Last updated on March 28th, 2019 at 06:41 pm
Real estate CRM can mean a few things. From simple contact management that won’t give most a hard time, to high-powered automated systems that can get a bit trickier.
This means you may experience some difficulty making a decision if you’re a newer agent.
Seeing as there are hundreds of CRMs on the market today, you may feel a bit pressured trying to narrow down the search in order to find a product that best suits your needs.
Below you’ll find a detailed review and comparison of what we believe are the three most capable CRMs that can benefit you and your small business.
The Best Real Estate CRM on the Market: Top Producer
With high quality and affordability all in one package, we believe Top Producer is the ideal CRM for your real estate business.
Of all three CRMs, agents get far more functionality with Top Producer, and at a price that’s shockingly low.
Why Top Producer Receives the Highest Recommendation
Top Producer has been a trusted name in the industry for over 20 years. Their long-standing reputation is anything but a coincidence.
They offer great functionality for the price—an upside that is slightly tainted by dated interfaces that require a steep learning curve.
Users get access to email templates, MLS integration, and auto responders. A follow-up coach is also thrown into the mix and helps you to pick five contracts to ‘follow up’ every day.
Users are given the ability to categorize their contacts into specific groups—all of which would run you no more than $40 per month per agent. It offers free onboarding and is available to individual agents.
Detailed Comparison: Top Producer, Contactually, Rethink CRM
All three CRMs come with their own advantages and disadvantages, and overall features that may appeal to a particular agent for any particular reason. Let’s break them down, and see where they shine or come up short.
Let’s start with Top Producer.
The Best Overall Package – Top Producer
At $40 per month, it’s going to be hard to beat Top Producer’s price. Pair that with the features available to users, and you’ve got one heck of a deal.
Its competitors are great products also. But consider that Rethink CRM comes at double the price you’d pay for Top Producer. Also, it can’t be purchased by individual agents.
Contactually comes even cheaper than Top Producer—but there’s a catch. It has no MLS integration, which won’t be received well by some agents.
REthink is a more costly route, and has the slight edge as it pertains to MLS integration. But at double the price of Top Producer, SLIGHTLY better MLS integration isn’t quite as attractive as it could’ve been.
When it comes to choosing a CRM, consider what product can best help you:
- and follow up with leads
To do this effectively, an agent needs to properly track what homes his/her leads are looking for. The status of those particular homes should be factored in also.
This is useful as it helps you to:
- Follow up with leads who inquired about properties in the past
- Send properties directly from your CRM when dealing with active clients
It isn’t hard to see the importance of MLS integration, and it should be a determining factor behind what CRM you select to some degree.
Top Producer integrates with over 500 MLS databases throughout the US. Therefore, most agents won’t have an issue adding MLS data into their CRM.
What’s more, having direct integration means your MLS data is updated every 15 minutes. Or at the very least as quickly as your local MLS.
Benefits of Direct Integration
Manually adding lead information into your CRM isn’t the most exciting process. You can eliminate all of that with direct integration, where your lead data is automatically pulled into your CRM.
Integrate with More Lead Sources
Top Producer integrates with more lead sources than most real estate CRM. Realtors will appreciate not having to manually type information on lead sources into their CRM. This is a great time saver and can be a great improvement for workflow.
As far as disadvantages go, users have ONE main issue with Top Producer—the interface. The layout is intuitive enough, but some users find that the learning curve is a bit on the steep side.
If you’re all about sleek interfaces, with flat designs and uber ease-of-use—perhaps Top Producer isn’t the right fit for you.
Build Great Relationships with Contactually
If searching the MLS and sending properties to clients is something you already have covered, you may be interested in what Contactually has to offer.
This product encapsulates relationship management and even throws a bit of fun into client engagement.
Here’s what I mean:
Buckets and how they can Build Your Business
You’re probably scratching your head at the mention of ‘buckets’. What are these ‘buckets’ and what do they have to do with how you run your business?
Everything, actually—at least as far as keeping in touch with clients is concerned.
‘Buckets’ is Contactually’s lead organization system. Once you get started with their interface, you’ll realize there are helpful prompts to guide you with setting up the system and organizing leads.
So you’ll easily adjust to creating your buckets and filling them with leads without much experience. Users create intricate rules to help determine when and how they interact with each lead.
How do ‘Buckets’ Work?
Let’s say you created 3 buckets—one for Zillow leads, and another two for current and former clients.
You set up programs (in other words the ‘rules’ we talked about above) to determine the way in which you’ll follow up with these leads.
For instance, what if you wanted to put Zillow leads on a drip campaign. Or if you wanted to get in touch with current clients once a week, and former clients on holidays.
Whenever you log into Contactually, it will remind you of the leads to follow up on, and how exactly to go about it.
Extend Your Reach with Automated Actions (Programs)
Bear in mind, ‘programs’ are basically automated actions. When it comes to using these actions to maximize your efforts, let’s just say you’ve got options:
You can set up programs to automatically send drip emails at a designated time. You can send reminders to clients, or even follow people on social media.
