If you asked 100 different agents what they need in a real estate CRM, you'd probably get 100 slightly different answers. But there are some core things that real estate agents seem to agree on:
- The product must help you organize your clients, activities, and schedule.
- The product should be easy to use and simple enough that you're willing to use it on a daily basis.
- The product should help automate some of your work. For example, a great real estate CRM will remind you to reach out to leads - something that is all too easy to forget when you're juggling hundreds of appointments and clients.
- The product should be mobile friendly. This does not mean that the CRM needs to have a mobile app, but an agent should be able to use their product on the go without wanting to pull their hair out.
There are some other things that agents frequently ask for in a real estate CRM (e.g., lead generation assistance and marketing automation), but these were the four qualities that seemed most important to agents. Many agents I've talked to personally have echoed this sentiment, as does a 2015 survey by Inman News and a 2017 survey (also by Inman News).
In this real estate CRM comparison, I'll look at a few of the leading CRMs on the market as of 2018 and talk about how they handle these four key areas. While I'm obviously fond of REALToDo CRM, I know that real estate is a very dynamic field - a CRM that one brokerage loves may simply not work for another. I wanted to provide you with a balanced comparison of CRMs so that you can choose what works best for you.
We'll be looking at Contactually, Top Producer, RealtyJuggler, Wise Agent, and Insightly. These products represent a fairly wide range of costs and features and are some of the most popular CRMs on the market. In a 2015 survey of 777 agents and brokers (the same one referenced above) Top Producer was the most used real estate CRM while Contactually and RealtyJuggler were tied as the fourth most used CRMs. Similarly, in the 2017 Inman News survey of 646 real estate professionals:
- 22% of agents recommended Top Producer
- 14% recommended Contactually
- 13% recommended RealtyJuggler
- 9% recommended WiseAgent
All this is to say that, in a market crowded with CRMs, these products hold a fairly large piece of the pie. Look at our real estate CRM comparison chart below for a summary of these products and their features, then jump to the detailed analysis further down.
For your convenience, the CRMs are briefly described and their prices are laid out in a single, convenient table below. I've also included a list of their supported platforms (web, iOS, and Android). While some of these CRMs do not have iOS or Android apps available, they do tout mobile-optimized websites.
If you prefer video reviews, the below 2015 video features a handful of Realtors discussing Contactually (starts at 3:22), Wise Agent (starts at 12:30), and Top Producer (starts at 21:00). I've started the video at 3:22 to skip over GoConnect.
Contactually: the specialist
Contactually has rapidly established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the real estate CRM world. At the outset of 2013, the Washington D.C.-based company had only 686 customers on the books, yet by July 2015, they had amassed just over 12,000 customers. Clearly they're doing something right.
Contactually offers a 14-day free trial and has a three-tiered pricing structure:
- Basic tier: $39/user/month billed annually; $45/user/month billed monthly
- Professional tier: $59/user/month billed annually; $69/user/month billed monthly
- Accelerator tier: $99/user/month billed annually; $119/user/month billed monthly
Clients, activities, and schedule
Contactually focuses heavily on helping you stay in touch with your clients and leads. The application tracks when you've spoken with clients and reminds you to touch base with them. It even grades you on your outreach efforts. And, like many other CRMs, Contactually provides you with a library of email templates to help speed up the process of sending out your daily emails.
By its own admission, Contactually is not a traditional CRM and lacks some of the activity management, scheduling, and marketing tools you'd find in those more conventional products. If you want a one-stop-shop for your CRM needs, Contactually does offer integration with Salesforce platforms, Pipedrive, Highrise, SugarCRM, and Wise Agent.
Ease of use
By all accounts, Contactually is a joy to use. Clients are sorted and prioritized with what Contactually terms buckets. You simply create a bucket and title it with a description of the clients you want in that bucket.
Overall, the interface is sleek, uncluttered, and focused entirely around the the core purpose of client management. Unlike many CRMs, which strive to accomplish everything under the sun, Contactually chose to focus on relationship building - and that focus shows through.
On signing up for the free trial, you will automatically be prompted to connect a Google or Office 365 account. You'll be walked through a quick and simple onboarding process, then you're off to the races.
Contactually allows you to automate your communication with clients via what they term programs. A program is attached to a bucket; that program is activated whenever a new contact is added to that bucket. For example, when a new contact is added to the "Leads" bucket, a program could automatically email that user after five days.
From my point of view, the main advantage of these programs is that you can automate early contact with leads and efficiently filter out "cold" leads, allowing you to focus your time and energy on those contacts who show more promise.
Contactually has both an iOS and Android mobile app.
