By Mike Pugh
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that new home sales rose 20 percent in the Northeast last month, signifying that the housing market is continuing to show signs of recovery. Smart real estate agents are preparing for the rebound by leveraging new mobile technologies to revolutionize the way they conduct business and get a leg up on the competition.
Specifically, new mobile communications apps are changing the way properties are marketed and sold to clients. In a job that has always kept them on the road, real estate agents can now take their tools and information—and productivity—along with them for the ride.
Here are five ways that REALTORS® can use mobile apps to communicate with clients, lenders and other agents while pushing through contracts on their mobile devices:
Embrace the Virtual Assistant:
Look at any REALTOR®’s business card and you’ll likely see three or four numbers listed. Opportunities arise at the strangest moments, and you must always be prepared to take a call. But which number? Virtual assistant apps combine multiple numbers by automatically routing all calls to your cell phone. The apps also provide call screening, call routing, and voicemails which can be transcribed and then emailed or texted to you, making sure you can get important messages even when you’re in a meeting or unable to answer the phone. Being connected has never been so easy.
Keep the Paperwork Moving:
Next to charming personalities, the real estate business is all about paperwork. Bids, contracts, lending applications and other documents cross your desk everyday—but you’re often out in the field, working on the next deal. New electronic fax apps allow REALTORS® to receive, review, sign and send documents from any mobile device. The ability to update and sign paperwork anytime from anywhere keeps the home-buying process moving and keeps interested parties involved.
Get Your Head In the Cloud:
There isn’t a briefcase large enough to hold all the paperwork REALTORS® need on a daily basis. Fortunately, the cloud has you covered. Document storage apps allow you to store files in the cloud where they can be retrieved on any mobile device. A client wants to see a brochure from that new housing development across town? Not a problem. Call it up on your iPad. A lender has a question about a loan application you put in last week? No sweat. Download it to your smart phone. Document storage in the cloud helps you be prepared for any information request without strapping a file cabinet to the hood of your sedan.
Save Your Minutes:
No, this isn’t a cheeky way of saying mobile apps save you time. They literally save minutes off your phone bill. VoIP apps allow you to make phone calls over a WiFi connection instead of your carrier’s cellular network. Calls are often better quality and can be made and received in places with low coverage such as a rural neighborhood, a basement or elevator.
Show ‘Em Your Face:
Real estate is a face-to-face business, and putting yourself in front of your clients can make a big difference when trying to make a sale. Why take the chance? Use web conference apps to video chat with clients. Show them a nifty presentation or walk an out-of-town client through a new listing.
Mobile communication apps give road warriors the tools and information they need anytime from anywhere. Chat with clients; show them a new property; update, sign and file a lending application; or screen calls from that one client that is just in the market to look, but never to buy. The housing market is heating up. Don’t get left behind.
Mike Pugh is vice president of marketing at j2 Global, Inc., a pioneering provider of cloud-based communications services including eFax® and eVoice®.