There is no doubt the iPad is a fabulous piece of technology. Does it have commercial application for the Real Estate Industry?
In this article Greg Vincent explores what the iPad does and how it just might help revolutionise aspects of your day-to-day working life.
The iPAD Revolution
There is no doubt the iPad is a fabulous piece of technology. Does it have commercial application for the Real Estate Industry? In this article Greg Vincent explores what the iPad does and how it just might help revolutionise aspects of your day-to-day working life.
Apple’s iPad has been one of the fastest selling devices ever. From the day the iPad was launched it only took 28 days for Apple to sell 1 million units and since its launch in Australia there have been over 250,000 iPads sold. (likely to be closer to ½ million after Christmas).
From the day the iPad was launched it only took 28 days for Apple to sell 1 million units”
The Apple iPad is so intuitively easy to use that the user manual for the iPad is a single sheet that shows the layout of the three buttons. That’s it. I’ve seen infants pick up how to use it in minutes and even a 100 year old woman who had never used a computer before took to using the iPad like a fish to water.
On the flip side of the sheet there’s some info about syncing, and if you get stuck there’s a bunch of guided tour videos on Apple’s website, which is a stark illustration of the radical simplicity of the device. And it is radical. You need no introduction. You pick it up and use it. It’s no wonder the iPad is causing such a buzz in the marketplace.
The iPad has not only caused a buzz globally but it’s caused quite a stir within the real estate industry as more & more real estate agents are joining the iPad revolution.
Whilst some agents may perceive using the iPad more as a ‘show piece’, if used effectively the iPad could become one of the most critical devices to impact our industry since the introduction of the mobile phone.
So far the iPad buzz still exists within Australia and many of the early adopters who feel it’s better to be seen as the innovator rather than the imitator are currently benefitting from a community perception of appearing to be more switched-on, more advanced and being cutting-edge.
Whilst this buzz won’t last forever, the fact is that there is now an unquenchable thirst throughout the computer programming community for App developers as companies scramble to build iPad and iPhone applications (over 300,000 apps now in the App store), some of which are not only designed to help you to be more effective in your day-to-day real estate actions but others will really impress your clients and help you create a significant point of difference within your marketplace.
Here’s 10 Ways That Real Estate Agents Could Use The iPad…
• Use it for digital listing presentations
• Show property photos and videos in high definition
• Visit websites for doing CMA’s and show other related sites
• Create an Individual Property Website for a client right before their eyes
• Instant database entry and feedback at open homes
• Get directions
• Show off real estate iPhone apps on a larger screen
• Portable client management
• Show details of current listings to buyers on the run
• Checking email enquiries & setting appointments
Whilst a lot of these things can already be done using a laptop, with the iPad the engagement and conversation around the display screen is completely different. For one thing, the seating positioning around a digital presentation on a laptop is often very cumbersome and maintaining eye-contact & reading non-verbal communication is extremely difficult as all parties struggles to see the laptop screen.
Real estate agents can already use the iPad to demonstrate how professionally they can present a potential sellers home, show comparable sales and create a marketing campaign digitally.
As we move forward, the rapid development of iPad and iPhone applications will provide some amazing possibilities and opportunities for agents to become much more mobile and better automated, which can really help agents provide a better level of personalised customer service and communication.
For an insight into the future of real estate on the iPad, we only need to look at how some restaurants are now using the iPad to display their menu (incl. photos of the food) and customers place their order directly to the kitchen.
I can see a day (not too far away) where a seller will be able to select their marketing campaign from the agent’s marketing menu on the iPad and everything will be synchronized with the agency, suppliers and all service providers (legal, photographer, etc) and scheduled payments for marketing will all be directed/scheduled accordingly from the client’s home at the moment of pressing the ‘go ahead’ button at the listing presentation.
Recommended Apps & Suggestions
Ben Stockdale, CEO of thehomepage.com.au:
Google Maps - I know it’s default but Streetview is very impressive to show vendors and also an interesting listing tool on the go – Client calls and gives you the address – You look like the expert by asking “is that the one with the red door”.
Google Earth - Great for OFI’s – This is what the area looks like and what you’re close to
Evernote - Remember everything, you won’t stop using it when you start
GoodReader - Next best thing to Dropbox
TeamViewer - Free back to your computer app – None of these are great but super handy if it’s not in your dropbox or you need to see that flash website
1 password – Password management that syncs over all your devices
Peter Brewer, General Manager - Inlinemedia, Professionals Global Limited:
Greg, the ypire assistant open home report app by raywhite is cool and free. I like dropbox as a cloud server app for mobility (free) or sugarsync is cool for this, the PDF reader allows me to assemble my PDF’s into events folders (free), and makes my travel paperless. I’ve created great listing pressos for some offices on pc using power point with cool transitions etc, and then I just import these into the Ipad via the Keynote all.