The Android application has a rating of 3.0/5.0. Reviews from 2017 suggest that the application has had and continues to have some small issues (e.g., forced closing and crashes). That being said, recent positive reviews suggest that Contactually is aware of the problems with its app and is actively addressing them.
The iOS app has a rating of 4.1/5.0. Reviews from 2017 are largely positive and seem to improve over time, again showing that Contactually is actively maintaining its product.
Contactually checks all the right boxes. The application is easy to use, mobile-friendly, and automation-focused. The tools provided by Contactually seem like they could strengthen client-agent relationships and reduce time spent chasing down dead end leads. However, if you're looking for a traditional CRM with broader capabilities, Contactually might be best used alongside another product.
You can learn more about Contactually at their website:
And here's a walkthrough for getting started with Contactually:
Insightly: free and functional
Insightly is the only CRM on this list that was not specifically designed for the real estate industry. However, the basic tier product is offered free of charge for up to two users and includes all of the application's main components. With Insightly's free offering, you can manage your contacts, leads, tasks, projects, and schedule. So while Insightly was not designed as a real estate CRM, it can be made into one with little effort (and at zero cost).
Insightly offers a 14-day free trial and has four pricing tiers:
- Free tier: $0/user/month
- Plus tier: $29/user/month billed annually; $35/user/month billed monthly
- Professional tier: $49/user/month billed annually; $49/user/month billed monthly
- Enterprise tier: $99/user/month billed annually; $129/user/month billed monthly
The important thing to note here is that the free trial is for the Professional tier. This version of the product differs significantly from the free tier version. The professional tier product offers MailChimp integration, calendar and contact sync, Slack integration, workflow automation, and a slew of other features that are not available in the free version of Insightly.
Additionally, the free tier sets a record cap of 2,500 and only allows for the creation of 2 custom fields per record type. For comparison, the professional tier has a record limit of 250,000 and permits 100 custom fields. Also keep in mind that no customer service is offered for the free product, so if you get stuck on something, you're on your own.
While the free tier is severely limited compared to its higher tier counterparts, that doesn't mean that you can't make it work as your CRM.
Clients, activities, and schedules
The free tier product allows you to organize your contacts, leads, activities, and schedule. There's not too much to say here - the modules are laid out in a simple, intuitive table format that should be familiar to anyone that has ever used Microsoft Excel.
Ease of use
Signing up for the Insightly free trial is a breeze. Once you get to the dashboard, you'll find that your contacts, leads, activities/tasks, and schedule are readily accessible via the sidebar. You'll find that your sidebar also includes links to "Projects", "Organizations", and "Opportunities", which don't seem like they would be used by the average real estate agent. That's fine - you can ignore the modules you don't need without negatively impacting ease of use.
My only gripe with the Insightly dashboard is that the tables seem to get a bit cramped at times. This means that you can't see all of your columns or you can only read the first few letters of your column contents (e.g., instead of "REALToDo CRM", you would see "REA..."). If you've got a large monitor at work and don't plan on using Insightly on your laptop, this shouldn't be an issue.
There isn't really any automation built into the free version of Insightly, though the professional edition does boast what the company calls "workflow automation". This process works much like the Contactually programs, allowing agents to automate certain aspects of their jobs. Workflow automation could, for instance, automatically send an email to a contact five days after they're added to the leads module.
Insightly has both an iOS and Android mobile app.
The Android application has a rating of 3.8/5.0. Reviews from 2017 are generally positive, with a small number of complaints. Negative reviews seem to center mostly around user specific problems and not overall dissatisfaction with the application. Reviewers also frequently advocate for Insightly as a great tool for small businesses and solopreneurs.
The iOS app has a rating of 4.1/5.0. Recent reviews from 2017 are positive, with a small minority of users complaining of application crashes and small bugs. Older reviews were much less rosy, suggesting that Insightly has actively improved its application over time.
Insightly is not the perfect CRM for real estate agents - but then again, it wasn't designed to be. Their product targets industries ranging from manufacturing to education, so it's bound to be a more general use tool. Despite this, I wanted to provide a free option for agents who weren't quite ready to commit to a pricier real estate CRM.
If you can ignore the unused elements of the application and you don't mind the limitations of the free tier product, Insightly allows you to start working towards better organization without spending a dime. And if you decide that Insightly works well for you, you can always upgrade to a higher tier to get more functionality.
Take a look at the Insightly website to learn more: https://www.insightly.com/
RealtyJuggler: the straight shooter
RealtyJuggler emphasizes ease of use, simplicity, and affordability. The application provides a plethora of email templates, an online feedback form for open houses, drip campaign setup, and many, many other things. RealtyJuggler's creators clearly understand their target market and provide a suite of tools that could satisfy the needs of any real estate agent.
