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Cloud CMA and the downfall of crappy real estate software

Real estate pros have been fed really crappy software for a long time – applications that are complex, sclerotic manifestations of design processes sealed off from the needs of users.

Thankfully, that’s starting to change. Cloud CMA, which launched at Real Estate Connect NYC two weeks ago, is one of a growing number of apps driving that shift.

The application – which, as the name suggests, is a Web-based CMA and property report tool – evidences a deep mindfulness of end-users. Greg Robertson and Dan Woolley at W&R Studios, the brains behind CloudCMA, have raised the bar on UI design for real estate software by applying this sensibility.

Terabitz (a 1000watt client) has followed this path with the brokerage Website interface; the RPR reflects a user-focused design process in its display of property information. More examples are on the way.

I’m particularly excited about Cloud CMA because it’s a core real estate app. Robertson and Woolley didn’t design a tool for tracking the tweets of escrow officers; they put on their user goggles and tackled an established category notorious for nasty software.

Today, most agents create CMA’s using poorly designed applications bolted to their MLS or to their broker’s Website. They navigate a phalanx of drop-down menus, radio buttons and what I call “mystery clicks.”

When you focus on the user, you cast away most of that stuff and leave only those things that help the user complete the task they’re seeking to complete.

I’m not going to go into a detailed review of CloudCMA’s features because, well, you probably know what a CMA is. Cloud CMA just makes creating them (along with buyer tour reports and individual property reports) a lot easier.

I will mention that there are a couple whiz-bang features in the mix: the ability to create a report by sending an email with an address or MLS number and (a little bleeding edge but definitely indicative of where things are headed) QR codes that appear on the cover of every report.

If you’re an agent, check it out. If you’re a real estate software vendor, take note: it’s time to up your game.

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11 Responses to “Cloud CMA and the downfall of crappy real estate software”

  1. Tyler Wood says:

    I signed up for the free trial. Nice, but the big downer right now is it is not integrated with my MLS. I belong to a small (300 or so) person MLS so who knows when and if they will add it. Yet another reason to consolidate MLSs’.

    The bigger point is the MLSs’ need to take notice of these type of products and start offering similar, if not the same, products to their members. My guess is they will thru some package deal.

  2. Thomas Johnson says:

    @ Tyler Wood: I belong to the largest Realtor Associaton Houston Assn of Realtors, 25,000 members. This MLS in the Cloud goodness is denied to us as well:

    As of today, Cloud CMA does not work in your area. We will notify you when Cloud CMA does become available.

    Dear Cloud CMA: I am not holding my breath.

  3. Greg Robertson says:

    @thomas We are currently working with HAR to bring Cloud CMA to Houston. Since we just launched the product a couple weeks ago we wanted to start in an area that gave us the most bang for our development buck. In Southern California, thru the CARETS database, we were able to develop upon one database that covered 5 MLS providers, which accounted for over 100,000 agents.

    I’ll add you to our database and get in touch with you when we are ready in Houston.

    Greg Robertson
    W&R Studios
    makers of Cloud CMA

  4. Neil Kearney says:

    IRES MLS in Northern Colorado just launced integrated Cloud CMA last week. The reports are easy and quick to create. They come out beautifully and are integrated with my photo and contact information. My one wish is that the output pages were more customizable. I don’t want all of the boilerplate that comes out in the CMA report. Overall a nice product.

  5. Terkel says:

    I tried this too – I AM in CA, so mls access was not an issue.
    But to say that this is holy cow of CMA’s – sorry, I don’t see it, this is cluttered, the “Find listings” has ZERO criteria on it, I got stuff 9 months old, worthless…
    You can customize a bunch of stuff… And don’t get me started on the themes… Did anyone tell people that this stuff will get printed out?

    Sorry Brian, I think you guys are on top of things, but this one… It doesn’t compute. I have run it for two weeks and created a pile of CMA’s, buyer tours and some property info pkgs.

    If there was just some sort of FAQ, that would help… But there isn’t anything.

  6. Terkel says:

    Ok, here is the thing, after I cancelled, CloudCMA called me.
    We had a good chat – and software engineer to software engineer, there are some decisions they have to make, I may not agree with all of them, but in the end, it all makes sense.

    What I failed to realize about CloudCMA, is that is is built for simplicity, not to be a shiny search tool. Hand that to someone who thinks in data fields and this is an issue. Fortunately for CloudCMA, I have never met another Realtor who looks at data like i do.

    I think if there was a better explanation of what the tool does, it would be far easier for me to have the right expectation.

    Oh, and now that we hashed some of this out – I will have a team member back on this shortly to give it another go, and without my database head in the clouds…

    Good luck to you guys, now that I know more, I see this working great.

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