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Gwen Chen
By
June 07, 2019

Real Estate Company Transforms Operations with Custom Management Apps

In competitive residential real estate, data is as good as gold. Information needs to reach agents in a timely manner, so they can identify deals, close properties, and flip them at the right time for profit. 

Unfortunately, information doesn’t always flow as smoothly as it should. Many real estate companies still lack effective backend management systems—and they’re paying dearly for it. 

Recently, Benchmarq Homes, a Pennsylvania-based real estate company that specializes in buying and selling foreclosed properties, faced this exact problem. 

Here’s how they turned things around with AppSheet.

AppSheet Customer Benchmarq Homes

Challenge: Streamlining management

Benchmarq is a small team that runs a big operation. The company does business across 15 counties in Pennsylvania, which means they have a significant amount of listings to sort through on a monthly basis.

Up until recently, however, the company had no underlying data management system in place.

“Each employee had their own way of doing business,” says asset manager Jaden Bodden. “It was a complete mess.”

The lack of organization and communication, Bodden says, led to massive losses. In just two years, the company lost about $500,000 on 12 properties, primarily because employees would buy houses on a whim with no vetting or control mechanisms in place. 

Making matters worse, the company had no way of tracking progress once properties were acquired. As a result, Benchmarq was holding onto properties for far too long. Some agents were holding on to properties for an abysmal average of 300 days.

Solution: AppSheet

Something had to be done, and so Bodden and his team set out to find a digital solution that could help the company operate more cohesively.

Benchmarq was prepared to finance an off-the-shelf management system to streamline their operations. However, the company couldn’t find a solution that would match their unique needs.

Bodden eventually decided to build custom a custom app from scratch using AppSheet’s no-code development platform.

Bodden chose AppSheet primarily because it’s:

  • Highly customizable: AppSheet can integrate with many types of databases and spreadsheets, making it easy to pull data from various sources.
  • Mobile-friendly: Bodden also liked the fact his team can use AppSheet to create apps that are highly responsive and visually appealing—making them easily accessible to workers who are on-the-go.
  • Simple to use: Like many developers, Bodden has limited technical experience. AppSheet allows him to learn on the fly and create custom apps with minimal training.

The App

Bodden created an advanced app that the team now uses to track and manage all of its properties. The app interfaces with Google Sheets, which serves as the company’s main internal backend database.

Using AppSheet’s slice feature, Bodden designed a system that strategically moves properties into various views based on their status. Once a property is closed, for instance, it will only show on the “Closed” view. This way, when agents are viewing their active properties, that data isn’t cluttered up by their closed properties too—those are completely separate.

What they see is a detailed, up-to-date list of their open and closed properties—as well as supporting financial metrics to assess their current and future costs.

Using security filters, Bodden has made it so that agents can only see their properties in the app. This reduces clutter since it prevents agents from having to sort through listings that don’t affect them. It also prevents agents from seeing how much other employees are making off commissions.

Each app is also customized for each agent. This personalization allows the app to present important data to each user in an organized manner. 

One of Bodden’s favorite AppSheet features is the Performance Profiler, which helped him understand performance while designing the app.

“With the Performance Profiler, I was able to make sure things I was adding weren't causing huge increases to the sync time,” he says. “There were a few times that I saw huge spikes in sync time, but I was able to look at the analysis and figure out exactly what it was and fix or remove whatever was causing the issue.”

Results

AppSheet has been a total success for Benchmarq. Employees have embraced the app with minimal pushback. AppSheet is boosting profits, making it easier for agents to close deals and track progress while reducing stress and increasing productivity. 

Thanks to AppSheet, Benchmarq is able to move properties much faster than it could in the past.

Before we implemented this system, we had some properties that were significantly hurting our bottom line,” Bodden concludes. “You carry a $400,000 property for 18 to 20 months and the cost of carry becomes outrageous. Now, we’re only holding onto properties for four to five months on average. The lower carrying costs have substantially improved our bottom line. It’s been great; everyone has benefitted.”

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