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11 Apps For Every Real Estate Agent’s Toolkit
In real estate, there are plenty of mobile and web apps that claim to be the next best thing.
But the only apps that truly matter are the ones that help busy real estate agents work smarter. More precisely, that means apps that can keep things organized, make it easier to get the job done, and even shorten the sales cycle. Here are 11 apps that should be a part of every agent’s toolkit.
What’s better than an app that allows storage and access to virtually any-size document from anywhere? The answer is one that is easy to use and free until more digital space is needed.
Dropbox lets real estate agents store all of their documents, videos and images in the cloud and retrieve them from any device. It also synchronizes digital files so that any edited file is the same no matter the device used to edit it.
Dropbox accounts start with 2 GB of free space. Users can opt for a reasonably priced monthly or yearly subscription to get more capacity. The tool also eliminates problems with files that are too large to email. Through Dropbox, users can share files via links or even create sharable folders.
Options to have other users be able to edit the documents within the folder or to simply view them are available. And it’s easy enough to use so that everyone— including clients—can join an account, locate the necessary file and do what's needed to keep the ball rolling.s
It’s hard to imagine a successful real estate career without the widely popular electronic signature app known as DocuSign, which expedites electronic exchanges of contracts and signed documents.
DocuSign obliterates the notion that all real estate transactions must be conducted with signatures obtained in person or via fax. Now, real estate agents can obtain signatures from anywhere on any device. Need an offer signed? A few clicks and it’s done.
Just click away and it’s done. DocuSign is an essential app that is leading the paperless movement. It serves as the official and exclusive signature provider to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
Through NAR, real estate agents can buy an annual subscription at a discounted rate of 20% off—all you need is your NAR membership ID number to access the discount through DocuSign. Although this tool is not free, the cost of the app is easily made up in time saved.
Owned by NAR and offered exclusively to REALTORS®, this free app allows users to tap into data and reporting provided by NAR subsidiary Realtors Property Resource on their smartphone (a tablet version is expected to launch later in 2015).
Real estate agents can locate any property around them while they're out and about and view local market statistics since it provides data on 166 million properties, including 162 million property deeds, 132 million mortgages, 130 million tax records and 7.3 billion property valuations.
From MLS and public records to mortgage history and school attendance zones, the app expedites and organizes data that real estate agents’ clients want. Users can also create customizable and branded reports on their phones and send them directly to clients with little effort.
It’s an app that increases productivity—while also helping to position real estate agents as knowledgeable experts. Also, your searches, reports, favorites and notes sync between the mobile app and the website, so you never have to worry about loosing productivity or progress. This amazing and free resource is a huge benefit of being a member of NAR.
When it comes to organization, Evernote nails it. This app not only lets real estate agents gather all of their notes and thoughts in one place—but also lets them put their creative juices to work.
Evernote includes basics tasks like note taking, checklists, and reminders, including audio recordings about each client and transaction. Additionally, users can capture and store photos, making quick work of filing everything from receipts to business cards to contracts.
With the ability to forward and capture emails, it also functions as a repository for all communications. Plus, things are easy to find thanks to robust search capability.
The tool can even be used to create customized property tours with hyperlinks. Evernote is a free online service with the option to upgrade to different tiers.
As a mobile task management tool, Toodledo can serve as an indispensible app given the volume of tasks associated with a single real estate transaction.
The tool filters and prioritizes important tasks, creates automated smart lists, analyzes tasks to configure the best use of time and lets busy real estate agents know about tasks that are due soon.
Users who find they have an opening in their schedule can use the Scheduler feature to find the highest priority task and fit it into an available time slot. Toodledo also allows users to view tasks on a map and get proximity alerts when they’re near a location where they have things to do.
It even includes start and stop timers to keep track of time spent on jobs. Like other apps offered through a freemium pricing strategy, users pay for proprietary features and functionality. Otherwise, it’s free.
Real estate agents juggle multiple responsibilities and typically need to break large projects into smaller steps. It’s one reason why OminFocus 2 is a highly useful tool for real estate agents.
Another is the ability to organize tasks by different contexts, such as closing dates versus calendar dates. Users can plan out their day with a map mode to save time; check off completed steps to stay on track; and view a rolling calendar for a quick look at tasks in the coming days.
