This was the first year I really started to benchmark proptech against its greater need in the business world. I’m starting to see solutions bypass the agent for the consumer.

Going forward, I’d like to see technology leaders direct their attention to solving real estate problems for the consumer, then hand over said solution to the agent.

I hope for a future in which innovators cease fixating on trying to help real estate agents be better at their jobs and, instead, address the entire housing market like the greater macroeconomic influence that it’s actually become.

Working from the brokerage out is too narrow a tunnel through which to find the light. Ingenuity and good products are withering away in the collective shadow of poor industry adoption, inexperience in advancing solutions and a long-broken transactional model that awards volume over service.

I reflected on this as early as March in a piece for Inman Intel:

“Brokers, leaders and industry innovators should pool their attention toward the trends and tools trying to fix the fragmented assembly lines that choke and sputter their way toward closing day. The agents have everything they need.

“Value for today’s agent is offered from a consultancy position, not as a mediary. Technology hasn’t replaced the agent, it’s basically made their work easier. It’s doing what it’s supposed to. Proptech is exfoliating the busy work from the deal, the stuff that typically requires individual appointments to complete and too many emails to finalize. In this process, transactions can be shortened, data better tracked and collated and customers better served.

“Accepting this fact is going to be hard for some, but given the rate at which more people are becoming agents, those that differentiate how they provide value will rise above those who stay planted in old methods.”

We’re not there yet, but some of what I saw this year is closer than ever. What follows is a list of companies that found compelling ways to shorten business processes, soothe consumer paint points, leverage artificial intelligence for good and solve old problems in new ways.

Also, note how many companies listed have targeted the apartment industry and real estate investors.

The best-reviewed proptech of 2023

Ark7

Ark7 is a mobile and browser application that helps accredited and non-accredited investors invest in real estate. The company buys rental property (primarily single-family but some multifamily) under an LLC and sells shares of that entity at varying prices determined by the investor’s comfort level.

Share prices are determined by the property’s value and thus can be widespread across markets. The company is active in seven states, with extensive market and regional data for investors to consider. The company requires a three-month minimum hold on its properties. Users are provided a very consumer-facing UI/UX to peruse, analyze and buy into properties, as well as monitor each investment they make and track pending dividends. The company told me it has close to 32,000 active users, pays out $1.4 million in dividends monthly, and its portfolio is worth around $16 million.

Azibo

Azibo is a browser app to help property owner-operators who manage anywhere from five to 50 units get a handle on their finances, tenants and portfolio. It offers a clean, spartan user interface that focuses on only what’s needed to know about the state of small rental property business and how to react to its many variables. Smartly, Azibo offers an internal banking solution through which it collects most of its revenue — the software is free. Users can link third-party banking, too.

The software manages applications and offers a quick link to promote vacancies on whatever various outside tools owners use to find tenants. It easily tracks incoming payments, provides alerts for late payments and provides state-required leases (via RocketLawyer) or the ability to integrate custom leases. Its bookkeeping includes fee splitting, per-unit payment rules, vendor payment and oversight and a number of financial reports, including P&Ls and Schedule E filing.

Backflip

Backflip is a mobile application to help real estate investors find, analyze and buy property. The company is a lender, integrating fintech functionality that allows users to apply and gain approval either before they find a suitable investment or at the point of engagement.

Backflip is an outstanding example of just how well technology can flatten the long-manual, vexing real estate practice of finding and eventually flipping, single-family properties. Its intent is to make real estate investing something for everyone, or at least those comfortable enough to buy and borrow from a mobile app. Thus, this isn’t going to appeal, at least not yet, to your old-school ham-and-egger landlords.

BoomTown Pro

Inside Real Estate acquired BoomTown in January of 2023 and less than year into a clearly complex blending of products and people, managed to have a new product ready to show by August, BoomTown Pro.

I sat in an informal reveal of the product at Inman Connect Las Vegas and moderated a webinar on its rollout, but have yet to see it in a comprehensive demo. Nevertheless, the expertise of the combined brands and the confidence I have in IRE’s Vice President of Product gives me no reason to think that a quick turnaround will in no way impact the quality of the solution when it’s fully market-ready.

Cloze

Cloze is by no means new to 2023, but it continues to evolve for the better, and its latest applications of AI in smart client outreach through “ghostwriting” only further justifies its industry-wide respect. I’ve been writing about them since 2015 and remain impressed with the decisions its leadership takes toward adding features and deciding on partnerships.

