Mobil app tsunami is the wave of the future
by Mike McGraw
from the January/February 2011 issue of Orlando REALTOR® magazine
Mobile apps for real estate are a real game changer. This fact of life was made clear during an all-toobrief session at the NAR REALTOR ® Conference and Expo that blazed through a list of must-have mobile applications for real estate.
The list was based on a presentation by TechSavvyAgent.com co-founder Chris Smith. A video and slideshow of his favorite apps are available on the TechSavvyAgent.com; I highly recommend taking the time to listen and learn. Meanwhile, here’s a quick look at some of his picks and what they do:
- Vyoo.it – optimizes property listings for mobile access;
- Yelp – provides reviews of local businesses;
- UStream – offers an interactive broadcast platform;
- Realtor.com – online listing presentation integrates NAR statistics into iPad listing presentations; provides mobile access to available properties;
- Slydial – provides direct-to-voicemail messaging;
- Swype – allows for the input of text in a continuous motion;
- Supra Lockbox eKEY – converts an iPhone or Droid into a lockbox key;
- DocuSign – offers a platform for electronic signature placement;
- AdMob – provides mobile advertising and monetization solutions;
- Texthog – offers an online expense tracking service;
- WordPress Mobile – provides a toolkit for mobilizing WordPress sites and blogs;
- Top Producer – offers a lead management system for iPhone and iPad;
- Go Daddy – provides domain and website hosting services; and
- TextPlus – offers free text messaging services.
Another favored app that we discussed is Walkaround Jack, which utilizes Google Street View to show a home and its surrounding neighborhood from street level. Google itself offers a ton of business and real estate specific apps; I personally use its voicemail transcription app; a reader app; and a great app that drops an e-mail sender’s geographical location into an e-mail (helps me identify spam). And, one of my long-term technology goals is to move all documents currently located on my computer’s hard drive into Google Docs. This web-based storage service will make my documents hurricane safe and available to me at any time and from any place, including from my mobile phone.
I’m such a fan of Google that ORRA recently hosted a "Google for REALTORS®” educational class, which will be repeated later this year. The instructors reviewed features of products within Google’s Real Estate Toolbox that help you reach prospects at all stages of their home search: checking out locations; looking for properties; or selecting an agent or broker. The suite of tools on Google can assist you in:
- Generating local leads (Ad- Words, Google Places, Maps);
- Connecting and engaging with consumers (Google profile, YouTube); and
- Saving time and money (Google SketchUp; Google Apps, Earth).
You can, for example, make sure that people can find your listings by submitting them to Google. By providing your real estate listings to Google, you will broaden your distribution and receive free traffic and leads through natural search results on Google properties. Real estate search results will be displayed on Google Maps, allowing users to immediately zero in on the neighborhoods most attractive to them. By adding your listing information to Google, you can ensure that the right potential buyers will be able to find your properties when they’re most actively searching for a home.
Are your clients into 3D marketing? The animation capability of Google SketchUp Pro creates, presents, and modifies 3D models that can be dropped into website listings. Customers can then freely explore the property, community, and its surroundings in 3D. You can also use Google SketchUp Pro to print to high-resolution devices and place your models into Google Earth.
Please continue to turn to ORRA as an educational source for all things real estate — technology
Mike McGraw is ORRA's 2011 chairman of the board and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.