As new technology has emerged, the way investors transact in the real estate industry has changed. Modern real estate investment teams must take an agile approach to identifying the best market opportunities, vetting them to ensure they align with investment strategies, and closing on them before the competition can. To achieve this seamless efficiency, operating with the right real estate investment software is essential.
There are many software solutions available on the market, spanning a wide range of property types, functions, and asset lifecycle stages. As your firm adapts to software, your process may evolve, too. Over time, it could come to depend on new efficiencies afforded by that software. But with countless options available, it’s crucial to ensure you’re growing to rely on the right software for your firm.
In this blog post, you’ll learn about the considerations your firm must make before purchasing and implementing commercial real estate investment software.
Why Real Estate Investment Software Is Essential Today
Managing your acquisitions pipeline and other critical real estate processes within spreadsheets was once the best method available. But thanks to the ongoing proptech revolution, there are now more advanced, cutting-edge platforms available that benefit employees at all levels in the organization, from analysts to executive leadership.
As your team and property count grow, maintaining old-school practices can actually present limitations for the number of properties your team reviews. Instead, it’s crucial to consider how technology can enable your firm to effortlessly scale existing workflows, helping you to accomplish more with less.
The right real estate investment software program will:
- Audit, vet, and analyze properties in your pipeline
- Highlight data-driven insights using your proprietary data
- Empower simple, seamless team collaboration
- Provide visibility into the investment process at all levels
- Track tasks and hold your team accountable to deadlines
12 Considerations for Selecting the Best Real Estate Investment Software
While implementing real estate investment software can carry wide-ranging benefits across the organization, selecting a platform isn’t necessarily simple. There are countless platforms on the market, each with their own unique advantages and limitations. The right choice will simplify and expedite your process.
These are some of the key considerations you should keep in mind as you explore new software.
1. What Are Your Goals In Implementing Real Estate Investment Software?
Your real estate investment process has driven your firm’s success. What challenge, obstacle or inefficiency drove you to reconsider your process and implement new investment software?
Start by diagnosing any bottlenecks in your process that you’re looking to fix. For example, if generating reports currently takes an analyst hours or days to accomplish, then be sure to inquire about reporting capabilities. If your team is having difficulty managing data input and output through one spreadsheet, consider a solution that enables simultaneous data updates.
Beyond specific challenges, also consider how new software can accomplish broader organizational goals. Can you quantify the impact you’d like your new software to have for broader business goals?
Keeping these goals in mind will help you find the right software for your firm, rather than simply the most powerful option on the market.
2. How Can It Help Your Team Save Time?
Among other organizational goals, one crucial objective in implementing real estate investment software should be to save time. Analysts have lengthy to-do lists, including everything from finding new investment opportunities, analyzing them, ensuring acquisitions are moving forward, and more.
Will implementing the real estate investment software empower your team to accomplish certain tasks, which are currently laborious, faster? Will it automate other tasks entirely? Can it streamline how deals flow throughout the organization to create tighter workflows?
Look for software that offsets analysts’ current workload, enabling them to spend more time on strategic work that drives your bottom line.
3. Will It Be Valuable and Useful Across the Organization?
Certain software may provide tremendous value for one team, but is another team losing access to crucial information in the process of implementing it?
To deliver the structure your team needs to thrive, search for software that provides value across the organization. If data is only available to one team, then other teams must still undergo the same manual processes in order to obtain it, or import the same information into a secondary software for their own purposes. In either scenario, creating additional division only decentralizes information, adding bottlenecks further down the road.
4. Does It Centralize Deal Information And Documents?
In order to serve your organizational goals, real estate investment software should make it easy to maintain a consistent system of record that’s scalable as your team and property count grow. Centralizing deal information, including related files, is one essential aspect of this crucial initiative.
From pro formas, to letters of intent, and beyond, there are countless documents involved in the investment process. Look for software that centralizes deal documents, preventing your team from spending their valuable time sifting through inboxes to reference necessary documents. Whenever there’s a question about deal details, your team should be able to simply reference the software to find the right information.
5. Will It Minimize Duplicative Efforts & Prevent Spreadsheet Upkeep?
It’s not uncommon for investment teams operating out of Excel to prioritize spreadsheet updates over more strategic property analysis and comparison. Unfortunately, this frequently results in decentralized information and duplicative spreadsheets, often without any way to leverage the data for future use. One of the core benefits of implementing commercial real estate software for your firm is preventing redundant tasks like this.
The right real estate investment software will serve as a hub for your data, ensuring you can easily access it for future analysis. Because most software is hosted in the cloud, the right software will also allow everyone on your team to update it as needed, meaning the most up-to-date data will always be available to all team members with access.
6. Can It Help Standardize Workflows and Manage Tasks (Without Reinventing Them)?
While all firms are keen on ensuring investments offer the required return and align with their strategy, every firm has a unique process. Commercial real estate investment software should not only create a formal, standardized procedure for deals, but also automate certain tasks where possible. In doing so, though, it shouldn’t fundamentally change the way you invest in real estate.
