Everyone talks about incorporating the newest and spiffiest technology into their realty business, and they’re exactly right. You should be doing just that. But what if you aren’t comfortable with high-powered (and often high-priced) technological solutions? Here’s some of the best free or extremely inexpensive technological solutions out there, and most of them are extremely easy to use.
- Gmail. Yes, really. Google’s free Web-based email client can be the basis for an entire management system. You can use your domain email (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org) from your Gmail account. You can quickly organize, file and retrieve your emails, both sent and received. Gmail integrates easily with your calendar and tasking apps. It gives you access to Google Docs – you can think of that as a simplified Microsoft Office platform available through your browser. A lot of the tools mentioned below integrate well with Gmail.
- Google Calendar. This freebie integrates with Gmail, allowing you to add events from an email and display upcoming events and appointments in your email display. It takes voice appointments from Jott (see below) and tasks from RTM (below. It lets you set up custom reminder systems for text messages, email and popups.
- Remember the Milk (RTM). Probably the easiest task management system on the Internet, RTM is both free and powerful. It integrates nicely with Gmail and Google Calendar. You can import via Gmail an entire list of dated tasks for when you start a new transaction. RTM tasks can be included in Google Calendar. It sets alarms via text or email for task deadlines.
- Evernote. This one isn’t free ($45/year), but it’s worth every dime. There are so many things you can do with Evernote that this article can’t begin to explore all the possibilities.
- Xpenser. I don’t know about you, but even simple bookkeeping throws me for a loop, and Quicken just makes my head hurt. Xpenser is an easy-to-use accounting and bookkeeping app. It integrates with Jott (below).
- Jott. This $39.50/year app converts voice messages to text on the fly. You can call from your cell phone, leave a voice mail for yourself, and have Jott send it as email or text messages to you or anyone else in your Gmail contact list. You can post expenses to Xpenser via Jott, add notes to Evernote, add dates and events to Google Calendar, and add tasks to RTM.
- Thunderbird. This is a venerable and free email client that you can use not just to back up your Gmail archives onto your hard drive, but to organize your emails and create a single PDF of your emails on a particular transaction for storage.
- Sugarsync. For $50/year, you can back up tons of data into cloud-based storage as well as on your computer, your iPad, and more. You can also share large transaction files with cilents and colleagues quickly and securely.
- Picasa. This free photo/image app actually works better than Flickr for realtors. You can build photo albums, geotag them for mapping, and autosync your photos from your hard drive.
- YouTube for Website: YouTube isn’t just for kids posting videos of their pets or cover versions of their favorite songs. Internet video has revolutionized real estate marketing, and YouTube is the first place most people go for video-based information