The Top Ten Tools and Apps for Real Estate Agents in 2015
There is simply no shortage of tools and apps for real estate agents today.
The Top 25 Real Estate Tools & Apps for Real Estate Agents in 2016
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You cannot attend a real estate marketing/technology event where the speaker doesn’t go nuts over the latest photo or video app. Just because an app can do something cool doesn’t mean it’s actually useful for you or your business. However, it’s important to keep up with the very latest and greatest Tools and Apps available.
For 2015, I included one new website to the list, called Canva.com, and it’s pretty incredible. I also added a very special and often over looked subject which should have always been included. I hope this list benefits you and you’re able to incorporate these into your daily grind.
Let’s get this party started….
1. Real Estate Marketing 101, by George Cuevas
This one is only slightly promotional…..
Yes it’s finally out, my latest ebook teaching real estate agents how to build an online marketing presence for their brands and listings. In this book you’ll find a blueprint for putting it all together.
Before you can start “marketing”, you need to understand WHAT marketing really is today in the connection economy. I incorporate several marketing principles, such as, permission based marketing, Youtility, and content marketing into a real estate setting. This will give you a basic understanding with which you can build a foundation on.
After we cover the basics in marketing I then layout a blueprint for building your online presence. In this blueprint you’ll find three stages. The first stage I believe should be mandatory for each real estate agent currently practicing. The remaining stages are more advanced level stuff and not required. I wanted to lay out everything you could be doing and organize it all. This way you can make the best decisions on how far you want to take your online marketing to.
I’m totally biased about this book being great and you don’t have to buy it, but I would love it if you did. Ok, now the self promotion is over and let’s get to the rest.
2. Love and the Work-Life Balance
Living Life and Loving; these are the most powerful tools we have.
No productivity tools or tech apps can really help your business if you don’t have a balance between your Life and your Work. Every entrepreneur needs this balance, because without it what exactly are we working for?
I’m sure you weren’t expecting this one. I recently had a huge revelation in my life and you could say “I saw the light”. Without owning your life and having the complete support and love from family, friends, lovers, and partners you simply cannot do your job as an agent and perform it to the best of your abilities. If you cannot effectively carry out your job your clients will find someone else who can.
It’s really that simple.
However, this support and love needs to be maintained, nurtured, and given the love right back. I’m not preaching anything new here, I know. If all of your energy and love is focused on solely running and growing your business you simply will not have enough of it left over for your loved ones. This can result in a painful conflict and these relationships can break if you don’t maintain them.
In real estate things can get hectic real quickly. Deals fall apart, homes are rushed back onto the market, buyers walk from a deal one day before closing, and then your clients want to spend an hour telling you why their home should be worth 30K more because of a new roof.
With no set working hours and weekend appointments the lines get blurred between Life and Work as an agent. The people who feel the brunt of these odd working hours and business cycles are those loved ones closest to us. Often times they are on the receiving end of our frustrations with this business.
This is exactly how I came to completely break down over the course of about one week in 2014. When I finally realized I had NO work-life balance and hit rock bottom. My relationships with my family and friends were very fractured and I had to begin repairing them (this is ongoing right now, but going well). I also lost the love of one of the most beautiful, compassionate, and intelligent women I’ve every known (she’s gone and there is only about a 0.000125% chance of ever getting her back).
This is a place you don’t want to end up in. Trust me.
Please take a moment and take an account of your current Work-Life Balance.
Ask yourself: Is there even a Balance anymore? Or, is Work overweighing into you living out your life?
There are a total of 168 hours in a 7 day week.
If you were to sleep for 8 hours a night you would then have 112 total hours for both work and life.
Calculate this to help you determine if you’re working too much.
1. How many total hours in the last four weeks did you work? Try to divide it out per week. Was it 40, 50, 60, 70?
2. How many total hours in the last four weeks did you have quality time with your family, friends, lovers, partners, and time taking care of yourself (workouts, reading, meditation)? Again, figure it out by each week. Was it 10, 20, 30, 40?