It was the first CRM to create a two-way integration with popular design platform Canva and inked an enterprise deal with Brown Harris Stevens this year.

“Cloze is by far the best CRM I have ever used,” said Holly Smith, a BHS agent located in Palm Beach. “The AI features are amazing. It reminds you each morning who you need to follow up with, logs and attaches all calls and emails to a contact, and even writes emails for you with AI.”

Fello

Fello centers itself around a series of lead-capture website add-ons that can be easily customized, turned on and off, and fed into any number of integrated CRM solutions used by the brokerage, team or agent.

Fello essentially took its engagement tools from its iBuyer-first iteration and revamped them into its core competency through the custom widget experience, and finalized its CRM integrations, which can link the Fello customer with their BoomTown, Followup Boss, Hubspot, Brivity and Sierra Interactive accounts. Expect more CRMs link-ups as the product evolves. And in that department, Fello also provides record auditing, meaning it’ll improve the quality of your database through a combination of data provider partnerships and its own outreach tactics.

Formations

Formations is not accounting software. It’s a revenue tracking and tax management application that helps agents create an S-Corp and direct themselves as a business. It facilitates self-payroll, manages all tax withholdings, gauges tax-to-revenue metrics, tracks expenses and handles aspects of simple bookkeeping.

Formations can file tax returns, offer liability predictions and help agents control profit and loss. This is as well-designed software as I’ve seen in years, able to offer long-sought relief to any independent contractor who suffers from anxiety or stresses over the numeric nuance of business self-governance. This is what Turbo-Tax wants to be.

For any agent looking to better formalize themselves as a business, a characteristic any top producer will attest to being the difference maker, Formations is a smart, simple and highly valuable way to change how you manage your finances.

Fractional

In some ways, Fractional is a social media community about real estate investing. It’s also an investment coach and educational resource. All told, Fractional is a lot of things, and it’s all about real estate investing.

Fractional and its users find investment properties, create public proposals for like-minded group members and assemble a team of investors to purchase them.

The process involves extensive supporting information, multiple Zoom meetings and communications to ensure the team is aligned, an operating agreement, creation of an LLC and collection and processing of deposits and investment oversight.

Home365

Home365 is a property management company that delivers services through a web-based solution in conjunction with in-house staff and local professionals. The company financially and operationally covers all repairs, equipment purchases, tenant communications and transactions without requiring ownership approval. The intent is to serve those rental property owners who are unable to be hands-on and seek to make rented real estate a truly passive income source.

Owners are provided access to monitor all activities at their will, including extensive financial reports on all units under management. Tenants and service providers are also provided access to submit and respond to needs, respectively, often leveraging video confirmation.

This is a company blending human expertise with well-thought-out and targeted problem-solving technology to meet the needs of a large contingent of real estate owners.

ListAssist

ListAssist offers prompt and image-based, AI listing description generation for agents, as well as a larger-scale home search experience using image search, based on a form of AI called computer vision.

ListAssist’s latest version now further leverages its ability to read pictures, using it to create an image-based property search experience for brokerages and teams, meant to be deployed on websites. The company is now offering two forms of AI-supported marketing for the industry, one to help launch a property into the market, and a second to help aspiring owners find it. And like Restb.ai, ListAssist is striking deals to apply its AI to further data input for the MLS category.

Lundy

Lundy was developed specifically to give the visually impaired in America a better way to find a home. It also serves to cast a searing light on how poorly orchestrated so many home search destinations are when it comes to serving the blind, or nearly blind. Lundy’s voice skill works with partner multiple listing services to translate its listing data fields and longer form property descriptions into categorized audio narratives powered by Amazon’s voice technology.

Lundy works with its partners to map fields with its software, after which, all new listings entered will be immediately available for the voice skill to translate.

Luxury Presence CoPilot

Presence Copilot is the latest software product from Luxury Presence, the LA-based website development firm that has evolved into a “proptech” of sorts. It makes sense. Years of strategy intelligence gained from working closely with high-performing agents to build brands and web presences can result in a deep understanding of business-wide pain points. After all, the best real estate websites do more than brand-build and market listings; they solve problems for consumers.

The app isn’t using AI for the sake of it, and it’s not using it to merely recite input. It has legitimate productivity applications, such as the automatic assigning of verbal inputs to client records and the ability to segment a single note into bulleted lists and action items. This is for the agent who won’t look up from the screen when making their coffee order or who can meet someone in person with a phone to their ear. Sure, we all hate that person a little, but not when they’re our agent.

