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You’ve probably heard trivia like this before:
“Your smartphone has more processing power than NASA did when it put men on the moon in 1969.”
That's a pretty incredible fact – isn't it?
Even more fascinating, is that mobile phones are starting to surpass many laptops on performance benchmarking tests.
All that processing power, combined with humanity’s combined knowledge available instantly with internet access, is sitting right in your pocket day in and day out.
But what else can your smartphone do for you as a real estate investor?
How can it help give you an unfair advantage over all the other investors out there failing to use the gadget and its abundance of apps to advance your businesses and bottom line?
Here are twenty amazing apps that all real estate investors should consider — including several that aren’t real estate “apps” per se, but will help make you become a more nimble investor nonetheless.
For many real estate investors, market research starts with Zillow. Zillow provides surprisingly granular data on specific properties and broader neighborhood data to boot.
You can use Zillow to browse available listings, get a sense for home values, and see what neighborhood landlords are asking for rent. Investors such as yourself can even list properties for sale or rent directly from their mobile devices, snapping photos with their phones and typing out a description of the property.
The Zillow app is especially useful as you walk the streets of a neighborhood where you’re considering investing. You can check property details in real-time and get a great gut-level sense of neighborhood housing values and rents.
You can spend an arm and a leg on printer paper and ink and end up with stacks of file folders piled to the ceiling in a home office. Or, you can skip the home office entirely and just e-sign contracts, lease agreements, disclosures, and so on by using PandaDoc.
PandaDoc uses top-of-the-line digital security and encryption and lets you share and store documents instantly. As an especially nifty feature, the PandaDoc app lets you photograph paper documents using your smartphone, and instantly e-sign them. With millions of users worldwide, PandaDoc is a very popular and convenient way to get digital signatures on the go.
The DealCheck app makes it easier than ever to run your calculations on the fly – whether on the road or behind your desk. The free version of this app is extremely useful, and there's also a pro upgrade that will give you some added functionality (like unlimited property photos, unlimited reports, MLS updates, an offer calculator, and more). If you've been on the search for a calculator that is a lot more simple than a complicated spreadsheet, you need to see this app in action!
Note: If you sign up for a Pro plan, be sure to use promo code “RETIPSTER” at checkout and you'll get a 25% discount for the life of your subscription.
If you've ever tried to find and contact a property owner directly, you probably know there are A LOT of inefficiencies involved with this process. There is definitely a need for software and solutions that can make it easier for real estate investors to reach property owners easily via mail, email and/or phone – and that's where the DealMachine app comes in. DealMachine makes it really easy to track down the contact information of a property owner (e.g. – mailing addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers) and send out direct mail solicitations to the owners. This app doesn't do a lot, but what it does do, it does really well.
PropStream is a paid subscription service that allows users to do quick, convenient and comprehensive research on properties in their market. It also allows users to generate marketing lists, skip trace property owners, send out mail, set up websites, and even handle email campaigns.
While PropStream was designed as a desktop web application, it also has a very well-designed mobile app that can be used to handle everything except for generating marketing lists. Ideal for anyone who is regularly on the search for real estate deals and/or needs to do property research while away from their office.
You can also do a free trial through the REtipster affiliate link.
Most of us have heard of (or are heavily using) DropBox by now. Dropbox is a FREE cloud storage and file synchronization service that has exploded in popularity – but did you know they have a mobile app? In my opinion, this enhancement took their service from being “pretty cool” to “freakin' awesome!” Since my entire business is stored in my Dropbox account, this app allows me to pull up virtually anything on my iPhone in a matter of seconds. Contracts, photos, videos, notes, templates, etc… it's ALL in the palm of my hand, wherever I go.
7. Rentometer Express
Rentometer has long been a good-to resource for real property investors who are looking for comparable rent amounts and values in their market. While the flagship service (finding rent comps) is free, they also have a few paid versions for users who want access to more detailed information, enhanced report options and additional ways to analyze the data. If you find yourself doing A LOT of rental property analysis, this could be a very helpful tool to have on your phone or mobile device.
