Real Estate

Inman Review: Can Shaker rattle the transaction management space for teams?

This team-focused transaction management solution eschews the weighed-down aesthetic of industry competitors to streamline deals and empower communications.

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Shaker is a transaction management solution for real estate teams and brokerages.

Platforms: Browser, mobile responsive
Ideal for: Teams and brokerages

Top selling points:

  • Very clean, Trello-like
  • Staged deal hierarchy
  • Mobile-inspired user experience
  • Two-way third party email sync
  • Client portal

Top concern:

Transaction management is a popular software sector in the real estate space, so it’ll have to dislodge a number of existing relationships. It also needs to speed development of its mobile companion app, as transactions change often, and the faster new data can enter the system, the more value it holds.

What you should know

There’s a reason Trello is one of the more popular project management tools in the business world. Inman uses it to organize all of its editorial dates, topics and reporter assignments. I have three Trello boards in total, two of which I use for other organizations.

Point is, I was intrigued right away when I saw that Shaker loosely emulates the popular online organizer in its goal to make overseeing dealflow easier. And it’s largely succeeding in that effort.

Shaker’s dashboard is spartan and card-based, with deal stages categorized horizontally across the screen. You can easily jump between buyer deals and listing deals, and also customize the name of each stage, ideal for those looking to support an existing in-house process for paper-based transaction management.

This is a flexible product that can molded to fit your team’s structure and existing workflows. Each card has names, dates, prices and even profile pictures. Tap on it, and it opens a fully detailed look into everything related to that deal.

While the company used the term, “CRM-light” in our demo, I don’t see it that way at all, and I told them that this is a good thing. It’s actually an ever-evolving contact list for everyone that is part of each deal. Vendors and other agents, for example, can be added easily when new deals enter the system.

Each vertical stack of stage cards is headlined with the total dollar volume outstanding in each. For example, $1.2 million in Pending or $400k in Closed for this month and so on.

Tasks are part of each deal as well, and like most other aspects of Shaker, they can be assembled in lists and renamed or altered as needed. Maybe a deal for an investment property has a different set of tasks than one for a traditional stand-alone property.

Since this is transaction management for teams, admins can assign tasks and appoint members.

There are document uploads, of course, as well the ability to review them before pushing a deal to its next stage.

Messaging tools can help keep everyone in check, and when sent, they can also be viewed within any Gmail or other third-party email client. This is something I always look for in software that involves multiple people and critical deal data because no matter how hard we all try to work within the confines of our enterprise systems, at some point, we always end up shooting off an email about it when not logged in.

There’s workflow capability, too. As deals move from stage to stage, notifications can be triggered to alert stakeholders to tasks and emails sent off to consumers.

And speaking of your clients, they can peer into the deal with Shaker, too. Using the Client Portal, sellers and buyers can stay abreast of what’s what and who’s who.

I was told the company is working on a tool that will enable agents to track the financials of a house under contract, such as maintenance that was needed along the way. I’m not totally sure why this is necessary code; it seems superfluous. I suppose down the road it can contribute to a fully realized deal file, but there are tons of apps that help people manage the minutiae of home repairs and vendor receipts.

Summarizing the highlights, I’m fan of Shaker’s messaging tools and in-app email, which uses a mail-merge tech to quickly insert deal data. The overall visual experience is very consumer-friendly, creative and clean. It’s not a document-heavy, managerial approach. This is deal oversight for the agent and their staff, not the company accountant. The more informed the agent is, the happier the client.

Based in Minneapolis, Shaker was born from High Alpha, a B2B SAAS incubator. It was in development for six months before I saw it in November, 2020. That’s fast, by the way. It doesn’t appear that the team took many days off. It’s no longer a part of High Alpha.

I’m excited to see where this transaction management solution goes from here. It doesn’t feel heavy like so many of the big names in this space. It’s lighter, less business-like.

I hope it doesn’t veer far from this trajectory.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

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