Technology can be wonderful and terrible at the same time. The more apps, gadgets and tools we access, the more we can be stretched too thin to really be great at what we do. But, there are some great tools for REALTORS® to use to organize their work, show off properties in the best way and find new clients. Minnesota Association of REALTORS® Director of Operations Thom Fox recently shared some of his Tech Tips for the iPad and some of the best apps for REALTORS® in the MNAR July Resource.
The iPad for REALTORS
I finally have an iPad, and have found some apps to be quite productive. Many of you may be ahead of the game here, but for the rest who don’t use their tablet for work, don’t have one, or are on the fence about purchasing one, I thought I would share the apps I found (all free, by the way) to make my tablet function more like a laptop and less like an oversized touchscreen phone that I can’t make calls on (without WiFi anyway). These apps work on Android as well.
CloudOn The majority of my stuff is Microsoft Documents, and I want to do more than just view my stuff, I want to edit. CloudOn is an app that lets you create, open and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. Documents can be opened directly from email as well as emailed from inside the app. Many of the same functions in Word, Excel and PowerPoint are available in CloudOn.
Dropbox is an app that lets you store all sorts of documents. Any computer or device with this app can access the files you store in it. The spreadsheet above was stored in Dropbox from a laptop, and was then later opened on the iPad using CloudOn. Any documents you create or edit and store in Dropbox are immediately available on your other devices. You can also invite others or give them access to specific documents, photos and videos. This is perfect for documents you’re continually fine-tuning, or something you couldn’t quite finish before shutting down and want to pick back up when you have those 15 spare minutes later.
Of course, in order to edit your documents you need a keyboard. The iPad’s keyboard takes up quite a bit of space, but did you know that you can split the keyboard in half and make it smaller? You can do this by tapping & holding the toggle keyboard button at the lower right of the keyboard. This will bring up a menu to either undock or split the keyboard. You can also do this by touching each side of the keyboard and pulling apart. Once split, the keyboard has a few invisible keys so that you can type “T” with your left hand, or “B” with your right. Splitting the keyboard also allows for “thumb typing,” which your cell phone has likely made you proficient in. A number of iPad cases with physical keyboards are also available, for a fee.
The iPad does have its own printer application called AirPrint, but the printer must be AirPrint enabled, and there aren’t many. iCanPrint is an app that lets you print to various networked printers, or any printer connected to a Windows PC by downloading the client software. Setup is a breeze. Your first prints are free, but you do have to pay for “points” to continue printing eventually. There probably aren’t a ton of times you’d need to print from your iPad, but the option is nice if you’re surfing for do-it-yourself tips or a recipe and want to send what you found to the printer.
Want access to your desktop remotely? You can use LogMeIn. Once it’s installed on a computer, you can control it remotely from any other computer or other device with this app installed. The computer you want to access does need to be powered on. It’s a great tool to use when you need something from another computer. You can log in and email it to yourself. Or install it on that technically-challenged family member’s computer that calls when “it doesn’t work.” They can watch you click away as you troubleshoot the problem or teach them how to do something.
Those are some of Thom’s go-to apps. What’s your favorite gadget or app to help you be better at real estate?
The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 19,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry in Minnesota.