Technology

You’ll wonder how you ever lived without these 9 mobile apps

Mobile has become indispensable to real estate

We’re not going mobile anymore, we’ve gone mobile. And that’s a good thing!

It means you can (and should) set up your business so you can manage it on the go.

Doing so gives most clients exactly what they want: the ability to to do business anywhere at any time.

Mobility makes life easier for your clients, but it can also make life easier for you. Here’s how:

Transform paper into PDFs

Too much paperwork is a major problem in real estate (and frankly, in life). Keeping it organized can be a major headache, heck, keeping it from getting lost in the bottom of an overstuffed briefcase is tough enough. Going paperless is the solution, but sometimes we find ourselves receiving important paperwork with a scanner miles away.

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So what do you do? My answer is to take a picture of each document as soon as I get it and scan it into my mobile device as a PDF. Here are three apps that can help you do that:

DocScan: With DocScan, you can crop and straighten your pictures, enhance your documents and group pages together for easy-to-use PDFs. All documents are shareable and exportable to Dropbox, Evernote and GoogleDocs. Cost: Free, Available for iOS and Android.

Prizmo: Prizmo is cool because it lets you identify what kind of document you’re scanning – text, business card or image – and then groups them accordingly. It also has text-to-speech editing in 26 different languages. Cost: $9.99, Available for iOS.

Scanner Pro: Very highly rated by The New York Times, Scanner Pro also allows you to scan documents and easily share them. Using your built-in iOS camera, the app will recognize shadows and other visual defects and correct them. Cost: $6.99, Available for iOS and Android.

Upgrade your to-do list

Have you ever been that person driving down the road with your coffee cup on the roof of your car? We all have our disorganized moments and it’s easy for them to become more frequent when we’re doing our job on the go, but luckily, there’s a solution.

When it comes to keeping ourselves in control of our work, task management is essential. I’m a fan of the good old fashioned to-do list. Keeping a running tally of everything you have to do within each transaction during the course of your day can help you stay on track. But, a list of tasks is just one more piece of paper to get in the way.

Next up on my to-do list: make my list digital. These three apps can help:

Any.do: Use Any.do on your computer and on your phone to take advantage of seamless cloud sync, speech recognition, and time and location reminders. Stay tuned for the soon-to-come email and memo functions. Cost: Free, Available for: iOS and Android.

Todoist: With Todoist you can share projects, assign tasks and collaborate with anyone else using the app. You can also track your productivity trends and access your tasks even when you’re offline. Cost: Free, Available for iOS, Android and Windows.

Wunderlist: Wunderlist also lets you collaborate with family, friends or colleagues and makes it easy to share and delegate tasks. You can attach photos, PDFs and projects to any task. Cost: Free, Available for iOS, Android and Windows.

Ensure clear communication

Don’t you hate feeling out of the loop? It drives me nuts. Especially when it comes to my business. The tough thing about real estate, though, is that you’re often waiting on pins and needles to get all of the information when it comes to a transaction.

So, to eliminate those nail-biting moments, I make sure to stay on top of everything happening in my business. For me, that means ensuring clear communication amongst everyone in the company.

When it comes to transaction management and inter-office communication, these are the apps I turn to:

dotloop: The leading transaction management software, dotloop, is available through a mobile app with the ability to create loops, assign documents for signatures, and manage transaction progress. You can collaborate with anyone you add to a loop. Cost: Free, Available for iOS.

Tibbr: Tibbr is a social network for work. Post questions, updates or integrate with your other apps to collaborate on work. If you have a question for the team – don’t call or text them all. Just post it to Tibbr and start a conversation. Cost: Free, Available for iOS, Android and Windows.

Join.me: Start or join an online meeting no matter where you are with Join.me. You can share your screen, talk using VoIP, chat with participants at once or individually and easily store files shared during a meeting. Cost: Free, Available for iOS, Android and Windows.

We’ve come a long way

We’ve come a long way since mobile phones were actually phones attached to our vehicles. We are a fully mobile nation, and as a result, real estate is heading towards being a fully mobile industry. It’s time to embrace the technology available to us and, trust me, once you find the mobile apps that fit your needs, you’ll wonder how you lived without them.

Craig McClelland is the COO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers where he’s responsible for business growth and strategic direction of one of the largest real estate companies in the southeast. McClelland joined BHGRE Metro Brokers in 2008. Previously, he owned and operated a successful real estate company, SimplySold Real Estate.