$99/year. Simple and affordable for any team. RealtyJuggler does not split its product into tiers of varying functionality, which is a refreshingly simple pricing structure.
In addition to its competitive price, RealtyJuggler offers a 90-day free trial - the most generous trial period of all the products in this article.
Clients, activities, and schedules
Yes, yes, and yes - RealtyJuggler will increase your organization in all three of these areas. Calendar syncing is supported across multiple applications.
Ease of use
This is definitely a matter of preference. If you take a look at this RealtyJuggler video you'll get a feel for the application's layout. Compared to other CRMs like Insightly, RealtyJuggler's interface is undeniably dated. Despite the older aesthetic, the application functions exactly as expected - so if you don't mind the vintage look, then RealtyJuggler should be straightforward to use.
Importantly, RealtyJuggler readily offers complimentary training and phone support. By all accounts, RealtyJuggler's customer service is top notch.
Drip marketing, pre-written email templates, and automated reminders are included with RealtyJuggler. That said, automation does not seem to be a focus of this real estate CRM.
RealtyJuggler does not offer an Android or iOS application. However, the website is mobile-friendly for both Android and iOS, so all you need to do is navigate to your RealtyJuggler account within your phone's browser. You can also set a shortcut icon on your phone's home screen to make it feel more like a native app.
When I speak with younger real estate agents about REALToDo CRM, the first question I get is, "Is there an app for this?". Unfortunately, it is very difficult to achieve the feel of a mobile app within a browser. So if you work on your phone or tablet a lot, definitely consider if you're content with a mobile-friendly website over a bonafide mobile app.
RealtyJuggler is probably worth a shot for any real estate agent looking for a CRM. The application was built specifically for agents and caters to their needs. My only qualms with the product are its lack of mobile apps and its dated interface. If you can get past these issues, though, RealtyJuggler seems like an affordable, functional option with a great team behind its creation.
You can learn more about RealtyJuggler at their website:
You can see a couple other review articles here:
Top Producer CRM: the original
For many, when they think of a real estate CRM, Top Producer is the first product that comes to mind. They've been in the business for 20 years and have used that time to build out their product. Top Producer isn't without its problems though: many real estate agents complain of a bloated feature set, dated interface, and steep learning curve. Despite these issues, Top Producer continues to demand a high proportion of the real estate CRM market because of its history and rich toolkit.
$40/user/month, billed annually for Top Producer CRM - if you're seeing different prices on this page, scroll down a bit until you find the individual product pricing. Top Producer obviously prefers that you purchase one of its product bundles (which start at $80/user/month), but you by no means need to.
Clients, activities, and schedules
You can organize your clients, activities, and schedules from within Top Producer CRM. The application also plays well with popular tools like Dropbox, Google Drive, Office 365, Outlook, Gmail, MailChimp, etc..
Ease of use
Here's the elephant in the room. For years, real estate agents have consistently complained that Top Producer is difficult to use and difficult to set up. The multitude of features offered by the CRM are often viewed as a negative, cluttering the interface and making it painful to find what you're looking for. Unfortunately, many real estate agents have used Top Producer for years and simply don't want to go through the trouble of transitioning to a new CRM - a fact that Top Producer has undoubtedly leaned on during its many years of operation.
To be fair, Top Producer has attempted to resolve some of these issues in recent years, revamping their web app to make it much more mobile-friendly. And, on top of that, Top Producer integrates with more than 500 MLS databases throughout the United States, making it easy to add data from your MLS into your CRM.
The most obvious automation feature in Top Producer is its import of MLS data and photos into your CRM, which stands to save you a bunch of time. Automatic reminders and emails are also available.
Like RealtyJuggler, Top Producer does not have an Android or iOS app available. The application is built as a mobile-friendly site that can be accessed from any browser (desktop or mobile). Despite changes that have drastically improved the CRM's mobile functionality, agents continue to complain that Top Producer is less than enjoyable to work with.
It might be worth it to check out Top Producer - if only to see what all the fuss is about. This CRM's long list of integrations and features is seen as a positive by some (if not all) real estate agents and may work for your office. But before committing to Top Producer CRM, I would highly recommend looking at some more modern options and seeing how they compare.
You can learn more about Top Producer CRM at their product website:
Here are some updates to Top Producer CRM mobile capabilities:
An informative and detailed comparison of Contactually and Top Producer CRM:
Wise Agent: marketing automation
Of all the products on this list, Wise Agent seems to focus the most on marketing automation. Wise Agent also offers a few unique tools, such as Twitter feed monitoring, and integrates with other common real estate software like Contactually. Much like Top Producer, though, this real estate CRM suffers from a glut of features that not all agents will find useful.
