The Agent Guide's Product Review: "Basecamp" = The Ultimate Online Project Collaboration Tool

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with The Agent Guide LLC

Every now and then we come across a business tool that's so incredibly helpful and beautifully easy to use that after about 30 minutes we start to wonder how we ever managed without it.  Basecamp, the online project collaboration tool by 37Signals, is one of those things we wish we had found out about a long time ago.  (So, we're saving you some time and sharing it with you now! :)

(By the way, Basecamp is perfect if you're working with a partner or a team, but the 37Signals website also has 3 other programs to suit other needs, including the Backpack information organizer and calendar for individuals.  And, each one of these has a free option so you can try them out first.)

And as a disclaimer, we reluctantly have to acknowledge that Basecamp is so simple to use, and yet can do so much, that we're probably going to not be able to do it justice here - so please visit the site and give it a shot yourself.  But here's our rundown:

Simply put, Basecamp allows you to simply and easily manage your client projects online.  You can post projects, assign tasks for each one to people in your team (or allow them to assign tasks to themselves, or to you), and then monitor exactly who did what, and who talked to whom, when.

For example, you might call one project "Home Listings".  Under the To-Do list for that project, you might name one "Miller Home Listing Presentation."  Then you can create items in the To-Do list, and assign them to various people.

You might create an item that says "Compile comparables to use in Miller market analysis", and assign that to yourself.  Then you might create these items:  "Create printed market analysis for Millers using the comparables", and "Schedule photographer to shoot Miller photos by Tuesday", and assign those to your assistant.

All of these would be listed under "Miller Home Listing Presentation".  When your assistant logs in, he can choose to see all to-dos, or just the ones assigned to him.  When a to-do is completed, simply check a box and that item slips down into the "done" list - greyed out, but still visible for reference.

Each project has a Messages section, where you can list who spoke to whom.  For example, you could name a Messages section "Miller Communications", and make an entry whenever you get important information from the Millers.  This would then be visible to anyone on your team who checked the Messages section.

There's also a Writeboard feature, where you can post and edit different versions of your documents.  For example, you might post a paragraph called "Miller Listing Description", that you'd like to use as the property description in the newspaper ad.  Your business partner can log in, make edits, then save that as a new version for you to see.  And here' what's really neat:  Writeboard lets you compare the two versions together, showing the edits made in the last version while still saving the original.

Depending on what level of Basecamp you sign up for, you can have multiple projects, each with their own To-Do List, Messages, Writeboard, Milestones, Chat, and uploaded Files sections.  (Yes, we know we didn't talk about some of this stuff - but ultimately you just need to get in there and poke around.)

37Signals says that they believe most software is too complex, and that they're focused on executing the basics beautifully.  We agree!

Irene Dorang

 

Comments (12)

Brad Carroll
Dakno Marketing - Knightdale, NC
Real Estate Web Designer
I love Basecamp! We use it every day as all of our web projects are run through this. I never thought about it being applicable for real estate agents also. I could see this being a very god fit.
Jul 23, 2007 12:23 PM
Anonymous
Matt from 37signals
Thanks for the great writeup guys! And yes, there is a Basecamp affiliate program: <a href="http://37signals.blogs.com/products/2007/07/save-money-on-b.html">Details</a>. 
Jul 24, 2007 06:28 AM
#2
Tools for Real Estate
The Agent Guide LLC - Kirkland, WA

Thanks!  And we love all the 37Signals stuff by the way - it's not just the individual programs, it's the way they're written - every time we think "It would be neat if this would do <insert helpful feature>" we realize it already does. :)

Irene

Aug 10, 2007 03:50 AM
Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team
Thanks for the information.  I had stumpled upon this information and they mentioned AR so I click on the link and it came to this post!  Great recommendation and I am signed up now and will use it.  My daughter and I are a mother and daughter realty team and we needed something that allows us to share files and notes and calendars.  Thanks again.
Aug 16, 2007 01:22 AM
Tools for Real Estate
The Agent Guide LLC - Kirkland, WA

Glad that was helpful Rosemary!  We love Basecamp, and I just started using Backpack for myself - it's a great online organizer & calendar that works for personal stuff and business too.  (All this stuff I wish I had had a long time ago... :)

Irene

Aug 16, 2007 11:23 AM
Anonymous
Dwayne Smith
Those who love Basecamp should read this article at PCworld.com http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,134816-c,webservices/article.html and figure out do they really get everything they need from project management software. I've made my choice and it was easy :) Why pay $12 for a tool that doesn't even have Gantt charts? I pay just $5 for Wrike's subscription.  
Sep 27, 2007 08:37 PM
#6
Anonymous
Leah
Projjex.com is a great new site that does a fabulous job of online project collaboration.  It's completely browser-based, really easy to use, and has a free version.  Cool videos too - I love it!
Mar 31, 2008 11:45 AM
#7
Anonymous
Suzanne

We use YouFig (www.youfig.com). It supports all of the privacy and administrative features our company needs and gives you a huge range of applications to work with in real-time (documents, spreadsheets, calendars, videos, file sharing, unlimited storage, unlimited users, unlimited workspaces)... it's superbly designed, very easy to understand, our employees and customers love it, and it's free.

Jun 22, 2008 02:12 AM
#8
Anonymous
Brad Nix

I actually think Highrise is better suited for Real Estate.  Managing contacts (sellers or buyers) is an easier concept for most people as we do it already.  The only request I have is the ability to create 'task' campaigns to automatically assign a new contact a specific list of routine tasks (will save time of retyping the common tasks over for every new contact).

Aug 27, 2008 08:22 AM
#9
Markelle Harden
Classy Inbound - Charlotte, NC
Digital Marketing Specialist

I hope my post will revive this blog, not sure how that works, but I too am giving 37 signals a thumbs up. For those of you reviewing this, 37 signals is the developer of numerous software programs, and they have several to choose from. They do not have the monster advertising budgets of Top Producer, so they are more affordable. They are not nearly as 'quirky' as Wise Agent or Marketlinx or al a mode...give them a try!

Mar 16, 2009 08:04 AM
Althea Kippes, Esq.
A.T. Kippes, Real Estate Broker - San Francisco, CA
Serving San Francisco to Silicon Valley!

OK, now it's 8 years after this post was made, but what is said about Basecamp is so true!  This post explains how real estate agents can get the most from this fabulous program.  Basecamp gives you a 60-day free trial, so you have plenty of time to learn how to use it.  I was looking for something like this, both when I worked as an attorney and now as a real estate agent.  It's so EASY to use and they have video tutorials to guide you at every step of the way.

Jan 28, 2015 11:35 AM