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Real Estate CRM Package

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Over the past few years I have spoken from time to time about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) packages and how companies such as Hub Online (owned by realestate.com.au) and others are integrating these packages into their property management systems.

I have always though one day a company would build a CRM web based solution specifically for the real estate industry. The first to do so (as far as I know) as a standalone product is RealFutureCRM

RealFutureCRM at the moment it is specifically targeted at US agents, but really it would not take too much effort to customise it fro an Australian market. Take a tour of their software. It does look basic but it also looks to have a great feature set and at $299 USD per annum for the top level package it is also great value. That is of course if it does all it says it can do!

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31 Comments

  • Technology Sleuth
    Posted December 16, 2007 at 10:33 pm 0Likes

    I think you need to do a little more home work in your own back yard Peter… there are some fantastic Australian web based real estate specific CRM systems available for Agents as we speak and they can do all that they say they do and more !

    Please don’t send curious Real Estate agents that are trying to embrace technology off shore for primitive systems.. Aussie Agents need a system that understands how we do Real estate in Aus not the US.. A system that integrates with multiple third party suppliers and multi loads to many web portals as possible.

    I suggest that you have another look at some of the Australian Real Estate CRM systems, these guys will really impress !

    http://www.boxdice.com.au
    http://www.portplus.com.au
    http://www.realestateit.com.au
    http://www.hubonline.com.au
    http://www.multilink.com.au

    RealFutureCRM won’t stand a chance against any of the above programs !

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted December 17, 2007 at 6:41 am 0Likes

    Hi Tech Slueth. I think you did not understand what I was demonstrating. I am talking about a company that specialises in a real estate CRM, not a company that does something else as well as adding on a CRM. The companies you mentioned above do not specialise in CRM systems.

    I am all for embracing Australian Technology and maybe this will spur Australian companies to produce better software.

    Just to make sure we are on the same page, property listings management is not a CRM package.

    On the primitive side of things, what is primitive about this system? Can you elaborate further?

    Thanks for your comments.

  • scott
    Posted December 17, 2007 at 8:51 am 0Likes

    Just a quick comment on this topic:
    HubOnline, Portplus and Box & Dice are all CRM programs built and specifically targeted at the realestate industry.

    As you have said peter, many are not and are just CRM systems that have added a realestate module to try to capture more users.
    Why do australian agents need to look overseas for solutions that are already here and (very importantly) are already setup to cater for our currency, legal requirements, realestate terminologies and processes?
    these local products also offer support to the end user, which can be difficult to get from an overseas based company.

  • Gemma Duff
    Posted December 17, 2007 at 9:21 am 0Likes

    Another great one Peter is CompleteData, it is another Australian owned company and is a feature of Lee Woodwood’s Prime Training sector. The program itself is fantastic, and has probably one of the best features im yet to see, you can create automated trails to a contact and have scheduled tasks for each day. Meaning you won’t forget any clients once you set the trail! As well as having fantastic training by the legendary Lee Woodwood.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted December 17, 2007 at 11:09 am 0Likes

    Okay, I think I explained myself clearly enough, I simply cannot see how you can claim these products to be CRM systems with real estate listings systems added, when the ones mentioned began as real estate property listings systems.

    After all they are my competitors and I have followed them for many years (portplus and hubonline).

    A CRM System is like Netsuite, Salesforce!

  • Technology Sleuth
    Posted December 17, 2007 at 11:58 am 0Likes

    Hi Peter,
    Thanks for your response, we are on the same page, I just disagree strongly with your comments as I’m sure Travis Williams, Box + Dice or Eddie Lynch, Port Plus would too !

    All of these companies do specialise in real estate specific CRM systems which more often than not include a listing package for Aussie agents. They live, sleep and breath CRM for real estate infact, most were agents themselves !

    The internet revolution has changed the way we do real estate in Australia and the tools our agents have on offer these days are leading edge. I think you will find that all of the successful agents in 2007 are already utilising the expertise of these companies.

    What do I mean by primitive ?

    Messy & confusing Interface – The Aussie products pride themselves on being easy and simple to use.

    No automated business rules or “set n go” action plans – The Aussie products understand the way we do real estate and have a host of easy customisation steps to automate your tasks and ensure a certain level of service is continually offered to your clients.

