Real estate investing is a numbers game and real estate tools are essential to winning that game. Having more property options to choose from can increase your likelihood of finding the perfect rental. The more you know about the properties you’re looking at, the better your chances of negotiating a good deal. And the more efficiently you can manage all those properties once they’re yours, the higher your profit margin will be.
The right real estate tools and technology can help investors seize opportunities before other buyers do—and make life so much easier! As investors ourselves, we’ve tried out dozens of apps and tools over the years, and this article will show you our 17 best real estate tools for investors – from the best real estate investment analysis tools to the best property management software.
What tools do real estate investors need?
Experienced real estate investors know that their business growth is directly related to the amount of time and dedication they can put into it. But there is only so much one man can do, after all.
After developing their portfolio to a certain level, investors usually begin to outsource parts of their business to either another company or a digital tool created for that purpose.
Using some of these digital tools to manage your real estate business is often a more affordable option for most purposes and tends to be more adaptable to your business’s needs. The best real estate tools for investors often help in optimizing one or more of the following aspects of a real estate business: finding profitable properties, managing rentals, screening tenants, and collecting rent.
Property Search Tools
These tools allow you to find profitable properties in desirable locations. They include:
RealWealth was created by investors for investors and provides numerous resources to help investors grow their business.
Members have access to a variety of educational real estate tools, including podcasts, webinars, articles, videos, and live events to provide them with all the information they need.
RealWealth also recommends mortgage lenders, 1031 exchange facilitators, real estate accountants and other real estate professionals that investors need to be successful.
RealWealth connects its members with established property teams to help them find single-family and multifamily rental properties in different real estate markets, including Ohio, Georgia, Texas, and Michigan.
If you’re looking for a more personalized touch when starting your investing journey or growing your portfolio, RealWealth is a great option. Our investment counselors and teams work with you to help you find the best deals for your goals. Becoming a RealWealth member is completely free.
Auction.com is an online marketplace where you can find and purchase rental properties. There are over 25,000 listings on Auction.com, and transactions have exceeded $42 billion. You can buy pre-foreclosed and foreclosed homes usually at prices way below market value.
Auction.com provides this service through a user-friendly interface. There is a searchable database of properties grouped by date, location, and specific keywords. You can find different kinds of properties for sale around the country without dealing with an agent. The website charges a bid deposit to the winning bidder.
However, quite a number of users have complained about the website’s customer service and Auction.com’s role in the bidding process. But you can find home deals and offers that you would not find anywhere else. As with other similar marketplaces, it is always advisable to perform one’s due diligence before completing any transaction on Auction.com.
Billed as the “real estate app for busy professionals trying to find more real estate deals at discounted prices,”
DealMachine is a software solution designed to help investors find profitable deals and grow their businesses.
DealMachine allows you to find out relevant details about residential properties, such as vacancy rate, pre-foreclosures, and ownership records. It also provides templates for sending direct mail to leads, with automated follow-ups.
Also, it has a “Driving for Dollars” feature that allows you to manage your real estate team right from the software. This feature tracks you and your team’s route as you drive through neighborhoods, looking for potential deals.
The app has a 4.7 rating on Google Playstore, due to its ease-of-use, and affordability. DealMachine charges a flat rate for access to its services, at a range of prices to suit different needs and budgets.
The Driving for Dollars software costs $49 per month for the starter plan, $99 per month for the professional plan, and $249 per month for the elite plan.
They also offer a List Builder software that allows you to build lead lists from sales and county data, at $49 per month for the Starter plan. Other add-ons such as mail tracking, Street Pic and advanced campaigns are all priced at $20 per month.
Zillow is a leader in the real estate industry and its website is one of the top real estate platforms for buying, selling, and financing homes. Zillow provides sales and market data on about 110 million homes in the US. It also provides Zestimate and Zilculator – two helpful tools for real estate investors.
The search feature allows you to filter your search by the number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, views, home type, HOA fees, parking spots, amenities, or any other selected criteria. You can view a map that shows the location of each property as well as its estimated value.
You can also buy FSBO homes through Zillow, as long as you perform the needed checks first. Although Zillow takes an aggressive stance on fraudulent deals, there are still scammers on the platform. As always, if a deal looks too good to be true, it most likely isn’t.
