Technology Solutions

Brainy Apps

Are apps becoming the digital brains of commercial real estate professionals’ offices?

Like rabbits in the spring, new apps are proliferating for every available nook on mobile devices. But which apps will move your business forward? According to CCIM experts, the answer depends on individual commercial real estate businesses, as well as costs and personal preferences. No one app fits every circumstance, person, or problem.

Before downloading a new app, evaluate whether it will improve productivity, enhance client service, or solve specific commercial real estate concerns. If it does, download the app. If not, find a different app that will.  

“The Evernote app has changed my business or at least my personal organization,” says Jonathan Epstein, CCIM, manager and owner at Berger-Epstein Associates in Allentown, Pa. “Evernote syncs across all my devices: my Mac at home, my PC at work, and my mobile devices. I use it to store and edit my marketing materials, so when a prospect wants some information, I know there's one place with the most current information.

“Evernote lets you share notes, travel itineraries, and favorite recipes, as well as storing copies of your passport, real estate license, and medical paperwork.

“One of the best things about Evernote is its Optical Character Recognition, so it can read text inside a photo. I can search for pretty specific terms, and it will even search inside the photo. One blogger refers to Evernote as his 'digital brain.' I agree.”

Below are some recommended apps and products used by CCIMs.

Evernote app has been good for downloading marketing materials for presentations from an iPad or streaming from a smartphone, according to Brian Bell, CCIM, broker at Campana Resources LLC in Fort Worth, Texas.

Justin Lamontagne, CCIM, has switched from Evernote to the Workflowy app. It is a tool for taking notes and making lists across all platforms. “I replaced Evernote with Workflowy due to its ease of use,” says Lamontagne, partner and broker at NAI The Dunham Group in Portland, Maine.

GroupMe serves as a resource for group text streams. This app makes it easy to create group messages that work on any device. “It has a nice, separate platform so I don't get confused with all the other streams within a regular smartphone,” Bell says.

Waze app helps commercial real estate professionals to navigate around traffic jams, accidents, and other road hazards, to reach their destinations fast, safely, and on time.

While Waze helps busy professionals find their clients and properties faster, the TripLog app tracks mileage for business and personal use, which is useful for tax reporting. It records kilometers or miles using GPS, remembers reoccurring locations, and functions as a gas log to record gas costs and liters or gallons used.

It also calculates the gas costs to run your vehicle, according to Mike Milovick, CCIM, broker at Royal LePage Grand Valley Realty in Kitchner, Canada. “TripLog has been a game changer for me,” he says.

Haiku Deck app allows users to make professional-looking presentations on the web, iPad, or iPhone. “Haiku Deck is a super simple, quick way to develop a presentation on my iPad,” says David Schnitzer, CCIM, senior vice president at Venture Commercial Real Estate in Dallas. “It is nothing fancy, but it's great when you are just across the table from someone.”

WordSwag app is a quick, easy way to add text to commercial real estate professionals' photos. Use this app to add descriptions to listing photos or share inspiring stats and quotes. Text is more relatable, digestible, and memorable when it has an image.

Charlie app helps commercial real estate professionals to build rapport with their contacts and sends the users information on these contacts, which includes their interests, company, common connections, and news related to them.

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Sara S. Patterson and Samuel S. Moon

Sara S. Patterson is executive editor of Commercial Investment  Real Estate. Samuel S. Moon is media relations manager at  CCIM Institute. 




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