How to choose, buy and implement
real estate software

Are you looking for property management software but unsure what questions you should be asking to get the best solution for your business? We've created a guide that will make this process easier, providing you with an array of questions to help you in the three main stages: an initial search, viewing and appraising the software (the demonstration phase) and the decision-making process.

Search phase

The ultimate success of your project will be greatly influenced by how it is started, with the time and effort invested during this phase paid back many times over in the longer run.

Most organisations will look across the whole market, before whittling this down to a shortlist and then making a final decision. There is, of course, no right or wrong way to buy software and everyone should follow a route they're comfortable with.

However, having sold many thousands of systems over nearly 50 years, MRI has the experience to help you through the process. So, whether you're looking for one of our products or not, this guide should help you identify what it is you really want and how best to get it.


Online search

Almost every search for software will start with Google or another search engine. Try to be clear about what you're searching for and make sure you choose a few sites to have a look at.

It's important to recognise the difference between organic results and those that are paid for, the latter including 'aggregator' sites, such as Software Advice or Capterra. These can be useful tools in a search, but they don't work in the same way as a regular search engine.


Ask around

Alongside online research, you can try to find out what others in the industry are using:

  • Find out what the biggest and best companies in the industry use, especially if you have designs on joining them
  • What do other companies like yours use?
  • Ask industry colleagues and people that you trust for recommendations
  • Speak to trade bodies and find out what their members are using

Questions to ask yourself

It's important for you to understand why you want to implement software. There could be numerous reasons, but it's critical that you're honest about your requirements and the future direction of your business.


What are your business problems?

It is often problems that drive organisations towards change. Do you have problems with accuracy? Multiple systems that give you different outputs? Do you have the data but can't report on it effectively? Are you falling behind your competitors because they can offer a better, technology-driven service?


What is your business strategy?

You need to ask where the business is heading. Where do you want to be in one, three and five years? It's important to strike the right balance between a system that is economical enough to run now and one that will drive your future growth and, crucially, grow with you.


What is the tech strategy?

For some people, technology is enabling, insprirational and the cornerstone of their lives. Others can be more reluctant to embrace it and use it only where necessary. Be clear about where your business sits on this scale, as the success of the software will depend heavily on it.


What other systems do you want to connect to?

Is this going to be the single application that runs your business or another element of a wider technological solution or ecosystem? If it's the latter, you should have in your mind a plan for how the various systems will interact.


How important is the software to you?

This may sound like a strange question, but it is essential to know. You need to be clear whether this is business critical or a 'nice to have'.


What is your budget?

Work out what you would like to pay, and also what you're prepared to pay, for the right solution. Is this reasonable for the list of features that you want?


Next step – the demonstration phase

Once you have answered these questions, you should be able to match up the features that you want to what's on offer from the various systems you have identified. Some suppliers will publish their costs on their website, whereas others want to build you a bespoke price. Don't assume that published costs are always lower and speak to the various suppliers to get an indication that what you want is within your budget.

Once you have achieved this, the normal course of action is to arrange demonstrations of, say, two, three or four systems to give you a better idea of what they can do and how they work.


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