The industrial-strength time management tool also lets users attach photos of rooms and even include audio commentary of the property and notes. To further improve productivity, it includes a landscape view with navigation on the left pane and data manipulation on the right pane.
While it takes time to learn, OminFocus2 is ideal for real estate agents who prefer a finely tuned productivity workflow. It can be used free during a 14-day trial. After that, users can choose to purchase a standard or pro version.
Clients want comprehensive data about property, which is why real estate agents need to incorporate Zillow into their analyses. Zillow, which is available through a suite of free apps in addition to its website, is a living database of more than 110 million U.S. homes— including homes for sale, homes for rent and homes not currently on the market.
It includes Zestimates to determine a home’s value. Keep in mind that REALTOR.com outdoes Zillow because it provides the most current and accurate information tied to MLS. However, it doesn’t detract from the need to view data clients are seeing on Zillow—and leveraging what it offers.
That includes the task of downloading important data and using it to create easy-to-understand reports that put information into the right context. It’s another way for real estate agents to gain an added boost in credibility.
The key to almost every family with kids looking for a new home is knowledge about the local schools. Users can access GreatSchools to get information and test scores for public (including charter) and private schools.
On the site, parents rate schools in terms of teacher quality, principal leadership, and parent involvement. Users can tap into the GreatSchools.org mobile site to easily find what they’re looking for when it comes to schools in a desired location.
Or, iPhone and iPad users can download the app. At the very least, any real estate agent should know what information a client with children is analyzing as they work through their purchasing decision.
Better yet, agents can use the information to add value by helping clients weigh their child’s education with the price of a desired home.
Clients need to know their mortgage payments, and Mortgage Calculator makes it easy to calculate them quickly and accurately. To find out when a mortgage will be paid off, enter the property value, down payment, mortgage amount, and loan terms to see useful amortization tables and charts.
The free app will also determine which loan should be paid off first in order for a client to qualify for a home loan. By any measure, Mortgage Calculator is an indispensable tool for any real estate agent.
This time-saver lets real estate agents use their smartphone or tablet as a lockbox key. The system includes the app with PIN-code security that lives on the smartphone or tablet. It also includes a key box.
Using Bluetooth technology, the app communicates with the system’s key box, which can contain gate cards and keys. Only authorized key holders can open the box, and every opening is documented both in the box and in a secure database.
The system makes it easy to access properties and track activity at client properties. Users can also tap into data stored on the website to obtain real-time information about showings.
With the technology, real estate agents can answer client questions quickly and gather feedback from a showing while information is fresh in the showing agent and client's minds. The app even allows users to prepare customized activity reports.
This app makes it easy to show a property without even being there. The app lets a user stand one place and then move the phone’s viewfinder 360-degrees until it captures the desired scene.
In addition to looking left and right, it also lets the users look up and down at the ceiling and floor for a more immersive experience. The captured scene can then be published on Google Maps or any social network.
In addition to saving time, the app goes beyond normal property photos and panoramic views to help real estate agents move closer to a sale that much more quickly.
Most agents work long hours often into the evenings and the weekends. It may often feel as if you are never truly off the clock. Between work and home, a day in the life of a real estate agent can get hectic. For many agents, the two lives often collide or even overlap. This is where having the right apps in your toolkit can really help.
The goal of productivity is to work smarter not harder. And the goal of productivity is efficiency—achieving more in less time. Every agent wants the ability to sell more, and creating more efficiency opens up the time to do that. It also helps to relieve stress and maintain a better, clearer work/life balance.
Adhering to organized lists and schedules also allows you to see where you do have free time—time that you may be able to allocate to your home life. By being more organized, you can actually see the opportunities to create a better work/life balance for yourself.
Putting the best apps to work
Given the wide range of apps available to help professionals work smarter and faster, start with a clear idea as to what’s needed. From there, talk with peers and read reviews to see how apps rank based on the experiences of actual users. Then it’s time to put them to work to help improve efficiencies – and close more deals.
Contributors to this story include John Mayfield, author of the new book Five Minutes to Jumpstarting Your Real Estate Career, and Dan Hamilton, author of Real Estate Marketing and Sales Essentials.
What apps work best for you? Vote for your favorite app and be entered to win a free copy of the much anticipated book Real Estate Marketing and Sales Essentials, 2nd edition from our contributing author, Dan Hamilton!