Proptech SaaS businesses like Buildout and Zillow are gaining traction as more and more real estate organizations use software to automate procedures and optimize operations.
While cloud-based apps provided over the Internet may not come as a surprise to some in some sectors, like real estate, which has been immune to technological advancement for decades, SaaS Proptech’s full promise has not yet been realized.
We are prepared to share with you some important insights and lessons learned on how to effectively develop SaaS for real estate. Having worked at the intersection of proptech and SaaS for more than ten years, we have written 17 real estate SaaS products and managed multiple custom SaaS development projects.
What is SaaS?
Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS for short, is a subscription-based software distribution model where a cloud provider gives its clients access to a ready-to-use solution via a mobile app or browser without requiring installation.
Users pay a set “rent” cost on a monthly or yearly basis based on their subscription plan to evaluate the service; software upgrades and system maintenance are the exclusive responsibility of the SaaS provider. The program and all client data are kept in a distant location on servers owned by the provider, sometimes known as the “cloud.”
SaaS, to put it briefly, is software that you use temporarily rather than owning; it works similarly to Uber for cab orders and Canva for graphic creation.
How Does SaaS Work?
paradigm of several tenants. Multiple clients (tenants) may get one software instance from the provider at a time, and they can alter some aspects of the program, such the UI’s color or business rules, but not the code.
cloud-based software. The program is delivered by the supplier over the Internet for a fixed fee, per user, per storage, or pay as you go (see below). So, clients may just pay a “rent” price and use technological services as needed, rather than purchasing, owning, and maintaining actual data centers and servers.
model of pricing. Flat rate pricing, in which customers pay a single charge for a predetermined set of capabilities, is the most often used monetization model for all SaaS products, and proptech SaaS in particular. However, there are other pricing choices available:
The cost of storage space is determined by the user based on the per-storage model. Sync, Google Drive, and OneDrive are some of the leading SaaS providers with per-storage model pricing.
Per-User Model: Users pay based on the number of users who will use the software (Slack).
Pay as You Go: Also referred to as usage-based pricing, this approach of charging increases with the amount of services used by clients (Chargify, ConvertKit, and SendGrid).
Is SaaS Going to Displace On-Premises Software?
Yes, exactly. You may as well declare conventional systems that rely only on our hardware to be practically extinct species since, for better or worse, not a single on-premises software firm has been formed in the globe since 2007 .
One thing is obvious from the startling amount of SaaS firms that are overtaking the technology industry: SaaS is the new standard for software development and delivery, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.
But don’t simply believe what I say. The graph below demonstrates how businesses are gradually but steadily moving to the cloud and increasingly depending on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions as their primary technological option.
Currently, 78% of businesses use SaaS; but, given how fast cloud computing has permeated the main commercial domains, it wouldn’t be shocking if this statistic were to grow to 100% in a few years.
The Advantages of On-Premise Software vs. SaaS for Real Estate
From the initial wave of CRE technology breakthroughs, the real estate sector has long been recognized for its steadfast adherence to antiquated systems and rudimentary productivity tools like Excel and Outlook.
Not only has this antiquated technology delayed the digital revolution in real estate for years, but it is also expensive to grow, maintain, and improve. Sadly, the list doesn’t end here.
The sector might perhaps consider moving outdated systems to the cloud or giving them up entirely in favor of proptech SaaS alternatives.
Offers a plethora of advantages and novel prospects for important stakeholders of a nascent SaaS proptech application.
The simplicity of use of software as a service is one of its best features. Proptech SaaS solutions save costly technological setup and system downtime by allowing clients to simply choose their preferred subscription package and get started. The solutions are fully installed and configured.
No disproportionate upfront payments
Customers have much more discretion over how they spend their money, whether they are paying a fixed charge or “pay as you go” use rates. Customers may purchase a membership for the time and features they need, cancel it when they are done using the service, and save money.
The most attractive features proptech SaaS companies offer to real estate agencies are cost and speed of implementation. Real estate agencies are often hesitant to make large upfront payments and would prefer to pay less for a partial solution than to make a large one-time investment and experience significant system outages.
Without effort, upkeep and upgrades
Real estate companies, which usually lack internal IT staff, also greatly appreciate the benefit of real estate SaaS solutions as they eliminate their need to worry about technical issues since smooth system updates and maintenance are already covered by their regular membership fee. Furthermore, in the event that any performance problems arise, the SaaS proptech supplier will again provide assistance without further cost
Scaling Up and Down Elastically
Most real estate SaaS software is designed on multi-tenant designs, which allow for elastic scaling to meet client needs. You only pay for what you use, so you may extend your feature set and add as many users as you need to keep up with the development of your company.
Examples of Real Estate SaaS Products
Real estate is the largest sector in the world, with $33.6 trillion in the US alone. It has several elements, including construction, brokerage services, and real estate transactions, each with its own set of challenges and difficulties. You may estimate how many real estate SaaS firms and solutions there could be by multiplying this by the number of real estate stakeholders (buyers, sellers, tenants, landlords, etc.).
