There was a time, in the recent history of the real estate business, when an agent had to tote around a whole pile of tools. At a minimum, the Sunday paper, a stack of maps, a magnifying glass, a calculator, and a couple of notebooks would be riding shotgun while you drove from one listing to another. Today, all that and more fits easily in your phone or tablet, making business a (relative) breeze. Are you taking advantage of all the latest real estate apps?
Today, you can happily doff that pile of maps and magnifying glass. You don’t even need a GPS device. Your smartphone, like the new Samsung Galaxy S6, can lead you to any address in the city with the free app from Google Maps for iOS, Windows Phone, and Android. Just make sure it’s paired with a trustworthy 4g network, or you could lose service and lose your way.
Let the spoken directions guide you to your next stop, or use “search nearby” to find a coffee shop where you can kill time until your next appointment or meet with a client.
If you want to be on the cutting edge of mapping apps, try Waze (free for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone). Rumor has it that Google paid more than $1 billion for this app just to squelch it, so it wouldn’t destroy Google Maps. The Waze community keeps the app up to date with user reports on traffic issues, so you can avoid snarled highways and get to your appointments on time.
Experienced agents may roll their eyes when a client quotes Zillow’s “Zestimate,” but the app gets a lot of things right. Stop anywhere in the city and launch the Zillow app to get an overview of pricing in the neighborhood — including hard figures on recently sold homes. If you spot a property for sale, you can instantly pull up photos, a description, asking price, and more. That’s a lot of bang for your buck from a free multiplatform app.
For an even more in-depth look at a neighborhood — or to answer a client’s questions on the fly — use Sitegeist. This unique app, available for free for both iOS and Android, gives you demographic data about an area, like the average age and commuting patterns of the residents or even their political contributions. Sitegeist offers other valuable information, too, like average temperature and popular neighborhood hotspots.
Nothing matters like the bottom line. Mortgage Calculator puts monthly payment information at your fingertips any time the Internet is within reach. This sophisticated tool factors in all the relevant criteria to give you monthly payment amounts and a final payoff date. Bookmark the site on your phone or tablet for easy access.
Public School Rankings
Whether you’re looking at properties with an investor or a young family, schools matter. Use the free area of the Public School Rankings website to get an overview of how the public schools in a neighborhood stack up.
Savvy businesspeople have replaced their jumble of notebooks, sticky notes, and cards with one beautiful information manager — Evernote. The app is free to download and try (though you’ll need to pay as your data usage increases) and includes apps for all your devices so you can always have access to your ideas, information, contacts, and more.
Vert Conversion App
If you need to convert measurements, having Vert on your phone makes it easy. Vert will also convert currencies and temperatures, so it’s the perfect tool for working with international clients or hunting down properties for ex-pats. Vert is free for iOS or upgrade to the pro version for $1.99.
Because it’s universal (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Windows phone, and web-based platforms), Dropbox is perfect for sharing files across all your devices so you can always access them, makes an ideal backup server, and allows you to share files with clients who have accounts.
With the right collection of apps, your smartphone or tablet can become your virtual assistant. These apps will help you save time and money, make smarter decisions, stress less, and appear more professional to your clients.