Real estate investment is a competitive business, be it private or institutional. Whether you are looking to invest in a home, juggle a few rentals, or dabble in income-generating property, investing is all about smarts and it’s never been easier to work smarter rather than harder in this digital age. The resources available for the modern real estate investor have evolved towards maximizing productivity and efficiency, improving the accuracy of data, investment analysis, bookkeeping and other ‘administrivia’–making it easier and less time-consuming to conduct your business.
It’s always wise to use more than one source for your investment research, especially now that the online medium eliminates a great deal of legwork. To this end, we’ve put together a list of 24 tools and resources every real estate investor should know about. Read on to learn about the features each tool has to offer.
Property Search and Vetting
Currently boasting nearly 7,000 franchised offices spread across more than 75 countries, Century21 is one of the most recognized names in real estate. With their help, you can research investment opportunities and gain access to an impressive wealth of data. In addition to property feature details, profiles include area demographics, commuter and occupancy statistics, local weather patterns, school ratings, and more. You can also tap into the Century21 Commercial system and get knowledgeable professional consultancy services that can help you assess various opportunities.
The RE/MAX platform search results include local hazard data (such as earthquake probability), detailed local demographics, occupancy info, amenity ratings, and unemployment information.
Compass has left its mark on the industry by being technology-focused. With an elegant and informative website, as well as the company’s intuitive “Compass Homes” and “Compass Markets” mobile apps, the real estate services company brings up-to-date property and market information to your fingertips.
Coldwell Banker is another well-known brand in the field, which allows you to connect to well-versed professionals. You can search for a Coldwell Banker investment advisor by area, specialty market, and language spoken.
COMMERCIALCafé’s sister website Point2Homes is another essential tool for real estate investors. The online real estate marketplace covers nearly 70 countries and allows you to search for various property types for sale, as well as connect with professionals that can provide valuable local information to help you make an informed investment decision.
The ZipRealty mobile app is highly rated, neatly organized, syncs across devices, and makes it very easy to connect with top-rated realtors (ratings included!).
If you are looking to invest in foreclosed or bank-owned property, search engines like RealtyTrac are a good place to start. This data collection site aggregates information from various public notice sources and saves you a lot of the legwork that is otherwise required to build a list of potential investment opportunities.
Up Your Investment Game with the Right Partners
Unless you have endless resources at your fingertips, it is quite difficult to navigate the ‘big game’ investment field on your own. Commercial real estate has risen to the high-status of investment class over the past few decades, and the only way to ensure success in this league seems to be placing your money with a REIT or an investment fund that can make decisions for you, while offering little transparency in return. There are other ways.
Among the modern enterprises that are looking to disrupt that “gatekeeper” status held by REITs and investment funds is Cadre: a technology-enabled real estate platform that curates investment opportunities and makes qualified selections available to individual investors who can purchase a stake in any project.
Fundrise‘s crowdsourcing model allows investors to participate in deals for as little as $500, and, since there are no third-party intermediaries, fees are significantly lower.
RealtyShares is another enterprise that works towards lowering the barriers to entry and democratizing real estate investment. This online platform gathers together investors, borrowers, and sponsors to crowdfund real estate investments, and has so far raised over $700 million, which were used to fund more than 1,000 projects.
Tools That Do the Investment Math
Besides the online resources that are meant to replace the legwork, every investor needs tools that deal with the all-important analysis part. CrediFi is one that leverages 200 billion data points to deliver a wealth of financial data and analytics, to bring transparency to the financing of loans backed by commercial properties across the U.S., and to power smarter investments.
REscour is a tool that collects market intelligence to assist in identifying investment opportunities. It provides interactive maps featuring data for over 166 markets, up-to-date local CRE news, listings, developments, property information, and more.
The Analyst Pro
The Analyst Pro offers analysis and property reports, maps, measurement and aerial visualization tools, as well as calculators for mortgages, cap rates, and time value of money (TVM).
Valuate is a property financial analysis and transaction marketing platform created by REFM, which analyzes office, retail, multifamily, hotel, self-storage, and residential flip valuations. Furthermore, “sensitivity tables” offer insights into the risks and opportunities of prospective transactions, while “smart alerts” notify you about potential underwriting oversights, so you can safely tend to your real estate financial modeling activities.
Managing and Marketing Your Investment Portfolio with a Little Help from These Tools
The SimplifyEm property management software is among the easiest to use, for landlords, property managers and tenants alike. Offering affordable subscription options, sign-up includes training, software updates, and unlimited customer support. You can use SimplifyEm to track income and expenses, collect rent online, and track and organize paperwork.
ProAPOD offers management and analysis tools for new, as well as seasoned investors. Agent6 is their real estate investment software solution that is easy to use and is a good fit for any real estate investor who is either new to the business or less actively engaged. Executive10 is the ProAPOD resource that offers more in-depth considerations on cash flows, rate of return computations, tax computations, sales proceeds, and more.
Real Property Metrics
Real Property Metrics was designed to be a professional and cost-effective Discounted Cash Flow analysis software solution for commercial real estate. You can use it for all commercial property types: office, retail, industrial, multifamily, mixed-use, hospitality, self-storage, and even student housing.
With ClientLook, you get a hassle-free, all-inclusive CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution that combines contact management, property tracking, deal making, and a Virtual Assistant service.
VTS incorporates features that keep your investment data and activity organized and easily manageable–from portfolio analytics and reporting, to deal pipeline and inventory management, property marketing and CRM.
RealNex consolidates multiple solutions to offer a comprehensive product suite that assists commercial real estate professionals through every step of a deal, including asset analysis, sale and lease comparables, transaction and data management, and CRM.
The Property Capsule
The Property Capsule platform offers cloud-based technology that allows you to move all your investment data off paper and onto a suite of applications for web, mobile, iPad, print, desktop, Kiosk, email, APIs, and more. Features include automated marketing materials, centralized management of information, online deal making, data-driven interactive maps, and portfolio review tools.
Voyanta has the same idea, offering a cloud-based service that allows you to securely and conveniently connect all your information in one place, save time with automated data verification, as well as assess and manage your investments with its business intelligence tools.
RDM are early pioneers in commercial real estate technology, offering building measurement solutions that allow you to better market and manage your portfolio. RealAccess is RDM’s property and space management software, a valuable resource of interactive floor plans, documents, stack diagrams, and analytics.
Using SharpLaunch, you can market your investment properties by easily customizing and launching commercial property websites that are specifically crafted to capture the interest of prospective tenants. The SharpLaunch CRE website design feature allows for custom domain selection, full content management, and offers solutions that are modern, mobile- and SEO-optimized, and adaptable to represent any commercial property type