They are not there yet, which is wonderful news. Therefore, for those who want to start working on developing a revolutionary proptech SaaS solution, there are plenty of low-hanging fruit.
First, there could be residential proptech SaaS solutions for residential property stakeholders (renters, landlords, real estate agents, etc.) buying, selling, representing, and managing residential physical spaces (single-family houses, apartments, townhouses, etc.); these would cater to the needs of the major CRE players (investors, renters, appraisers, real estate agents, etc.) revolving around commercial real estate (office spaces, industrial properties, multi-family, etc.).
SaaS solutions for property administration, real estate agents, and planning and construction may serve both commercial and residential markets.
SaaS CRM Systems for Proptech
CRM, or customer relationship management, systems are made to combine all business operations into a single system, from prospecting to deal closing. This enhances teamwork and helps the organization aggregate data. Apto, Buildout, and Appic Softwares are the top real estate SaaS CRM systems; they are all based on Salesforce, the largest CRM SaaS supplier in the world.
Tools for Listing Management
These resources support the creation and upkeep of listing websites and property records by real estate brokers. Listing management systems may be seamlessly integrated with the current CRM system to automatically extract even the smallest facts, including property type, address information, year of construction, interior and external characteristics, and amenities.
Systems for Construction Management
Throughout a building project, these cloud-based real estate SaaS systems (Built, Procore, Buildertrend) seamlessly link builders, designers, developers, engineers, and tradesmen, guaranteeing compliance with budgets, sustainability principles, and performance standards.
What We’ve Learned When Building Proptech SaaS
User Experience Is What Makes Real Estate SaaS Live or Die.
This is true for almost all SaaS applications, but users of SaaS for real estate may have particular preferences when it comes to the platform they choose to spend a significant amount of money in. Furthermore, don’t let the fact that real estate clients have historically benefited less from technology deceive you; they still want their apps to seem clear and attractive. This is mostly due to:
Since real estate agents often don’t have huge funds for technological advancements, every dollar they invest need to be justified.
Your target consumers will utilize SaaS real estate—whether it be basic productivity tools or CRM systems—on a regular basis. Furthermore, given how busy real estate processes can become, your SaaS solution for real estate should be prepared to make those chores easier with an easy-to-use interface.
- Because your end users will be handling sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, bank account information, transaction history, etc., your proptech SaaS solution has to meet the SaaS-specific security criteria listed below.
- Control of Access. Regardless of the device being used, the SaaS proptech supplier must provide a uniform framework for managing user authentication using business rules that establish the proper user access based on organizational role, the system being accessed, data needs, and process assignments.
- Control of the network. Security groups manage network access to certain instances of the SaaS product for real estate. This may also contain network access control lists (NACL) and jump servers for even more detailed management.
- Network Control at the Periphery. Historically, the focus of perimeter defense has been on managing traffic entering and leaving a data center network. A firewall, which filters out potentially hazardous or unknown traffic that can pose a threat based on a set of rules regarding the kinds of traffic and allowed source/destination addresses on the network, is the main piece of technology supporting perimeter defense. Once suspicious traffic has gone past the firewall, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS) are often used by SaaS providers for real estate to offer further layers of perimeter security.
- Virtual Machine Administration. Regular upgrades straight to your virtual machine are necessary to guarantee the security of your proptech SaaS architecture. Identifying the newest risks and patches on the market necessitates a substantial expenditure in order to stay current. These duties are regularly carried out by a SaaS provider on third-party software developers and standardized virtual machine images. As a consequence, there is a shorter wait between a breach and the subsequent fix.
- Data Security. The SaaS real estate provider’s approach to avoiding a data breach, which mainly entails employing several techniques for data encryption both at rest and in transit, is the most crucial procedure of all. In order to prevent cloud operations workers from decrypting client data, best practice solutions provide consumers authority over their encryption keys. In order to achieve a high degree of security, they also use encryption technology for data that is not in use. This technology offers choices for constructing a hierarchy of client-side and server-side encryption, customer control, and comprehensive audit trails at different levels of the hierarchy. The strict security measures needed for personally identifiable information (PII) make all of this much more crucial.
- Management of incidents and governance. Procedures for looking into any possible security breaches must be in place, and certain event categories must be recorded, reported, and followed through on until they are resolved.
- Dependability and Scalability. The ability to expand the capacity of current hardware or software by adding resources as and when required is one of the cloud’s greatest capabilities. Because it can only grow as big as the server, vertical scalability is constrained. The capacity to link many hardware or software components, such servers, so they function as a single logical entity is known as horizontal scaling. However, a proptech SaaS solution provider has to include a significant level of horizontal redundancy into the infrastructure to guarantee service continuity since this type of scale cannot be established instantly. In the case of a regional catastrophe caused by nature or man-made events, a disaster recovery (DR) plan has to be implemented in order to replicate data and services.