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We’re growing into a phase of proptech where categories are blending.
Fintech is finding its way into the mix, products to serve the rental market are quickly maturing and the ever-widening flood of available data gives creative technology entrepreneurs a veritable bottomless Lego box with which to create tools for better-predicting lead quality and totally nailing down the cost of a kitchen cabinet install. It’s getting exciting.
I rate products based on how they choose to tackle a business problem. Simply digitizing an existing process isn’t particularly motivating. I look for solutions that shrink workflow.
Anything rated higher than 4 stars (I don’t like using a discernible rating metric — I find it reductive, above all else) is because the concept itself is original or the solution comes from another direction. It helps to challenge tradition too. For example, this is what Final Offer does. Baselane leverages modern fintech innovations to solve a major business challenge for private landlords — disparate banking relationships.
Those examples aside, I’m excited about the future of this year’s lineup. Plenty of “lesser rated” companies not listed here simply need more time in the field. And some are looking to solve problems that don’t exist or that already have endless competent offerings.
Nevertheless, here are 2022’s highest-rated real estate technology products:
Baselane is the first software product I’ve seen targeting landlords of single-family rentals. More specifically, the company is directing its marketing at younger, tech-savvy real estate investors — and it shows. This software reminds me of Freshbooks, the at-home entrepreneur’s bookkeeping platform. It covers cash flow, bookkeeping, banking (it is a bank), per-lease accounting and revenue projections and a good deal more in a minimalist, tightly coded solution that would take even the most number-phobic only an hour or so to feel comfortable using.
Real estate agents partnering with such investors would be wise to have a look at how Baselane can assist clients in understanding the monetary ins and outs of owning rental homes and vacation properties.
Final Offer is a way for homesellers and buyers to sell and buy in less time. Ultimately a listing platform, the software publicizes homes for sale, provides search functionality and looks and functions better than a traditional portal. Its ultimate differentiator is that it publishes two prices alongside each listing, the List Price and the Final Offer, the latter being the price and terms a seller will take to sign a contract that day and pull the home from the market.
It’s Amazon’s Buy Now button for real estate. Buyers and their agents need to fully register, buyers must be financially qualified and all parties must agree to the unique deal structure in writing. Beyond that, Final Offer is a well-designed, smart and unique value proposition for homebuyers and sellers.
Flipsnack is powerfully automated digital publishing software that the real estate industry can use to create listing presentations, property brochures, office branding catalogs, general branding assets — you name it. It leverages a “flipbook” concept, similar to Studeo, its closest competitor in the space. (Agent Image’s Access, Canva and LucidPress are also category-adjacent.)
Flipsnack is a very cool, inspired marketing investment any brokerage serious about standing out should consider. There’s almost nothing it can’t create to make you look professional, tech-savvy and brand-forward. There’s a reason — well, many reasons — it’s used by a wide array of notable media companies.
Happy Grasshopper is all about email, which means that the people behind it carefully study how people react to email. This is messaging software that goes beyond the fundamental metrics of open rates and click-throughs to determine what resonates with recipients and how that content leads to stronger relationships. To summarize, the sales philosophy is embedded, this isn’t email for the sake of email. I recognize in Happy Grasshopper my very own standards for writing effective emails.
Jointly is a powerful, intelligently built offer and deal management web application with the functionality and feature selection to do more than most in this category. It uses an array of powerful form-fill and auditing technology, project-based task list creation and smart categorization of transaction roles to offer a competitive advantage to users.
Even though Jointly is new to the market, having launched in 2021, it comes across as a much more mature and ready-to-grow solution. Tech-smart independents should give it thorough consideration.
Marketproof is a browser app for deeply exploring the New York City real estate market (and soon, others). The software does for high-rise and urban residential properties what TopHap does for land and CORE Present does for listing presentations, and that is present gleaming data-powered visualizations for better understanding market activity and trends. It also reminds me of Imerza.
Its data is intricately curated, allowing for widely flexible reporting and performance insight. Brokerages, agents and investors who want to know more than others would benefit from a subscription.
Maxa Designs is a graphic design and print production studio that offers its entire creative library and design suite as a white-labeled, brokerage marketing solution. Maxa is its parent company, and unless you request a new template or need support of some kind, you won’t see the name much when building out your email templates, door hangers, multi-page luxury listing brochures, window signs, trifolds, social media graphics or whatever else it is you decide your organization needs to win more business.
1060 is best described, per the company’s founder, as the offspring of Zillow and TikTok. It’s a short-form video app designed around home search and promotion. The intention is for agents to promote themselves and their listings and allow consumers and colleagues to search for homes. Don’t expect text-heavy, ad-rich search result pages. Instead, 1060 delivers regionally-based grid views that highlight regional listings and others its algorithm thinks a user may prefer. General use is similar to the TikTok and Instagram Reels experience.
