New technologies are changing the face of the real estate business and those who want to stay ahead of their particular game – be they agents, brokers, buyers, sellers or even investors – should be snatching up these tailor-made apps.
Convergence has cut the number of essential devices required for mobile field operations and delivered more powerful tools to the solo operator, whilst administrative procedures – once requiring site visits – are now routinely executed remotely.
What has not changed, however, is the competitive imperative: being first in the market is still what counts.
With this in mind, here are 10 great mobile apps designed to streamline real estate operations and promote smart working practices:
Junaio is an ‘augmented reality’ browser for 3G and 4G tablets and smartphones, linked to a real estate search engine and employing its own latitude, longitude and altitude markers to ‘unlock digital information’ in a local environment. Just pointing a smartphone camera along a city street generates on-screen data about vacant real estate – address, listing broker, floor area and lease detail – with options to view maps and photos. This information, plus directions, can then be emailed direct to clients, or the listing broker can be consulted about pricing.
Using GPS location data, LoopNet enables a smartphone to find commercial properties in the vicinity for sale or rent. Map markers indicate property type, rental or purchase price, and square footage, and screen taps will reveal additional data such as listing broker, contact information and commission splits. Links to all the available information can also be emailed to interested clients. LoopNet is a free app, but its full commercial worth can only be accessed with a subscription granting access to a full range of listings.
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According to its developers, CoStarGo is a dedicated time saver which, when harnessed to an iPad, permits users to ‘preview properties without traveling across town, and talk alternatives without missing a beat’. Based on Google Maps, search modes can explore streets and corridors, producing richly detailed, verified listings supporting sale comps and accurate, real-time analysis. A sophisticated data control interface generates client-friendly graphic displays ranging from micro detail through to macro market trends, though truly comprehensive access will require a premium subscription.
Business Analyst Online
Business Analyst Online is a mobile location analytics package for real estate professionals which facilitates tailored site evaluations and sophisticated market analysis. Using a map-based format, the app integrates user-selected criteria relevant to the chosen location. Demographics, competing franchises, disposable incomes, renting/ownership profiles and similar content can be combined for an instant visual presentation of critical factors influencing business decisions. Rather than replacing more complex and extensive analytical software, Business Analyst Online’s forte is supplying timely mobile information to ‘keep the deal moving forward’.
LeaseMatrix is a web-based software facility, accessed via tablet and computer, enabling landlords, tenants and commercial real estate professionals to rapidly and simultaneously analyse a range of disparate lease proposals. Usefully, LeaseMatrix also allows team members to interact and collaborate on projects. A sophisticated Leasing v Purchase comparison template includes a summary page detailing the benefits of each option, and a secure and confidential database feature allows users to generate and access market statistics.
Designed and trialled by real estate agents for industry applications, GoConnect is a dedicated app for efficient mobile management of leads and transactions. An intuitive interface promotes smart decision making and functionality, even in the most frenetic of business environments: just swipe right on an item in your to-do list, for example, to update its status to ‘complete’, or swipe left to remove and automatically reschedule the item in your open calendar. Forsaking mediocre multi-functionality, GoConnect’s stripped-down methodology performs core CRM tasks with unencumbered excellence.
DocuSign is a fast eSignature platform allowing commercial real estate professionals to upload and email a suite of documents to all parties for signature via any internet-enabled device, later encrypting the resultant data for secure online storage. The DocuSign interface can be customised, for example with logos and links, and company-specific forms and data can be integrated too. Document signing, changes and workflow history can be tracked, and a range of authentication protocols specified, including an option requesting a ‘more appropriate signer’.
ReaLync promises streamlined property touring on mobile and web-based devices, replacing multiple physical viewings with a real-time virtual equivalents. Property videos, photos and virtual environments are all well-established marketing tools, but ReaLync’s unique interactivity allows clients to ask questions en-route, and offers brokers and agents impromptu, client-specific opportunities to highlight the prime attributes of a property and its location. Virtual tours can be scheduled online for multiple clients, saving time and money for all and providing a fast, efficient means of pre-qualifying properties.
The News Funnel Mobile App
With its industry-specific focus, the News Funnel is a respected Internet repository of real estate news. Aggregated content is gathered from a host of trusted premium sources alongside news items uploaded by well over 1,500 subscribing companies. Real estate professionals can register to access resources and receive a daily news feeds customisable by geographical area, industry sector, subject, or keyword tracking. The News Funnel mobile app gives unrestricted access to all site resources via mobile devices.
Onit Commercial Real Estate App
Marketed as an app to reduce complexity and drive productivity, Onit’s Commercial Real Estate app provides one central location for the management and tracking of documents. System features include document history tracking, user access via role-based authorities, active logging and management of deal progress (including collaborative projects), prospect tracking and commission forecasts. Onit’s app offers remote Wi-Fi access and is reported to improve ‘deal visibility’ and simplify administrative demands for real estate professionals, who are thus released to focus on core business activities.
Though at first glance some apps may appear to offer broadly similar functions – mostly placing vast amounts of data at your fingertips – closer inspection reveals that each occupies a particular niche often differentiated by platform, nuanced data handling, or particular modes of interaction.
The key to using a suite of apps of this nature is to recognise what each does best – and deploy accordingly to close that deal!