Are you interested in developing an ERP for real estate?
The real estate management software market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.9% and reach a value of 30.97 billion USD by 2030.
If you are looking to invest in the real estate industry, the growing market for real estate management software offers highly profitable opportunities to business owners. For example, you can build a real estate enterprise resource planning software that helps real estate professionals in property management, compliance considerations, financial audits, etc.
Let’s see how you can build feature-rich real estate ERP.
Building an ERP for Real Estate
You, as a real estate business owner, might find several ready-to-use ERP systems in the market that on the face appears to do the job, but when applied to your specific real estate business needs, you would likely find it coming up short.
You would need to perform extensive customizations to this ERP system, though many providers severely limit what you can do. The result is an inadequate ERP environment. A custom ERP solution created by you would fit your business requirements perfectly.
Alternatively, you might be a startup or enterprise company that wants to make a customizable ERP for real estate that takes advantage of holes in the market that existing systems don’t address and so allows you to grab a share of the highly lucrative customizable ERP real estate solution market.
No matter the reason why you want to develop an ERP real estate solution, this development requires a little time and a good development team.
Simply follow these steps to create a custom ERP for your real estate business.
Perform Market Research for Real Estate ERP Systems
You need to start by performing a requirement analysis of existing software management systems in the real estate market to understand the gaps in the operational and management activities.
We recommend you also evaluate the leading real estate ERP software solutions such as Buildium, BrokerMint, and RealSpace including their features and limitations, etc.
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Based on your target market research, you would need to decide on the features you want to build in your ERP for real estate professionals. Examples include a property management module, lease management module, customer service portal, finance management module, etc.
The features you plan to build in your real estate ERP would define your ERP development project scope. You need this project scope to further define what software developers you would need and what infrastructure, security protocols, etc.
Build an ERP Development Team
If you decide to build a custom ERP system for your real estate company, then you need to hire a professional development team. The specialists you’ll need can include:
- A project manager who plans the software development lifecycle assigns development tasks to team members and helps you track your project’s progress.
- A business analyst researches the target audience and proposes solutions to meet users’ needs.
- A UI/UX designer designs the software application’s user interface and layout.
- Front-end developers develop the front-end of the software according to the design prototypes.
- Backend developers code the backend features, implement the data model, integrate APIs, deploy the application, etc.
- A project manager or PM.
- QA engineers test the software application for errors, bugs, performance, etc.
Choose the right ERP Project Management Methodology
You need to choose the right project management methodology for your development team to follow. Agile development methodologies are very popular as they break the project down into sprints which helps with delays and ensuring app security, etc.
Agile development frameworks like scrum, kanban, etc., are also widely used because they have a number of benefits. For more on the top development methodologies, you can read our article here.
Kanban is a project management methodology based on a continuous workflow structure. It visualizes workflow in the form of a kanban board using user stories or work items.
The workflow has multiple stages like To Do, In Progress, In Review, Blocked, and Done that help your developers to manage tasks more efficiently. Kanban works best if your project has many incoming requirements with varying priorities.
Kanban is not an appropriate approach in situations where you have tasks that are impossible to finish in one development iteration, etc.
The agile scrum methodology works well with changing project requirements but follows a specific period of time to complete tasks. The scrum approach divides the whole development project into smaller iterations or sprints. However, Scrum is less flexible in terms of adding tasks midway during an iteration compared to Kanban.
There are lots of software development methodologies out there so we recommend doing your research before you start on the next stage.
If you have a small development team that plans to continuously improve your ERP software product through multiple milestones i.e. developing an MVP, we suggest you build a scrum team. Your small cross-functional team would need to collaborate closely to quickly deliver features to your end-users, this is where Scrum excels.
You can read our article on how to implement agile in your organization for more information.
Provision of Software Development Infrastructure
Next, you need to decide on your software development infrastructure. This includes application servers, memory management systems, development IDEs, database technology, file management systems, etc.
Managed cloud computing technologies are the best solution to overcome the typical installation and maintenance challenges of on-premises computing and storage resources, as such, they are becoming the norm so far as software development goes.
Cloud computing offerings such as IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) would accelerate your ERP development process.
For example, Microsoft Azure IaaS products and services offer the following advantages:
- Azure virtual desktops allow your developers to work from anywhere remotely.
- You can easily manage and automate much of the management of your cloud resources.
- You get high security and cost savings.
You can also use Azure PaaS services for ERP system development. Azure PaaS includes the following services and advantages:
- You can build web apps with automatic updates, scalability, and built-in security. You do not have to manage operating systems.
- You can design logic apps to automate your business logic using built-in or custom connector resources.
- You can manage your ERP data with high security and efficiency using Azure SQL, a relational database.
There are many other cloud providers who offer a wide range of services. We recommend you research them to find the best offering for your project specifications.
Design ERP for Real Estate
UI/UX designers help you design a visually appealing and intuitive user interface, including user interface components.
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App designers create wireframes and prototypes showing the layout of software applications and the interaction between various UI components. Your designers should focus on creating an intuitive but exciting navigation menu pattern, app icons, color themes, etc.
Your UI/UX designers would use tools like Sketch to design application mockups.
Sketch offers features for a collaborative design process with an extensive plugin library that would help your UI designers design such features as animated real estate tours, interactive maps, a translation function, build device-adapted layouts, create developer handoffs, etc.
Develop ERP Features
Your software developers need to code the frontend and backend components of your ERP application.
Front-end developers need to code a user-friendly user interface as designed by your UI/UX designers, You need to choose a technology stack that suits your ERP project requirements.
