Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

The pitch

Real estate agents should put more weight on the word “transaction.” It’s so much more than a euphemism for “sale.”

Think of a transaction as any exchange of information. A handshake. A handing over of documents. An email conversation. How does each party benefit? What did you transact over coffee this morning?

Every promise made to complete a task or call someone is a transaction. If you’re late or forget, you failed the transaction.

When you think of transactions in this more esoteric sense, you can get a better grasp of how important each interaction with a client is to the end goal of helping them buy or sell.

This is why I think software like Nekst (next) can be valuable to agents. It facilitates transactions beyond paperwork, and it streamlines the post-document processes.

The sale

Nekst is not a CRM (customer relationship manager). And its founder, real estate agent Brett Keppler, is happy to tell you that. If it’s one thing CRMs try to be, it’s all things to all people. Keppler wants Nekst to help agents be better managers of their business. And for it to be fun to use.

I call Nekst a true transaction management tool because it forces agents to think about the information and the process, not the paperwork. It aims to help organize and connect all the minor, nonfinancial transactions that drive real estate sales, the daily tasks busy agents try to manage mentally, instead of actually.

Nekst is driven by a series of Plans, or a set of tasks. Each type of Plan is assigned to a Property, which is where the user experience begins. Creating a new Property is easy — a few fields of basic information and you’re off.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 4.20.19 PM

Plans come into play after documents have been signed, in the stage of inactivity between listing agreement and the first open house, or between the accepted offer and closing.

When you launch a Plan, it’s defined by begin and end dates that correspond with the contract. For example, from day of contract execution to expected date of closing. (Granted, closings often shift.)

Each task with the plan is then predicated on that window of time.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 4.17.21 PM

The free version of Nekst comes with a few standard Plans, but when you pay $15 per month, you can create as many Plans as you like. Your “Prelisting Plan” would outline a series of tasks needed to be completed around that process. You can assign tasks to your clients as well, which is where the value of interaction benefits the process.

“Closing Plan” would be another. You can even bifurcate this plan into one for a financed purchase and one for a cash buyer.

Agents can embed their customers into the sale by assigning them tasks, too. This helps build rapport and maintain accountability. You can limit what Tasks your clients see, of course, as well as what they can edit or delete. The agent remains in charge.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 4.18.13 PM

A nice feature of Nekst is that its tasks are explained cleanly to clients with an explanation of what, why and when. It will explain why an inspection is important, what it’s role is in the sale, and what the seller can expect when an inspector visits. It comes to them via email invitation. There is no cost for clients to tackle their chores.

The Nekst interface is quite friendly. Color coding helps you navigate across a top row of buttons sorting task importance. Each instance of user experience is well-balanced, nothing is hidden. This should ease the already moderate learning curve.

There’s a calendar view that heavy planners will enjoy. It stacks task icons on each day one is due. It’s a nice overall summary of your activity. Probably overwhelming for some.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 4.22.16 PM

A couple of future upgrades include a “self-grading” chart of sorts, where your efficacy at completing tasks will be presented in a number of visual variables, and you’ll even have a letter grade. Don’t be the agent with a C+.

This feature will also use “gamification” tactics in the form of colorful animal badges that evolve in environmental sophistication as your plans reach fruition. Nothing wrong with a little fun in our productivity software, right?

The close

I think Nekst is worth checking out. It’s what you use after your CRM has won you a customer. At $15 per user per month, it’ll cost you less than a couple of decaf mocha latte something-or-others. Let it take over what you’re always scrambling around to finish.

Again, think above the paperwork, in between the pages. Don’t let the stack of stapled pulp on your car seat be the reminder you need to follow up with the lender, or verify the cost of the banister repair. Be proactive.

Have a plan.

Do you use Nekst? What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know!

Do you have a product for our tech expert to review? Email Craig Rowe.

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