SAN FRANCISCO — If you’re going to buy a new smart phone, think apps first, said Max Pigman, vice president of Realtor.com and Top Producer Systems.
"It’s not about the device — it’s about the applications," said Pigman, who spoke Monday during the one-day Inman News Agent Reboot conference, which highlights business development, technology and marketing tools and strategies for agents.
Pigman owns a Droid phone — which uses Google’s Android mobile operating system — and he also owns an iPhone.
He said he recommends the just-released Apple iPhone 4, the soon-to-be-released Droid X, and the Droid Incredible.
He pointed to some mobile technology stats that suggest Apple has a 65 percent market share (about 41 percent from the iPhone alone), with Google’s Android system starting late but quickly gaining ground, according to data from Quantcast.
Android has an estimated 12 percent mobile market share, with BlackBerry at about 9 percent.
He said Apple’s iPad tablet computer "is a game-changer for the industry" — an estimated 15 million have sold this year, with projections for 30 million sales next year, he added. "It’s not one of those things that I wonder if it’s going to be around."
He referred to the iPad as a "magic answer box" when it comes to answering clients’ questions, and said its large display screen and long battery life make it a good presentation tool.
"Pretty much everything you can think of is on the Internet now," he said, and he advised real estate professionals to create a sort of phone book filled with possible buyer questions and a list of links to online resources to have at their fingertips.
"The more questions we can get answered right there, the better opportunity of having them get into the house," he said.
Being tech-savvy can be an important way for agents to connect with consumers and win business, Pigman said.
The latest California Association of Realtors study of home sellers, released this year, found that online advertising of a property was most important to sellers, followed by the agent’s marketing proposal, knowledge, and use of technology tools.
The commission rate ranked lower than those four items in priority to sellers, Pigman noted.
Apple’s new FaceTime app, which allows you to engage in video calls on your iPhone, is another useful app for real estate professionals, Pigman said. Agents could use this tool to give a live tour of a property while talking to a buyer client, he suggested.