3. Now ask yourself these questions:
a. Did you have enough time to eat correctly during this time?
b. Did you have enough time to work out as much as you wanted to?
c. Did you have enough “date nights” with your spouse and/or lovers?
d. Did you have enough time to spend with your children?
e. Did you have enough time for running errands, attending medical appointments, meeting with friends, etc…..
f. Did you have enough time to work on your business by maintaining it? (adding new prospects to your database, going to training events, sending out postcards, prospecting calls, figuring out some long term strategy, etc…)
3. Deduct Number 2 from Number 1 and calculate.
There’s no magic number for what the exact balance should be. What’s important is the quality and amount of time you’re giving yourself for living your life. We all live on the same time clock. Donald Trump has no more hours in the day than you or me, and it seems to be working for him.
If you feel like your relationships are suffering because of your work load then you must put forward a REAL effort to rebalance things out again. This is easier said than done.
Agents suffering from a lack of balance in their Work-Life loads will eventually experience less productivity, gain weight, and potentially drive away the people closest in their life. You don’t want this to happen.
Having a balance in Work and Life is also crucial for mapping out your future success as an agent. When you’re focused solely on “running the business” and totally into the grind of it all it becomes very difficult to see the bigger picture. You have to be able to step back at times and strategize where exactly your business is headed.
Some examples of long term strategy planning include:
- How and When will you run your next marketing campaign?
- Will you take time for career development by attending more conferences and seminars.
- Doing things like maintaining your database and marketing to it on a regular basis.
- Repositioning your brand and business online.
If you’re not finding enough time to work ON your business then you’re most likely losing control of your workday and daily productivity.
Between emails, text messages, voice mail, and phone calls we can get easily distracted from completing all of our tasks everyday. You’ll have to place priority into all of your tasks each day and be careful of too much “multi-tasking”.
Again, this issue has become quite personal in nature to me. Please, look into your Work-Life balance and always look towards improving it. It will actually help your business in the long run and you’ll be a much happier person inside.
Life and Love are beautiful things and should be valued, don’t screw it up because of your job.
3. Social Media
In 2015, we will continue to see Social Media play a dominant role in how we market our brands, services, and listings. This is not really a bold statement, but it’s true. There are three social media platforms I believe each real estate agent should have a presence on. They are Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
The remaining social media platform’s all offer plenty of potential for lead generation, but they should only be used if an agent plans on truly engaging on them. These are Twitter, Instagram, & Pinterest.
Facebook: There are two strategies for using Facebook in 2015. First, proper use of your Personal Profile and using it to create top of mind awareness to your connections here.
We use and treat Facebook like our “Online Database”.
The second strategy for Facebook is using Fan Pages. This is a much more evolved endeavor than it was just a few years ago. If you’re using a Fan Page on Facebook this means you need to have a specific goal and a marketing campaign strategy in place. To use it effectively you’ll be using the Power Editor for creating Regular and Dark Posts. You will need to use good copywriting and visuals in your posts, as well as, have a squeeze page or other webpages set up on your site for driving traffic from it to.
Using a Fan Page requires a much more advanced level of knowledge about Facebook and Online Marketing.
There are a few different strategies every agents should be using for their Facebook Marketing. In my Facebook Marketing course you can find out all about these since I cannot get into detail about them all here in this article.
However, we can cover how Video is making a huge impact on Facebook Marketing in 2015. In this video you’ll find a short tutorial about how to use video directly in Facebook and an example of one of the types of videos we are uploading to Facebook and it’s getting some really awesome results for our students.
YouTube: I still love YouTube. It’s Free and it Works. It’s the second largest search engine in the world. Plus, it’s the best place for placing your Virtual Tours and Content Marketing Videos. It’s 2015, video is here and you know you should be making more of it. You already have the equipment for it, an iPhone and most Android phones have phenomenal video capacity. With the right training and tools you can create high quality videos for consumption on this platform.
