If you’re a real estate syndicator or run a real estate investment firm, having the right software can give you a leg up on your competitors and keep your business running smoothly.
While software like Investor Deal Room helps real estate syndicators raise capital, impress their investors, and keep their back office organized, our most successful clients use an array of different software to run their businesses smoothly.
Here are some of the most commonly used software by hundreds of successful real estate syndicators… and a few hidden gems that might make your like a little easier 🙂
Branding & Design Software For Real Estate Syndicators
Whether you’re just starting a new fund or are looking to take your real estate syndication business to the next level, you’re going to need software to help design various types of visual assets for your brand.
Here are some of the best tools for real estate funds and syndication firms to brand their business.
Website / Blog Software
A professional credibility website is a must have for any real estate syndicator.
Squarespace and Wix both make for a quick and easy DIY solution for getting something, while WordPress is a good choice if you’re looking for more control.
For example, if you just need a simple 5 page website, Wix or Squarespace will let you pick and customize a nice template without too much setup involved.
On the other hand, if you have more specific goals and functionality you need (for example if you want to add a lead magnet and want the website to prompt investors to download a free ebook) then you’ll appreciate the flexibility of WordPress.
PS. If you’re going to use WordPress and trying to DIY, things are going to get technical and probably frustrating. If you’re DIYing it and aren’t a great designer, stick to the templates in Wix / Squarespace and upgrade to WordPress when it makes sense to have a team or web designer help… your investors will thank you for it!
Pitch Decks, Investor Presentations & Reports
As a multifamily syndicator or real estate investment firm, few things are more important than your pitch deck. Here are some tools for crafting quality pitch decks.
Google Slides is a nice presentation tool with a pretty straightforward user interface and is a reasonable alternative to Powerpoint. They have a couple of templates you can use, but if you really want to make things nice you’ll want to head to Creative Market or Themeforest to buy a nice template to use.
Canva.comCanva is a web based design tool for crafting presentations and graphic design assets using a simple drag and drop editor.
Canva has a big library of “Presentation Templates” you can choose from for creating your pitch deck.
We’ve actually put together a nice real estate syndication pitch deck in Canva you can access here. Best of all it’s free or cheap!
Graphic Design Software
I already mentioned Canva here, but it really has become the online tool of choice for a lot of different graphic design tasks. Their template library has a ton of great stuff and it’s easy to get started.
Logaster is a tool for creating a logo and brand assets. It has some great brand and logo generation features, then you can download a bunch of assets like logo variants, letterhead, etc. If you want to avoid hiring a designer for a logo or general brand assets, this is a great option.
Prospecting & Lead Generation Software
Lead Capture / Popup Software
One strategy many real estate syndicators take is to build out a thought leadership platform by writing a book, hosting a podcast, or the like.
Having a quality lead capture software can help you learn about your investors and start a relationship without your direct involvement.
OptinMonsterIf you’re wanting to build out your investor prospect list with a freebie, you’ll want to use a software like OptinMonster.
OptinMonster lets you create a popup on your website and then integrates with your CRM and syncs the contact information.
Ok, I don’t know any real estate syndication firms that are using this software today… but I’m personally using it and love it.
VideoAsk lets you create a video driven popup on your website and ask questions to your visitors. You can use a tool like this to create an investor questionnaire, to learn about the investor’s investment goals… and much more.
Then, if they want to learn more and possibly invest, VideoAsk lets you share your Calendly schedule to let the investor book a call.
Calendly is the perfect tool for letting your investors easily book an intro call from your website without the back and forth of scheduling over email. A lot of syndicators use Calendly to automate their investor call scheduling.
Email Newsletter Software
Mailchimp has long been the de-facto solution for syndicators managing an email newsletter. The user interface is pretty intuitive and you can choose a nice looking template to email your list.
More recently Mailchimp has also released a very basic CRM where you can store contacts as well as manage newsletter lists, but for a full fledged CRM I still recommend something that was specifically built for that purpose like ActiveCampaign or Podio.
Other common options include Constant Contact and Aweber.
Contact Management Software (CRM)
There are hundreds of potential CRM solutions for real estate syndicators, each of them providing a different user experience and capabilities.
Based on our experience, ActiveCampaign is the CRM of choice for a lot of operators who are also serious marketers, though that’s definitely not a hard and fast rule.
Honorable mentions include Hubspot, Mailchimp (for the basics), Podio, and Zoho.
ActiveCampaign is the CRM and marketing automation software of choice for most syndication firms who are building any type of marketing automation… email autoresponders, sign up forms, and a straightforward user interface are just some of the reasons I highly recommend ActiveCampaign.
