In 2020, most brokers and investors in the real estate industry are far more likely to be on their iPhones, Androids, or iPads than in front of a computer, so they need apps that will let them be as mobile as possible. With that in mind, we created a guide on this year's best commercial real estate apps. Read on below to see which ones you need to download.
What types of apps are there for commercial real estate?
Before getting into the specific apps that are designed for commercial real estate professionals, it's a good idea to go over the different types of apps that are currently on the market. In general, apps that are geared toward the real estate industry tend to fall into one of the following four categories.
This one is almost self-explanatory. Investors and real estate professionals alike need a way to stay in the know about when new commercial buildings come on the market, and MLS systems often aren't as optimized for mobile use as an app. Some listing apps may only feature certain types of commercial property, but if you can find one that suits your needs, you'll be the first to know when an eligible property hits the market.
Due diligence apps
Truthfully, due diligence apps can cover a wide range of tasks. As an investor, you may find yourself interested in an app that lets you take a virtual tour of a property via your mobile device or one that helps you visualize potential floor plans. On the other side of things, if you're a property manager, you may find yourself interested in apps that help your company manage leasing operations or search for tenant prospects while on the go.
Whether you're in commercial or residential real estate, every real estate agent needs to have a great client relationship management (CRM) system in their bag of tricks. A CRM system provides tools that you can use to keep each of your transactions organized, and choosing one that's also available via a mobile app means you'll have the ability to stay on top of your transactions even when you're out of the office.
Finally, there are administrative apps. While these apps aren't necessarily specific to the real estate industry, they perform functions that could be helpful when conducting business from an iPhone or Android. For example, you could download an e-signing app to help you sign documents on the go or a calendar app that can help you keep your schedule straight.
How commercial real estate apps can help businesses find real estate
As mentioned above, in today's market, listing apps are playing an increasingly big role in the commercial real estate industry. Many times, MLS systems are not mobile-optimized, which can make them hard for investors to use when they're out of the office. However, with a mobile app, investors can access commercial real estate listings wherever they are in the world.
Additionally, since a lot of apps pull listings from multiple sources on the internet, investors may also have the opportunity to access "pocket listings," or listings that aren't put on the MLS, which may give them an edge over other buyers who aren't accessing the same tools.
How commercial real estate apps can help agents and brokers manage properties
If you're on the other side of the commercial real estate spectrum and you're a real estate agent or broker who takes care of property management for the property owner, there are apps that can make everything from managing repairs to collecting rents much easier.
In addition to rental management apps, there are also apps that will clue you in on the going rents in a particular area to help ensure you're pricing your rentals competitively.
The top commercial real estate apps
Now that you're clear on what types of commercial real estate apps are available and how apps can make it easier to conduct business without being chained to your office space, it's time to go over five of the most popular CRE mobile apps that are on the market right now.
LoopNet Commercial Real Estate Search
LoopNet has been around for years and, especially since its merger with CoStar Group in 2012, it remains a go-to source for finding commercial real estate listings. Though most of its features are subscription-based, investors who are particularly interested in pocket listings may have an interest in this app. It lets owners advertise their properties without having to use a broker as a go-between.
Yardi CRM Mobile
Yardi CRM is a property management and accounting app for small to midsize businesses. It boasts a variety of features, including the ability to facilitate record-keeping, post rents, send letters, and process invoices.
One main complaint to note about Yardi is that it isn't very intuitive. Many of the tools and processes may come with a learning curve. However, if you're willing to take the time to learn, it may be worth the effort.
As the name suggests, Visual Lease acts as a digital lease portfolio. However, in addition to its cloud-based storage capabilities, it has financial reporting and tracking functions. Notably, it also offers a scheduling feature that will help you to stay on top of important dates and deadlines by sending email reminders.
Property Capsule is another leasing app, with the caveat that it's geared toward retail spaces. Unlike similar products, this one advertises marketing automation capabilities. It lets you upload listing photos, any plans, property data, and documents in one place. Once that information is uploaded, you can use it to create marketing materials, like flyers and email blasts.
DealCheck is a real estate analysis app for investors. Essentially, you enter information about a particular transaction -- like the purchase price, financing costs, closing costs, rehab budget, and other estimated expenses -- into the app and it will give you a detailed financial analysis and projections. You can also use it to look up recent comparables and to calculate the cost of potential offers.
The bottom line
Whether you're interested in commercial real estate investing or property management, odds are you're in need of tools to help you conduct business even when you're out of the office. Fortunately, there are quite a few apps on the market designed to do just that. Use some of the recommended apps above to help you make your business as mobile as you are.
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