Consider using the following technologies to develop the front end of your ERP:
You need to follow the appropriate guidelines to build an effective and interactive UI for a real estate ERP. Examples include the appropriate user interface design guidelines for web apps, human interface guidelines for iOS apps, material design guidelines for Android apps, etc.
Multiple programming languages are usually employed to build an enterprise-level software system. Some common ones include Java, C#, Ruby, etc.
These programming languages have an extensive library collection to help your developers develop ERP software features quickly. These high-level programming languages have a small learning curve, which often means that mid-level developers are able to effectively work on very complex projects too.
We suggest that you partner with developers experienced in using frameworks for backend application development. We recommend the following frameworks for backend development:
- You can use Spring Boot, a Java framework, that helps build standalone applications. It offers flexible XML configurations, batch processing, database transactions, and a variety of built-in tools to help your developers code ERP software efficiently.
- You can use ASP.Net with C# to build ERP applications with tighter security and improved performance. It has a rich development environment and helps build reliable software applications.
- Ruby on Rails offers characteristics like MVC architecture, automated deployment, etc., and provides default structures for a database, web service, and web pages. Your developers can use Ruby on Rails with Ruby programming language to develop an ERP web application efficiently.
API architecture helps build a modular software system where each component is independent. Software modules use APIs to communicate and interact.
We suggest you partner with developers familiar with application programming interfaces (API), including API architectures like REST, SOAP, and RPC.
Moreover, you require developers knowledgeable in GraphQL, an application layer server-side technology to handle client-server communication efficiently using tools like GraphQL Editor, GraphQL Voyager, etc.
Your developers also need to integrate external software services into your ERP application through APIs. Third-party API integrations reduce development time and accelerate the development process since developers do not have to build each feature from scratch.
For example, your developers might integrate a third-party property listing service, customer service chatbot, user feedback form, etc. However, your developers need to be cautious about introducing too many external dependencies into your ERP application.
Machine Learning Development
Machine learning technology helps a development team build advanced capabilities into an ERP system, such as a personalized user experience, AI-powered chatbots for enhanced customer support, etc.
Machine learning models work on big data. They read vast amounts of data and learn data patterns. They can predict trends based on historical data. Such data processing and analytics capabilities help in trend forecasting and business decision-making.
For example, you can use ML to predict a market-competitive property value, perform advanced real estate analysis such as reviews of facilities, probability of natural disasters, etc., and implement an AI-powered property management feature that automates tracking of property listings, renters’ applications, etc.
There are various machine learning toolkits that help developers quickly implement and run machine learning models. Using such tools, your developers won’t need to implement machine learning algorithms from scratch. However, a thorough understanding of standard machine learning algorithms helps to choose the right model for your business data and implement it effectively.
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Some machine learning concepts that your developers should be familiar with include supervised machine learning, unsupervised machine learning, reinforcement learning, deep learning, etc.
We suggest you look for developers with proficiency in the Python language as it is popular for machine learning and data science tasks and offers a range of machine learning libraries to developers like, NumPy, PyTorch, Scikit-learn, Numpy, Theano, etc.
Test your Real Estate ERP System
Now that your development team has built all the features, your QA engineers or software testers need to conduct thorough ERP system testing. App testers run test routines for security testing, performance testing, feature testing, usability testing, etc.
Testers automate test scripts to test software in various business scenarios and verify the features are working as well as overall application performance.
Deploy and Configure
Your development team needs to follow your deployment plan when releasing your ERP. We recommend they first deploy the high-priority features, followed by low-priority ones. Your developers must also configure new ERP modules with the existing system and verify their performance.
DevOps practices that your developers need to follow include automation of deployment tasks, continuous testing/continuous configuration, etc.
Your developers would use DevOps tools like:
- QuerySurge provides continuous testing, detailed data analytics, detection of requirements and code changes, automatic code merge and conflict management, etc.;
- Solarwinds DevOps provides increased security of deployment pipeline, visibility into database performance, role-based privileges, etc.;
- Jenkins offers a built-in GUI for easy updates, multiple plugins to create and test projects, continuous integration/continuous delivery, task distribution across numerous machines, etc.
Monitor ERP and Provide Support
Lastly, you need to monitor your ERP solution in a real estate business environment. We suggest you use KPIs to measure real-estate software performance and users’ productivity. A few of these KPIs for real estate ERPs are tenant turnover, return on investment, occupancy rates, client feedback, revenue growth, etc.
Moreover, you need to provide continuous maintenance support to ensure your ERP remains compatible with the latest technologies, software versions, hardware upgrades, etc.
Planning to Create an ERP for Real Estate Development?
You need an excellent software development team to develop a custom ERP for the real estate industry. If you do not find all the talent you need in your existing team, we would advise you to partner with an experienced software development agency to outsource their developers.
Why not take a moment to get in touch and see what our field-expert community of software developers at DevTeam.Space can do for you? All our developers and project managers are skilled in the latest technologies and have experience in undertaking software development across multiple industries.
You can easily partner with these vetted and highly-skilled software developers for your ERP development project by sending us your initial project specifications.
One of our account managers will get back to you to discuss further details on how we can help you build the right ERP software for real estate investment firms.
FAQs on ERP for Real Estate
As a company with very specific business processes and methodologies, you need to ensure your needs would be met by your ERP solution. Now, you can buy an off-the-shelf best ERP software like SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, etc., and implement it in your real estate company, however, if you have specific business requirements, we recommend you build a custom ERP system with the help of experienced developers as it is a complex project.
Real estate ERP solutions are business management software with tools for real estate companies to streamline multiple real estate operations, including accounting, rental, real estate agents, customers, property management software, etc.
The key features of ERP software include integration of operations, like marketing and sales activities, automation of tasks, data analysis, reporting, financial management, human resources management, customer relationship management, inventory management, etc.