And while ActiveCampaign doesn’t have a free tier, if you really want a tool that lets you keep detailed information about all of your contacts it’s worth paying a few bucks a month.
You can keep notes on your contacts, add custom fields, track emails, create and track potential deals, and much more. It also serves as an email newsletter, so you don’t have to end up with two different softwares for your email newsletter and CRM.
Check it out if you’re looking for a great CRM or marketing automation tool for your real estate syndication business.
Sales Automation Software
For growing firms who are focused on building an outbound strategy, having a sales cadence and sales automation software is a must-have.
Pipedrive is a tool for managing a pipeline of leads and potential sales. It is driven by a customizable visual pipeline of your prospects. Other useful features include a chat box for your website, direct Gmail integration, and more.
Document Management Software
Electronic Signature Software
Real estate syndications require subscription documents to be signed, a W-9 form to be signed, and various other forms throughout the lifecycle of a deal. Here are some e-signature solutions we recommend.
Docusign is hands down the e-signature solution of choice for syndicators. They have the most reliable platform, have a pretty user friendly interface, and have all the features you could want.
Additionally, because Docusign has been around for so long, investors are just a little more comfortable with Docusign than with another solution – even if the other solution works well.
Our first choice for syndicators, and the provider we use for our own embedded subscription process, is Docusign.
Hellosign gets an honorable mention as a cheaper solution with some great features as well. For a quick and dirty e-signing solution, you can use Hellosign to create a “Sign now” link and send it in an email to all your interested investors after a webinar.
Document Sharing Software
The other side of document management is the ability to share Schedule K1s, Subscription Documents, as well as monthly or quarterly reports with investors.
We think our software makes this as easy as possible, but here are some alternatives that a lot of sponsors use before getting their investor portal.
Dropbox is commonly used by syndicators to share documents with investors.
Some sponsors are concerned about the data breach at Dropbox a few years ago, but I wouldn’t let that hinder you or make you think it’s not a secure solution.
Dropbox is a great solution for starting out, though eventually you might get sick of investors asking for the link to the folder as your number of deals increase.
Drive is primarily used by syndicators for sharing internal team documents and as a general document repository. Storage is cheap, so this is a great idea for keeping your internal documents organized, but the same problems as above apply to trying to share documents with investors.
Investment Management Software
Investment management for syndicators usually starts in Excel and, frankly, it can live there for a long time with few enough investors or simple enough distributions models.
That said, when you’re ready to upgrade your investment management, we’d love to show you how IDR can help.
In the meantime here are some great tools for managing your investments in a real estate syndication.
A Simple Model
A simple model is a wonderful, mostly free training resource for financial models. There are tons of advanced financial models, but the website and author have become famous for their ability to explain complex models in a simple way.
There are two great models and spreadsheets I recommend.
A multifamily real estate acquisition model for analyzing a multifamily property.
Their real estate distribution waterfall is really great if you’re wanting an industry standard waterfall calculator.
Of course, if you’re like most sponsors, you’ll probably be doing a simple preferred return with a split after the pref is met. For this use case, a basic excel sheet with the investor ownership percentages will do the trick just fine.
Distribution processing can become another big time waster as your syndication business grows.
Not only is it a challenge to manually enter dozens or hundreds of investors’ payments into a banking system, it’s also very hard to track distributions that get lost or go to the wrong bank account… and keeping up to date with investor bank accounts is a challenge in it’s own.
That’s why Investor Deal Room lets investors update their payout information within the portal so real estate sponsors can easily send a direct ACH payment (coming Q1 2020) or export their payment information for a distribution and be certain it’s going to the right place.
In the meantime, here’s an alternative some sponsors have used.
Melio let’s you send checks or direct payments to anyone with very low fees. It’s a great simple solution for starting out, but you’ll definitely want something integrated into your distribution history in the long run.
There is a lot of great software being used out there by real estate syndicators and Investor Deal Room is proud to be one of those.
While some real estate syndication software tries to do absolutely everything in one platform, we think we’re better off doing less things and doing them with higher quality.
IDR offers a great investor portal, great capital raising tool, and lot’s of automation for your back office, but with so many great prospecting and lead generation tools out there, it makes more sense for us to focus on the investor management side of things and let you bring your own email marketing and CRM tools for the prospecting and marketing side of things.
What tools are you using?
What tools are you using for a CRM? Document Management? Distributions? Leave a comment below for other sponsors to see!