My work as a REALTOR® is very demanding on my time and organizational skills, and I am not ashamed to take any help that I can get — especially if the only thing I have to do is tap the "download" button. I would like to present you with the 10 most amazing apps I believe every real estate agent should consider. These wonderful little helping hands guide me every step of the way, from better organizing my schedule, getting to my clients faster and safer, remembering my to-do's and passwords, and putting all my documents at my fingertips to simply not getting wet in the rain on my way to work. I also travel a lot as a guest speaker in Canada and the U.S. discussing technology and real estate as well as the international market. Apps help me manage my travels just as well. I hope you'll enjoy my selection and that it will help you as much as it helps me.
Uber simply helps me get places in strange cities and at odd times just as comfortably as I travel every day around Toronto. It is crucial for us real estate agents to be everywhere on time and manoeuvre around the cities we know as well as the ones we don't.
If there is no taxi in the area to hail, you simply open the Uber app, and after it locates you using the GPS in your phone, you'll have all the taxis, regular cars, SUVs and even limos in the area at your fingertips. The app will show their positions on the map and show you the estimated time of arrival.
Once you make a request for a ride, the app keeps you up to date with the car's progress on the map and sends you a message as to who is coming to pick you up and what their license plate number is. You also get a text once the car is about to arrive.
Pinar Chiles from Ottawa told me:
I was so pleased to use Uber on my first visit of Toronto. It made me feel very safe and in control of my whole transportation around the new city. I would definitely recommend the app to anyone arriving in the new city.
Once you arrive at your destination, your fare is automatically charged to your credit card on file — no need to tip. Uber will also email you a receipt and you are then asked to rate the car and the driver. If you invite your friends to split the fare and they opt in, each person's credit card will be charged equally. You can also calculate your fare in advance depending on the city you're in. Simple and easy!
As Uber enters the Canadian market, the regulatory fight starts just as it did in the U.S. The contest between an online service and a taxi industry intent on keeping new competitors out of the market also brought about legal challenges to the service. Geo-location privacy has been invoked as an issue connected to the app, with some concerned about the prospect of allowing tracking and inferences about user behaviour that is not otherwise publicly available.
Waze is the largest community of drivers on the planet that shares real-time traffic information and road alerts. The app helps everyone bypass traffic and save time and gas money on their commute. It's very simple. You just drive with the app open and you will already be contributing to the traffic reports. If you want to participate more actively, you can report events as you drive by — all hands-free.
Peter, the app designer and an IT specialist currently consulting on tracking software for apps similar to Waze, shared his opinion:
I really like the idea behind Waze. It helps us improve the commute and gets rid of the need to employ massive AI to build up diagnostics and predictability engines. It's all simply done by the every-day user. However, the weak point of these apps is that once the app becomes less popular, it also becomes less effective.
The app always calculates the fastest route to your destination based on the information collected. That's why it's crucial for as many of your friends as possible to join in so that the app has as much info as possible. There is also a feature that allows you to create events and see a live status of your friends or clients as they arrive to your house party or house viewing.
Waze also helps you navigate to the cheapest gas station on your route, all powered by community-shared gas prices. By working together to report prices at the pump, Waze drivers can always save some gas money.
Evernote is the real estate agent's ultimate tool! It allows me to organize my business life and respond to clients whenever and from wherever.
You can write notes of all types, from short lists to lengthy research, and access them across all your devices. You can collect web articles, handwritten notes, and photos to keep all the details in one place and find your work quickly with Evernote's search.
Evernote also allows you to manage expenses, organize receipts, bills, and invoices and to keep expense reports in check.
If you work in a team, I recommend Evernote Business. You can create a collaborative hub for your team to brainstorm, develop and launch projects with business notebooks. Straightforward billing and administration let you spend less time on deployment and more on what really matters to your business.
Tripit simply helps me organize and alerts me to things I need to know when I travel. It keeps all my travel plans in one place and accesses my itineraries anytime, on any device. It makes my life a real estate agent so much easier whenever I need to travel.
What I really like about the app is that it also helps me find alternate flights and open seats when I need to rebook. This happens quite often, especially when some of my clients decide to go for the offer right after viewing and I need to stay longer to take care of the contract and other documentation.
I like sitting next to the window whenever I can. If you punch in your seat preference, the app will also notify you if it becomes available. The designers of Tripit thought about everything! You also get instant alerts for flight delays, cancellations, and gate changes. If your flight is cancelled, being the first to know is indispensable.
When you enter your reward program info, the app will automatically update your points, miles, or segments, and you'll have all your account numbers, balances, and expirations in one spot. Tripit will also track fare changes for you and let you know the moment you're eligible for a refund.
