The Top 5 Commercial Real Estate CRM Programs?

The Top 5 Commercial Real Estate CRM Programs?

The big question.

This is without a doubt the question I am asked the most. “Hey Duke which CRM program are you using or would recommend?” My answer is usually “depends” and then a conversation ensues.

Now the idea behind this article is to highlight the five CRM programs that I think are the best for commercial real estate.

Now before it even get’s started these are MY FIVE they may not be your five.

So to help push the conversation even further it would serve everyone who has an opinion about MY FIVE to not only opine but state their experiences with each of these products.

Let’s push this even further. It would be fantastic to see what other CRM programs are being used. So please post those up with links and throw in some comments. If you are a rep for a CRM company jump right in and pitch until your heart’s content. Here is a big wide free commercial real estate platform with thousands and thousands of readers and potential customers.


1. Salesforce.

Do I even need to make any comments? It is THE platform for CRM. Yes I, know Oracle and a few others are in the mix but it’s Salesforce. Google is to search what Salesforce is to CRM.

2. REA Real Estate Assistant.

I first started using REA like way back in the floppy disc era. I was maybe 10 years old. 🙂 Seriously. REA has been in the commercial real estate game for 30 plus years. They have it down to a science. Hard not to put REA number one.


Michael Griffin is a “seasoned” product developer of CRE tech products. With Clientlook he has created a simple easy cloudbased mobile CRM just for commercial real estate with some beautiful tutorial videos.

4. APTO.

Aptotude bursting on the commercial real estate scene from Houston. I not sure if they want to be called a start-up or not but with such a great product gaining incredible traction who cares what your company is called. I met them at ICSC in Las Vegas. I’m the pretty one in the middle. Great people wonderful attitude hard-working and pure professionals.apto














5. Insightly.

Yes I know it’s not “specifically” for commercial real estate. It does do a great job of integrating with Google Apps so that is one of the reasons it made the list. They do have 300,000 users in 100 countries they must be doing something right.

So there it is. MY FIVE.

I didn’t dig to deep. I didn’t really need to.

There are some very smart and brilliant people in commercial real estate. I know they already have.

The Top 5 Commercial Real Estate CRM Programs?

Your thoughts opinions and comments are always appreciated.

Duke Long


  • So if you had a choice between Propertybase and Apto, who’d you go with? It looks like over the last year a lot of the CRE platforms built on Salesforce have become increasingly similar… wondering who you think stands out? Propertybase, Apto and Rethink look like the top runners to me, beyond that I can’t tell who’s the better one to go with.

    • Have you checked out REthink? We looked at all three- Apto, PropertyBase, and REthink- and ended up choosing the REthink team. All products looked similar and had very similar workflows, however, the REthink team was hands down the most experienced and professional team. PropertyBase is located in Germany, which was quite concerning to our team. If anything ever went down in the afternoon, it would be a nightmare to have to wait until the next morning to get a response from Germany. The Apto team was nice, however, they did not seem to fully understand the technology and how it would scale to our entire brokerage (over a thousand agents). The REthink team has experience with both small and large brokerages and that experience comes across quickly and easily when you meet their team. Our pick- REthink all the way!

  • Thanks for this, Duke! I, like you, started with REA as a child in 1992 and used it religiously through its various changes. I now find it impossible to use and understand. Tim Creagh does a nice job with the webinars and demos but I don’t get it…and have heard that complaint from others. Consequently, I have used Outlook and Constant Contact recently…which are not classic CRMs. I am intrigued by Apto…a bolt on to Sales Force and will be checking it out when they respond to my demo request.

    • Your last sentence is key. The fact that you had to request a demo is an insane way to sell a software product. How many potential customers do you think Apto lost by forcing site visitors to ‘request a demo’ instead of having a ‘sign up in less than 30 seconds’ page?

      CRE software providers need a collective slap across the head. I mean look at the site – come on, 2013 was 10 years ago! Software doesn’t come in a box any more. Gurrrr.

      • Hey there, Chase! Just to separate the “sign up to request a demo” argument – which I don’t disagree with – from the actual product/service comparison… I would suggest that you give Apto a chance if you have not already. They are ready and willing to adapt to the changing needs of CRE on a daily basis, so I’m sure they would take your suggestions very seriously. All the best to you!

        • Oh, I’m sure it’s great software. It doesn’t work with my use case (I’m an appraiser), but I bet it’s awesome for brokers and you can’t beat building on salesforce for this type of solution!

  • Aptotude has nice landing page but no freaking way to sign up without jumping through hoops.

    It’s 2013 and I don’t need to ‘request a demo’ ~ show me where to put my name and credit card; that’s it.

    You’d think that software companies would actually be interested in getting users on board with their products.

    I just redesigned their signup page in 5 mins which would lead to a 10x conversion rate.

    For example, their original signup page:

    Vs. my redesigned version (attached photo)

    You’re welcome, Aptotude.

  • Apto ( – fantastic product, service and people – and a great blog ( as well. Very clean, easy-to-comprehend user interface which uses ( platform.

    After getting better acquainted with Apto I can see why it’s gaining momentum/recognition as the best CRM specific to CRE brokerage – great product/service coupled with valuable integration.

  • Apto. to say there is great customer service would be a dramatic understatement. these guys will get you up and running very quickly. I am about as tech illiterate as they come, but with Apto you feel like you have a real equity partner and teammate in your business. you quickly realize the vast inefficiencies in most CRMs and the potential you have with the Apto interface to really take it to the next level. it’s the kind of jump that really allows you to visualize your business in an entirely different way. too many brokers out there doing it only a half step better than the old rolodex system.

  • Unused ClientLook for a year, it was good, but very few clients used the “client look”, mostly because my team does a great job of follow up and keeping clients informed. Without a need for that feature, I moved to Insightly, and the Google Apps integration is awesome. Nothing gets lost and no opportunities missed now. Glad to see it on the list.