I’ve not had much luck with good hand writing apps. There’s still some work to do there… I did buy a stylus for hand writing on the iPad, but it’s cool if you want to draw or paint, but not for eg; taking notes at events/meetings.
Peter Fletcher, Web Marketing Commentator/Educator: As a starting point I wouldn’t recommend Hoorsuite. It’s just the iPhone version on an iPad. Quite unfulfilling. For Twitter you can’t go past the Twitter app. It’s what the web-based new Twitter is based on. Or is it the other wau around? Either way, it’s great.
Twittelator is also a cool Twitter app. Probably the best interface I’ve used.
If you want to draw pics (great for sketching out floor plans, block dimensions etc) try iDraft. Once a note is complete it can be emailed or shared. Pretty cool.
Lara Scott, Information Designer & Brand Marketing Consultant: I think the most important thing to mention is that if the agent is intending to use the ipad for listing presentations and showcasing their emags, site etc to potential clients that they are actually viewable and code correct. Most emags currently produced within the industry are flash-based and therefore a melon for ‘wow’ factor.
Evernote, walkscore, app or connectivity to database for buyer data collection insure in real time. Any local area apps relative to the property and location.
Greg Vincent, Speaker, Trainer & Online Strategist for Real Estate Professionals: I recommend apps like KeyNote, FlipBoard, WordPress, HootSuite and using sites like NearMap.com. There’s also been quite a bit of discussion at ypire.com/ipad-app from agents about getting their OFI iPad App to sync with the MyDesktop CRM. Well it looks like their prayers are being answered because the programmers have been working overtime and have just released their MyDesktop iPhone App and plan to release their iPad App sometime before Christmas.
Also, for an insight into the integration that is taking place between the iPhone and the iPad you may want to check out the Remote Palette app where the iPhone becomes an artists palette and the iPad becomes the canvass. (not for real estate but worth a look).
Plus, don’t underestimate the buzz that the iPad is currently causing. I’ve even heard of a case where an agent using the iPad at OFI’s said that “People enjoyed putting their contact details into the YPIRE App just so that they could try using the iPad.”
Impact on Print Media
The recent launch of iPad Apps by some of the media companies globally also provides an insight into where Print Media is heading. The iPad is going to make it a better reading experience for people to get their news digitally, which will ultimately have an effect on the physical distribution of printed newspapers.
Local Press may not feel the same affect for a while, but it certainly could have an impact in the amount of physical printed local newspapers distributed long term.
My hope was that the introduction of digital readers like the Apple iPad and Amazon’s Kindle may help to bring the real estate print media prices down to a more affordable level for agents and sellers, but unfortunately it may actually increase.
With the iPad, the newspaper experience will become more engaging, plus the digital newspaper will help to drive more website traffic across to an agent’s website than the printed version ever has. Whilst physical distribution will be down, the electronic distribution of newspapers could explode via the iPad & advertising space will become more popular, hence more expensive.
The Next Step
Whilst I see some great uses for the iPad for real estate agents, there are some developers who feel that Apple could have gone a lot further with their development.
I’m sure Apple will include a number of these extra features in future versions of the iPad but they may have to re-think a few things after their recent issues with the iPhone 4.0.
But for now it looks like they have made something that is very appealing to the majority of people, combined it with a rapidly growing resource of amazing Apps & have priced it affordably enough that the iPad should end up becoming as popular as the iPod and the iPhone.
So, if you’re wondering whether you should jump in now or sit back & wait for the next version of the iPad to arrive in Australia, as an agent your decision shouldn’t be based upon what’s coming next from the Apple laboratory but rather what benefits are your clients missing out on right now and how much business are you currently missing out on.
If you’re looking to provide a point of difference in your marketplace and want to get the jump on your competitors then joining the iPad revolution could provide the answer for you.
Greg Vincent has become a go-to-guy for real estate professionals across Australia & NZ in trying to understand the internet and social media applications. Having been a successful real estate agent for over 20 years, Greg presents online marketing concepts in a way that cuts through the confusion and makes sense out of the web. Visit www.gregvincent.com.au