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What real estate CRM's can learn from Highrise

real estate crm in googleIt seems there are as many real estate crm providers out there as agents in the business.

A quick google search for the phrase real estate crm returned over 30,000,000 results!

With so many companies competing for the same customers you would think several players would emerge with innovative products specifically tailored to the needs of real estate agents that are fairly tech savvy. In my opinion this hasn’t happened [yet].

I should clarify what I mean: I’m talking about a crm system designed for real estate agents that looks, works and feels like it has been launched or updated since the release of the first Blackberry device.

When you step out of the real estate vertical one of the crm systems often recommended by other solo practitioners is Highrise by 37 Signals:

highrise crm by 37 Signals

Does your crm compare? (Highrise by 37Signals)

Highrise [my opinion, not theirs] was designed to be an easy to use, no non-sense platform that has all the features you need and none you don’t. With the addition of a few real estate specific features 37 Signals could own the real estate crm market in my opinion. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of real estate agents using the app already.

I reached out to Geordie Romer of Icicle Creek Real Estate, a Highrise user, to ask him how he uses the crm in his own business:

I use highrise as a team with my wife who is my real estate partner… I find it great for collaborating and sharing info with teams. (Like any CRM, you have to actually keep your records and notes up to date or it won’t work.)

I love, love, love highrise.

We tag contacts with neighborhoods, price range, type of house, cma request, or even specific email lists they have signed up for. Tags allow us to do email marketing using companies like Mailchimp easily…

Geordie’s comments are typical of most Highrise user’s I’ve seen. Over at 37 Signals they seem to be very good at turning their users into raving fans.

I should note that while Highrise is a great CRM, for me there’s a few components missing for use in my own real estate business. The biggest is a lack of templates for tasks and other common to-do’s to be completed for every listing or transaction. Document management could be improved too, but HR was not designed to be industry specific which is why is works well for so many.

4 Lessons real estate crm’s should learn from Highrise

1. Cross platform and mobile friendly: No need to install browser plug-in’s or use IE. Works on your Mac, PC, smart phone or tablet right out of the box. And without any additional cost.

2. Fantastic UX: Highrise (actually all of 37 Signals products) has a clean and intuitive design. You won’t need to remember short cuts or where a button is located. Not only is the design great but it’s very user friendly. This one is huge!

3. No Contracts: A pet peeve of mine that applies to any service is the annual contract model. If your product works and provides value you shouldn’t need to lock your users into a long term contract.

4. 3rd Party Integrations: Highrise does a few things and it does them extremely well. The other functions like email marketing or lead capture that are best handled by dedicated services actually integrate (mostly) seamlessly with HR.

What does your ideal real estate crm look like?

Imagine a real estate specific crm that included basic listing and transaction management, supported email marketing via Aweber or Mail Chimp, imported your IDX & website inquiries, and didn’t require a long term contract?

Will a new or existing player take note and build a real estate specific CRM on par with many of the generic one’s already available?

What would your ideal crm look like?

About Jeremy Linder

Jeremy Linder is an Oregon Duck football fanatic, dad and hobby farmer. He also writes about Astoria Oregon Real Estate and neighborhood news.

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  • Anonymous

    Jeremy, 
     
    Thanks for the reviews. Read a post from awhile back talking about HIghrise CRM as an alternative to Top Producer (for the all the commonlyknown reasons).
    What are your thoughts on that today?
    I am still not comfortable with Top Producer and not sure if I should seek an alternative.
    Thanks  
     
    Jason

    • I’m currently a paying TP customer. Why? I’m not sure, because honestly I don’t like to use it. I’ve played with HR before, and I think before the end of the year I’ll be moving to a more user friendly CRM that’s possibly not real estate specific.

  • Jeff Thibodeau

    I just started using Highrise a month ago after years of frustration with real estate specific CRM. Love it.
    Jeff Thibodeau Brantford, Ontario, Canada
    http://www.BrantfordHomesOnline.com

  • Anonymous

    Jeremy,

    I’ve been researching this topic or a few years now and tying to find something that we could no only customize but also roll out to a large audience. Short of building something fully custom on open source like Sugar, I think something you guys should look at is Propertybase.

    Built on Salesforce, it’s not cheap… But now they have an MLS feed integrated int it and that opens up a whole new ball of wax. It’s probably more than 80% would ever use, it if you’re looking into a true CRM that has API capabilities ( can you say IDX leads into our CRM?) I think it’s someng to consider

  • Anonymous

    Good article Jeremy.

    I’ve often thought that there is room for a good real estate CRM to come in and take over (I use TP).  One that is user-friendly, has solid task management built in and includes the ability to store docs… 

    I vote that highrise commissions you to be there in-house counsel for building a RE specific product!

  • Jeremy- 

    Nice read. (Disclosure- I’m a principal at Apto- http://www.aptotude.com). We’ve felt for a while that the real estate industry is lagging in the technology department. Our platform is commercial real estate specific but we’ve heard the call for tagging (we’ve got it), cross platform access (got it), open integrations (got it- we personally use Mailchimp) and many more features. 

    All of the shameless self-promotion aside, we’re always looking to improve. Take a look at our product when you have a chance. We’d love the feedback. 

  • I use infusionsoft and love it. Has every feature i need to successfully run my real estate business and MUCH more.

  • Yes, Highrise is very good CRM for real estate professionals

  • real estate CRM

    I have recently used highrise really it is a great and mobile friendly software real estate CRM

  • It was a good comment until you cheesed it up with spammy link. Good information about Highrise, I’ve been using it for a couple of years and love it.

  • I used TP for a quite a while. It absolutely should be the best RE CRM product available since it covers all the functions an agent needs to run his business.  It’s huge gap – it’s not user friendly.  I hated it so much I move to Highrise, and have been much happier.  Still – it’s not perfect.  Data integration out of Highrise for direct mail, etc is a pain; and it doesn’t handle key RE processes forcing you do use other tools.  The perfect RE CRM system: have the Highrise guys re-engineered TP.

  • N Jhorna

    The National Rental
    Affordability Scheme is an Australian Government responsibility to finance
    moderate rental lodging.

  • Thanks Jeremy.  Great article.  I’ll check out Highrise.  Still looking for RE best practices on drips and lead management.

    Thanks,
    Greg Geilman
    http://www.southbayresidential.com

  • William Jimenez

    I feel there are a few things to consider when choosing the right CRM. I think its clear, and can be read from some prior posts.
    1.) User experience: This must be the top of the list. Sites may have xyz feature but it takes a surfing guru to figure it out and remember… agents are in-and-out of their office.
    2.) IDX Integration: Enough said.. very important!
    3.) Website Integration: The agents website and IDX platform should be linked via some type of webservice.
    William Jimenez
    http://www.Masterdigm.com

  • Steve

    We have been using Highrise for Commercial and Residential real estate for years. It cheaper than and has worked far better than anything else we have used. It should be pretty easy to modify Highrise to your liking.

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