ListedKit is the type of lightweight, sign-up-and-go software that targets individual agents, teams and smaller, fast-moving brokerages that appeals to the heart of good deal flow: Systematization. It centers deal management around list templates and task drivers. It’s not overbuilt; it’s intended to be engaged once the contract is official and designed to support how you work, not change it. It has accounts for teams, agents and clients and can be fully branded to the user.
Fello layers a direct-to-seller cash offer model over agent-integrated services, which collectively rest on a sophisticated data modeling solution for home valuations. This is technology and boots-on-the-ground agent expertise melded into something new that provides agents with leads, nurture campaigns and smart consumer calls-to-action.
Admittedly, Fello is somewhat hard to summarize, but know above all else, it is agent-forward and technology-driven. No one is getting left out of the deal here, especially the consumer.
ESentry is an iOS app for agents to use to capture lead information at open houses using QR code scanning. It leverages the user’s CRM API (application programming interface) to reconcile visitor data with any existing records, create an in-app lead profile and also populate the CRM with the open house visitation data.
The focus on user experience is immediately evident, as the app greatly shrinks the process of setting up an open house and finding out more about who is coming to see the home.
BigVu is a video creation and editing suite with a number of standout features and a proven track record of success. This isn’t technology birthed from the Covid era’s need for digital listing content. Instead, it’s a well-developed, clever and multi-faceted video content management solution that would make a very cool addition to the tech stack of high-producing teams and brand-forward indy brokerages.
With direct-to-social video posting, deep content analytics and a number of tools to make videos easy to produce and edit, BigVu could have a significant role in any real estate business looking to commit to video. The interface, editing tools and flexibility offer a range of user levels, a low learning curve and for the expert marketer a few new tricks to add to their outreach mix.
Prisidio is a digital content storage system. Documents, pictures, videos, links and just about anything related to life and business can be uploaded, categorized, secured and shared using a simple system of folders and user permissions. A mobile companion app for both major operating systems serves as the most convenient conduit for content to be captured and organized. The business overlaps are many.
Prisidio has created one of the more visually ergonomic user experiences I’ve seen in this space. The Vault, as it’s called, is not trying to shoulder more than its purpose, demonstrating a commitment to its four hierarchies, which are Documents, People, Places and Things.
Bublup, the app with a fun(ny) name — the company should note its name is also a sound someone might make when drowning — offers users a bunch of ways to leverage its colorful, simple and smart file and content organization suite.
It’s very simple in concept: Name a folder and put related stuff in it — all kinds of stuff. Bublup can store, label, sort and share everything from web addresses to home tour videos to listing agreements. It can also create presentations from specific folders and import photos directly from your phone’s camera to a specific folder with no sorting or uploading.
Artur’In is more than social media post automation. It creates multifaceted campaigns and content around new listings or team accomplishments and helps users measure their ongoing credibility, visibility and engagement. It helps you solicit reviews from clients, send newsletters and understand what’s working and why.
Of course, like all good marketing tools, Artur’In helps you know what isn’t working, too. Using KPIs categorized by the above metrics, users have discussion points to go over upon their monthly account manager check-ins. It’s important to actively benchmark outreach efforts against new business. A visual tweak here and a headline change there can make all the difference for your quarterly GCI.
Lone Wolf’s new forms editor for its zipForms edition of Transactions is a sleek, modernized method for quickly authoring and executing all the documents required to keep a deal moving from contract to close. It leverages automated document selection to speed the creation of common transaction packages, auto-populates data, allows for easy clause creation and editing and includes tools for marking-up forms. It also fully integrates with Authentisign.
Customers of Lone Wolf, or those considering switching to the enterprise-level technology provider, will be happy to see in this major overhaul all kinds of functionality to make it easier to manage transactions. But, it’s what lies beneath digital forms software that makes this category of proptech a must-have for any brokerage wanting to in any way appear customer-focused.
Inspectify is primarily consumer-focused, as it’s the buyer (and sometimes the seller) who orders the home inspection. Thus, the software is designed on the pretext of its importance. Maybe better stated, it feels more friendly than the traditional, arm’s-length process of paying for something that will only later scare the hell out of us.
In the same way LegalZoom took away the intimidation of speaking with an attorney, Inspectify’s fast-ordering and clear, categorized reporting takes the pain out of finding out your buyer’s house needs work after closing.