    No third party integration – To have a truly successful business system in real estate your CRM must integrate with all of your
    Trust Account software – Console or Rockend & Payroll Advertising Modules -Advenda
    Mobile Marketing – OnRequest
    Data Sources – RP Data, Valuer General
    Window Displays – Splash

    Training & Support ; as per other comments this is a huge gamble with an overseas company.

    My point is, there are so many ways to make a bad decision when it comes to choosing your CRM and only
    one way to make the right one ! I can’t stress enough the importance of research and understanding the product your are purchasing.

    These companies I have suggested have fantastic products that really make your American suggestion look quiet poor. Once you have had a demonstration I’m sure you will agree.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted December 17, 2007 at 12:07 pm 0Likes

    Tech Sleuth. I am sure these products are excellent, but I have visited all of these sites and they do a whole range of products and services, which means that they do not specialise on CRM. Specialising in means focussing on.

    I have to stand and disagree with the integration of all of those products and services as many of them are not related.

    The problem I have seen over and over again with web based software companies is that they try to be everything to everyone instead of specialising and focussing on making one great product. Time will tell if I am wrong but I am actually trimming my software offerings down.

  • TWB
    Posted December 17, 2007 at 12:53 pm 0Likes

    The way I see it is there are 3 main data sets involved in a real estate CRM system.

    1. The first is the property. This is where the real estate listing system comes into the equation. The agent enters all the property details.
    2. The next is the vendor(s) and all their details (partners details, physical address,mailing address phone, mobile, email, solicitors details etc).
    3. The third party is the buyer and all their details.

    Once this data is entered the agent is then able to match people against properties and vice versa properties against buyers, keep trails and diary notes on all inspections and correspondence and ultimately prepare reports for vendors and internal sales meetings.

    It is only natural that a real estate listing system would develop their software to cater for all components of a database. Hubonline, Box & Dice, PortPlus, mydesktop etc have been doing it for years.

    Agents do not want to enter information 2 or 3 times, 1for their real estate listing system / website, 1 for their CRM and 1 for their sales trust. These companies know this and are well on the way to delivering the 1 stop shop for agents.

    Any company that plans to enter the market with only 1 solution will not prosper long term.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted December 17, 2007 at 1:19 pm 0Likes

    Well my idea is to only have one solution and that is to manage property listings. My thinking is that in 10 years time there way me 15-20 websites where listings are distributed and from those sites they may well be distributed elsewhere.

    I am banking my lifestyle on this. But hey, Live by the Sword!

    PS: Every heard of XML and RSS? Well I am building my system to easily integrate into any other platform that accepts these feeds.

    I could spend million dollars trying to build what is already built and built by companies much larger than mine. No company in the real estate industry have solutions that come near Netsuite and Salesforce and I am not going anywhere near trust systems. So to me it is not a risk but a calculation!

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted December 17, 2007 at 7:13 pm 0Likes

    I don’t know of any Australian real estate software that does CRM well, let alone perfectly, whether it be web based such as hubonline and portplus, internet based (yes there is a difference) such as multiarray or offline such as console, multiarray (they offer both) and complete data.

    I have not seen and played with the backend of all the companies thrown into this thread but I have seen quite a few of them and in all of those cases the CRM is merely a basic frills free add on to the administration functions of the program.

    CRM goes beyond basic automated letters, phone call reminders, pre programmed scheduled tasks, phone logging etc and most of those I have seen barely do some of these things correctly. In fact as far as strict CRM goes cheap off the shelf programs like Tracker and ACT offer far more than any of the real estate software do let alone then you have the CRM power of Sugar and Salesforce. The problem is as TWB said, that you cant run two solutions that are not totally integrated.

    In most offices these solutions are used only by the admin staff and the salespeople dont even have their own login and accounts. How can you even call that CRM?

    The problem lies with the fact that CRM programs do not have the administration capabilities that we need but to run two separate systems is a nightmare, so we are stuck with the CRM capabilities that the real estate software companies offer. Much like some sales teams, they can be great individually but when working together they can provide the solution we want.

    Salesforce is a bit more difficult but something like Sugar is Commercial Open Source so there is nothing stopping Australian real estate software tightly integrating their current admin system with Sugar CRM but as Peter said, they have to try and do everything themselves.

