Stand out with 20 real estate mobile tools

Smart phone users will dominate market share by end of 2011

NEW YORK — To most effectively market properties, real estate professionals should go "where the eyeballs are": mobile, according to Chris Smith, co-founder of real estate tech blog Tech Savvy Agent.

Smith kicked off Inman News’ Agent Reboot event in Manhattan Tuesday with a list of 20 mobile applications and other tools for real estate agents to differentiate themselves from their competition.

Currently, 31 percent of mobile users own smart phones; by the end of 2011, smart phone users will make up the majority, according to market research company Nielsen. By 2013, more people will own smart phones than own personal computers or laptops. Tuesday’s long-awaited announcement that Apple’s iPhone will be available on Verizon, rather than being solely restricted to AT&T, is likely to encourage further smart phone adoption.

1. Google Maps: This mobile application allows users to drop a pin onto a map that takes them to Google’s Street View. Agents and clients can use it to "walk" around a neighborhood before driving there. The app can also be used to e-mail map views.

2. HootSuite: This app allows users to manage their Facebook pages and profiles as well as their Twitter accounts. The app includes the ability to set up columns in order to better target prospective clients. For example, users can create columns of posts that only include a certain keyword or phrase, i.e. "moving to New York."

3. Evernote: Smith called this app the "new Post-It note." The app allows users to save typed, image, video or audio notes, and syncs across users’ mobile and desktop devices. Those who like to hand-write can take an image of a handwritten note; the app then makes the text searchable. The app also geocodes every note so that users know where they were when they saved it.

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4. DropBox: This app keeps every document, spreadsheet, listing agreement or PDF at users’ fingertips. It also allows them to link to any of those documents to share them with other people. Smith suggested that agents create a PDF that answers the ubiquitous "How’s the market?" question, and store it in DropBox for easy access.

5. DocuSign: Agents can sign documents electronically from anywhere using this mobile app.

6. Realtor.com: Information on for-sale homes nationwide is available on this app. Users can search for properties in list view, satellite view or map view. For clients with neighborhood preferences, an area highlighter function allows users to trace a particular area with their finger to include or exclude search results in that area.

7. Open Home Pro: Open house attendees may be less likely to provide phony e-mail addresses if agents are using this iPad app rather than a paper sign-in sheet, Smith said. After attendees sign themselves in, the app sends them an e-mail thanking them, and also searches for them on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Inman News’ columnist Teresa Boardman reviewed the app in the fall (see "Is real estate app ready for the real world?").

8. Slydial: This is an app for agents with overly talkative clients. "Have you ever called someone and wished they wouldn’t answer?" Smith asked. This app allows callers to go right to voice mail.

9. QR codes: There are many QR ("Quick Response") code providers out there. Agents can use these bar code-like images on their printed materials to connect clients to online resources of their choosing.

10. Mobile ads: Eyes are shifting online and advertising dollars should follow, Smith said.

11. UStream/Qik: These apps allow users to broadcast live — a video of a house showing, for example. UStream’s Social Stream also includes the ability to interact with viewers through a live feed of Facebook and Twitter messages. Qik is for BlackBerry devices and UStream is for iPhone- or Android-powered devices.

12. YouTube/Reel Director/iMovie: These apps allow users to shoot, edit and upload video. "Stop just consuming content; start creating content," Smith said.

13. Blogging: "What if blogging was called marketing?" Smith said. Who would say, "I don’t have time for marketing?" He recommended the Posterous or WordPress publishing platforms.

14. Google Analytics: This app will tell users what’s working for them on their websites, including where people are looking and how long they’re staying on specific pages. Agents shouldn’t let the 99-cent price tag deter them from this app, Smith said.

15. Scvngr: This app has a gaming element that invites users to interact with the places they’re visiting. The company is also offering agents the opportunity to create a "trek" for prospective buyers that takes them to places the agent designates to show off their market. These places can include for-sale listings, schools, coffee shops and landmarks, among many others.

16. Top Producer: This app puts a leading customer relationship management system in the palm of a user’s hand. "I don’t think you can afford not to have your book of business with you when you’re out and about," Smith said.

17. 360 Panorama: This app takes panoramic images and allows users to post them on Twitter and Facebook.

18. Dragon Dictation: This app converts voice memos to text and is especially useful while driving or walking through a house.

19. ITeleport/LogMeIn: These mobile apps allow users to control their desktop computer remotely. This means users can view and edit files, as well as access their desktop software programs.

20. Mobile Card Cast: This service provides mobile-optimized sites and text-message advertising. Most real estate websites appear "broken" on mobile devices, Smith said. "12-17 percent of all traffic right now is mobile — are you ready?"

Attend an Agent Reboot event near you:

Seattle March 9, 2011
Phoenix March 16, 2011
Orange County, Calif. March 30, 2011
Dallas April 13, 2011
Chicago April 20, 2011
Minneapolis, Minn. April 27, 2011
Charlotte, N.C. May 4, 2011
Atlanta May 18, 2011
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada June 2, 2011
Portland, Ore. June 15, 2011
Denver, Colo. June 29, 2011
San Francisco, Calif. July 26, 2011
Toronto, Ontario, Canada Aug. 3, 2011
Columbus, Ohio Aug. 31, 2011
Philadelphia Sept. 7, 2011
Boston TBA
Houston TBA
Miami TBA
Orlando, Fla. TBA
Salt Lake City TBA
Washington, D.C. TBA


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