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Five Reasons to Utilize an iPad in Your Business

by Juanita McDowell

ipadDo you want a competitive advantage for your real estate business? If used properly, an iPad can give you that edge over the competition by making the home buying process more interactive and seamless.

To appreciate an iPad's full value in the life of a real estate agent, let's first consider the fact that every potential buyer wants to find the perfect place to live. Agents know that the search involves more than just looking for a house. It's about finding a place to grow a family, to make dreams manifest, to connect with a community, to retire and the list goes on.

An agent, occupying the driver's seat of this process, recognizes the importance of a smooth ride, from the initial consultation to the closing. This gives the client something to later brag about to family, co-workers and friends. Translation: a referral is waiting in the wings at the right time. 

With the help of the iPad and a few key applications from the App Store, an agent can successfully steer around several bumps in the road. Let's discuss five key ways that an iPad can be utilized by real estate agents.

Increase Productivity

It's hard enough to keep up with one client's preferences, concerns and issues, so imagine managing several clients simultaneously without technology. The iPad with the Evernote app loaded is able to keep your productivity, memory and organization on point.

With Evernote you can create a digital filing cabinet, complete with notebooks and notes. Within each note you can type to-do lists, capture photos, record conversations ("What did you think?") and later add contracts, business cards and mortgage calculator screenshots. The best part: everything is completely searchable from your PC, iPad or smartphone.

Manage Transactions

Using your iPad and apps, such as Cartavi from DocuSign, you can create a "Transaction Room" online and invite all relevant parties to join, including your buyer and seller, closing attorney and loan officer. One of the slickest features of this app is the ability to receive SMS and email alerts when someone views a document.

Working with Buyers and Sellers

There are several apps that you should consider to help you work with your buyers and sellers. Here are a few:

  • Homesnap (Free): Snap a picture of a home and get details and info instantly.
  • Skitch (Free): The ideal sketch pad on your iPad and so much more. Use it to create maps and write on images, among other features.
  • Slideshark (Free): No need to tote a big binder to your next listing appointment. With the help of this app, you can deliver a dynamic listing presentation on your iPad, complete with fonts, colors, graphics, animations, videos and hyperlinks intact.
  • Onlive Desktop (Free): This app allows you to use the warm and familiar Microsoft programs on your iPad. Use the Excel version for showcasing your seller’s net sheet at your next listing appointment.

Improve Response Time

Time is everything when it comes to a real estate deal. Imagine this: an agent arrives at a hot new listing that she knows will not be on the market for any length of time. Her clients want the house. The agent whips out her iPad and retrieves a contract from one of her favorite apps. Before they leave the house, the agent has submitted an offer. Before they drive away, the offer is accepted. With the aid of apps like PDF Expert and Dropbox you can pull this off.

Taking Care of the Small but Important Stuff

Agents can use their iPads to easily handle small but critical matters. Saying "thank you" is important when someone gives you a referral or goes beyond the call of duty. Every now and then words are not enough. Apps like ThankYouPro allow you to express your gratitude by sending a sturdy “thank you” card right from your iPad or iPhone. The app is free but the cost of the card and mailing is $2.99. Now you can also add gift cards and other greeting cards.

Sure, there's a boat-load of apps to consider, but you should not download apps too quickly. Ask yourself if the app will honestly help you facilitate a task that you are currently doing or one that you need to do. Avoid what I call "the new app itch," a condition that users catch when someone raves about an app. Months later, you stare at the app icon and can barely remember what it does.

Instead, focus on keeping your business goals top of mind. This will motivate you to invest time in learning apps that are key to your success – apps that will save time, streamline your operation, lower costs and increase your overall profitability. As such you will always keep a leg up on your competition.

JuanitaMcDowellSmallJuanita McDowell is CEO of InMotion Consulting, LLC, a training firm that trains over a thousand agents and entrepreneurs each year. In 2013, Juanita was named "Instructor of the Year" by the Georgia Real Estate Educators Association. She has designed more than 50 live and online courses in the areas of marketing, social media and mobile technology, including her latest course, "Evernote and the Paperless Agent." To learn more, visit www.juanitamcdowell.com.

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