Have You Heard?
You may have heard of this little company called Apple and their innovative little device called an iPAD. I just got mine last week and it’s a fantastic tool chest for REALTORS®. Of course there are a number of features that make it very useful for everyday life, such as internet access, ebook reader, mapping and more. But there are a set number of tools to add to this chest to make it an indispensible ally to you as an agent.
There are a few apps that come with the iPAD that are very useful to agents and married with a solid GMail account are very powerful. If you’re using GMail than syncing your calendar, address book and Google Tools with your Droid, iPhone, PC or Mac is a cinch. All I had to do was enter my Gmail account login information and all my devices were immediately sync’d.
Apple mail is well integrated with the iPAD and any pop3, exchange or GMail account will work. The program is solid and allows for all the functions you would expect with email. If you don’t wish to sync your current email here, than get a free GMail account just for your iPad. You’ll need it.
Contact is also an easy to use tool that allows for all sorts of functionality. Again, it syncs with your GMail account and there are other ways to export your contacts into this system.
The program flips like an address book and allows for easy search function.
Calendar is amazingly easy to use and acts like an old fashion Daytimer. Users converting from paper managed business to an iPAD will find the transition very easy and comfortable to use. Like all the apps on the iPAD they are very intuitive.
Real Estate Tools
There are a number of tools that are a mixture of free and feed based apps that are very helpful in the practitioners business. The list below is a summary of just a few tools I’ve found thus far.
ESign is an app designed to work with your Doc-U-Sign system to manage digital signatures. This app allows for clients to “sign docs” digitally right on your iPAD. Very useful for saving time and money. Especially useful for drafting time sensitive documents on the road! If you aren’t sure what Doc-u-sign is, I’ve written about here before.
Evernote as an app that is ingenious and unbelievably free. The program allows you to take notes using text and multimedia from your Droid, iPhone, Blackberry, Mac or PC and sync them all in real time in one place. I’ve written about this app before and those agents who have used it continue to swear by it. It makes client documentation and record keeping super easy! It’s also a great tool for meetings and classes!
Mortgage Calculator is a free app that is essential for quickly working with a buyer’s ability to calculate a monthly payment. Unlike most mortgage calculators, this app allows you to add PITI, HOA fees and more. Once the calculations are made you can then scroll through an amortization chart right there on the same page! It’s quick, efficient and can be used to quickly calm the edgy buyer.
Dropbox is an app that works for both PC and Mac as well as your mobile device. Dropbox allows you to add up to 2 gigs of documents and materials on one shared drive online (in the cloud). You can then allow access to others to see / download those materials. For example, you could add those documents routinely given to buyers or marketing materials you give to your Sellers. Then allow access to folks to add documents you need such as HOA documents.
GoodReader is a $1.00 app that allows the iPAD to read almost all types of business apps. It’s especially good because one can transfer documents via USB from within iTunes.
Goodreader is great for taking reading materials with you. Documents like those than can be downloaded from Realtor.org’s Right Tools; Right Now campaign.
From the GoodReader website:
GoodReader supports massive PDF and TXT files, but it can also handle all of the most popular file types. Have a look for yourself:
• MS Office – .doc, .ppt, .xls and more
• HTML and Safari webarchives
• High resolution images
• It even does audio and video!
Dragon Dictation is just what is sounds like. A free application that allows you to speak and then it transcribes what you say to text. This is a great application to dictate future blog posts, emails, newsletters, letters or that ebook you’ve been wanting to write about how crazy the real estate world is! It’s great to push start and let record while you’re driving around in between appointments.
WordPress has developed a fantastic tool for those using WordPress to power their blogs. The app allows for management and posting of articles and comments. It’s a very simple and intuitive integration.
Trulia and Zillow have created some great and easy-to-use apps for iPods and iPads. Many MLS systems are developing mobile apps for their agents, so for me having these apps is more an attempt to understand what my clients are using to find properties.
I do occasionally check on our companies’ listings to make sure they are well represented on these tools.
Scratching the Surface
The list above is only a partial list of the many tools that I’ve found in the app store. Some other must-have’s are Keynote, Skype, WebEx, GoToMeeting, Facebook, TweetDeck, Google Apps and Box.net which are all pretty self explanatory.
You should go nuts on in the App Store and feel free to share your favorite apps in the comments below!