Real estate professionals are inherently mobile, and technology is finally catching up with them out in the field.
Smart phones and mobile apps put a powerful toolbox in the palms of agents and brokers.
These mobile technologies allow agents and consumers to find their location, display data for surrounding properties and neighborhoods, and essentially see through walls by viewing interior photos, videos and floor plans before they physically enter a home.
Want to see price trends for a given home or neighborhood? Got it. Need to meet in a coffee shop close to an open house you plan to visit? Not a problem. Need driving directions there? Check. Let your client know you just arrived at the coffee shop? Done.
If you’ve got a minute to burn, you could post a review of the coffee shop while you’re waiting, or check out local crime and school info related to the home you’re planning to visit.
Whether you’re sharing electronic documents with a client or scheduling showings and inspections, real estate is increasingly going mobile. You may have heard the marketing phrases: "There’s an app for that" or "Droid does." There probably is, and it probably does … or it’s in development.
If your client has a question you can’t answer, chance are your smart phone can help you find an answer, and within a matter of seconds.
There’s a green side to mobile technology, too — it allows for the spread of paperless technologies, and can curb vehicle use when real estate professionals handle communications and transaction processes virtually.
These days, consumers can learn much about for-sale homes, and refine their wish list, before leaving their own home.
The mobile challenge
Inman News wants to hear about how agents and brokers are mobilizing their transactions by adopting mobile technologies that bring office functions to their fingertips.
Tell us about a particular transaction, current or past, involving heavy use of mobile technologies, and how you have personally geared up to tap the mobile revolution.
How are consumers responding to your mobile savvy? Has your use of mobile technologies boosted your business in any way?
Inman News will feature some of your stories in upcoming articles, and we’ll be announcing some prizes for the most mobile agents: those who are solely or largely using mobile technologies in a real estate transaction.
Also, Inman News is launching a new series of product reviews for mobile apps. The reviews will feature mobile apps built for several types of smart phones, including iPhones, Android-based devices and BlackBerrys.
The reviews will incorporate "crowdsourcing" — a collection of reviews and ratings from a group of readers — to offer a range of opinion and insight about how the apps could be useful for real estate professionals. Products will be reviewed and rated in three categories: "ease," "usefulness" and "originality."
If you’d like to participate as a product reviewer, you are welcome to join the process. All you need to do is download the mobile app, thoroughly test out its features, and take a quick online survey. The deadline for the first round of reviews is Monday, Sept. 6, 2010.
Click your smart phone type below to participate in a product review:
I own an iPad. (Send us an e-mail with "iPad" in the subject line and we’ll keep you posted on how to participate in an upcoming iPad app review).