Whether you’re a real estate agent or not, chances are your smartphone is your single-most used device. You might even be reading this article on it. But, while taking calls, fielding texts, and firing off emails are all commonplace for you, we’re willing to bet you aren’t taking full advantage of your phone’s capabilities. To that end, we put together a list of our favorite tips, tricks and apps for turning your smartphone into the ultimate real estate tool.

Use short-cuts for quick replies

 Using a tool buried deep inside your phone’s menus allows you to provide a short-cut for longer phrases. All you have to do is set up the short-cut in your phone (we’ll get to the setup in a sec) and you’ll have a bunch of responses pre-loaded. For example, you can use the short-cut word “response” for “Hello! I got your message and will respond as soon as I can.” Or use “sys” for “See you soon.” These short-cuts will let you quickly respond to a text or phone call and let clients or potential clients know you have received their message.

iPhone: To set up a short-cut for iPhone, go to Settings –> General –>  Keyboard. Under “Text Replacement,” you can add your pre-populated messages.

Android: It’s somewhat similar for Android: You’ll find your Google Keyboard section under “Language and input.” From there, select “Text correction” and then “Personal Dictionary” to add a custom entry.

And not to worry — you can edit and delete any part of the short-cut before you hit send.

Also consider using your phone’s auto-responder

Your phone also allows you to set up text auto-replies for incoming phone calls you can’t take.  This way, even if you can’t respond right away, you’ll still keep the lead somewhat engaged. But, keep in mind that timing is key for this — don’t consider an auto-response a replacement for prompt salesmanship. Respond as soon as you absolutely can, even if you’ve already sent an automatic response; otherwise you risk losing this lead to another agent.

Keep your information organized (and geo-tagged!)

Spotio uses a color-coded system to organize your contacts

There are a variety of information apps out there: like the “notes” app that is preloaded on your phone. Or you can download a more robust app like Evernote. 

But, if you’re looking for something really powerful, check out Spotio. This is a map-based notes app that is set up perfectly for an agent. Whenever you’re with a client at an apartment, you can just fire up the app and add notes. They’ll then be geo-tagged with your current location, ensuring that any notes you took on-site (things like: my client loves this open-concept kitchen) are automatically assigned to that specific location.

It’s super-powerful and will keep you organized in a really intuitive way for you, an agent, whose whole job hinges on different locations in the city.

Keep your team organized with a workplace communication app

Your bread and butter, as a real estate pro, is communication, and it goes without saying that having a good command of communication channels (email, text, phone, etc) is important. But what if you work with a team of half a dozen agents or more? Try putting together a workplace in Slack, a messaging app available on desktop and mobile.

 Slack will allow you to add all your colleagues, create different channels for specific topics of communication, easily share files, pictures, success stories, and more. Sometimes one of the most challenging things about keeping track of business communication is finding files sent in an email, like, 2,000 messages ago. Slack is searchable and organizable, and once you get your team into a good workflow, you might find it the best way to communicate internally.

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Get to know your phone’s alerts

One thing that’s overlooked on mobile devices (for real estate agents, or otherwise), are the “reminders” features baked right into your phone’s OS. On iPhone, this program is just called Reminders, and it has some great functionality. You can assign your phone to remind you (via a lock-screen push notification) at a certain time or even when you reach or leave a certain location. Android has similar functionality, but you’ll need to set it up via their Google app or with a Google Calendar invite. Either way, there are plenty of uses.

Imagine this: You need to make sure you send your follow-up emails when you get to the office every morning. But, some mornings you’re at showings, and don’t arrive until 11 or 12. Rather than setting yourself a timed reminder, set yourself a reminder that goes off automatically when you get in the door of your actual office. It’s a simple but powerful way to make sure you never forget to keep your business moving in the right direction.

Step up the camera

One of the most important considerations when you’re advertising a listing online is how that listing looks in photos. And that makes sense — people want to know where they’ll be living. We do recommend considering a professional photographer, but sometimes you just don’t have the funds or the lead time. That’s where your phone’s camera comes in, and with powerhouses like the iPhone X and the Google Pixel 2 (both with amazing cameras), you’re bound to take some good photos. But we recommend digging deep into both camera apps to understand how to take the clearest, brightest photos. You could also check the app store on your phone for some highly rated third-party camera apps (Camera FV-5 is great for Android and Camera+ is a great choice for iPhones). These will give you more control over things like exposure, ISO, and more. Just be sure not to over-stylize the photos; what’s most important is capturing the apartment as it actually is.

Turn your phone into a document processor

One category of your job as an agent that is not going away is legal documentation, and while many of your documents are going to require in-person signing at your brokerage, it could be beneficial to have an electronic option for smaller agreements (such as down payment guarantees and non-compete documents). There’s where DocuSign comes in, an app that lets you upload PDFs and securely send them to clients to sign using their computer or phone, without the need to be there in person. Pair that with a document scanner app (we like Adobe Scan for both iPhone and Android) to take quick, immediate scans of documents and notes using your phone’s camera.

Post/edit listings right on the StreetEasy app

Once you’ve set up your phone as a full-featured tool, you need to make sure you’ve got the StreetEasy app on your phone. If you’re reading this, you likely already use StreetEasy to list, track, and update your listings. Earlier this year, we launched many of those features for agents right on our mobile app. This means you can edit, update, and even post listings right on your phone. It’s particularly handy if you get a listing you weren’t expecting and don’t have time to run and get a camera or a photographer. With the app, you can snap some pictures with your phone’s camera right in the post flow, and get it live and in front of prospective clients as soon as possible.

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