A short guide to real estate project management

A short guide to real estate project management

A couple I know recently bought their first home. Considered a fixer-upper, they knew that they would be spending months as first-time homeowners shrouded in dust, insulation and noise.

They couldn’t have been more excited.

So, they went ahead and secured all the right permits. They did their research when hiring a team for the renovations. Plus, they made sure to allocate enough budget to get them to the end of the project timeline.

They were happy.  

Until one particularly cold evening about nine months into the project, a pipe in the attic burst. The home flooded. To fix the problem, the couple had to allocate almost all of their remaining renovation budget towards it.

For first-time homeowners, this situation is a nightmare. 

But for real estate project managers, who manage large renovation, building and development projects—with bigger budgets and way more room for error—these situations just come with the territory.

Unlike first-time homeowners, real estate project managers anticipate bumps (or bursts) along the way, handle them with ease and get the job done.

The importance of project management in real estate 

In the real estate industry, project management is a necessary expense. Large or small, big budget or small budget, real estate projects have so many moving parts.

A solid project management process is the only way to maintain the timely and cost-efficient completion of a real estate project.

project management triangle

The Iron Triangle of Project Management. Photo via Smartsheet

But great project management in real estate isn’t easy. It’s completely dependent on having the right software, tools and team on your side.

The Digital Project Manager explains it best:

Great project management means much more than keeping project management’s iron triangle in check, delivering on time, budget, and scope; it unites clients and teams, creates a vision for success and gets everyone on the same page of what’s needed to stay on track for success.

With multiple steps, lots of money and the need to get input from multiple stakeholders, the success of your real estate project hinges on your project manager.

Here’s three reasons why real estate project management is important:

  • Communication. Real estate projects have to align inputs from multiple parties; they might even need to account for public comment periods and public outreach. The project manager’s job is to gather all inputs—weighing each voice equally—and create a cohesive story about the project.
  • Oversight. Tracking and reporting is critical for real estate projects. Not only does it help with reducing issues, it keeps the project on track and within scope. Daily, weekly or monthly status reports are key to making sure there is continuous oversight on the real estate project.
  • Risk reduction. For real estate projects, there’s always a risk of going over budget, scope or time. In addition, real estate projects may expose companies to risk when it comes to partnering with other businesses. The project manager helps manage the risk of litigation or expense by securing project insurance, overseeing contract creation and more.

How to select the right real estate project management software tool

For real estate project managers, email, sticky notes and the occasional spreadsheet just won’t cut it. As projects grow in complexity, you need a great real estate project management software tool to help with budgeting, time tracking, issue management and communication.

There are lots of project management tools out there. Many service a wide range of industries, from real estate to ecommerce, SaaS, law, medical and more.

It can be overwhelming trying to compare tools to see how well they fit your specific real estate project needs.

When looking for the right project management software tool, keep the following features in mind:

  • Issue tracking. You’ll be taking in a lot of information, so you need a tool that can easily organize everything from suggestions to financials. You need a simple issue tracker that highlights who’s assigned, what’s the priority and what’s the current status.
  • Reporting. The problem with most project management tools, while they present a task with a bunch of useful information, they don’t offer an opinion on what should happen next. You need clear reporting to see where the bottlenecks are in a project.
  • Custom Workflows. You’ll probably be managing a bunch of small projects at once as a real estate project manager. You want the ability to customize a workflow for each of those projects to suit the team and the type of work you’ll be doing. 
  • Task management. As a project manager, you can’t do it all. You need a tool that gives you the ability to assign roles and due dates to others, while having oversight into everyone’s progress.
  • Notifications. You’ll want to be notified when the status of a project changes or if your input is needed. Make sure the software tool that you select has great email notification settings as well as the ability to cc yourself (and others) on tasks to stay in the loop.
  • Integrations. File sharing. Invoicing. Hiring. Messaging and Email. All of these types of tools should be easily integrated into your real estate project management software tool so you have one source of truth.

Simplify real estate project management with DoneDone

When it comes to managing real estate projects, you want a tool that can simplify your workflows and keep the project on track, on budget and within scope. All of the features listed above make even the most complex real estate projects easier to manage and complete.

DoneDone has all these features, which is why clients in the property development, construction and real estate industry love using the tool.

Recently lauded as one of the best project management tools of 2019, it’s perfect for your next real estate endeavor.

Get started with a free 30-day trial today.


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