Real estate investment software makes up a variety of software applications that are used to streamline various aspects of your real estate operations. For example, this software should be able to organize your listings by name, address, price, budget, and zoning ordinances. It should also be able to automatically store contact information from potential sellers or buyers for potential real estate properties.
Managing your financial information–such as mortgages, taxes, loan interest, and cash on hand–is also crucial for existing properties. This information generated by real estate investment software is used to compare the viability of your listings. Depending on your preferred criteria, you can decide which properties are worth your time and money.
Using MS Office? You may already be on the right track!
The hunt for real estate investment software may be pretty straightforward, especially if you already have the Microsoft Office suite. However, specialized software designed for real estate investing may differ from what you need. MS Office apps, like Excel and Access, are excellent for compiling your listings into a database. With Excel, for example, you can easily convert all of your raw data into tables or a variety of graphs so you can visually examine your options.
Excel vs. Access
Microsoft Access is significantly more powerful than spreadsheet-based Excel. Access allows for the construction of searchable and highly customizable databases. Mastering Access will require some basic programming skills, which may have a significant learning curve. But building queries and macros within Access can provide nearly endless ways to manipulate or acquire data stored in your database.
But here’s the downside. Using Excel or Access means you have to build your database or spreadsheets unless you are importing them from somewhere else. Creating a database in Access–especially one with lots of macros–can be extremely time-consuming and complex if you’re unfamiliar with Visual Basic (the programing language for Access).
However, any additions or removals of property information you want to make can be easily changed once you have built your database. In addition, Microsoft allows you to share your office documents with others you work with. That means if you are working with a team of other property investors, your listings can be updated in real-time by anyone on your team. These sharing features are relatively new to the Office lineup, so it may be time to upgrade if you run an old version of Office.
Also, since third parties widely support Excel and Access, you can easily import information into other real estate investment software applications that would examine the listings in your database. Just make sure the two apps are compatible before you move forward.
What you should look for in real estate investment software
Like property management software, the features you might be looking for in your real estate investment software will depend heavily on your needs. Your needs will ultimately come down to your weakness within your operation or processes that should be streamlined to function more efficiently. As its name implies, this software is here to help you manage your investments. If that goal is not accomplished, you may need to change your strategy (or probably your software).
Like all forms of software, there are requirements your computer needs to satisfy to be able to run a particular suite of software effectively. First, you must establish your potential investment software’s operating system. Most software applications will run on the Windows and Mac operating systems, but some may be exclusive to one operating system or another. Most applications will run on the Windows OS, but if you own a Mac, don’t fret, as it has its fair share of software options.
Ease of Use and Output
All things considered, your real estate investment software should make you a better investor. I’m sorry to report no software application will tell you exactly what properties to buy or when to sell. However, the software allows you to organize your listings and property data. Everything you must contend with will be readily available to you or others if you wish to share your data. This information will help you clearly see which properties give you the best ROIs. Additionally, the data could tell you about your current financial state concerning your existing properties.
The software you decide to use should be tailor-made to suit your specific needs. Additionally, a great software package should give you the freedom to customize your experience with their product to your liking. Remember, this is your investment, and everything you do should encourage maximizing your financial returns on your investments.