How Do You Select the Right Real Estate Investing Software Solution

November 5th, 2020 by admin Leave a reply »

Whether you’re a real estate investor, broker or agent, if you have come to that point that you want to get serious about real estate investing and have finally decided that you want to procure a real estate investing software solution to run a cash flow analysis for you, then this article is for you.

Hopefully I can tell you what to expect, what to avoid, and what to look for as you browse the various real estate investing software solutions offered online. Having been in your predicament myriad times during my thirty-years as a real estate professional, I know.

In the beginning, of course, “simple” agents like me who wanted to sell rental property had to rely on the cash flow analysis presentations created by rental property specialists; those guys that understood the calculations and had the investment software to present those dynamic reports. But I must ay, that it was like cavorting with a “secret world” limited to just a few who had this knowledge and certainly not by no means accessible to the rest of us like you and me.

Then computers and MS Excel came along and almost overnight the “secrets” once held by the select few were exposed to those like me. For almost instantly, every calculation, rate of return, and measure of a rental property’s profitability presented by the demy-gods of multifamily properties could be mimicked exactly inside cash flow analysis reports as eloquent as theirs. It was a magical moment.

As a result, with computer in hand, I purchased not one but two real estate investing software solutions available online (and paid big bucks by the way).

The first solution was developed by a broker with a CCIM designation as a spreadsheet that made the calculations for cash flow and rates of return and created a handful of reports. The problem for me was that the investment software lacked an easy-to-use interface and produced lack-luster reports. In fact, I found that the program overall was just too bland and uninspired for my taste so I purchased the second solution.

This was a stand-alone software program much superior to the first in that it did provide a worthy user-interface with many more calculations and much better-quality reports. However, in this case, I found the software much too “heavy” for practical use. That is, in addition to it’s high cost (about $500), it was overloaded with stuff I didn’t need that made the software difficult to jump into and get around; nowhere near an easy-to-use cash flow analysis program I felt comfortable to utilize on maybe a day-to-day basis.

Subsequently, I developed my own real estate investing software to get the results I wanted and haven’t looked back since. Along the way, though, I did learn a thing or two about investment software and that’s what I would like to share with you; my top five suggestions for making the right selection.

1. Determine your objective – What do you want the software to do? If you plan to work with investment property only casually then you might not need a program that includes calculations for tax shelter (so why pay for it); likewise, if you plan to become more than casually engaged with income properties than definitely consider a program that computes taxes inside their cash flow analysis (expect to pay slightly more).

2. Determine your purpose – Are you looking only to do a cash flow analysis (i.e., for an investment decision) or do you also plan to market the property? Look for real estate investing software solutions that offer the choice.

3. Friendly user interface – You don’t want to struggle the real estate investment software. Look for solutions that provide user-friendly forms and toolbars. Here’s a hint: Examine the web site. Is it well organized, creative, informative, unobtrusive, and easy to navigate? Remember, the same company offering the program also publishes the website.

4. Style – It’s not pleasant to use lack-luster investment software (as I discovered). Check out the screenshots and reports to make sure to make sure you are satisfied with the style, professionalism, and quality. Again, look at the website for additional clues and insights of what you can expect.

5. Cost – Real estate investing software can range from $100 to $500 depending on its features. But cheaper is not necessarily better and overly expensive is not necessarily your best fit (as I discovered). So look for investment software priced somewhat inside that range.

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