A couple of months ago I wrote about how I use the iPad on listing appointments. The iPad is also a great tool for working with buyers.
Here is a description of some of the apps and other mobile tools I am using, how I am using them, and a short review of the new 4.2 operating system for the iPad. Most of these mobile tools are inexpensive or free:
1. The Realtor.com app, because it has most listings and because I can have my clients draw a circle on a map and all the listings in the circle will pop up. It is a great way to explain neighborhoods and to quickly see available homes.
2. The Safari browser that comes with the iPad. Instant Internet is the killer application on the iPad, and these are among the most useful sites:
a. The multiple listing service — if I had three thumbs I would give the NorthstarMLS three thumbs up for how well it works on mobile devices.
b. Local tax records.
c. City permits and "Truth in Sale of Housing" reports.
3. A mortgage calculator and a standard calculator. It is about the big screen and being able to show my work as I go.
4. Walk Score. This app rates the "walkability" of a given address based on proximity to amenities, and provides general info and links for those amenities, including businesses, landmarks and government offices.
5. Wikihood. This app is location-based and I work in historic neighborhoods. It contains a wealth of information about local history and architecture.
6. GoodReader. I use it to read various attachments that are included in our MLS with the listings.
7. IAnnotate. Use it to sign PDF real estate contracts.
8. Dropbox. Access documents, like real estate contracts, that are stored in "the cloud." I can move anything that I create on the iPad into DropBox so that I can access it from my PC.
9. The e-mail application preloaded on the iPad. When my clients ask for information I can show it to them on my screen and then send them a copy.
10. PaperDesk. This note-taking application allows me to create a separate notebook for each client, and I don’t need to carry pen and paper with me.
I have been very happy with the iPad because it is lightweight, yet the screen is big enough to easily see and share with clients.
IPad 4.2 operating system
In late November, Apple rolled out the new 4.2 operating system for the iPad. There were several delays in the release and I patiently waited by my computer until it came.
The new version of the operating system offers multitasking, but what Apple calls multitasking and what I call multitasking are not the same. I can’t run two apps at the same time and see them both on the screen, or do more than one thing at a time.
The new multitasking functionality does make it easier to go from one app to another, and it is easier to access the settings menu from any app.
The new version makes it possible to print from the iPad. I have not been able to test the print functions because I don’t have Apple’s "AirPrint" or an HP printer that uses that company’s "ePrint" standard. I have no interest in printing from my iPad, but I know that it is a critical function for some users.
It is now possible to organize applications into folders. It is my favorite new feature because it is easier to find apps and my screens are less cluttered. I have a folder for real estate applications, one for social media applications, and another for news.
The way the iPad handles e-mail has improved. There is a single inbox. In the last operating system I had to go from inbox to inbox to check for new e-mail.
Some reviewers for the new operating system are writing that the iPad is better for business because of the operating system. Other than the folders for apps, I have not found that to be true. The iPad was just as good for business use on the old operating system.
My iPad isn’t just for business. My favorite non-work-related apps are the Kindle app and the Netflix app, in that order. The iPad might just make the perfect Christmas gift for the Realtor who has everything but is looking for more.