    Go and check out Sugar yourself by looking logging in at http://demo.sugarondemand.com/sugarcrm_ent … Have a poke around and imagine this integrated with your admin system, each salesperson with access and the information it being real estate centric. Security stops your salespeople from editing the administration data but they are able to maintain the Customer/Client Relationship Management (CRM). There is nothing like it on a CRM level that I have seen anywhere.

    On the flipside of the coin how many of these operators really want to gamble on creating or integrating an industry beating CRM package? That would suit some of the readers here maybe, but the vast majority of their clients don’t even use what they offer now properly. The other issue is that being open source I think they have to make their solution open for others to use.

    Decisions like that always have an economic angle to consider. For many agents the CRM features of the current crop of Australian real estate companies is more than sufficient. I think Peter is trying to say that there should be better options for those that want to use them, and on that I have to agree with him 100%. Some agents don’t want a system that offers a “simple and easy to use” interface that is lacking in power and features. How much of a market is out there is the big question???? None of us can prove it either way… its just our opinions.

  • mo
    Posted December 17, 2007 at 8:58 pm 0Likes

    FYI, hubonline is based on sugercrm

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 8:46 am 0Likes

    Mo, based on? Built on? HubOnline was doing real estate listings management long before CRM.

    I am not having a crack at any of these, what I am saying is that CRM is not a little add on pack, it is not something you slap over the top of a product. Companies spend 10’s of millions of dollars a year building dedicated CRM packages and I have not seen any dedicated CRM packages for real estate until the one above.

    Now it my be ordinary, it may well suck, but I thought the interesting thing is that someone is building a dedicated CRM package for real estate.

    Adding features to software outside the software initial intention is always fraught with danger and can be the bane of any developers life. Be is security, stability or speed as more often than not all of these are effected.

  • mo
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 9:37 am 0Likes

    just wanted to let you know that the current hubonline is built on the sugarcrm framework. i never used it myself. it was suggested in the forum to extend a program like sugarcrm with real estate modules. well, that has been done by hubonline. but maybe not the way you like it…?

  • Travis Williams
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 1:40 pm 0Likes

    Box+Dice is a purpose built CRM for Australian real estate that is simple to use, browser based and has a proven track record for adding value for sales consultants.

    Box+Dice also handles sales trust accounting and all sales admin and multiloads to portals. As a matter of fact, many businesses and two of Melbournes leading firms either have (or are about to) switch off all legacy programs and rely on Box+Dice to handle the entire sales CRM and admin process.

    Box+Dice will release rentals in April 08.

    Finally, we have the capacity to integrate with any browser based app via API.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 4:19 pm 0Likes

    The current CRM abilities of most of the software suggested in these comments meet and exceed what the vast majority of agents want and use. The concept of a high end CRM either as a standalone software that is “plugged” into an existing real estate admin software solution (as Peter has suggested) or integrated (as others have suggested is already in place) would only ever be used by the minority. If the minority are prepared to pay for it, that can still be a good business opportunity but I cant see it ever being an option built into the likes of hubonline or portplus with the size of their userbase only a small percentage would ever use it. And I would suggest other avenues would provide them better returns for their business models.

    I personally dont believe any advanced solution exists today in Australia. Thats from my personal exposure to the industry only and that if one exists I would like to think it would have been brought to my attention by now by somebody. Maybe I am wrong. I have been plenty of others times before.

    The other problem is the definition of advanced I guess. To many the solutions like hubonline is advanced, but from what I have seen it is very limited (however more on that in a second).

    Its admirable that individuals are willing to defend their product. Of course given the huge readership of this blog it makes good business sense to do so.

    I dont think it is anybody’s suggestion to bag the Australian solutions. The point seemed to me was to highlight an overseas product (that is not even suitable for Australia) that deals primarily as its focus the matter of CRM as it relates to the real estate industry. Nothing else.. just CRM..

    Maybe it will be case in the future that current solutions offer their own limited built in CRM as standard, but with the option to use a high end CRM that is plugged into it through api’s for those that are prepared to pay for it and operate it.

