By Maura Neill
I am an iPhone devotee. I suffered through years of Palm Treo and various Blackberries (a Curve and two Bolds) to land, finally, in the land of the iPhone. And I couldn’t love it more. The usability and variety of the apps available for work and for play are a big part of that.
It’s the device that seems to have an app for everything (except, as the joke goes, for actually making a phone call) – and below is a list of my 10 favorite apps for my real estate business (for now – since of course, they’re always changing and new ones pop up every day). There are tons of blog articles and Web sites devoted to iPhone apps every real estate practitioner must have – this is not one of those lists. These are just a few of my faves. Maybe there will be a few on this list that are new to you – and I hope you’ll post a comment, send me an e-mail or connect with me on Twitter and share your favorite apps for your business.
And yes, I’m a cheapskate – all of these apps are FREE.
1, 2, 3. Facebook / Tweetdeck / LinkedIn – My social networking triumvirate. They allow you to respond immediately to Twitter @Mentions and DMs, Facebook messages and comments, and LinkedIn connection requests. (Another great Twitter app is Hootsuite, which I like on my laptop, but not as much on my iPhone – just personal preference. The Hootsuite app is only $1.99.)
4. Dropbox – Allows you to access files that are on your home or office computer that you have placed in your Dropbox files. Easy access to contracts, fliers, photos, and any other pertinent files while away from my office. Need to e-mail your client that property disclosure or send the closing attorney that commission agreement? Done! The only thing you need to remember is to move those files into your Dropbox on your computer so that they can sync and be accessed. (Free for 2GB storage; fees apply for larger storage/sharing options.)
5. Trulia Real Estate Search – This fantastic app makes immediate searching for homes for sale and open houses possible, complete with description, list price, date of last price reduction (when applicable/available), driving directions, agent phone number and e-mail (when included), etc. When you have a client in your car and they ask, “What about that house?” you can pull it up and tell them about it (if it’s still an active listing). There’s even a custom search option. I’ve found very few instances in which the information is incorrect or not updated (although, on occasion, it does happen).
6. Slydial – I just learned about this app at a technology conference. Slydial gives you a way to call a client’s cell phone voicemail directly and leave a message. They’ll never hear the phone ring and you won’t get roped into a long conversation. It’s a great way to touch base with someone on your own terms/timetable and get through your calls quickly if you’re on a tight schedule. (The app is free – the service is not, so read about the fees before you use it!)
7. Bump – Great for networking events and conventions/conferences. Allows you to trade contact information with others with a “fist bump”… as long as they also have an iPhone. It’s more of a fun app, but saves time – you won’t have to collect gather as many business cards or worry about losing them.
8. QR app – We recently began using QR codes to advertise our listings and any Smartphone user with a QR reader app can scan them and save them to store the information for later. This app reads QR codes, these amazing little barcodes that you can create for free using a QR code Web site. Want to read more about QR codes? Click here: www.tinyurl.com/mauraneill-qrcodes
9. Urbanspoon – Great app for personal and business use. I love to try new restaurants and I really enjoy discovering a place that’s off the beaten path – this app is great for that. But even better, it can help you find places to eat for clients who have dietary restrictions or are just plain picky. Vegetarian? Kosher? Organic? Not a problem. This app can help you find the right place to take your clients, even if you didn’t know it existed. Plus you can easily rate restaurants (like or didn’t like), read and write reviews and post them to your Twitter feed, and let others know of your experience – good or bad!
10. Talking Carl – Thanks to my friend, Brian Copeland (@NashvilleBrian), for introducing me to this little red, bulging-eyed monster who repeats everything you say in an adorable, slightly crazed voice. Had a bad day? Talk to Carl and he’ll put a smile on your face… because sometimes in this business, you just need a good laugh!
Maura Neill, CRS, is a real estate practitioner in Atlanta. You can follow Maura on Twitter: @MauraNeill