REALTOR® Magazine talked to movers and shakers in the real estate world to find out which mobile tools they love and why.
Finding the right tech solution can be an overwhelming task. There are more than 2 million apps available for Android and Apple devices alike, according to Statista, a consumer survey and research institute.
Sometimes the best way to sort through all the noise is to ask a successful colleague what they use. That’s why REALTOR® Magazine asked top-producing agents about their favorite mobile apps.
Crunch the Numbers: Apps That Help You Calculate
Karl’s Mortgage Calculator (available on Android and Apple devices; free) helps users figure out monthly payments on a property given the principal, interest, and loan terms. One particularly flexible feature is the ability to reverse-calculate any one variable given the other three. It’s an app that Mark Palace, co-owner of Palace Properties International Inc. in Satellite Beach, Fla., swears by. “This is a powerful, reliable, and easy-to-use app,” he said. “It quickly calculates conventional, FHA, VA, and USDA mortgages on the fly while out in the field.”
Palace—who sells in Florida, Oregon, and California—uses the app to show clients how large a mortgage properties would require. He says the accuracy of the calculator is what sets it apart from the pack.
Other free apps that offer similar services include Mortgage Calculator FREE and Quicken Loans’ Mortgage Calculator (both are available for Android and Apple devices). The latter, however, does not have the capability to calculate FHA loans.
Organization Station: Accessible Files and Note Taking
Because real estate pros are so often on the go, having access to important files and to-do lists on a mobile device is a smart move. Google Keep and Evernote are two services available for Apple and Android devices that top producers use to stay organized.
“Everything goes into Evernote,” says Eli Karon, a top-producing real estate pro with Teles Properties in Los Angeles. Though he estimates he only uses around 10 percent of the app’s full potential, he says better organization was one factor that helped him hit $25 million last year and $31 million in 2015. “When I eat with a client, I can take a picture of the receipt and put it in Evernote.” Karon uses a paid version of the app, which offers features like scanning and digitizing business cards and the ability to annotate PDFs. (Evernote’s premium options cost from $35 to $70 per year.)
Google Keep is similar to Evernote, though as a free app it is more basic. “The reason I like Google Keep is that I can choose who to share items with from the office,” explains Rachel Adams, CEO and founder of The Rachel Adams Group at Keller Williams Realty in San Francisco. Adams says the live functionality of Google Keep makes it useful in both her personal and professional life, allowing her to collaborate with others on everything from office tasks to shopping lists “in real time.”
Get Social: Develop Relationships With Prospective Clients
If you don’t have at least one social media app on your phone, you’re missing out on an opportunity to connect. Agents can easily find a few moments at an open house or waiting in line at the grocery store to send a quick message or post a status update that will keep them top-of-mind with prospective and past clients.
“We post seven to eight times a day,” explains Johnson, who also says that her group seeks to tell unique stories that foster a human connection and allows clients to get a glimpse into her life.
Choosing which app to concentrate on might take a little research into your target demographic. Today’s millennial buyer is more likely to be on Facebook and Instagram, but the following generation Z loves Snapchat, according to SproutSocial.
“I use Instagram’s app to connect with our clients past and present on a more personal level,” says Mandy Mills, a top-producing REALTOR® with the Mandy and David Team serving Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. For Mills and her team, Instagram is a powerful storytelling tool that allows them to share both and striking interior shots of new listings and glimpses into the personalities of various agents on the team.
Facebook continues to be popular across demographics, according to data from the Pew Research Center. “In 2016, I closed on 58 homes from Facebook referrals,” says Adams, noting that number rose from 23 in 2015 largely due to her response time. She’s always on and ready to reply, she says, because her phone is always on her. “A five-minute response means a 90 percent higher rate of conversion.” Adams also loves that the Facebook Pages app enables her to post targeted advertisements from her mobile device.
Map It! Apps That Help You Get Where You Need to Go
In states both large and small, a good GPS connection helps to get from point A to B quickly is key. The two map apps favored by top producers are free and available on both Android and Apple devices: Google Maps and Waze.
“I love Google Maps, because it has saved me so much time,” explains Palace. “It gives the user live traffic updates and reroutes the user to the quickest possible route.”
While Google Maps is the biggest player in this market, Waze, from an Israel-based company owned by Google, is particularly well-liked because it incorporates user feedback to update the app.
One mobile task that’s especially relevant for real estate agents is the ability to quickly share a location with others. While Apple devices allow users to share GPS coordinates via email or text by turning on GPS coordinates, there’s an app that offers this particular functionality more directly on Android phones. Both Mills and Getson love the fact that Compass App (available for free in Google’s Play Store) allows them to easily share their coordinates with others. “It helps us to be able to look up properties on the go and send them quickly to our clients,” said Mills.