There was a time when some of us tech geeks would fantasize about the future of technology in real estate and try to figure out what the next big thing would be. I got my license in 1992 right as Windows 3.1 was finding it’s way into real estate offices. The MLS was a DOS based system and Word Perfect was still on many computers that we printed to our dot matrix printers with the paper with the holes we had to tear off the sides after printing, and there was no such thing as WIFI or high speed internet and we were all on dial up. Oh and we all carried pagers and cell phones were few and far between, not to mention enormous. Yes, I’m dating myself, but I am fortunate to have started in real estate when I did. In 1992, MLS books were disappearing and the world was changing despite a full blown recession had started. I was sitting in a real estate office listening to agents complain about the things that were going away, and expressing frustration with the new technologies that were showing up. For me, being a budding 22 year old tech geek, I was in heaven! I spent $3000 on my moms credit card at Circuit City with the promise to pay back when I “closed a sale”, on a giant 100mhz Windows computer that couldn’t even fit in the trunk of my car. As I hauled all of the big boxes into my office, I had agents looking at me like I lost my mind. Some asked, “why would you buy that and not just use the office computers?”, and my response was, “because I want my computer to do more!”, then they asked “More what?”, and that’s where I said, I’ll let you know when I figure that out!” I share all of this because we are and have been in a period of time where the world has changed so much technologically that if someone told us that we would have a device that fits in our hand that is hundreds of times more powerful than the huge computers we used to use in the 80’s and even 90’s we would laugh at them. Now we have the ability to do so much from anywhere on a small device that fits in our hands, yet there is still a large part of the real estate industry that hasn’t embraced the technology, leaving opportunity for those who do to outperform them with efficiency and service to their customers! Just like in 1992, things are changing all around us and those who jump on the hottest tech early will be light years ahead of the rest competitively while providing their clients a higher level of service.
First let me get the Android vs. IOS/iPhone/iPad debate out of the way. In real estate, IOS is the only way to go… Period. Why? Simplicity and features! While I carry an iPhone/iPad and a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, I rely mostly on my IOS devices for daily use in real estate. To break it down and end the argument, try to seamlessly open a contract from Zipforms Mobile to a signing App, sign, and email to a client. On Android you will be there forever emailing to yourself, or trying to use the native Digital Ink program and give up frustrated, on the iPhone or iPad you can do it seamlessly with the “Open In” function and be done in literally seconds. Try creating and presenting a Powerpoint or Keynote presentation on an Android device… First you need to find the right app amongst many that will do what you need it to do. On the iPad/iPhone you can use the Keynote app and create or play Powerpoint or Keynote, and even export as PDF to share the slides with anyone. I can go on and on. It is my hope that at some point these issues are simplified on the Android OS for us as I do love so many things about my Note 3, but for now, the iPhone/iPad wins for real estate.
Now let’s get down to the iPhone/iPad apps that you should have if you are in the real estate business. And while I know there are many more than what I’m listing below, I want to just give you a solid starting point.
1. Sign n Send = There are many signing apps, but this one is the easiest and most versatile in my opinion. But I’m open minded so if you found one that you think is better, then please share!
2. Keynote = This app will allow you to create, edit, play, and present both Powerpoint and Keynote presentations. Built-in templates, easily share a presentation via Apple TV or VGA Cable to TV with adapter, and send out a copy right from the app in PPT, Keynote, or PDF format. Very easy to use.
3. iMovie = Create videos on the fly with music, transitions, etc. You can use built-in themes and even make movie trailers if you so choose. Upload directly to your YouTube channel and promote your listings or information in seconds and look good doing it.
4. PDF Splicer = This app will allow you to combine, sort, re-order, your PDF files, documents, etc. This comes in handy when you have a lot of contracts to get signed and don’t want to keep having to go back to Zipforms over and over. Just prepare before the appointment and have one easy file to open and sign in Sign n Send.
5. Scan To PDF = This app will allow you to scan documents using your iPhone/iPad’s camera function and send via email as a clear PDF file. This is great for online transaction management platforms where you can just scan and email documents right into the system. Easily send signed copies to your TC, co-op agent, and client and forget about the old fax machine or complicated scanner at the office.
6. Dropbox = Move all of your important files to your Dropbox on your computer and have them anywhere you go on your iPhone/iPad. Share public links with people, create shared folders, upload photos from your phone to the Dropbox and have them accessible on all of your devices or any computer.
7. Penultimate – Evernote = Take notes on your listings, in meetings, etc. Treat it like paper. Use your finger or a cheap stylus and have your notes automatically on every device. Start a new file for each listing and actually have a conversation log that can help you in the future in the event of a dispute or legal challenge.
8. iBooks = This native app is perfect for keeping important and often used PDF documents at your fingertips. Have your PDF listing presentation here to be able to review and then easily email to a prospect. Keep copies of your marketing materials, post cards, property flyers, real estate license, scripts, business plan, testimonial letters, and anything that you may need to refer back to or share quickly with someone in person or via email.
9. Pages = This app enables you to create beautiful flyers on the go for almost any situation. There’s even real estate listing templates preloaded! Thanks for thinking of us real estate folk Apple! Create your letterhead, compose letters, open in Sign n Send, sign, and email out without ever printing to paper. There’s so many possibilities with this app and it’s so easy to use.
10. Title company apps = I would suggest that you talk to your title rep and ask them if they have an app. Most of the large title companies have phenomenal apps that enable you to do many great tasks including pull/order property profile information directly from the app enabling you to provide your clients with accurate data on the fly.
Bonus app recommendations = Google Earth, Google Voice & YouTube. These great products work perfectly on the iPad/iPhone via the apps. Check them out and you’ll see immediately how they can help you gather information, showcase information, and connect better with your clients.
In closing, if you’ve seen my presentation on these tools, then you know that I tout these as the way to provide a more personal level of service to your clients. While many see technology as an attempt to depersonalize our business, I see it completely differently. Using tools like Skype enables us to be face to face with distant clientele, Google Voice offers the ability to have a personal voice mail greeting for each and every person in your address book, going paperless and being mobile makes you more efficient so you can spend more time working to seller your clients home or find them a home rather than standing in front of a copier or fax machine fixing paper jams, using your tablet or smartphone to provide factual accurate data rather than just opinion can help your clients make huge personal life decisions based on solid information/data…. And lastly, realizing that our clients would rather spend more time with their friends and families and less time with their real estate agent, sharing this technology with your clients will enable you to get more done in less time with them, enabling them to have more free time to do what they want, rather than what we want/need.
As always, I’m here to help you grow your business! Having been a guest speaker at the local Apple retail store to Realtors on using the iPad in their business, and personally using the iPad and iPhone as my primary daily business devices, I can also help you learn and use the most cutting edge tools available to us. I am constantly staying on the cutting edge of any technology that I see as being useful in our business and can help you decide where to spend your hard earned money when you begin the search fora device or look to upgrade/update what you are currently using.
I’m proud to say that Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage recognizes the impact that new cutting edge technology has in our industry and offers our agents the most powerful tools to help them be more productive and capture more business. For more information, call or text me at 714-782-2723 or email me at Brad.Pearson@camoves.com