Software and Desktop Apps Every Real Estate Agent Needs

Last month, RPR (Realtors Property Resource) published a popular article on its blog: RPR’s top 10 Mobile Apps for Real Estate Agents.

And questions and comments from that write-up got us thinking… What about desktop applications and online software? Websites you use on your computer or laptop, that can be an app, but are not designed to be mobile or on your phone.

There’s quite a few you might not be aware of that can help you and your real estate business. Get help with accounting, graphic design and layout, project management, CRMs, social media scheduling and more.

Here’s RPR’s list of software and desktop apps that real estate agents need to take for a spin…

Prospecting/communication

Avochato: When it comes to communicating with clients, texting is the clear winner over email and phone calls. Avochato uses SMS and live chat to manage text communication with new and current clients. Customers of all ages simply prefer communicating via text and it ensures a higher response rate and increased conversion rate because it makes it easy for clients to respond and hold conversations throughout their day. With Avochato, you send automated messages to your clients to keep them engaged. It can also be used for client outreach if you have a client list by blasting out a text message to the entire list at once.

The cost: After your free 30 day trial, Avachato starts at $19 per month, and there’s also a popular plan that runs $35 per month.

Parkbench: Parkbench believes that relationships are more powerful than marketing. They specialize in helping REALTORS® become more involved in their local communities, which helps them meet and interact with homeowners and business owners in a given area. They do this by helping agents claim an area with one of their neighborhood website pages, which helps to create a hyperlocal platform so they can give value to locals, grow their sphere of influence, and establish their brand as the local market expert. Each website is tailored to its unique neighborhood and updated daily to feature relevant news, events, and more. This way, the site and you become an invaluable hub for businesses and residents alike.

The cost: Pricing requires a phone call to a Parkbench representative, which tells us it’s probably pretty pricey–think four digits per year. But if you look at it like a lead gen program, it’s quite comparable.

Lead Generation

leadPops: With leadPops, you don’t buy lists of bogus leads–you create them yourself! leadPops bills itself as “Lead funnels, websites, and marketing systems built by lead generation pros.” They provide a slew of technical tools to real estate agents, including lead generation funnel click starters and mouse traps such as quizzes. They also offer complete website design and a website grader. Their “plug-and-play software solution” was born from lead generation systems that were originally developed for heavy hitters such as Zillow and Bankrate. leadPops helps you gain and track traffic through organic or local SEO, Google Ads, social media, blogging, videos, email marketing, traditional advertising, or a combination of all the above.

The cost: leadPops offers three individual pricing options: Marketer, Marketer Pro, and Marketing Bundle. The prices vary from $97 a month up to $297 a month.

Accounting

Xero: Small businesses need accounting software to stay on track and on budget. Xero includes several features that make it suitable to handle accounting processes for small- and medium-sized businesses. The software makes it easy to pay bills, claim expenses, accept payments, track projects, manage contracts, store files and more. Xero’s invoicing capabilities allow you to create and customize an invoice for clients and then accept credit card, debit card or bank transfer payments within the invoice itself.

The cost: From $13 to $70 per month, depending on the level you need and choose. They also offer a 75% off discount for your first three months.

Marketing/Communications

Canva: For successful real agents, producing high-quality content and marketing materials is a “must-have” component for their branding and their day-to-day business operations. However, creating professional-looking visual graphics and content is time consuming and costly. Canva, a desktop software for creating quick and easy layouts, gives REALTORS® the ability to design anything with thousands of free templates, photos, fonts and more. Canva also lets you create a design that’s easily resizeable and scalable, so you can use the same design for multiple channels: a social media post, a real estate flyer, or a “just listed” postcard. And you can place them or print them with just a click.

Bonus: RPR has designed some free Canva templates for agents to share local market stats and trends. To see the different options available to you, check out this article, Free Canva Templates to Help you Create Social Media Market Updates.

The cost: There is a basic, free version of Canva available that gives users access to its drag and drop editor system, and also comes with hundreds of thousands of free templates. If you want to take it the next level of design capabilities, you can also opt for the Pro version, which is $13 per month (a little less if you pay annually) and includes a laundry list of great tools, including access to stock photos and video, even more templates, and a terabyte of cloud storage.

The bargain: Adobe Express (Formerly Adobe Spark): Easy to create layouts, plenty of templates and access to free stock photography make Adobe Express a cost-conscious alternative to Canva. There’s a free version, and the “Premium” upgrade is only $9.99 per month.

