When Amy Smythe-Harris, co-broker–owner of Urban Provision, REALTORS®, in Houston, asked a panel of real estate pros to share their favorite apps for tracking expenses, staying in touch with clients, and simplifying their business lives, there was no shortage of ideas. Here are a dozen standout suggestions from the Emerging Business Issues & Technology Forum at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orland earlier this month; pass them on to your agents at your next sales meeting.
Boxcryptor – This encryption software syncs with your cloud storage accounts, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive. It gives your files added protection, and that will give you peace of mind. A basic account is free, which covers one cloud provider accessed on two devices. Company packages start at $8 per month, per user.
Slydial – Do you ever call someone, hoping to just leave a voicemail because you don't have much time to talk? This app is a direct-to-voicemail service that routes you right into the voicemail of the person you’re dialing. You can pre-purchase credits in $5 increments, with each Slydial call priced at $0.10, or you can get the unlimited plan for $2.95 per month or $29.95 per year.
Doodle – This scheduling tool automatically syncs with your Google, Outlook, Office 365, or iCal calendars and allows you to customize the URL's subdomain, meeting invite, calendar design, and more. An individual account is free, a pro account is $39 per year, and a business team account starts at $69 per year.
Expensify – Manage your expenses and accounts like a boss. Expensify allows you to pull all your bank accounts and credit accounts into one place, where you can track transactions and expenses. If you make a purchase under $75, it will create a digital receipt. Scan or take a picture of receipts to upload. The platform integrates with accounting services such as Quickbooks, Xero, Netsuite, Oracle, and others. Free for a single account; $5 per user, per month for teams; and $9 per user, per month for larger companies.
FastCustomer – Tired of being put on hold when you call an airline, bank, or insurance company? Use FastCustomer to skip the automated system and get a customer service agent to call you. Free.
Camera+ – You’ll love the photo editing features in this iPhone and Android app. With settings such as “clarity,” which brightens some shadows without significantly modifying the photo, this is the go-to app for Bill Lublin, CEO of Century 21 Advantage Gold in Philadelphia. Free.
Waze – Get user-generated traffic information with real-time updates on a live map from other drivers (who hopefully aren't texting while driving). Find out if there’s a speed trap or accident ahead, and get the best route to showings. Free.
LastPass – This is an encrypted password manager that works for individuals or teams. Get unlimited password storage, keep digital records, autofill online shopping checkout forms, and access the app on all your devices. Free for an individual account; an enterprise account starts at $24 per person, per year.
Canva – This platform is essentially “graphic design for dummies.” Unify your branding and make it look uber-professional without a marketing department. The app offers easy-to-use templates and graphics for flyers, business cards, social media page headers, and more. Free.
Animoto – If you want to do video editing but don’t know where to start, check out this app. With Animoto, you can create marketing videos, how-tos, home tours, photo slideshows, and more. The drag-and-drop interface makes it super-easy to add voiceovers, text, and collages to your movie, and then post directly to YouTube or your social channels. A professional account, which includes 1080p video resolution (don’t skimp on the resolution), is $22 per month.
Badger – Compose and schedule text messages to go out on a specific day and time—perfect for contacting your client base and sphere regularly. Free.
Ripl – Create more engaging, animated images for your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. Choose an image from Ripl’s design library, or customize your own photo. Add your logo, choose music, graphics, and more. Free for up to five designs. For unlimited designs, get a pro account for $9.99 per month.