7 cool apps for real estate agents

Change the way you post videos, digitize contacts and location-share

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A popular pastime among smartphone and tablet users is to share the apps they love. Perhaps you will find some of your favorites in the list below or fall in love with an app you haven’t seen before that’s a good fit for your business.

Most smartphone and tablet users have quite a few apps on their devices, but use only a handful. Here are seven cool apps that can help your business:

1. Camera Plus (Android, iPhone, iPad)
At 99 cents, this app makes your photos look as if they were shot by a pro. It goes way beyond what programs like iPhoto provide. Camera Plus is amazingly simple to use. You can create dozens of special effects such as putting a blue or yellow filter on the photo, creating custom borders, watermarking the photo itself, or adding comments, all with just a tap of your finger.

With more than 7 million apps sold, Camera Plus was named one of the top 50 apps for 2011 by Time magazine, as well as being voted the best photography app by the "Best App Ever Awards."

2. CardMunch (available for iPhone, with Android app coming soon)
Business cards are a fact of life and can be a real nuisance to enter into your computer. LinkedIn has created an app called "CardMunch" that not only scans your business cards and enters them into a database, it works with your LinkedIn profile as well.

Once you scan the card with your phone and the card is uploaded, "LinkedIn will map the information with the contact’s LinkedIn profile and augment it with photos, common connections, past work experience, and education. It makes it a lot easier to match a face to a name, and the number of cards scanned saved workers an estimated four tons of card stock that would have otherwise weighed down their pockets."

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3. Glympse: "Share Your Where" (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Phone 7)
Have you ever been late for a meeting or had trouble finding the restaurant where you were meeting your new client? Glympse lets you share your exact location in real time with whomever you want.

You can send your Glympse to your client’s mobile device as well as to his Twitter and Facebook accounts. Glympse calculates your exact location and broadcasts it to your client or friends. It also calculates your speed and your estimated arrival time.

4. GroupMe (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad)
Rather than running the risk of going over your data plan’s text messaging limits, there’s a great app called GroupMe that’s now part of the Skype family.

GroupMe allows you to turn your phone into a private chat room. When you send a message, everyone in the chat room receives it. GroupMe also allows photo sharing. Best of all, there’s no charge for this service.

5. iScape and HardScape apps (iPad)
While virtually staging the interiors of homes has been around for a couple of years, the iScape family of apps lets you stage the landscaping and the hardscapes on your less-than-lovely listings.

Furthermore, iScape is perfect for people who are considering doing major exterior changes to a property. It’s a great way to see what you will be getting before paying thousands of dollars in fees.

6. Kik (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Symbian, Windows Phone 7)
Kik is another app that allows you to conduct real-time conversations, much like online chat. You can see when messages are delivered and read, which is great when you need to reach clients with time-sensitive messages.

Additional benefits of Kik include the ability to share photos. Furthermore, Kik works on most phones, so this is a particularly good app for your clients who may not have an Android phone or iPhone. 

7. Vid.ly: "The Universal Video URL" (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad)
While shooting video with your phone is pretty simple, posting it online is another issue. Vid.ly lets you upload your video once.

When a user clicks on your video, Vid.ly automatically matches your video to fit the user’s video player. No more wasting time trying to save your video into multiple formats so it will play on most devices. Vid.ly also generates a shortened URL so you can post a link to your video virtually anywhere.

While Vid.ly doesn’t charge for five or fewer videos per month, there is a storage and a delivery charge. Unless you’re shooting a lot of video or have a very high-traffic video, these fees are minimal. Best of all, you don’t have to figure out how to get your videos posted in a format that will work on all computers.

The one challenge with all the thousands of apps out there is locating the apps that will work for you. If you get in the habit of trying a new app once or twice a month, you can easily spot which apps you want to keep and which ones to delete.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of the National Association of Realtors’ No. 1 best-seller, “Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success.” Hear Bernice’s five-minute daily real estate show, just named "new and notable" by iTunes, at www.RealEstateCoachRadio.com. You can contact her at Bernice@RealEstateCoach.com or @BRoss on Twitter.

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