IPad Is Key For Real Estate Professionals
By Jessica Lyon
Despite being touted for its consumer benefits, the iPad is a great tool for business. The iPad allows professionals to surf the web, check email, create documents, maintain contacts and calendars, update social media accounts and more.
However, in addition to its basic business features, the iPad has some unique capabilities and apps specifically geared toward a real estate audience. For example, Sketches? is an app that is useful for any real estate professional needing to mark-up digital photos or documents on-the-go. This app allows real estate professionals to jot down notes on their iPad’s touch screen, sketch a simple diagram as a quick reminder or annotate pictures. For example, realtors can take a photo of a property of interest and use Sketches? to mark key features. These files can be saved in on a personal corkboard and/or sent to clients/colleagues.
The iPad is particularly useful for commercial real estate agents and attorneys looking to increase efficiency and improve customer service while saving time and money.
iPad for Brokers/Agents
A 2010 study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Center for Realtor Technology found 93% of respondents age 40 or younger use a smartphone to conduct real estate business, while 86% of respondents older than 40 use a smartphone to conduct real estate business. And while many iPad apps are still in development, all of the apps currently available on a real estate agent’s iPhone are also available on the iPad.
Having access to the most up-to-date information and being able to answer client questions accurately and efficiently in real time is key for successful real estate agents who understand time is money. Using the iPad gives agents a competitive advantage. With busy executive schedules, realtors are able to improve customer service and increase efficiency by flicking through property photos on-the-go, pulling up real estate records instantly and searching the latest mortgage rates.
In addition, realtors can search for commercial properties with apps such as LoopNet, the first commercial real estate search application on the iPhone. Those with clients looking for an investment property or lease space can search commercial listings with the LoopNet iPhone app and get details for the properties of interest. This app features a location finder, custom search and driving directions.
LoopNet’s free Basic Membership allows realtors to search hundreds of thousands of properties for sale and lease and Premium Membership delivers full access to the entire property database.
iPad for Real Estate Attorneys
Once a commercial property has been selected, real estate attorneys can use the iPad to expedite the closing process and keep critical documents on hand for review or to answer client questions at any time. Prior to the iPad, attorneys on-the-go either had to review documents on a small smartphone screen or lug hard copies. While some attorneys travel with their laptops, the iPad offers a lightweight solution that combines a large viewable area with touch screen technology, offering the best of both worlds.
TitleVest, a Manhattan-based provider of title insurance and related real estate services known for its technology, recently developed its Interactive Online Report? tool, which offers one example of how attorneys can save time and money with the iPad by using it to complete title insurance transactions. This new application creates an interactive website for each order, with secure 24/7 access available through www.titlevest.com to all parties to the transaction.
Pre-closing features include a detailed summary of all open items with interactive links to view and update information and to communicate directly with TitleVest staff. Closing features include the ability to schedule closings, view an itemized breakdown of all title charges and order transfer tax forms and/or IRS Form 1099-S (complimentary to all parties to the transaction). Post-closing features include recording confirmation of all closing documents and archival copies of all title insurance policies. All this can be accomplished anytime and anywhere on the iPad and can also be accessed from a desktop or laptop.
It is important for real estate professionals to leverage technology in a way that is beneficial to both their clients and their business. The iPad is one tool that can help these professionals manage real estate transactions in the most efficient manner available today.
Freelance real estate journalist