Pairadime is an extensive educational resource on fractional homebuying or co-ownership. It’s not a reseller of homes or a Power Buyer or anything of the sort. The company has worked with legal professionals, agents and done the research to become a valuable partner to the industry on what could very well become the best new way to own property. Do not brush off this concept.
Thanks to Pacaso and the Real Estate Standards Organization, “co-ownership” is actively being embedded into industry lexicon. Yes, fractional ownership has been a thing for a long time, but it’s been exclusive to the luxury market. Pairadime is aiming to formalize the idea of unrelated (non-married) parties buying a home together: Namely friends. But of course, siblings, boyfriends, girlfriends, however you want to define it, this software can help you buy a house together.
This version of Agently is all new. It once focused solely on automating content for listing descriptions and promotion but now has built on top of that automation a smart, insightful coaching system for new and evolving agents. There’s no doubt this can also serve as a valuable brokerage tool rolled out for new hires to aid in recruiting and retention, something with which not enough brokers concern themselves.
I was skeptical going into this demo, but my opinion was quickly swayed when I took notice of the consumer-first, app-inspired dashboards, charts and goal-setting functionality and by the fact that it’s so well-developed to help new agents get their footing and understand what it takes to do well in real estate.
Ember is another entry in the co-ownership market, a small but growing segment of the market that profits from selling shares of luxury homes. Properties are secured by Ember under an LLC and sold off, typically in one-eighth but up to one-half shares with corresponding occupancy equity, furnishings and professional care and management. Although not a technology company in the traditional sense, Ember has developed a mobile app to facilitate owner operation, communication and service needs.
Agents who work with luxury buyers to secure a share of an Ember home should be aware of how this unique purchasing model operates, thus I thought it would be worthwhile to explore the primary interface between your client and Ember, the seller.
Torii’s consumer-facing software is an ideal search management solution for its agents’ clients. Instead of sending their leads listings in the hope they’ll become a client, buyers are connected to Torii’s software after establishing a relationship. It’s not a third-party portal or mere value-add, it’s the primary connecting tissue between Torii agents and their clients. It’s also a very smart, innovative search solution.
Torii believes technology should follow the consumer — that when a need arises, software can better enable people to meet it: People and software, not only software.
Playhouse is an app that lets agents post videos of their listings for browsing by consumers who can’t get enough of OPP — other people’s properties. It’s modeled after today’s most common social video apps, TikTok and Instagram, but it’s designed specifically for real estate. Agents can post individual branding content, build profile libraries and, generally, share everything that can help bind consumers to their brand.
All the tools are here and easy to access: A heart icon to like a post; an arrow to share and send; the ability to save a listing; and links that delve into an agent’s, team’s or brokerage’s full Playhouse library.
+AdStudio is software to create and manage digital ad campaigns, primarily for Facebook. Campaigns can be devised for multiple Facebook and Instagram pages and campaign goals, such as listing promotion, agent branding or website traffic. What helps this product excel, and what’s ultimately its lone standout feature, is PressLeads, a way to use earned media mentions for lead generation. The product is reserved for customers of Lion & Orb’s media relations services.
CORE Home is a new entry to the growing kvCORE suite of real estate business solutions that aims to keep clients and brokerages bound through each stage of the transaction lifecycle, which includes gaps between active business. The software was in beta upon my initial review and some aspects of it remain in engineering. Customers of kvCORE are testing the shelf-ready components, and I wager they’re quite happy with what’s been done to date.
First and foremost, know that this is not another “how to manage your home” tip-list with an agent’s headshot digitally Scotch-taped to the corner. The glorified fridge-magnet approach to post-deal client retention has grown on me like a lip wart, making me a tad anxious to see what Inside Real Estate (IRE) had been telling me about for a few months.
Ownly is a SaaS (software as a service) company that provides homebuilders with a consumer-driven retail storefront from which aspiring buyers can shop for homes with a Netflix-inspired browsing experience, get pre-qualified for a mortgage and sign an offer-to-purchase contract. Agents at the mercy of antiquated on-site builder sales tactics could benefit greatly from the on-ramp Ownly offers, as will the agents representing the buyers.
HomeJab is a creative services booking solution for the real estate industry started by a homebuilder wanting a better way to market his properties. Agents use HomeJab to book photographers, videographers and aerial imaging. Users can select a wide range of editing services, number of photos, need-by dates and pay directly from the site. HomeJab has also been one of the longest-standing solutions in this space.
Revive gives sellers a clear financial look into what a home may be worth after a renovation or room refresh before selling. The software uses different user views and tools for sellers, agents and contractors. Renovation plans are assembled by Revive staff who use localized market data and previous projects to arrive at estimates and work with contractors.