Mosaik

Mosaik takes over after a buyer or seller becomes a client, an operating system for what comes next. It openly eschews new lead generation (they call it, “bring your own leads”), but instead it uses its robust innovations in client experience to ensure the next time they buy or sell, it’ll be with you. It does what most CRMs should do without being a CRM. The software filters local MLS feeds into its proprietary collaborative and lifestyle-based search environment, actively tracks and reacts to all forms of client activity, offering automated alerts for new searches, lack of involvement, task response and other critical relationship insights.

Mosaik has finally shown me what’s possible when a software company actually takes time to consider how people look for homes. It’s wishlist-based, an accumulation of prioritized wants and needs input by the buyer and their agent, layered over properties they view. Each want and need is accompanied by a logic-based narrative, or “why” it’s important. This offers agents valuable insight into the buyer’s motivations, becoming actionable relationship data.

PayProp

PayProp is yet another very solid, well-designed and purpose-driven software offering to help the rental property owner and any property manager or agent put in place. The software uses a minimalist front-end design to simply communicate the numbers, trends and economic wherewithal of rented real estate assets.

There’s not an overabundance of spreadsheets or charts (there are some) but instead a series of clean dashboards that track payments, outgoing expenses, revenue streams and tenants. It can invoice, communicate with tenants, verify funds immediately and offer long-term portfolio insights. It sounds like a lot, but it’s all collapsed nicely into an organized menu structure and easy-to-understand features.

Rechat

There’s little this app can’t do to broaden an agent’s reach within their market. It’s well-versed in email marketing, video creation and outreach, listing promotion, creative asset production and distribution, contact management and then, on the post-lead capture end of things, it offers a competitive transaction oversight module that is surprisingly granular for a mobile-first approach. Rechat does a lot of what a lot of other apps do separately. It can consolidate a tech stack for tech-savvy brokers wanting to provide a single-point solution for lead nurture, brand-building, sales support and lightweight deal management.

The mobile UX is tight and engaging, and that commitment to using front-end design as a tactic to invigorate adoption is reflected in the web version. Agents looking to fully embrace what it takes to support a growing brand and tightly tie business to software should find a lot to like about Rechat. I fear it’s a bit much for those unsure of their ability to plan strategically.

RentRedi

RentRedi is a six-year-old software company with hundreds of thousands of units under management totaling close to $10 billion in value. It focuses on independent landlords — owner-operators — who make up the majority of rental property owners in America, according to PropertyManagement.com. The software tackles property oversight needs, including, maintenance, lease applications, tenant background checks, daily tasks, rent collection and lease oversight.

​​The software allows for granular control of each property, allowing the user to attach separate bank accounts to different properties, link leases to individual tenants in the same property and accept, respond to and track maintenance requests per unit. This gives the landlord a clear way to easily manage every repair and its related expense, something that Excel or a notebook and pen would make this important practice a great deal more challenging for most individual landlords.

Restb.ai

The 2023 Inman Innovator Award winner for Best Technology made itself known this year through a wide range of partnerships with multiple listing services and data providers. Its AI tools are helping to speed listing input, aiding in valuations, making home search more intuitive and natural and helping agents know how critical photography is to sale price. The Barcelona-based technology company has been making inroads into real estate for a number of years upon realizing the unfathomable amount of imagery that powers so much of what brokerages do and consumers rely upon.

“Our eight years of experience building real estate-specific computer vision models, deep ties to MLS software vendors, and the recent developments in generative AI models make our solution a truly unique and unmatched offering,” said Resb.ai Chief Product Officer Nathan Brannen in an April announcement.

Now that AI is a daily topic in proptech engineering departments and agent marketing meetings Restb.ai couldn’t be better positioned to further impact the space in 2024.

Showami

Showami is software that facilitates the broadcast, acceptance and payment of showing needs between licensed agents, offering teams and brokerages a quick way to create a showing delegation system. It can be used in a browser and on both major mobile operating systems. It can do more, however, offering a dependable solution for property managers and agents who work with single family investors as well as institutional buyers seeking to add to their portfolios. It offers a Platinum-level account for small cash-back incentives and faster payouts.

There’s nothing overly groundbreaking here, but it is really good purpose-driven software with some nice new touches added since its initial launch. The company has made smart moves into property management, choosing not to rely solely on residential showings. It’s also working with investors, independent and institutional.