Docusign allows me to sign documents anywhere in the world. It is one of the most convenient tools for a modern real estate agent, or any other businessperson. It is so easy to work with!
From consumers to individual professionals to businesses of all sizes, anyone can take advantage of the efficiencies of DocuSign's eSignature capabilities,
Roger Kay, founder and president of Endpoint Technologies Associates.
It's often very time-consuming to print, scan, mail and fax the documents. And more often than not, we make errors when filling in what's needed. DocuSign allows you to sign and send with the click of a button and gain instant visibility into the status of your documents. (I don't have to keep vast amount of documents in my head anymore — and I also never forget about them.) The app allows you to do tons of business while on the road, which is great for every real estate agent.
For the cost and what I can do with it, it's invaluable. Using DocuSign has made me 100% mobile and paperless and gives me an extra day per week,
says Sean from Boone-based real estate agency.
DocuSign works with the commonly used file formats (Word, Excel, PDF, text, and images) as well as the cloud services we already use (Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, OneDrive, and more). DocuSign also recognizes and converts PDF form fields so you won't have to redesign your form from scratch. (This is extremely useful for real estate agents, as you know we work with a lot of these!)
All your agreements are stored in the DocuSign cloud, which has bank-level encryption tamper seals. No need to worry that you'll end up like Hollywood stars on iCloud!
The app lets me know what the weather is like, what I need to wear and what the forecast will be. Forecasts include hourly, 36-hour, and 10-day forecast options (Celsius or Fahrenheit). What I really like about the app is that it also gives you "feels like" temperature. Here in Canada, that is very often so different from the actual temperature. I never go out unprepared.
If you wish, you can also get alerts for severe weather and high pollen counts for any of your favourite locations. (Useful for colleagues who suffer from allergies.)
The part I'm very excited about is the Social Weather module, where you can share your weather conditions along with photos. The system uses this information to improve its alerts. It's amazing to know that you can help others avoid getting wet!
LastPass helps me remember the thousands of passwords that are in my life today. The app allows you to safely store all your passwords and access them from any device using just one LastPass login. The app employs one of the most advanced encryptions on the commercial market to encode the data you store there.
Your key to the application never leaves your device which is crucial when protecting the data that are stored online. This way, the risk of being hacked is substantially reduced,
says Peter, an app designer and IT specialist currently consulting for California-based companies.
I cannot imagine how I was once able to manage my passwords before I got the app. Well, truth be told, I just had two or three passwords for all my logins — not a very secure way of going. Now I can get creative and keep my accounts safe, and I don't need to worry I'll forget all my passwords when I go for a week-long vacation.
If you work in a team, you can also set up a LastPass Enterprise account to secure your company's assets. As the guys from LastPass correctly pointed out, the more time your employees spend tracking down passwords and hitting the "password reset" button, the more it costs you in productivity — and your bottom line.
CamScanner is a leading mobile document scanning and sharing app with over 100 million installs in more than 200 countries. No wonder everyone's using it. I was very excited to find out that I don't have to drag my scanner along if I want a high-quality image of my documents. You just need a device with a good camera and you're good to go. (And let's be frank: almost every single mobile phone has a camera with an amazing resolution!) CamScanner helps you scan, store, sync and collaborate on various contents across smart phones, tablets and computers.
One feature I'm particularly excited about is the OCR (optical character recognition) that extracts texts inside images for further editing or .txt sharing. (However, it's for the paid app — $ 4.99/month or $49.99/year.) Once you're done scanning, you can also print out docs in the app with nearby printers and directly fax docs to over 30 countries straight from the app.
Dropbox lets you bring all your photos, docs and videos anywhere. After you install Dropbox on your computer, any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as the Dropbox website! You can pack up everything you need in the cloud and access it from any device in the world that has the Dropbox app installed.
I find this app very useful in cases when I forget a video or some larger file that I can't email on my computer at work, I just ask one of my colleagues to upload it to Dropbox and I can instantly access it without wasting any time.
Every time you edit any of the content on your devices, the same change will apply on all the devices where your Dropbox account is open. Isn't that just amazing, so easy and so fast? Definitely a must for us REALTORS® who deal with hundreds of documents every day.
This hidden gem was developed in collaboration with real estate professionals for real estate professionals. Listings+ is a simple yet very smart app that helps REALTORS® log, track and report on their listing activity. Unfortunately the app only runs on Apple devices.
REALTORS® can quickly record an inquiry, schedule a showing and track the success of an open house. Listings+ lets agents easily record an event, capture contacts, document feedback, schedule calendar appointments and keep their clients updated every step of the way!