Another real estate tool, Rubik, is a platform for investors to buy and sell their properties quickly and profitably. You can sell your properties without carrying out any major renovations. Also, Rubik’s proprietary software leverages machine learning to help investors find single-family rentals that meet their investment criteria.
Rubik acts as a real estate search engine that allows you to sort through properties based on various criteria, such as location and price. You can also use Rubik to see what amenities each property has, like laundry facilities or parking spots.
The platform offers a significant selection of exclusive properties at substantial discounts. Rubik’s properties are concentrated in Texas and Florida and are sure to be of interest to fix and flip or fix and hold investors.
Rubik is available for free to all real estate investors. A referral fee is charged to the buyer’s real estate agent. Sellers are not charged any fees. All closing costs are completely covered.
6. Roofstock Marketplace
Roofstock is an online marketplace for buying and selling single-family homes. Roofstock has processed about 5 billion dollars in total transactions.
It makes it easier for landlords to find and rent properties. It also has some other features like:
- A wide selection of homes, from townhouses to condos to single-family homes.
- A simple application process that lets you filter your search based on criteria like price range or location.
- A tenant screening process that runs background checks and credit reports so you can make an informed decision about who will live in your home.
- Investors can invest in Roofstock’s marketplace from anywhere in the world.
When your offer to buy a house is accepted, Roofstock will charge you $500 or 0.5% of the price, whichever is greater. The seller is charged $2,500 or 3.0% of the sale price, whichever is higher.
Real Estate Tools for Deal Analysis
Valuate by REFM is a web-based real estate appraisal tool that helps you determine the value of a property.
Valuate allows you to enter all the relevant information about your rental property. It also allows you to see how much rent would have to increase in order for the property to be profitable. It also includes a list of comparable properties in your area, which can give you an idea of whether or not your property has been priced competitively.
PropertyMetrics is a valuation tool designed to simplify your pro forma analysis process. The interface is intuitive, easy to use, and works in real-time, allowing you to make changes on the fly. With PropertyMetrics, professional proformas are created, analyzed, and shared with others easily.
PropertyMetrics makes it easy to present your analysis results in customized reports. There is a 7-day free trial and then a monthly fee of $99 is charged ($990 yearly and $279 quarterly).
9. Zillow's Zestimate
Zillow’s Zestimate is a real estate tool that offers a home valuation model that provides the estimated property value of a home. The Zestimate relies on both publicly available and user data to make estimates, which are only accurate as the amount of relevant data it finds accessible.
Zestimate’s home valuation is not a standard home appraisal, so it should never be used as a substitute for a professional home valuation. It only estimates how much money any given home might be worth based on public records (such as tax assessments).
Certain allowances are made for potential errors in the Zestimate. For instance, the Zestimate has a median error rate of 6.9% for off-market homes and a median error rate of 1.9% for homes listed on an MLS.
Zilculator is another tool by Zillow that makes it easier to analyze rental properties. Zilculator analyzes your property deals in a few clicks and creates professional reports to send to lenders or members of your group.
Property data is loaded automatically from Zillow, MLS®, and other sources, so you don’t have to upload images or input information manually.
The user interface is intuitive and easy to use, and there is no learning curve. You’ll be creating property reports in no time.
Another real estate tool, Rentometer helps you find out the right amount of rent to charge your tenants by comparing your property with other houses in the area.
If your rent is too low, you won’t maximize your profits; if it’s too high, people won’t rent from you. Rentometer helps you find the sweet spot. By comparing what other landlords in your area charge, this tool helps you set competitive prices that attract tenants while maximizing revenue.
Rentometer’s basic tool gives you a market rate estimate of rental prices based on the property’s address and the number of bedrooms. It also has a basic analysis feature that tells you what number of rentals within a one-mile radius was rented in the last 12 months and provides the median and average rents.
The Pro Standard version includes more advanced features, such as unlimited Pro reports, saved searches, and unlimited batch analyses.
12. Property Fixer
Property Fixer is designed for investors whose primary strategy is fixing and flipping properties. It estimates how much profit you can expect from flipping a property while taking the holding period into consideration. You can even compare different offers to find out which one is the best deal.
