The fact is there are a lot of great apps out there, but there are also a bunch of worthless ones that we have to wade through to find the secret sauce. Here are some of the best.
These are geared toward agents, teams and streamlining tasks to allow you to spend less time behind the desk. Best of all, they all either offer free versions or a free trial so that you can try them first.
Taking advantage of some or all of the apps mentioned will help with productivity. I use them all and cannot imagine being a top producer without them.
1. Realvolve (CRM)
Your CRM is home base for all of your contacts, workflows, templates and daily tasks. After much trial and error, I found that Realvolve offers the most features directed solely for real estate agents. You can set workflows for listings, transactions and contacts, and the workflows can be tailored based on needs. Workflows can be automated, semi-automated or manual, depending on your comfort level and needs.
Realvolve also integrates from the dashboard with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SMS and BombBomb and syncs with Google. It allows you to set “tags” to classify contacts and has a contact cross-section that captures leads that might be falling through the cracks.
Think of Zapier as the bridge that links your favorite apps together so that they can communicate with each other. It allows you to automate many tasks with programs you already use.
Zapier has thousands of “Zaps” that connect programs to simplify workflows. For example, you get a lead from Zillow. Zapier will deposit that lead into your CRM, create a workflow, send emails and set tags based on your input in a template. Then, Zapier will export that information to any other apps that needs the knowledge of that contact. It reduces the redundancy of data entry and automates workflows without human intervention.
Slack has been my go-to app for team communication for years. It offers a robust free program that works well with small teams and has paid programs for teams that need more features (like VoIP phone calls). Slack is an instant messenger app for team collaboration and is accessed via desktop, tablet or phone. It allows teams to communicate and share files within a “channel.” Channels are both private and public so that you can keep general team conversations and confidential discussions separate.
Social media is a must for today’s real estate professionals, but the daily interruptions we encounter make it difficult to remember to post every day. This is where Buffer comes into play. Buffer allows you to schedule all of your posts for the week (or longer) in one session. The app posts on your behalf depending on the day, time and platform you chose when scheduling the post.
The free version allows you to use up to three platforms. I use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can post on up to eight platforms with the first tier of the paid version. Best practice for social media is once a day on Facebook, three times on Twitter and once or twice on Instagram. It’s simple to set aside an hour at the beginning of the week and schedule most of your social media posts for the week using Buffer. That way, if you get busy and forget to post, Buffer has your back.
5. Zendesk Web Widget
Zendesk has a chat widget you can embed onto your website that communicates directly with Facebook Messenger. Why do you need this? Because you can embed it into your website and capture any leads that visit your website while you are out and about. Inquiries are immediately delivered to Facebook Messenger so that you can speak with the contact within seconds. You do not have to be a Zendesk subscriber to use this widget.
It’s better to be seen, right? BombBomb is a video email platform that makes it possible to send video email instead of the traditional text email. It can also post to social media. It’s simple to use and will send both individual and mass video emails.
Statistics show that people will click on a video more often than plain text making engagement statistics higher than traditional email. BombBomb works with Gmail, Outlook, and it integrates with over 60 other partners.
Dotloop is suitable for both individual agents and teams. It’s a step beyond the free versions of Authentisign or Zip Forms often offered as part of MLS membership. Dotloop allows you to edit, share, text, e-sign and store documents relating to a transaction. The associated app enables you to create transactions in seconds while you’re on the go and allows you to host in-person signings when applicable.
Both individuals and teams can benefit from Trello’s project and task management app. Trello contains visual boards with lists and cards to organize and work through tasks.
Think of a whiteboard full of sticky notes accessible on your phone or computer. The board is the project, the tasks are cards that contain assignments, lists, notes, etc., and cards are moved to and from columns on the board until they are complete. Want to know if photos were ordered for a listing? Just look and see where the card is on the board.
Canva is a must-have for advertising, branding and social media marketing. There are templates for print, social media posts, documents (such as buyer guides), events and ads. Each category has subcategories sized for specific mediums.
Want to create a post for your Instagram Feed or Story? Click the template, choose a design, and create a post using your brand and ad specifics. Once you’ve created a design, you can use it as a template and change information as necessary, maintaining the overall look and branding.
10. Self-Employed by Quickbooks
Don’t forget to capture your income and expenses while you’re on the go. The self-employed version of QuickBooks is great for agents. It allows the flexibility of mixing personal and business from the same accounts as well as capture miles driven for business purposes. Entry is easy with receipt capture and automatic transaction download from your bank account and credit cards. You can also pay quarterly taxes and upload all information into your tax return from within the app.