skill of your follow up and other factors. So it is best paired with other methods of finding business.
Easily Design Marketing Material
Graphic design is difficult. Canva makes it easy for the amatuer.
Whether you are making flyers, social media posts, putting your logo on a photo, making infographics and more, you can get it done with Canva.
It is also well priced and if you have staff, it is easy to learn for them.
The service is free with a cost to upgrade to premium. You may be able to get by with the free service, but most agents and teams will need to get the paid features.
Quick & Customizable Yard Sign Panels/Directionals
Even with all of the advances and changes in how homes are marketed and sold, yard signs and directionals are still the cause of a healthy percentage of home sales.
So having a place to quickly design, customize and mail your signs is crucial. You can use their design tool or upload a design to have printed on your sign.
There are also a wide variety of materials and sizes to choose from.
Freelancers For Quick Tasks & More
Fiverr is my favorite site to go and get a professional to get something done.
I have gotten floor plans, WordPress design, data entry, graphic design, operating agreements, marketing materials and more all done on Fiverr quickly.
This is a one stop shop for virtual tasks.
Add a Virtual Assistant to Your Staff
For longer term virtual assistant (VA) help, I have hired several contractors from MyOutDesk. They can do anything from marketing and follow up calls to being a full time assistant.
I have even used my VA to help me with non-work tasks, like researching for flights, dinner reservations, etc.
If you want to know more about my experience with MOD get in touch with me.
The top producing real estate agents and real estate teams are constantly looking for ways to get an advantage by upgrading their systems and tools.
These companies and products can help you at different stages in your career, whether you are just starting out, looking to grow or trying to save time and money.
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