Even better, you can determine what lead (or ‘bucket’ of leads) to put on a program. This is useful, as you can choose programs that get you the best results for particular leads.
Letter Grades to Gauge Outreach Efforts
Automated actions are an asset for maximizing business growth. Contactually doesn’t stop there. An assessment of your outreach efforts enables Contactually to assign you a letter grade to gauge your results.
This helps you to understand just how well you are engaging clients and nurturing that relationship once it’s been established.
This is called your RPA — Relationship Point Average. And it’s a pretty useful system.
Contactually has one real con that will be a potential problem for users. I vaguely mentioned this earlier—a lack of MLS access.
If you don’t already have an effective means to search the MLS or send properties to clients, this will prove troublesome for you in a number of ways:
It will be harder to know what homes spark the interest of leads. Not to mention the current status of those homes. Ideally, users would like to review data directly from their CRM or send (and search) for listings with some much-needed convenience.
In the case of Contactually, you would need to log into your MLS database to get this done.
If a CRM with MLS integration isn’t a necessity, Contactually may be the ideal product for you.
Best Real Estate CRM For A Little Bit of Everything: REthink
REthink has such powerful MLS integration that it can be used as an ad-hoc listings database while offering some of the best features available in a CRM.
Users can generate listings pages to send to buyers via email. This includes details like nearby amenities.
You get access to their ‘match’ tool that automatically finds and locates listings that are ideal for customers. Including prices, the number of bedrooms, or bathrooms — based on what is saved in the CRM.
Even better, you have the option to generate plotted buyer tour maps, and sign up for alerts when relevant listings pop up.
These features are especially helpful for startups and small boutique firms. Particularly those tasked with dealing with a high number of rentals.
While REthink has advanced MLS features, it’s far from a one trick pony. It allows agents to send automated emails, categorize contacts, and implement follow-up reminders into daily workflow.
REthink is a pretty well-rounded product. In fact, the only issue you might have with this CRM is the price.
The system is pretty diverse—it can be used as a CRM as well as a listing database—even so, $79 per month may be more than some are willing to pay for it.
In addition to the price, you need three other agents to purchase the CRM with you. This brings your monthly bill to $316. You may also spend up to $2500 on onboarding fees.
Detailed Comparison: Pricing Plans
When it comes to CRMs pricing is sort of all over the place. You might find yourself paying nothing (as a Zillow Premier Agent for instance). On the other end of the spectrum, you might have to pay upward of $100 or more for custom builds.
Proverbially, a solid real estate CRM should run you anywhere between $30 – $80 per agent per month. These prices are for one-year contracts—paid in full (generally).
So you can expect a heftier charge for month-month plans.
Let’s get into Top Producer’s pricing first:
If you’re looking for the most affordable, and straightforward plans, you may feel comfortable going with Top Producer.
Not only is it more economical than REthink, but individual agents are able to purchase and use this software. Even better, they can pay by the month.
This is ideal for agents who aren’t sure they’re ready to commit to this product, and rely on it helping their business grow over an extended period of time.
Top Producer offers tons of upgrades to help users improve the functionality of the software. For instance, you can purchase Market Snapshot to get ready-made marker reports to help nurture leads.
Among their upgrades are IDX websites, transaction management with Reesio, and lead routing via Fivestreet.
Contactually’s pricing plan is a bit different, especially in terms of the options users are faced with.
If you go with the basic plan that offers the ability to connect unlimited email accounts, access bulk messaging, follow up reminders, access app integrations etc. — you get this for $29 per agent (annually).
If users choose to go with a monthly payment plan, they pay $35 per agent billed.
The Professional Package
Contactually’s professional package gives you everything the basic plan does—but of course, there are some perks. Such as:
- Team contact sharing
- Customizable email templates
- Programs for scheduled workflows
- Introductions and introductory templates
- And piplelines for sales tracking
You get this deal at $49 per agent per month billed annually or monthly.
Consider also that there are enterprise options for $99 per month billed annually—or $125 per month billed monthly.
With the enterprise package, you get advanced permissions such as audit logging and custom integrations, which make the option worth looking into.
REthink’s many features are nothing short of brilliant. I mentioned before, the only thing holding this system back is the pricing.
While a powerful, and versatile system, the pricing simply makes it less accessible than its competitors. Especially where individual agents are concerned.
REthink charges $79 per month, which may be intimidating enough on its own. But they require four users (as a minimum) — which brings the price to a staggering $316 per month.
Also, month-month plans are not available through REthink, so all users are required to pay for the year upfront.Newer agents may find this intimidating. Such a commitment can be daunting at first, especially one that wears such a hefty price tag.
Brokerages may find this rather attractive, especially if they are looking for a CRM, transaction management system, and a listing database. To further my point on why REthink may not be ideal for individual agents.
What if you were to get other agents to come on board for the purpose of meeting the requirement of four users? What if shortly after, a couple of those agents jump ship—how would that play out for you?
REthink is a great system that has many advantages working in its favor. But depending on your situation, it just might not be the right CRM for you.
Hefty Onboarding Fee
Yet another blow to REthink’s pricing plan. If you thought that $316 per month was something to talk about, well, the onboarding fee is another case altogether. Agents are charged $2500 in order to receive help with familiarizing themselves with the software.
