It’s hard to think of a profession that can gain more from the proliferation of mobile apps than realtors. Whether a real estate agent is helping a client buy or sell a home or commercial property, a large percentage of a realtor’s day is spent on the go.
Instead of hand-delivering documents, waiting until a fax machine is in reach, or sending a contract through the mail, agents can complete tasks immediately using their mobile devices. Let’s take a look at some of the creative ways realtors use mobile apps and shed some light on how much this industry has changed thanks to mobile technology.
1. Improving Marketing Efforts
Mobile apps allow realtors to manage their marketing efforts in real-time and present reports, virtual tours, and more in interactive and appealing ways. Using a mobile app like Keynote, realtors can showcase properties and proposals to prospective clients with multimedia presentations.
Realtors can also manage their property updates on the fly on sites like Realtor.com. For example, if an agent schedules an open house, he or she doesn’t have to wait until getting back to the office to update Realtor.com with that information. Updates can be done right from the mobile phone with the Realtor.com app.
Open houses provide more opportunities for realtors to get in front of potential customers in innovative ways. For example, realtors can live stream their open houses to broader online audiences with the uStream mobile app.
Mobile marketing is important for realtors these days, and sites like AdMob make it easy to put together mobile ad campaigns. Realtors are also claiming their places on local sites like Yelp, and gathering reviews and leads from those sites.
Furthermore, creative realtors are creating QR codes and printing them on property detail sheets and direct mail, or using them on their websites, virtual tours, and more. Realtors can generate QR codes using a web-based tool or a mobile app such as Qrafter.
2. Being More Productive
For most realtors, the biggest value of mobile apps comes from the increase in productivity those apps provide. No longer does a real estate agent have to say to a client, “I can get that document for you when I get back to the office.” Instead, he or she can open an app like Dropbox or Box.net, or a remote desktop app like Remote Desktop Lite to get that document.
Mobile apps also keep realtors organized through task management, calendar, and receipt tracking. For example, realtors can work more efficiently by managing their lockboxes, obtaining key listings, and more using apps like eKey.
Additionally, the days of carrying a pen and paper to take notes during client meetings or property searches are over. Instead, realtors can use note-taking and audio-recording apps like Evernote and Dragon Dictation to record all of the information in a more efficient manner. There are even apps that enable the realtor to take notes using a single finger to write on the device screen (like Penultimate) or to type by swiping (like Swype).
3. Taking Traditional Tasks Mobile
Some of the most creative ways that realtors use mobile apps come from traditional tasks turned into mobile activities. For example, when an agent can’t find a house for a client showing, he or she doesn’t have to call the listing agent. Instead, the realtor’s mobile device can be used to get maps and turn-by-turn directions instantly.
What if a client wants to get an idea of what his or her mortgage payment will be while a realtor is showing a house? That realtor can open an app like Mortgage Calculator$ and give the client the figure in seconds. And what if a realtor takes clients into foreclosed homes? Those homes have no electricity, and they can be very dark. With the Flashlight mobile app, even a lack of electricity isn’t a problem!
Most realtors will agree that some clients can be very particular and ask questions that the realtor is unlikely to know. A client might be looking at a house with a realtor and ask, “how much would it cost to replace this carpet and repaint?” Using mobile apps like Carpet Estimator and Fast Paint Calculator, the realtor can quickly get an estimate on the amount of supplies needed and the cost. Even a simple app like Smart Measure that lets a realtor measure rooms, windows, and so on can make that agent look prepared and make a client happy.
Sometimes it’s the simplest things that create the perception in clients’ minds that a realtor is going above and beyond to help them. These days, using a number of mobile apps and a little creativity, realtors are exceeding their clients’ needs in ways never before possible.
Susan Gunelius: Susan Gunelius is a 20-year marketing veteran and President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She has authored nine books about social media, content marketing, branding, copywriting, and blogging, and she is a marketing columnist for Forbes.com and Entrepreneur.com. Susan speaks about marketing, branding, and social media at events around the world and is often interviewed about marketing topics by television, online, print, and radio media organizations.