There's an app for that. In real estate, that rings increasingly true as technology continues to play a major role in the daily lives of real estate agents. That trend is expected to continue, making it even more cumbersome and time-consuming to wade through all the apps available to find ones that are most relevant and useful to your business.
In real estate, software apps for customer relationship management, lead generation, digital marketing and transaction management are known necessities. But with thousands of apps available, the choices can feel overwhelming even if you start with these basics, and trying out app after app is not the best use of your time.
Scaling down the list to find some starting points is a good first step. While new software apps emerge on a daily basis, here are 10 that serve a variety of purposes, offering you a shortcut to a good, solid set of apps you can use on a daily basis for a variety of tasks:
- Contactually. Every real estate agents needs a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, but few want to sift through the trial versions of dozens of apps to find the perfect fit. That doesn't mean you should just keep your contacts on a bunch of sticky notes or resort to listing them on a spreadsheet. If you're tired of trying to choose a CRM, you can't really go wrong with Contactually. Not only does it do all the things a reliable CRM app should, like categorizing your contacts into meaningful groups, but it also manages your pipeline by managing your relationships. It even provides a scorecard so you can track how well you're doing. Contactually also scores high for having a very easy-to-use format.
- Dotloop. While it is a close call between transaction software apps Dotloop and DocuSign, Dotloop gets the edge thanks to its intuitive interface, reasonable pricing and its ease of broker oversight from conception to close. Now owned by Zillow, Dotloop continues to be the dominant transaction software used in real estate, with more than 25 million electronic signatures handled over the course of a year. Its size means you can expect continued rollout of new and improved features as well as plenty of support. Another great advantage? Since it's the big player, it's likely your clients and cooperating brokers are also using it, making your job just a little easier.
- RPR Mobile. Most agents know about RPR Mobile, but if you don't already have it downloaded, pause for a moment and download it now. RPR Mobile is not only the quickest and simplest way to search for property information, but it also enables you to send branded reports to your clients and prospects on the go.
- MagicPlan. Ready to dazzle your clients? MagicPlan enables you to create floor plans—from an uploaded photo, existing plan or one you draw—that help prospective buyers to better understand your listing's traffic flow and living space. You can also help your buyer clients figure out how they would place their existing furniture so they can better see themselves at home in a prospective new home.
- BombBomb. Everyone knows email campaigns are an important part of managing your pipeline, but the lack of a personal touch can make it less effective than other forms of social media. Let's face it, text emails aren't as effective as they once were. Clients and prospects today receive so many emails each day, it's nearly impossible to get noticed. Enter BombBomb, the video email app. With BombBomb, you can make quick videos to send via email that will set you apart from other agents, improving successful lead generation and conversion. If you prefer to use a more sophisticated way of reaching out to your customers, you should consider omnichannel email marketing.
- Expensify. As a business owner, you know the importance of keeping track of your mileage and deductible expenses throughout the year. But knowing you should be tracking these items and actually keeping track of them diligently are two different things. Expensify makes the task easy by putting all that tracking at your fingertips. Forget about having to comb through a bunch of receipts at the end of the month. Expensify will keep tabs on your receipts and other expenses, making it easy to itemize your deductions when tax time rolls around.
- Periscope. Connect with prospective buyers and give video tours of your listings in real time. This live video streaming app, owned by Twitter, also comes in handy for sharing with contractors and others who could benefit from simultaneously seeing and hearing your instructions or questions. Like other social media, users can tweet out a link to their live stream and decide the audience for their video.
- Homes.com Mortgage Calculator. It may not have a catchy name, but the Homes.com Mortgage Calculator gets the job done. This one app can take the headache out of most of the financial questions your clients have and help you to complete contracts where financing specifics are required. The app will calculate monthly mortgage payments, answer questions about refinance, figure debt-to-income ratios and even show how changes in interest rates will affect monthly payment and total payments over the life of the loan. It will also help your clients answer questions about whether to rent or buy and compare total payments between a fixed and adjustable loan.
- Placester. Placester pulls listing info from your local MLS, so your visitors can directly search for properties without leaving your site. It has a leg up on other IDX website providers because it's more economical and because it uses WordPress for its platform. The result is an efficient and appealing site to welcome online traffic.
- CloudCMA. A comparative market analysis report is the most important element of your listing presentation. CloudCMA helps you put your best foot forward with a CMA that goes above and beyond the reports you can print from your local MLS site. Not only will you set yourself apart from other agents with a more in-depth and attractive product for prospective sellers, but CloudCMA includes buyer reports, property tours, marketing flyers and an interactive iPad presentation. With over 200 MLS areas currently included, yours is likely already on the list or soon to be added.
Technology is here to stay, so whether you happily embrace it or begrudgingly use it, clients will increasingly expect you to use it to advantage in helping them to buy or sell a home. While there are thousands of apps to consider, focus on your end goals of improving efficiency, increasing accuracy, and setting yourself apart from the other agents out there. Knowing what you want to achieve can help you greatly narrow the choices available.
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