SnapSnapSnap

SnapSnapSnap (Snap) is a mobile app by BoxBrownie for capturing listing photos. What’s unique about it is that it takes about 60 photos for one tap of the iPhone’s shutter button, capturing a space at all aspects of exposure. Because the capture takes a few seconds, as the iPhone does when taking a photo in Night Mode, a tripod is required … well, highly recommended, for the best results. Photos are uploaded automatically to BoxBrownie, if that option is selected, for final processing and integration of any additional edits, such as sky replacement, grass enhancement, virtual staging or even placing fire in the fireplace. Users need only move the tripod to each room needing to be photographed

This app can fill a big gap in the market by helping agents not quite equipped to pay for professional photography, or when the listing doesn’t always demand it. Snap can elevate bland properties and more importantly, how the next seller you speak to sees what you’re capable of. This is a powerful example of how technology is changing the way the industry works for the better.

Symba

Symba is a mobile app (a browser version is pending) for managing agents’ and teams’ transaction finances. It easily creates deal net sheets, connects multiple bank accounts, provides income/expense breakdowns, creates income projections, and clearly delineates tax obligations for every deal, quarterly and over time. Its fintech-light layered over a deal tracker, spliced with back-office accounting. It’s a superb tool for anyone new or growing in the business and a solid accessory solution for those already comfortable managing their numbers.

There’s a tool in my expedition first-aid kit called a pulse oximeter. You’ve likely had this little device clamped onto your finger on occasion, it manages blood O2 levels. This app is like that. Simple. Smart. And helps you know a lot about the status of your livelihood from only a few initial data points.

TheQwikFix

TheQwikFix is software for making sense of home inspections. It takes inspector-generated reports and converts them to digital, categorized repair summaries. It includes estimates and the ability to choose which items deserve the most attention in the deal.

The UI/UX complements the mission, making it easy to understand all the details intrinsic to such documentation. Clients can be added to the report views, which are broken down into major categories for easy digestion, which can hopefully make buyers less panic-stricken about what they’re getting into.

Trackxi

Trackxi is an app for managing all the little things that hamper progress between signature and closing. It’s not a clinical transaction manager, but more of an activity management solution, and it’s very good at it. It’s Trello, or Asana, for real estate deals. It includes task list templates, which can be edited; visual, actionable timelines; and dynamic calendering. Communications are handled in-app and can include title and mortgage vendors, as well as clients, using permission-based views to ensure they’re not distracted by irrelevant business tasks.

The company also includes a light CRM, manifested as an activity tracker or Client Journey log, that helps agents oversee who does what when, organized by individual. The intent of Trackxi is to support and inform users as to the who, when and what of a deal. Log in, find out, go about your day.

Zillow

Listing Showcase is a great tool because its making advanced marketing tools accessible to a wide array of agents. Yes, any number of CRM tools and marketing solutions can do this, but not quite at the scale of level of automation combined with the array of ways to present a listing. Real Geeks’ latest SEO website tool is pretty sharp, as is Access by Agent Image and Luxury Presence certainly helps automate property marketing. Still, these companies, as good as they are, don’t have Zillow’s reach, or their reputation. Once Zillow wins over the market, the benefits will only compound.

Interactive floor plans, AI-derived photo selection, content and image management, immersive tours and a host of other digital assets made easy to leverage are truly the characteristics of a super app.

Honorable mention

Here are some other companies that stood out this year worth watching in 2024.

AsterKey

I only got a look at this fintech app late in the year and it won’t formally launch until 2024. It’s an advanced, secure and consumer-first tool for verifying funds and a person’s financial wherewithal.

Aalto

This is a brokerage, not a technology product. Yet, they might just be setting the standard for how real estate agents work in the coming decade, if not much, much sooner.

Avenue 8

Like Aalto, this boutique Bay Area brokerage is betting big on how AI will make agents smarter, faster and more prepared to help their clients.

Delta Media Group – DeltaNet7

This super-flexible platform provides impressive customization capabilities to allow brokers and team leaders to deftly manipulate the tools and tactics needed to reach the market.

Dwellsy

Another entry into the apartment market, this search portal for rentals has the smarts — and funds — to keep tenants in the know.

Listing Toolkit by Realtor.com

Listing Toolkit is a resource for agents to attract more seller clients and uncover buyers seeking their homes, among other benefits. And with Realtor.com’s reach, expect a quickly evolving suite of benefits.

RealScout

A long-standing contributor to the healthy bottom lines of brokerages across the country, RealScout got busy in the midst of a down market, striking deals with Anywhere and CRM Cloze.

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

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