Many estate agents use the quieter summer months to consider how their property software is working for them and whether their existing provider is fully meeting their needs. When it comes to choosing the right property software there are countless choices available. However, not all property software packages are right for every estate agency. It’s important to consider the needs of your business and factors such as budget, goals, scalability and users.
We might sell the leading property software, but we’re not going to tell you that Veco™ is the best property software for your property business. With these Top Tips we’re simply going to cover the things we think you should consider when choosing property software.
1. Business goals
Analysing your business and determining what you need from your new property software is the first and most important step when choosing a new system.
Do you want a fully integrated property software solution that can be used across your entire business, or are you looking for standalone packages for each of your business disciplines?
Integrated property software is the approach to take if you’re looking to grow your business. It can give you more control, improve efficiency and save time.
What do you need from your software and what are nice to haves? Entry-level software does the basics such as owner and applicant records, property records and mailing and marketing.
If you need features such as accounting, CRM, automation, credit management and powerful, real-time reporting tools then you’ll need to be looking at a more advanced property system.
3. Know your budget
Have a clear budget in mind and be realistic about what you can afford. If budget is an issue, why not look at modular-based software that you can add to as your business grows? Don’t try to buy all the applications straight away, buy the ones you need first and add to your solution gradually.
You should also consider your cash flow and how you wish to pay. Would paying monthly improve your cash flow instead or would you prefer to buy upfront? Is finance available?
You don’t want to be held back by your property software in a year’s time. Therefore, it’s essential to look at software that has the capability to grow with your business. For example, does it give you the flexibility to add additional users and portfolios easily and quickly? If you’re a business who specialise in lettings and property management, it also means investing in software that can store a large number of transactions or lets you account to complex landlords with multiple properties or leaseholder blocks of flats.
5. Users of the software
When selecting property software you should involve the people who will be using the software on a daily basis – these might be your administrators, negotiators, property managers or accounts clerks. Have they used a property software package before and did they like it? If so, it might be worth adopting the same software so they can get up and running quickly. Alternatively, invite them to any product demos you see so they can get a feel for the software early on.
6. Software provider
Finally, take a closer look at the software provider. They think their software is great, but don’t just take their word for it. Look at customer testimonials to see how they are supporting other property businesses, challenges they faced and what benefits are they seeing from the software?
You’ll be working closely with the provider to implement the software so it’s important that they are a good fit for your business. So ask yourself:
• Are they able to provide service to you in the area you operate?
• Do they have experience dealing with a broad base of property clients? Do they understand the challenges you face?
• Is there a customer support package? There might be an additional cost for this – is the price and offering competitive?
• Do they use a mature, robust and scalable model to ensure a smooth and successful delivery within your chosen timescale.
• Do they provide for customisation of the software to suit your style of business?
Also, consider the reputation of the software provider. Have they been around for a long time and do you feel confident they’ll be around for many years to come? You’ll need to bear this in mind for future software upgrades, development and support.