Placester: Placester helps real estate businesses (brokers, admins and agents) create and manage beautiful custom websites. You can design your own site from scratch or transfer content from your already existing website. Or, if you’re not comfortable or simply don’t have the time, they will do it for you! Their “Do It For Me Website” is a subscription for agents, brokers, and teams and it sets you up a site with IDX listings, lead capture tools, and property landing pages. The websites you create are flexible, user-friendly and easy to use and maintain.

Bonus: REALTORS® enjoy special pricing through the National Association of REALTORS®‘ REALTOR Benefits®.

The cost: The REALTOR® pricing starts at $79 per month, and their DIFM (Do It For Me) version starts at $119 monthly.

Social media management

Hootsuite: If you’re reading this, we’re going to go out on a limb and assume you’re active in social media. Which means you know that keeping up and staying active on your channels can be a full time job in itself. That’s where Hootsuite comes in! As a social media management platform, it’s the perfect tool for planning out social media posts and it’s especially helpful if you run multiple social media accounts for your business. Ahead of time and all at once, you can easily schedule and publish content to all of your social profiles. And the best part is, you can track the effectiveness of your posts, with analytics and metrics that let you know what content is garnering the most eyeballs and engagement. Ain’t that a hoot? (Sorry–couldn’t resist!)

The cost: Single accounts will run you $99 a month, which is a pretty penny, but if you’re successful at using social media as a lead generation magnet, you know that it can pay for itself. There’s also a free thirty day trial for you to try it out and see if it’s worth it. “Team” accounts offer the service for three users, at $240 per month, and so on.

The bargain: Loomly: Social media management is made easy with Loomly, which offers you a way to manage social media content, including organic posts and ads, in one platform. Loomly starts out at only $26 per month.

Project management

Monday: There are tons of digital project management software systems available for businesses, teams and individuals, but Monday.com ranks as one of the standouts. Monday is intuitive, user friendly and a breeze to use. With it, you can oversee, manage and keep tabs on multiple projects at once and create workflows that help you optimize your time and efforts. With dashboards, business tool integrations, automations, docs and files, synced message updates and color-coded status “pulses”, it’s no problem for teams of people to work and get updates “at a glance” as to whether a project or task is close to completion. (It’s so good, the RPR Marketing staff uses it every day!)

The cost: A “Basic” subscription costs $8 per month; “Standard” is $10; and the “Pro” level runs $16.

CRM

Follow Up Boss: If you’re looking for an all-in-one customer relationship management software tool, Follow Up Boss sits proudly in the corner office. This well-reviewed real estate CRM is designed to help sales agents follow up faster and more often, with the people most likely to turn into deals. Notable features include auto-send for emails, inbound and outbound call management, drip emails, and automated text messaging in one streamlined interface. Another huge benefit of Follow Up Boss is that it integrates with tons of lead sources including Zillow, Realtor.com, Homes.com, Ylopo, Facebook and many more. And its list of business-building features is never-ending with categories including basic CRM, Marketing, Reporting, Lead Providers and Integrations. Check out their site for full details or listen to our podcast, Decoding Real Estate, where we sit down with Ricardo Bueno from Follow Up Boss to talk about CRMs.

The cost: Free trial for 14 days, then $69 per month, with price increases depending on the number of users There’s a reason Follow Up Boss is pricey—it packs a performance punch and should be looked at as an investment vs. an expense.

RealGeeks: RealGeeks claims to offer, “Sleek, elegant, modern, websites with seamless integration into the industry’s most powerful CRM. Built for agents by agents.” The company was founded in 2010 by real estate agent Jeff Manson, and his company’s mission is simple: build IDX websites and a CRM that generates tons of leads for real estate agents. While other sites might have more bells and whistles, Real Geeks’ focus is on lead generation. Which means you’ll spend more time on the phone with real people who want to buy or list a home, and less time fiddling with graphic design and code.

The cost: Build a website and get a CRM, plus lots of other great features and tools, for $299 a month.

Property database, reports and more

RPR: Shocker! No real estate agent list of digital tools is complete without RPR (Realtors Property Resource). It’s the nation’s largest property database, exclusively for REALTORS®. RPR puts data, tools, and reports at your fingertips so you can respond to questions and requests instantly, and position yourself as an essential part of every transaction. CMAs, prospecting, property research, eight types of property reports, mailing labels, and the list goes on. In fact, here are 50 Ways REALTORS® are Using RPR in Their Real Estate Business.

The cost: If you’re a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, there’s no cost to access and use RPR (it’s part of your yearly dues). No upsells, add-ons, premiums or tiers. RPR is yours to take advantage of with no fees whatsoever. If you haven’t already, create your RPR account today.

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