Whether you are tech-obsessed or tech-terrified, you may find the sheer number of mobile apps overwhelming. Even Steve Pacinelli, co-founder of Tech Savvy Agentand vice president of events for Move.com, says that the problem with apps is that there are too many of them.
“If you use AppExplorer.com, which I recommend, you’ll find 50,000 listed apps that help you take videos from your smartphone,” Pacinelli said. “That website can help you search for apps by sorting them by subset and ratings and is easier than using the iTunes or iPad store.”
Another solution to the conundrum of which apps to download that will help you provide the best customer service to your clients is to listen to the advice from experienced brokers, agents and Pacinelli himself.
Justin Levitch, president of Real Living at Home in Washington, DC, says his office learns about an “app of the week” at their bi-weekly meetings.
“Overall, everyone wants to go paperless but not everyone in the real estate industry is ready,” Levitch said. “Even in a tech-forward company like ours, only one agent is fully paperless and even he has to deal with real estate agents on the other side of the transaction who aren’t paperless themselves.”
While entirely paperless transactions may be on the way, a variety of apps are already available that agents are using to make their job easier whether they are in their car, at a coffee shop or in front of a home listed for sale.
Some of the basic apps that most real estate agents should have include:
DropBox: This app allows me and my clients to save and access files from anywhere and on many mobile devices, says Sinta Fuhrmann, a REALTOR® with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene in Houston, Texas. “My clients appreciate the transparency and know where to look if they need a document,” she says.
Evernote: “This is my brain,” says Fuhrmann. “This is where I store meeting notes, checklists, templates, business receipts, etc. Evernote does everything from recording audio to taking pictures, scanning documents and business cards and has a reminder functionality.” Fuhrmann further recommended adding on:
- Penultimate: Draw or write notes with a stylus;
- Skitch: Takes screenshots and annotates on PDFs or photos;
- Evernote Hello: Tracks interactions with people and incorporates their social media profiles.
DocuSign and Cartavi: “Every agent needs to have DocuSign for digital signatures, but we also like Cartavi, which lets you create a ‘transaction room’ like a file folder in a secure room,” Levitch said. “You can make some documents public and some private and then allow people like a title attorney or lender into the room to access the documents they need. You can also use this app to place email attachments into the room.”
Realtor.com®: “A lot of agents don’t realize that realtor.com® provides a free custom-branded app to REALTORS®,” Pacinelli said. “A lot of REALTORS® get frustrated by apps that their clients use to search for property because those apps direct clients to other agents. Realtor.com®’s app has a collaborative search functionality that directly links all interaction with the app back to the agent.” The realtor.com® app allows you to directly feed contacts into Top Producer, too.
Sitegeist: Levitch says this app can be very helpful because it provides a variety of neighborhood and demographic information to buyers, including some topics that REALTORS® cannot discuss due to the Fair Housing Act.
Great Schools: Pacinelli says this app is valuable for the same reason, since REALTORS® can point their clients to the app when they ask about local schools.
“The apps I like the best are the ones that work in the background so you don’t have to do anything with them,” Pacinelli said.
EasilyDo: Pacinelli says this app has 49 functions that you can turn on or off to automatically update your address book when you receive phone calls, texts or emails; and to alert you when one of your contacts has updated their social media with an important event such as a job change or the birth of a child.
MileIQ: This app automatically tracks your mileage when you are driving, so you can keep track of your miles for business expenses.
TapeACall: “If you’re having an important conversation with a client or you know you are in the midst of a messy transaction, you can use this app to tape the call,” Pacinelli said. Of course, you need to check local laws to make sure this is legal, he said.
Whether you are standing outside a listing and your clients are across town or around the world, or you are with your clients far away from a laptop or desktop, these mobile apps can put the information you need at your fingertips.
By: Michele Lerner