New apps are coming out all the time, for both Apple and Android. For some people, that may be exciting; for others, overwhelming. It can be difficult to decide and choose what apps are best for you and your real estate business, and which are just a waste of time. (I once heard that most new apps are “abandoned” after 6 weeks after downloading!) What will last the test of time? The apps used most in the real estate industry are those that serve either an essential purpose and those that make life easier without much time investment. With that in mind, here are 5 apps I recommend you download for 2014.
Although currently only for iPhone users, the MileIQ app is one of those apps you can’t believe someone hasn’t created until now. Without launching the app or pressing the button, MileIQ automatically records the mileage you travel in your vehicle. At the end of your trip, you can then designate if the distance you traveled was for personal or for business use. You can even add in extra costs, like parking and tolls. You can then deliver that information in reports to yourself. As real estate agents who are able to claim for business mileage, this app is pretty much a no-brainer. MileIQ is free for up to 40 tracked trips, after which there is a cost. You can download and start trying it out for free today!
2. Recollect and Checkmark Apps
Recollect and Checkmark apps do basically the same thing. Recollect works only with Androids, and Checkmark only with Apple products. Both are location-based task list reminder apps. So, if you’ve got a grocery list and a list of things you want to do at the office, you can designate these apps to remind you when it can tell you’re getting close to the grocery store or to your place of business. Instead of having to wade through a to-do list that’s all over the place, use one of these app to efficiently organize your productivity.
3. Waze App
I’ve talked about Waze before, and I’m going to keep talking about it because I think it’s one of the handiest traffic and navigation apps out there. Google must agree with me, since they bought Waze in 2013! What makes the Waze app so special? Waze is a crowd-sourced (so close to real-time) app. Those who join the Waze community are able to alert other people on Waze about traffic, road conditions, even speed traps and traffic cameras. Waze takes all this data into consideration and, if it senses a new accident or severe traffic ahead, can automatically reroute you. (Google uses the Waze data to update its own Google maps, especially regarding current traffic conditions.) I’ve also found from personal experience that Waze has some of the quickest routes around. You can also train Waze about your preferred routes to various destinations, which you can then save. It constantly updates your estimated time of arrival, ensuring you can keep everyone notified about were you are. For a real estate agent, there are few handier apps than Waze.
4. PocketInformant Apps
The PocketInformant apps from WebIS aren’t as cheap as most of the apps out there, but they are cheaper than buying a paper dayplanner. With separate apps for Android and Apple, PocketInformant is an integrated calendar and task management system. By integrating tasks, calendar, contacts and notes, PocketInformant is able to provide you at-a-glance information about all the most important aspects of your real estate day. With a number of features that are customizable, PocketInformant may be the app that once and for all kicks the paper reminders out of your life.
5. KeyMe App
Last, but certainly not least, is the KeyMe app. I first learned about KeyMe at the this year’s Inman Connect conference in New York City. From the audience’s gasps followed by stunned silence quickly into excited murmurs, KeyMe was certainly a hit from the start. Basically, KeyMe works this way: you copy your key by taking a picture of it with the KeyMe app and add it to your keychain with an identification of where it came from. If you key ever gets lost, or you need another key, you can order one through the app. Mail order gets another key to you within 3-5 days, or you can order one for same day delivery. They also have kiosks in some locations with the ability to “make” keys yourself. The best part is the app also has the key’s cut code, meaning that instead of having a locksmith out, you can take the app in to your local hardware store, show them the cut code, and get a key made on the spot. For personal use, this app seems useful. For a real estate agent, however, there are a myriad of ways KeyMe can work for you – property management situations, agents walking off with keys from lockboxes, current owners locked out, needing copies of extra keys for a listing, etc. At the moment, KeyMe is Apple-only friendly, but as with most apps, I’m sure an Android version is in the works.
Those are my stand-out apps (so far) that I think every real estate agent should consider downloading for 2014. Besides the usuals (Evernote, Dropbox, calendar apps), what other apps do you think are essential for a real estate agent’s toolbox? Let us know on our Facebook page or on Twitter!