Even the most talented investment teams benefit from direction and standardization when it comes to workflows. As you build out checklists in the software, take the time to reconsider how certain deals flow. If there are redundant steps or opportunities for improvement, revise your processes accordingly. Once your workflows are standardized, these checklists can serve as a valuable guidebook for current analysts and simple onboarding material for new hires alike. This infrastructure also provides an executive overview of how teams are performing, and where deals stand in the pipeline. While standardization carries tremendous value, avoid software that controls or otherwise forces undesirable changes to your investment process.
The investment process should never be fully automated, but creating triggers for certain tasks can save time. Be sure to consider whether or not the software will allow you to intelligently configure automated workflows as part of your selection process.
Finally, confirm that the platform you select can be configured to suit your needs based on property type. Because investors weigh the importance of metrics differently depending on the property type, it’s crucial to confirm that the platform can accommodate your needs. If it can’t support your target property type, then it won’t sufficiently help you analyze and compare pipeline deals.
7. How Does It Help Analyze Deals so You’re Making the Best Decisions?
While your team should be at the helm of every strategic investment decision, strategic software can help you compare relevant data points against historical data. If your investment process relies on intuition, rather than data, you could be missing out on competitive insights.
Look for commercial real estate investment software that allows you to easily compare relevant details like cap rates, price per square foot, and more. Instead of simply comparing market opportunities against each other, find a platform that makes use of your historical data for simple, easy insights about market trends and apples-to-apples comparisons.
Driving this deal and property analysis process with the right software lifts the burden of spreadsheet manipulation, which is error-prone, unreliable and time-consuming, from your team’s shoulders.
8. Will It Give You Real-Time Visibility Into Your Pipeline?
Whether you’re an executive, manager or analyst, knowing which properties are in the pipeline at any given moment is crucial. But due to siloed data, even the most strategically built-out spreadsheets normally fail to provide the level of detail that people have come to expect.
Search for software that provides the high-level overview you need to understand where your deals stand in the pipeline, from initial evaluation to closing. The best software will also organize your deal flow based on filters like deal status, property type, cap rates, and more.
By seeing where every deal in your pipeline stands, you can reallocate resources as necessary to ensure you’re performing according to targets.
9. Is It Accessible from Anywhere?
Teams are back in the office, but the ability to work remotely will remain a priority for agile teams. Whether analysts must occasionally work from home due to sickness or on the road while traveling, remote access to update and view deal data and information is key.
Before selecting a real estate investment platform, confirm that it is cloud-based and accessible from anywhere. This important feature not only tears down geographic barriers, but also ensures team members can access it simultaneously, preventing workflow issues.
10. Can It Generate Reports Easily?
Throughout the real estate investment process, detailed reporting can prove invaluable in analyzing new opportunities and exploring new markets. Real estate software should make it simple to generate both pipeline reports and filtered, highly specific reports leveraging historical data.
To keep executives apprised of pipeline deals, software should easily illustrate where deals stand in the pipeline. Beyond pipeline status, though, software should also make market insights easily visible. Rather than searching Excel for information about industrial properties in the Chicago area, your software should utilize data from similar properties that were either purchased or considered.
11. Does the Company Provide Customer Service?
The idea of ready-to-use software might be appealing, but will it really play a valuable role without a certain degree of sophistication? The complex, nuanced nature of the real estate investment process calls for robust, highly configurable software.
Rather than taking on the onus of configuring the software yourself, be sure to inquire about customer service during and after the implementation phase. While your team may be able to make minor changes, you’ll likely need assistance for thorough overhauls. As the platform evolves and receives updates, you’ll also need guidance about how to retain continuity and navigate these changes.
12. Is Your Data Secure Within the Real Estate Investment Software?
Commercial real estate investment software should offer intuitive and intelligent ways to utilize your data as you analyze deals and develop a strategy, but it should also take significant steps to protect that data. Without meeting the right compliance standards, your data could be vulnerable to hackers and competitors.
As you evaluate various platforms, be sure to look for SOC 2 certifications. This designation certifies that the platform satisfies a number of requirements that should be high on your checklist, including:
- Processing integrity
Agreements regarding data security can be helpful, but if the platform you’re considering lacks SOC 2 certification, then your data could potentially be vulnerable to others.
Achieving Real-Time Visibility With Real Estate Investment Software
When your team can’t easily tell where certain deals stand in the pipeline, strategically managing your pipeline can be challenging. However, cutting-edge software solutions can help you achieve real-time visibility into your acquisitions pipeline, as well as other data that should inform, and ultimately drive, your competitive investing decisions.
Watch Dealpath’s webinar to learn how software enables you to get real-time visibility into your pipeline, as well as the historical data your firm has worked tirelessly to find and aggregate. During the webinar, you’ll learn how strategic software can help you:
- Gain instant visibility into the sales pipeline and associated tasks
- Understand the competitive secrets in your data
- Standardize the investment process
- Create simplified, repeatable workflows based on your process
Click the link below to watch the webinar now.