Revive isn’t leaning entirely on software to automate what is obviously a very hands-on process. It instead blends its technology with salaried advisers assigned to each agent’s needs upon setup. Another touch I like is its use of video explainers at major steps along the way.
Luke is a New York City real estate services company — a brokerage — that delivers services in a hybrid in-person/technology model. Luke is primarily a text-based listing and market information provider that works in much the same way an agent would by sending new listings, answering market questions, collecting lead data and engaging the buyer before and during the transaction.
A new breed of brokerage is sprouting through the cracks of expansion created by the need to meet consumers in new places. I’m calling them real estate service providers, not brokerages. Luke is one such example, as is Prevu, reviewed recently.
VestMap is a reporting solution for agents who want to better understand the social and economic dynamics of their market or markets where they plan to conduct business. It’s ideal for those who work with investors, buyers who like to be “in” before others or strategy-minded brokers planning for new office locations.
Conceptually, this is a pretty simple product to understand. Punch in an address and in return get a deep, flexible report on all the socioeconomic happenings impacting housing. The value comes in how you apply what VestMap offers. And it offers quite a bit.
Prevu is a brokerage, but its prominent use of technology warrants a review of how it delivers service.
Prevu is a real estate buyer solution with a tech-forward, high-touch approach to working with customers. It uses salaried agents and customer concierge staff to assist buyers with its branded property search, market questions and offer submission.
This was a challenging company to write about because of its multiple value propositions to the industry. As of now, it leads with buyer rebates and low commissions. In that respect, it’s the same sort of “look at what you can save” argument as IdealAgent and Redfin.
Payload Keybox (Payload) is software for sending money to people in real estate deals. Buyers can send earnest money, brokers can send invoices to agents and multiple payment sources can be used, even Apple Pay and Google Pay. The company was founded in 2019 and already serves an array of industries that rely on securely transferring large sums of money. This is one of those products that to most agents is kind of boring. It’s a behind-the-scenes bit of coding that won’t get you leads or build you a landing page.
But it will get you paid faster — like, way faster. So, you should absolutely pay attention and advocate for products like this. These are the tools that really matter right now, the ones that build small linkages between gaping inefficiencies in the deal.
Watson Living’s tenant engagement solution uses concepts found in fintech empowering landlords to improve the living experience of tenants. Tenants are issued debit cards connected to a network of online and local retail partners. Property owners can invest flexibly in the program and leverage an app to manage rewards with tenants.
OfferForm is a sharp, creative digital forms product focused on helping consumers complete offers on homes of interest. It’s not without agent involvement, however, as agents customize and save initial templates for their clients to use. It was developed to create transparency in the offer process and help agents generate more offers faster.
OfferForm was built in response to the often redundant and very tedious task of creating offers, a process made even worse in fast-paced markets. The software helps agents feel confident handing over the offer completion process to their clients.
Zenlist is a mobile app to help agents collaborate with clients and each other. It offers property search through MLS connections and off-market resources and some aspects of CRM. Buyers must be invited by agents, can search by features or with a map, save properties and chat with agents.
One thing I found unique about Zenlist is that it’s open about wanting to replace agents’ use of their MLS when it comes to finding homes for clients. I admire the transparency. And the tactic could work.
HomeBinder is a home management app assisting owners in knowing the pulse of everything going on in and around their properties. It centers its pitch heavily on maintaining home value and connecting to a local network of professionals.
Agents can realize value by recommending it to clients and integrating their network of local vendors, either manually or from Home Binder’s growing list of homeowner-added professionals. It’s available throughout the United States and Canada.
Command is Keller Williams’ primary enterprise software solution, developed in-house over the past few years. The mobile version was released in mid-December 2021 after four periods of beta testing on a wide selection of company agents. It’s not a feature-by-feature take on the desktop edition, designed instead to give KW agents what’s most valuable to their day-to-day.
The interface is partitioned according to Tasks, Who to Contact and Things to Know. Under Tasks, you can jump into Opportunities, a catch-all for anything related to current deals.
Contact cards are nicely summarized and easy to reach through text, email or call with a quick tap of the icon. All app outreach will be tracked in the Command browser too.
Top Trending Agent (TTA) is a destination home-search portal that markets the listings and personal brands of top-performing agents in unique markets. As a result, most of the listings are considered luxury properties, many being second homes or trophy residences. There is no software product or technology to learn. Qualified agents are selected by the website’s developer.
There’s very little to learn when becoming a user of TTA. There are no training videos to watch or a CRM to update. It’s simply a hand-managed, curated website of high-end properties and shareable profiles of accomplished real estate agents.