$27/month with a 30-day free trial. At that price, Wise Agent falls right in the middle of the price range for the products on this list.
Clients, activities, and schedules
Yes, you can organize your clients, activities, and schedules using Wise Agent. The transaction management feature of Wise Agent seems particularly useful for those agents that want to keep everything in one place. Tasks, vendors, listing/closing dates, etc. can be associated with a transaction, so that everything you do during the course of a listing is recorded. Unlimited document storage is included, as well as integration with DocuSign.
Ease of use
Real estate agents seem divided on their opinion of Wise Agent. Some people think their interface is just fine, others complain that it's dated. Personally, I'd lean more toward the "just fine" camp. No, Wise Agent is not the sleekest CRM on the market, but it does its job and is fairly intuitive. You can check out this Wise Agent video to get an idea of what the application looks like.
Drip campaigns, email templates, and SMS templates are all available in Wise Agent. You're also automatically notified when a client or lead opens one of your emails. According to this video by BombBomb, Realtors love the branded, auto-generated monthly newsletters (written in English and Spanish).
Like Top Producer and RealtyJuggler, Wise Agent boasts a mobile-friendly website but does not have a mobile app. As with those CRM options, you have to figure out for yourself if you're content with this. A mobile-optimized website can offer a perfectly acceptable user experience, but seldom holds a candle to a native iOS or Android application.
Wise Agent brings strong marketing tools and automation to the table, but also attempts to stand toe-to-toe with other CRMs on the market, resulting in a feature-rich product - which can be both a good and a bad thing. Based on the fairly high number of agents that recommend Wise Agent, I think this real estate CRM is definitely worth a look. But like Contactually, it might be best used as a supplementary tool rather than a standalone CRM.
Check out the Wise Agent website:
Check out this review on Inman:
And this review on FitSmallBusiness:
REALToDo CRM: simple and easy-to-use
You didn't think I'd write this entire article without plugging my own product, did you? REALToDo CRM is a new entrant in the crowded CRM space that was built with one core purpose: make a simple, easy-to-use real estate CRM that agents will work with on a daily basis.
$10/month with a 30-day free trial period (no credit card required). REALToDo is sold as a single product at a single price - there are no tiers limiting your access to the CRM.
Clients, activities, and schedules
You can manage your clients, activities and schedules with REALToDo CRM. Your leads, clients, and contacts are grouped into a single module, with pre- and post- sale data. REALToDo CRM reminds you to keep in touch with these clients and leads and allows you to keep track of your phone, text, email, and social media history with them.
REALToDo CRM also allows you to create to-do items that can be sent out to clients or co-workers using your email provider of choice.
And, aside from these basic functions, REALToDo offers a customizable map that you can use to keep track of your properties and marketing activities. These maps can be used in client presentations to demonstrate local area expertise or internally to discuss marketing strategy with fellow agents.
Ease of use
If you compare REALToDo CRM to other CRMs on the market, you'll find that it looks significantly different. Your CRM data is organized in lists instead of tables, with detail panels that expand when you're ready to look at a given list item. Because of this, REALToDo's interface is cleaner and simpler than many CRMs.
You'll also notice an emphasis on color-coding of leads, activities, and map markers. Again, this is to make it easier for users to instantly recognize the category of a given item (e.g., that lead is green, so he/she is pre-qualified).
Automatic reminders to keep in touch with contacts and automatic analysis of your sales data. REALToDo automatically generates project reports that detail all interactions with clients and/or properties.
REALToDo CRM offers free Android and Apple iOS apps. Because of the way that our product is structured, data does not need to be synced between the mobile and web applications - that is, your data is exactly the same across devices.
REALToDo CRM offers real estate agents a foundation for their daily work. It does not try to be your everything - in fact, we assume that you'll be using other tools alongside our application (e.g., Wise Agent for generating marketing materials). Our main goal is to give agents a painless way to manage their clients, properties, and schedules. And in making REALToDo CRM painless, we hope to encourage agents to use our product regularly - because no matter what CRM you choose, you get the best results from frequent, consistent use.
You can learn more about REALToDo CRM by visiting the REALToDo product page.
There are a huge number of real estate CRM products on the market. My recommendation would be to try at least a few and see what you like best. Look for something that will save you time, effort, and/or money. But more importantly than that, look for something that you're comfortable using on a daily basis. Remember, there's no point in paying for that CRM if you're just going to set it on a shelf and forget to use it.
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