If you aren't using an iPad, you probably know someone in real estate who is. The latest National Association of REALTORS®’ Technology Survey Report reveals tablets are top of mind with real estate agents because they save time, keep agents connected and increase productivity by more than a third. Of course, it’s one thing to own an iPad and consume media on it. It’s quite another to tap into the personal tablet’s power to drive your everyday real estate business to new heights. Keller Williams agent Pei Lin Huang has tapped in and the Syracuse (N.Y.) market center associate, closed $8.5 million on 74 deals in 2012 and another $5 million in 2013.
Although Huang labels herself as a “late iPad implementer”– she purchased the tablet as a reward for her hard work – she was a quick study on the technology. In fact, she now uses the iPad exclusively while on the go.
Inking Deals at McDonald’s
“The iPad untethers real estate professionals from their computers and gives them complete mobility. It’s light, portable and possesses that ‘cool factor,’” says Huang, who launched her real estate career in 1987 at a national franchise before committing to Keller Williams in 2006.
“The iPad untethers real estate professionals from their computers and gives them complete mobility. It’s light, portable and possesses that ‘cool factor.’”
“Because I am 95 percent paperless, I save money on paper and ink. I also save money on time and gas because I no longer have to run around to have offers signed and delivered.” When working with a buyer client last summer, she discovered that the house had multiple offers on it. “We zipped to the local McDonald’s – with a playground to keep their young son occupied – and I wrote up the contract. They signed on the ‘Form Tools’ app and I emailed it to the listing agent. The offer was accepted all before leaving.” A happy meal, indeed!
Huang does just about everything on her iPad: buyer and seller consultations, offers, file storage, Webinars, video conferencing with clients and her team, writing and signing contracts, email, writing contract addendum, showing comps to sellers, showing houses on the market to buyers, online banking and more. “Writing the contract addendum is particularly nice with ‘Pages’ and ‘iCloud,’” she adds.
“Whatever I do on one device gets automatically sent to my other Apple devices via iCloud.” She also uses an app called “QIK Video” to live stream, record house showings and deliver inspection problems. She also uses it to facilitate pre-closing walk-through issues to buyers, sellers and attorneys. “I have sold houses to out-of-town buyers this way.” Adopting the new technology wasn't hard for Huang. “I was already mostly paperless so the transition made sense,” she explains. Her clients have also been open to the new format. “They see it and feel like it has that ‘cool factor.’” For agents new to the tablet world, her advice on getting started is simple: Don’t try to implement everything at once. She often tells agents to start by identifying a task, finding an app to help tackle that task, and then implementing that app.
“Apps are typically free, which makes it easy to try several to find the one that you like.” She tends to have several apps that do similar things, and, depending on the task, may choose to use one app over the other. “Definitely read the reviews in the iTunes App Store before you buy. And download the ‘AppsforFree’ app. When you’re buying a lot of apps it’s a great way to save money on something that may or may not work exactly how you thought it would.”