To be frank, I’m very fond of the features that REthink offers. But ‘onboarding fees’ send the wrong message, and I doubt I’ll be the only one to feel that way.
It gives the impression that the software is a headache waiting to happen. Also, it comes across as if the company is going out of their way to discourage new agents from becoming users of their system.
In most cases, a realtor won’t need to be the most tech-savvy person in the world. Taking that into account, if you’re building a software for realtors, ease-of-use should be a top priority.
Realtors are more suited for creative tasks. Not spending hours busting their brains trying to figure out how to send lists to their clients using your software.
Let’s take a look at how each of these products stacked up in this department.
Here’s where REthink could take a page out of Top Producer’s book. This company, unlike REthink, offers users free live onboarding to help them get started as quickly as possible.
Whether this makes up for the slight inconvenience regarding basic functions, will come down to your own experience. But it’s definitely a good look, and I’m sure users will appreciate the gesture.
Even after you’re fully set up and ready to go, you’ll need to adjust to the workflow. There are features put in place, however, that can help you settle in nicely.
Such as the Follow Up Coach that suggest 5 leads you can reach out to. The suggestions are based on criteria you set up, and can be helpful with nurturing leads.
Contactually dominates as far as ease-of-use goes. You can tell they put a lot of energy into making setup easy and sparing agents the hassle.
The software is littered with multiple prompts and tutorials to help new users out, and show them how best Contactually can help their business.
Contactually has a number of killer features, including ‘buckets’ and ‘programs’. What’s more, they are all rather intuitive.
In the case that you do get stuck, that’s where those helpful prompts come in. They’ll put you on the right track in no time.
If for instance, an agent clicks on a contact and is trying to figure out ways to send them an email from a template, there are buttons that can help you find the templates you need.
Clean. Easy. And it saves you time and trouble.
While the onboarding fee is a bit alarming, a lot of loyal customers of REthink don’t have much to complain about. Set up is relatively hassle-free (as it should be considering that $2500 fee).
What it will come down to is whether you believe the awesome features you get with REthink are worth it. And of course, whether you can afford it in the first place.
Online Reputation: Top Producer VS Contactually VS REthink
No matter how awesome a company or product, their reputation among past customers should be a huge factor that influences your decision making. You want a company that delivers a great product, and sublime service to go with it.
We took the time to review these products in detail, as well as find out what past and current customers have to say about them. Here’s what we found out:
Overall users are pleased with the amount of value they get for the price ($40/month). There is the usual cry of the software not being the most ‘modern’ or intuitive—but most people ease into it without too rough of a transition.
Users almost unanimously agree that the learning curve is a bit too steep. But they equally agree that the quality you are getting at the price is a bit hard to beat.
Based on our own research and customer reviews, here are Top Producer’s standout features:
- Integrates with over 500 MLS databases
- Great functionality for the price
- Integrates with more lead sources than most real estate CRM
- Free live onboarding to help users settle into using their system
Here are some of the things users didn’t like:
- Outdated interface, not as intuitive as it could’ve been
- Learning curve is a bit steep
Overall, Top Producer is still a solid system that comes at an impossible to beat price. This makes it ideal for small businesses or startups.
Contactually is also generally loved by customers. You’d have to scour the Internet to find a single review that gives it under 4 stars.
Contactually is a crowd favorite for its user-friendly interface and the way it incorporates fun into streamlining workflow.
Users love being able to customize buckets, and group contacts, among other features that make Contactually a blast for realtors.
Here are some of its standout features:
- Ease-of-use is out of this world
- Helps you streamline workflow with great productivity and a touch of lightheartedness through the ‘Buckets’ feature
- Professional package is a nice step up from the basic plan and offers additional tools that are worth the money
- A few customers got confused by the differences in plans
- Some (new) users preferred a more basic entry price
REthink’s reputation is pretty solid. When it comes to the interface that’s where you’ve got something of a mixed bag—more so than the two previous systems we discussed.
It seems half the customers say it’s easy to use, and not that hard to get into. But at the same time, another half of their customers cry the complete opposite.
Here’s what I suggest: if REthink still interests you regardless of the pricing plans— give it a shot. Especially if it’s a system you REALLY feel like getting into.
- You get a little bit of everything, and REthink generally implements these features well
- Basically, an ad hoc listing database fused with a killer CRM
- Ideal for brokerages looking for the specific features and tools that REthink offers
- Not sure how to gauge the difficulty of the software
- Pricing is through the roof compared to other effective CRM on the market
Final Thoughts on the Best Real Estate CRM
No CRM is perfect in every aspect. But there are definitely qualities among these products that just about anyone can appreciate.
Top Producer gives you solid functionality and a great price. But the interface won’t be right for agents who need something a bit more modern.
Contactually is superb at nurturing client relationships, but if you require MLS integration you’re better off looking elsewhere.
REthink offers great MLS integration and a slew of features that are equally impressive. But the price makes it far less accessible for startups and small businesses.
What does the best real estate CRM mean for you?