  • Duke, thanks a lot for including ClientLook. We’ve got a big announcement coming in the near future that’s going to significantly differentiate our CRM offering. We are really excited about it. I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop.

    Michael Griffin

  • My team runs a service that automatically updates address books and CRMs and our clients (many in real estate) first asked for a connection to salesforce and highrise (and Salesforce is by far the dominant CRM they use).

    From there, Zoho and Insightly are the next on board as many of our users are on those platforms. Finally, Contactually is another lightweight CRM that we’ve heard our real-estate clients particularly enjoy. Anyone who is tired of copying/pasting contact info (and making sure it’s up to date) might enjoy checking out to automate that process.

  • Hey all,

    Duke thanks for the invite to pitch to our hearts content. I’ve been a broker for 11 years and was a dot com guy prior to that. After getting frustrated with the complexity and learn curve of many of the CRE products for agents, I assembled a team and built my own from the ground up for agents, teams and offices. I started the journey about 6 years ago (4 full version prototypes) and we just launched about 3 weeks ago. We made a cloud based system that is extremely easy-to-use given the complexity of the data and relationships in our industry. Our beta users were up and using the system comfortably in less than an hour. We have one 70+ year old tech adverse agent who was using the system comfortably in a few days.

    We also setup the system so agents control their data and can form teams or offices (with any user of the system) choose which records to share (and with which team), then take their Rolodex with them if they leave the team or office. Fundementally, we said agents spent a career building their relationships and data, so they shouldn’t have to leave it with their old firm when they leave. The system allows agents to track and manage listings, requirements, properties, units, tenants, contacts, deals, escrows, and much more and has reports designed around the information agents need to provide to their clients and their broker.

    We also an iPad app coming out in by the end of the month designed to provide tools agents need when they are in the field.

    Due to the fact that we just launched and are working to get our name out there we are offering a promotional subscription price right now of $15/mo. for a limited number of users.

    If you are looking at CRE CRM’s you should talk a look at our system. Standard 30 day trial, free data upload, pay at the end of 30 days.

    Chris Barbieri – CEO
    Building Blocks CRE

    • I’ve used Realhound for 6 years and it has served me well. I like the property/contact integration and the fact that it is automatically backed up on their server. It’s easy to share with multiple users and doesn’t require in house servers, etc; however, there are quirks and challenges in integration with Outlook, synching with smartphone, etc. I am looking for a “leaner” solution that will be easier to use in a team environment. I was in tech industry for many years before commercial real estate and most commercial folks don;t share my interest in learning new technology, so Realhound is not of interest to them. I’ve tried REA demo trial twice and it has good function, for me Realhound is easier to use, but that is probably because I’m accustomed to it.For other “cloud based” solutions, I DO NOT wan to integrate with Google apps and the “forced” integration approach that implies. I do want the CRM software to be easy to use on a mobile platform, Realhound isn’t. I’ve considered Client Look and am intrigued with their Xceligent announcement. I’m still looking but need to make a decision quickly to support a new , small commercial real estate operation we are starting.

    • Don’t use RealHound. They have great features, and the product would be amazing…. if it worked. I’ve been waiting for the last 2.5 months for them to fix a bug that makes it freeze up when I use it for more than a minute. I keep getting the run around assuming because they cannot figure out what’s wrong. Then, to top it off, I cannot get the data out from all the endless hours I spent putting it in when it did work. So, if you ever want to change CRM’s, say goodbye to the data you put in. They have an export feature, but it only gives errors when you try and export your detailed data. All you can take with you is the basic contact information and basic property information. NONE of the details or notes that make a CRM useful. They started out amazing, but then just quit on me. Don’t repeat my mistake, use any other software besides RealHound.

  • I looked hard at Salesforce. It had great information, but for the custom fields I wanted, there was a large upfront cost to setting it up. If money were no object and if there was a guarentee, it would be a no brainer.

  • I’m curious why no one has mentioned ACT, formerly by Sage, now Swiftpage. Almost everyone in our office uses it. A fellow named Chuck Cutler runs webinars on it. Any thoughts?

  • The problem with most “real estate CRM” packages is that they’re oriented towards the broker. There’s not a lot for the developer, REIT, or investment firm. I just selected Maximizer CRM Live for a developer client because it had all of the enterprise/web/mobile capabilities along with a great way to customize the info and workflow needed. Plus, it’s been around for decades so it had the support and customer base I insist on. REA was a definite consideration, but they’re just now working on the workflow a developer needs so they’re not ready yet. Salesforce for a non-broker environment is way too expensive, too cumbersome, and too generic – you have to spend way too much time and money to get it the way you need it.

  • Hi Duke, Valeria from Ascendix is here. You’ve featured our AscendixRE CRM multiple times since this post was published, but let me add some information about our CRM here as well as this post is in the top of the Google search 🙂

    AscendixRE is a commercial real estate CRM that is available on top of Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365. Manage your properties, leases, listings, deals, contacts, accounts, activities in one place and from anywhere. Intuitive deal flow, interactive stacking plans, advanced search, commission calculations. We have no user minimum for our Salesforce version, and individual brokers love it.

    Learn more at

    We have 2 killer features:

    Ascendix Search tool. It is an advanced Salesforce searching tool that makes it easy to search your data, create calling and marketing lists, export them to Excel, mass edit records. It is straightforward, and an average user can do cross-object searches, display properties on maps and build related views without IT department. You can learn more at

    xRE Composer add-on that allows brokers to generate good-looking brochures with a few clicks. It pulls data and images from your AscendixRE CRM and imports them seamlessly into a preset template. You can send the generated files to multiple recipients right from your CRM.