Being a REALTOR® means that one day you might be presenting at a conference in China and the next day host an open house in Toronto. The good news is that you can do business from anywhere these days, given that you have the right technology in your hands.
In Torontoism team we use apps to avoid traffic jams, pay for our parking, sign the documents or even to schedule an appointment for a massage. And it saves us a lot of time and energy! Isn't it what all technology should be about after all - making our lives easier and saving us some time for the important stuff?
We've put together a list of our favourite apps we use to work, communicate and relax. These apps are really handy not only for the REALTORS® but also for any kind of business people who travel a lot and need to organize their time efficiently. So clear some space in your smartphone memory and listen up!
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.
For most of our team members, Waze has become an app they can't imagine living without. Here is what Sherille Layton has to say about it:
My favourite app would be Waze. It’s a GPS app and with all the driving that we do around Toronto, it really helps me get to where I am going more efficiently and often avoiding bad traffic.
The app always calculates the fastest route to your destination based on the information collected. There is also a feature that allows you to create events and see a live status of your friends or clients as they arrive at 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.
Green P Parking is an app that allows you to buy parking in Toronto using only your smartphone. You can also easily locate all Green P lots on the map provided by the app. Shortly before your parking is going to expire, the app will send an alert to notify you. The best thing about Green P is that the parking time can be extended remotely without going back to your vehicle. With Green P you can also track how much you spend on parking and manage your account from any device.
Here is what Jim Burtnick thinks about Green P:
I would say that my newest and most used app is the GreenP Municipal Parking app...No more fumbling around for change or waiting for machines to process your credit card, no more loose receipt to hang on to for taxes. Just open the app, punch in the location ID and purchase time on your phone. It even lets you know when your time is about to expire, so you can extend the time. Say goodbye to parking tickets!
If a meeting with a client drags on and your parking is expiring, you don't need to rush back to your car, you can simply extend the parking remotely from your phone. A real time-saver!
If you are planning to go global, WeChat is an absolute must. WeChat is an app for...well...almost anything! It started as a Chinese answer to WhatsApp and gradually added features enabling its 800 million + active users a month to order their food, play games, make video calls, transfer money or even book an appointment to a doctor without leaving the app.
WeChat is basically a 'super app' that hosts a number of other apps. It seems like one day the WeChat users won't need any other apps installed on their smartphones anymore!
The minute you cross over to Mainland China, there is no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, so they use WeChat, which is actually like Facebook messenger but it does a lot of things that Facebook messenger doesn’t do: you can do face-to-face, you can do phone, you can order food online, you can have it picked up, etc. You can do everything on WeChat. WeChat is their best way of communicating!
The interesting thing about WeChat is that it is so successful, yet the Western world knows so little about it. The media are actually buzzing about Facebook trying to become the "WeChat of the West" adding more and more features to its Messenger app. Guess we'll see how it works out!
DocuSign allows you to sign documents anywhere in the world. It is one of the most convenient tools for a modern real estate agent, and it is so easy to work with!
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 the Boone-based real estate agency.
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.
As real estate agents, we often need to do tons of business while on the road, and for Torontoism team, DocuSign has become the ultimate solution.
DocuSign on my phone is a great way to ensure you are getting and signing all necessary documents and ensure your clients are too,
says Jim Burtnick.
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.
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!
Dropbox lets you bring all your photos, docs and videos anywhere (except for China, *sigh*). After you install Dropbox on your computer, any file you save to your Dropbox folder 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.
Richard Silver loves the app:
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 to all the devices where your Dropbox account is open. Isn't that just amazing, so easy and so fast? Definitely a must for REALTORS® who deal with hundreds of documents every day.
WeTransfer is an app that enables you to share photos and videos easily from your phone. All you have to do is select your photos and videos, add the recipient's email address and upload your files (up to 10 GB). The receiver will get a link to download your photos or videos. Simple?! Yes, but useful and saves you a lot of time. And it's also free! Great way to share photos and videos of the property with your clients!
Here is what Jim Burtnick thinks about it:
WeTransfer is a great way to send buyer clients videos of condos/houses you went to see on their behalf. Great for buyer clients who are not in Toronto.
Wouldn't it be great to have a scanner that fits in your pocket? Tiny Scanner turns your phone into a portable document scanner and allows you to scan anything as an image or a PDF. The app provides high-quality scans of your documents both in color or monochrome; it also recognizes the page edges automatically and uses 5 levels of contrast for crisp monochrome texts.
Tiny Scanner comes in very handy if you have one-page file or picture to convert to PDF. Also could link to your Dropbox, DocuSign, Goole Drive and other Apps.
says Tracy An.
After scanning your document, you can share it via Email, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box or use Wifi to share it directly to your computer. You can also save the scanned documents on your device without being worried about security - the app allows you to create a passcode to protect your files.
Being a REALTOR® can be stressful: some days you are so busy that you find yourself running on an autopilot feeling exhausted and wondering where did all the time go by the end of the day. Press a "pause" button from time to time! 5-10 minutes break spent on relaxation will save you hours by boosting your productivity afterwards.
Take a Break app offers 2 voice-guided meditations: work break relaxation (7 min) or stress relief meditation (13 min) and written recommendations for your meditations.
Sherille Layton uses this app to calm down when she feels swamped:
Take A Break app is good for taking a quick few minutes for yourself in the middle of a hectic or a stressful day. It’s very calming.
When we talk about meditation we usually associate it with stress reduction, but coping with stress isn't its only benefit. A little meditation break also prolongs your attention span and helps you find creative solutions to your problems. As an alternative to Take a Break, you can also use other apps like Calm, Headspace, etc. Just find out what works best for you!
Talking about stress-relief, here is one more great app. We order groceries, books, and other stuff from Amazon and expect it to be delivered to our doorstep. So why not order a massage just like that? The Soothe app allows you to order a number of types of massage in your home and give you options for times with a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT). You can also choose the duration of your massage and gender of a technician.
Rather than worrying about an appointment out of the home at an inconvenient time, you can order, access and then rate the provider and get a discount when you invite your friends for their first massage, all on your timetable....the UBERization of Massage,
says Richard Silver. If you work in real estate, every minute counts, so not having to drive to and from SPA can be a lifesaver!
Talking about Uber, here is one more app that will save you loads of time. Because, as our youngest team member, Rizwan Malik, says:
Who has time to cook anymore!
UberEats is a food delivery app that makes requesting food as fast and easy as requesting a ride. The great thing about it is that you can track the delivery of your food, just like you can track your Uber driver. No need to worry if your food is on the way or if somebody just forgot your order. The average delivery takes 35 minutes from the moment you order until it arrives at your door.
If you don't know exactly what you want, the app offers you the most popular dishes from the chosen restaurant. You can also search by cuisine or type of meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner). After you order, the app will estimate how long it will take to deliver you the food. Basically, UberEats saves you time on ordering and waiting for your food so that you can spend more time enjoying it.