Technology

4 real estate hacks I can’t live without

That I didn't know existed 4 years ago
  • You don’t have to be a tech wizard to streamline your daily routine with these free tools.
  • There’s a Chrome Extension to simplify almost anything you do online -- they can do things like track your emails or help you save money when buying things online.
  • Consolidate your favorite news sources and blogs into one newsfeed with an RSS reader like Feedly.

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There is an ocean of opportunities to improve your personal business and surprise customers with over-the-top service through technology. I’ve only been immersed in the real estate industry for four years, but I’ve already encountered huge leaps in tech that a lot of agents and clients in my market are not ready to adopt.

The balancing act of integration is tricky — so I’ve found myself fascinated with simple tools that transform daily processes without requiring buy-in from others to function. These four tools are simple to plug into your daily routine and will quickly have you addicted (bonus: they’re all free).

1. Google Chrome extensions

These little guys save so much time, and they couldn’t be simpler to install in my favorite browser, Google Chrome. I use LastPass, Pushbullet (favorite), Session Manager, Honey, Sidekick, Rapportive — just to name a few. They streamline processes that typically take a few clicks to just one.

For example, Rapportive pulls a sort of LinkedIn calling card to your inbox so you can get a better picture of who you’re in touch with and who they’re connected to.

Honey automatically pulls relevant coupon codes to your cart at checkout when shopping online. Sidekick tracks when and how often your emails are opened or forwarded.

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Sidenote: Signing into Google Chrome on your smartphone, computer or tablet allows you to work with the same bookmarks and browsing histories from anywhere — it’s awesome.

2. Feedly

A super-user-friendly RSS reader to the rescue! RSS stands for “rich site summary” but is also sometimes just “really simple syndication.” Don’t be intimidated — you don’t have to be super techy to use it.

It pulls all your favorite news sources and blogs to one place and categorizes them in folders. Feedly has a simple web-based version and an app, I use the web version almost every morning to comb through local, sharable news that I push to social media discussions or email to particular clients that I think might be interested.

Don’t forget to install the Chrome extension for Feedly Mini!

3. Wunderlist

This app is a list-junkies’ dream. It’s an organizational tool similar to iOS Reminders, with a simple drag-and-drop function that allows you to add subtasks, due dates, notes and attach files to tasks.

Reminders has the upperhand with geofencing and Siri integration. However, I’ve found Wunderlist to be more useful and straightforward. (There is a workaround using IFTTT that connects Wunderlist with Siri, but I haven’t found it necessary to try yet.)

I use this app for daily to-dos such as grocery lists and work task reminders but also for longer-term projects like planning a renovation.

Wunderlist connects to my favorite calendar app, Sunrise, so I can schedule repeating to-dos, for example paying a regularly recurring bill, to feed through to my calendar automatically every month. It’s also simple to share Wunderlists across different platforms.

4. TheSkimm

With 3.5 million subscribers and growing, theSkimm makes news a simple, funny part of my morning routine. It’s a quick email summary of world news written in a fast, smart, conversational tone. And with an open rate close to 50 percent, there’s a lot to learn from this startup about curating information and communicating it effectively to your community of clients.

The newsletter-style email is a neat resurging trend of its own — proving especially engaging among millennials.

This isn’t ground-breaking stuff, but tools like these have the potential to transform your daily routine and create space for meaningful connections with clients.

Hillary Rinehart is the marketing coordinator with TrustLarry Real Estate. Follow her on Twitter or on Facebook.

Email Hillary Rinehart.