Also, the app gives you the option to brand your reports and send them via email to your mortgage lenders or investment partners. The Property Fixer app is only available on iOS devices.
Property Management Tools
Now let’s look at some of the best landlord software tools. Property management software is the most popular way to keep track of everything that’s transpiring in your rental business.
Stessa is a platform for property management that helps landlords manage their properties, find tenants and maximize their profits. Stessa allows you to access your portfolio from anywhere and monitor performance across the board. Through its intuitive and accessible interface, landlords can track an unlimited number of properties with personalized performance dashboards.
Stessa helps you save valuable time with its automated expense and income tracking. Stessa offers most of its features for free. If you need added features such as rent analysis, mortgage financing, and market research, the Professional plan costs $1000 per month.
TurboTenant is a popular real estate tool for rental management, tenant screening, and application processing. TurboTenant offers a centralized approach to managing every aspect of your rental, from leasing to rent collection. It also helps with advertising your rentals on your platform of choice.
TurboTenant is free for landlords. But there is a premium package for landlords billed at $59 per year. Renters are required to pay $45 for application fees, screening fees, and other fees as part of the rental application process.
15. Yardi Breeze
Yardi Breeze is a cloud-based property management software that allows you to manage your rental properties from anywhere in the world. It provides you with several tools including online rent collection, tenant screening, maintenance requests, and more.
The cloud-based framework allows you to access your data anytime and anywhere on any device. This removes the need for outdated spreadsheets or messy folders of paperwork.
Buildium is a comprehensive property management solution that allows property owners to control every aspect of their rental business remotely. It was built for property managers by property managers and facilitates the entire lease-to-rent cycle from top to bottom.
Buildium supports automatic rent collection through a tenant portal and provides training resources for its users. Furthermore, it integrates with Zillow, Trulia, Apartments.com, and many others.
Buildium doesn’t offer a free plan. However, there is a 14-day free trial for all their plans. Plans start at $50 and scale up based on the size of your portfolio, with annual discounts.
17. Pay Your Rent
Pay Your Rent is an application that makes it easy for landlords to receive rent payments. It allows tenants to build their credit history right from the app, by reporting rent payments to Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
Pay Your Rent is available on both iOS and Android. The pricing is flexible to accommodate different needs, starting at $9.95 per month.
How do you maximize profit on a rental property with real estate tools?
Using any combination of the best property management software discussed above will help streamline your investment process and improve your business’s bottom line. However, these real estate tools are incapable of automating the entire investment process. The responsibility falls on you to use them effectively and to complement their efforts with effective real estate investment practices, such as:
Preventive maintenance ensures that your rental properties remain in tip-top shape for a long time. Periodic maintenance keeps repair costs low by maintaining the proper functioning of equipment around the property. Preventive tasks such as changing out furnace filters every three months during winter and inspecting HVAC systems annually during springtime can save you a lot of money later on down the road.
Written rental agreement
It’s imperative to have a rental agreement for your property. This document will be the foundation for all of your business dealings with tenants.
The lease should include:
- The rental amount due each month and when payments are due
- How much is being paid as a security deposit
- The lease length (or length of time between lease renewals)
- What utilities and services are the responsibility of the owner and the tenant
- Any property rules you’d like followed (ie: pets, maintenance, etc.)
Tenant screening is a crucial step in the process of finding and renting to renters on your property. Tenant screening can be broken into three categories: credit check, criminal history check, and eviction history check. All of these are equally important and should be completed before selecting tenants.
This is where a rental application will come in handy. Use this as an opportunity to check their references and verify that all information provided by the applicant is true (or as true as possible). The more thorough you go into each tenant’s background, the better off you’ll be later.
If you’re an investor, you know that the property market can be a minefield. The key to success is finding the right property in the right location at the right time—and there are plenty of tools out there to help you do just that.
We hope you enjoyed this list of 17 real estate tools that can help you find the best rental properties and ensure they’re profitable.
If you’re looking for help creating an investment strategy or finding inventory in markets around the U.S., we can help! Become a member of RealWealth today for free.