Using video for helping promote your brand and listings online is a major part of building your online presence. The big question is why are you not making more video today? In many cases, is because you don’t have the expertise and/or training to do so. Other times, it’s because agents get nervous about the prospect of putting themselves out there on the web. In either case these are only excuses and the only one stopping you is YOU.
Because YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine it has a tremendous amount of power to connect you with potential buyers and sellers within your market. The key to making this connection is producing videos which these potential buyers & sellers are looking for.
Don’t make “mini-commercials” of your services, or make videos talking about “how much you love working with buyers”. Answer the questions these people are looking for while at the same time bring in your own personality into it. It sounds pretty simplistic but thats about all you’ll need to be successful on YouTube.
Here are some great examples of agents using YouTube for their content videos and virtual tours. PS, they are also clients of mine….
Video No 1: In this video you’ll find Ashley Garland using YouTube for her Virtual Tours. This property was located in a very highly desirable area, but it needed a lot of repairs done to it. So in this case it needed to be a cash deal or rehab loan to get it done.
The video worked, because many of the potential buyers here saw the video and contacted Ashley immediately after watching it and asking about financing alternatives. Furthermore, the seller of the property was blown away at the level of marketing Ashley did for property that needed a rehab.
Video No 2: In this video, Michael Cuevas, uses YouTube to host Content Videos. When doing this Mike is accomplishing two different things. First, he’s creating content for YouTube and playing into it’s search engine capabilities. Second, Mike also has a blog with an article directly tied to this video and YouTube is the place where he’s hosting the video for Free.
If you’re not currently using video in your business then you really should be asking yourself; Why the hell not?
LinkedIn: If you do a Google search of your name it’s likely your LinkedIn profile will pull up on the first page of results. Many times it’s within the first five. We don’t know where or what platform someone will prefer to check you out online. Therefore, the best policy is to make sure your on all of the most relevant websites online. LinkedIn is one of these places.
Make sure you have a completed profile and use all of the options LinkedIn gives you for enhancing your profile.
I love this website and use it everyday. Canva.com is an online design tool which makes it very easy to create professional looking marketing visuals for social media websites, real estate flyers, thumbnails, blog posts, and posters.
The best part about Canva is how easy it is to use. It will literally take you only about 15 minutes to learn the basics on how to use it. The real estate flyer templates are very professional looking and way better than most flyers made by agents. To make such a high quality flyer in a matter of minutes is incredible. Also, you can easily add text to images and with a little creativity you can make some very cool stuff.
I highly recommend signing up today and getting your Canva.com account. Every real estate office and/or agent should be familiar with using tool.
5. The iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2
I’m an Apple geek. I currently use a MacBook Pro, iPhone 6 Plus, and an iPad Air 2. With these tools I can create everything I need to market my own business and businesses of my real estate agent clients online. The Samsung Galaxy line are also very capable phones and tablets. There are plenty of people who would argue these are better than the Apple devices, and they aren’t wrong.
With an 8-megapixel camera and capable of shooting 1080p HD video the photo and video quality of both the iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2 is phenomenal. This is all you need for creating great pictures and video for marketing yourself online.
The iPad is also perfect for executing contracts and managing your deals. You have two alternatives here: Docusign and DotLoop. I prefer Docusign and it’s app for iPad works great and is easy to use.
These devices aren’t cheap but all of the major carriers have some decent programs to purchase these without the upfront costs. Im currently a Verizon customer and used their EDGE Program to purchase both the iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2. Basically, they make you sign up for a 2 year contract and you pay for the devices over that period of time. In my case I received a monthly credit for using the program and my monthly bill actually stayed the same. I use a shared data plan for both devices with 15GB of data per month. My total monthly bill comes out to be about $165 to $170 per month. There was no upfront fees or charges to take advantage of the program.
The 2016 Top Tools and Apps for Real Estate Agents
You can download the complete 2016 here. Simply fill out the form and I will deliver it to you in your email inbox. Enjoy Amigo….