    Mo,

    The hubonline that I was demo’ed (maybe midway through this year) struggled terribly with CRM. Sure on paper and in their feature list they claimed they could do wonders, just like lots of other software solutions, real estate or not, but the reality was at that time the CRM features were very very basic. I remember writing down 10 features that were needed that our current aging solution did that I needed the new solution to do to make the change. It did none of those things… of course, all were offered as coming in future upgrades, but software salesmen always say that dont they..

    Maybe they have upgraded it substantially, I dont know, and if they had, maybe that upgraded improved their CRM… but I just checked their website and you have to wonder. The closest statement they make on their website that I found in 5 minutes is in body copy on a couple of pages stating ”

    “you can easily target past vendors, tenants and Open Home attendees.

    By automatic marketing (while you sleep, HubOnline will market for you – your automatic website Property Alert email service will continue to work for you.)

    By sending contacts regular Market Watch newsletters, you can keep them educated about their market – whilst positioning your business as the areas market leader.”

    and there is

    “With the automatic preparation of a follow-up letter, you will show vendors that you are proactive and excel in customer service.”

    That sounds like hardly anything more than integration with outlook, word mail merges and email property notices. Whilst many agents would be impressed by that, it is hardly earth shattering CRM. If I am missing something obvious can you give me the URL for it.

    If they had a CRM solution integrating the full power of something like Sugar CRM as you suggested then you would think they would be shouting it from the rooftops or at least mention it as the point of difference it would be.

    Travis,
    I have never even heard of box+dice so I cant comment specifically.. The name itself lends me to think you are offering a total solution which CRM is just part of the package. Care to provide me with a demo account to login and have a look around?

  • David Young
    Posted December 18, 2007 at 11:35 pm 0Likes

    Seeing many are using this forum and subject in particular, for their own self serving purposes I would feel remiss for keeping the best kept secret in this area – my.ReNet.com.au to ourselves and our fast growing customer base . This system fulfills the demands of the RE industry who have contributed to the growth of this business. Call us at Renet.com.au and we will give you a realtime online trial .
    Sorry about this being so blatant Peter but I feel we owe it to the industry to dip our oar in the water on this one!

  • snoop
    Posted December 19, 2007 at 4:33 am 0Likes

    Not too mention RENET based in COFFS.
    Big in queensland.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted December 19, 2007 at 6:55 am 0Likes

    David, others on here were a little more subtle! Will let this one go through to the keeper!

  • Paul Devine
    Posted January 2, 2008 at 2:35 pm 0Likes

    Box + Dice is currently being implemented into our business. The initial requirements being a complete and centralised, easy to use CRM, which it is a pwerful CRM in its own right.

    It just so happens it does a lot of other things too which have decided to implement and use in the future, removing most if not all legacy systems in place.

  • Paul Devine
    Posted January 2, 2008 at 2:36 pm 0Likes

    I wish we could edit these posts. I am trigger happy on the submit button 🙂

  • Phil McGuinness
    Posted January 14, 2008 at 1:53 pm 0Likes

    What you are asking for already exists for Sales / CRM / Webupload and property management in Sherlock + S.O.L.D. [ Sales Office Listing Directory ]. The most comprehensive systems of the market. The CRM sales and marketing system was a 10 year investment in time and money and handles Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Project Marketing and Business Sales and Sales Trust. Up to 240 reports, excellent security and SOLDSync for synchronise laptops remote from the office. All done, all working and heaps of clients. The others are just trying to catchup. Property management handles Residential, Commercial, Holiday and Sales too if you want this separate.

  • Trackback: A Quick Look at Hubonline’s CRM Capabilities | Business2 Real Estate Agent News and Information Technology
  • Darryl
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 1:23 pm 0Likes

    I’m fascinated by all the discussion. It has been a breath of fresh air.

    You see, I’m not in real estate, but my wife is. She’s a sole agency and she’s done well over the last 3 years. However, she’s been using a manual enquiry log and now needs to step up to the CRM system. That’s where I come in. I can do all the admin for her, but you certainly wouldn’t catch me out door-knocking.

    So, it’s my job to source a CRM system for my wife (….and I’d better get it right!)

    I’m keen to know where to go for further research on this. Perhaps I’ve read enough already given the above.

    The trouble is, I don’t know what I don’t know.

