Editor’s note: Inman News will hold a contest each week asking readers to submit articles to the InmanWiki focused on a particular topic. The best entries will be featured the following week in Inman News.

Last week’s winner was Missy Caulk, a broker with RE/MAX Platinum in Ann Arbor, Mich. The following article was her submission to the topic, “Tell us about a new online service or application that changed the way you conduct your real estate business.”

Favorite Tech Tools
In October of 2005, I purchased a Tablet PC. I chose the Motion Computer because of the long battery life. I can recharge with my keyboard at night and go all day without having to return to the office.

I use a data modem card with it so I can log on anywhere. No more running to Starbucks or elsewhere to log on.

This has increased my business productivity in many ways. When I am out with clients in the car and we pass a house that was not on their list of homes to view and they ask, “Why wasn’t this house on the tour?” or “Wonder how much that house is?” I can pull over (yes, I pull over), log onto the MLS and show them. Since the screen is bigger we can see the entire listing and don’t have to look at the small amount of data we would see on a smart phone.

Onenote, by Microsoft, is included in the software and this is where it really gets exciting and easy. I go on listing appointments and walk through the house taking notes in my own handwriting and it saves it under the address and seller’s name. Then when I am doing the CMA, all the notes are right there. No more spiral notebooks. I can then e-mail the notes to my desktop to have them right in front of me.

Another great time-saver is when you travel. Just log on in the car as you drive, check e-mail, send e-mail, check hotsheets, and my children can even check their MySpace or Facebook pages, which keeps them entertained. It makes trips so much more productive.

In the summer, we spend a lot of time at our lake house, so I no longer have to have Comcast brought into the cottage — I just use my tablet. Since I have the anywhere screen, I can see it while laying out on the boat. No jet skiers, please!

Finally, all my contracts are on the tablet. If a seller or buyer is ready to go, I can fill out the contract, print to Journal Writer, and they can sign it right on the spot. I can then e-mail them right from the tablet and also send to my assistant and my e-mail at home. Voila, it’s done.

Clients are impressed. No longer do you have to talk about being a Realtor with the main emphasis on technology — they see it in action. In fact, several times I think I could have been a distributor for the tablet PCs. So definitely this has been my biggest and most effective time-saver and technology tool.

–Missy Caulk, RE/MAX Platinum
To enter this week’s contest, see the topic and instructions at this link.

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