    Maybe the question really is, for a situation like that for my wife who wants to do away with her pencil and paper enquiry log and have a CRM that allows her to be able to systematise all her contacts, but keep in touch with newsletters, letters, cards and so on, which CRM would you recommend?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • Gemma Duff
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 1:52 pm 0Likes

    Hi Darryl, you’d be silly to overlook Lee Woodwood’s Complete Data CRm system, as well as providing talented training and being connected with greats like Mat Steinwede (and a father who was the #1 Car Salesman in Australia for many years).

    His got some awesome stuff Darryl that you won’t regret looking into. Have a look here http://www.completedata.com.au.

  • Craig
    Posted March 14, 2010 at 11:58 pm 0Likes

    Johnny Ramone, you should get a proper email address, it looks a lot more professional. You can easily set it up using your domain name with Google Apps.

  • John
    Posted March 14, 2010 at 4:47 pm 0Likes

    Hey everyone,
    Whilst not a real estate agent myself, I am a web developer who has just launched a turnkey real estate website package which can be viewed at http://www.optionsproperty.com.au

    I have a genuine interest in listening in to what real estate agents need, and helping them. Ive just secured my fourth agent in the past week to launch their own site using my software, however Im intrigued about this CRM you guys are talking about.

    If anyone is interested in having someone actually develop this you can email me at ramone_johnny AT dodo DOT com DOT au :0)

    Thanks,

    John

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted March 14, 2010 at 11:39 pm 0Likes

    John, hi mate good to see you on here. We of course welcome your comments.

    I will allow you this one blatant self promotion but no more. Please make all comments relevant.

    Regards Editor

  • John
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 4:50 pm 0Likes

    My apologies Peter, you can remove that posting if you like :0)

    Im just trying to get a better understanding of what real estate agents need, in order to solve any problems they face.

    It seems Im still seeing a great deal of frustration by many agents who …

    a) have no understanding of the importance of list building
    b) are being charged a lot for websites, or have been let down by bad developers
    c) have no understanding of the importance of SEO and how their business can benefit from it
    d) feel helpless because theyre all given so much conflicting advice

    Im out to help people like this. Im an ex government employee with 10 years web development experience, along with 2 years internet marketing – I do this full time.

    Anyway, Im rambling here again, if anyone needs help, be sure to email me OR if Peter allows it, check out my live demo above.

    Thanks guys,

    John

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted April 5, 2010 at 11:52 pm 0Likes

    John, you apologise for your previous blatant self promotion, then go and again blatantly self promote.

    Look, I am sure your products are wonderful mate, but leave out ‘A Current Affair Story” breaking story of how you just want help people out. It actually will work against you. Remember who you are dealing with 🙂

    You are better off to tell people (not here) that you have a great product at a great price and are prepared to back it up with great service.

    Good luck, but any more of this type of promotion and I will just have to block you mate!

    if you actually provided real comments on here you might gain some trust and respect and people may then look into your products. 🙂

  • real estate crm
    Posted December 27, 2010 at 9:27 pm 0Likes

    Hi, As per real estate industry growth prospects the crm solution boost a the real estate industry more and give a useful solution which help real estate industry to grow more.CRM solution included complete result oriented solution.

  • Blake Sykes
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm 0Likes

    Peter and others are on different wavelengths. I am having a look at various crm’s particularly suitable for real estate. What I have found is that there are plenty in the market but none is near to similar to any other in functionality. What Peter is hitting about is standalone and web based crm for real estate. Besides “RealFututureCRM” and I have found a few more web based stand alone products.

    Please have a look at “RealtyJuggler” and “MoreSolids”. These have been designed for US companies but can very well be utilized in Australia. These companies of stand alone web based products do give three months free trial, where you can have a fell of the program and see for your self which one suits you. Moreover after the free trial they are available on a monthly subscription for a petty price (almost free).

    The discussion about discrimination against Australian products is unfortunate and unnecessary. The Australian products are very expensive and closed. There web sites do not explain enough about them either, let alone free trial.

    Moreover because the Australian products are integrated with property listing and bulk loading software the principals tend to keep their access to themselves and avoid giving free access to individual agents. The charm of the standalone crm products is that the agents can individually get their subscription and keep hold of their own customer database and avoid getting fleeced by agencies

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