Trello is a hugely helpful (and mostly free) online resource that can be used by teams and individuals to manage tasks, jobs, and projects. Trello also has a very nice mobile app that can be used to add, update, move and delete tasks on the fly. I use Trello every single day because it’s a great way to visualize what I’ve accomplished and what still needs to be done.
9. Scanner Pro
Similarly, Scanner Pro lets you snap photos of documents to share or store. Where Scanner Pro shines is that it can convert the document to text, and create a PDF from it.
The app detects borders in your photographed documents so it can remove the background in the image and provide clean, easy-to-read final versions you can share with the necessary stakeholders in your real estate investment transactions.
Once scanned and converted to a text-based PDF, documents can be emailed or shared through cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox. The text recognition software even lets you copy and paste text from a photographed document.
This one is a favorite of Rich Carey from RichOnMoney.com. Pretty nifty, eh?
10. Connected Investors
Having a solid network of both people and investment opportunities is crucial for real estate investors.
The platform is free and gives you access to countless other investors and market-specific deals that you may or may not see in your local MLS listings. If you're a fan of the website, you'll appreciate having access to it through this mobile app as well.
If you're in the short-term rental business, Airbnb is a must-have service. One of the MANY helpful tools that Airbnb brings to the table is the Airbnb app, which is extremely useful for managing your properties, booking listings, taking payments, and a lot more – all on the go. The Airbnb app is also great for booking reservations for properties as an end-user as well. If you haven't downloaded this one to your phone yet, it's definitely worth checking out!
Have you ever received a video email? I remember the first time I did and it blew my mind. It's one thing to get email correspondence from someone you're working with, but it's something else entirely to see their face and hear their voice when they're trying to deliver that same message. Video email is an insanely effective communication tool that you NEED to be using in your business. If you aren't using BombBomb yet, sign up for your free 14-day trial on the BombBomb website and see if it might be a helpful addition to your toolbox.
13. Mortgage by Zillow
This mortgage calculator from Zillow has been a great tool for a number of reasons. Whether I'm looking to calculate payments on my next property purchase, put together a seller-financed deal or refinance an existing mortgage, this app is fast and functional in a very simple, easy-to-use layout. I frequently find myself pulling this out when evaluating new projects and determining how each deal fits into my budget. If you find yourself making payment calculations on a regular basis – you should have this tool in your smartphone arsenal.
14. Google Maps
I know, this app is pretty basic (and most phones come with some kind of basic mapping app by default) and there's a reason for that. Google Maps is a highly-functional and useful tool for a lot of people in a number of different industries. I use this app regularly for several purposes, including navigation, locating properties and finding places of interest.
BiggerPockets has been an amazing online resource for a lot of years now… but did you know they also have an app? With this little piece of software on your mobile device, you can access the BiggerPockets Blog, the BP forum, your BP inbox, and the BP Podcast (among other things). If you're part of the BiggerPockets community, this is a great way to stay connected wherever you are!
If you're someone who dreads opening up your email inbox every day, you really need to know about Slack. Slack is an incredible (and free) communication tool that can be used on either a desktop or mobile device. If you find yourself sending several emails to the same few people every day, Slack will make this communication much faster and more streamlined… to the point that you can virtually replace email as a mode of communication.
This one is a favorite of Steve Chou from MyWifeQuitHerJob.com.
Evernote has been a long-time and well-respected app in the mobile marketplace. This option is great for connecting multiple accounts and bringing organization to the wild flurry of ideas, notes, resources, links, images, calendars, and other pieces of media you have floating around on your phone. If you often find yourself searching for the information you need, Evernote is probably an app you need to download pronto.
This one is a favorite of Tyler Sheff from CashFlowGuys.com.
This is an insanely useful app when it comes to taking photos of the properties that you're trying to sell. Providing good pictures to your potential buyers/tenants/customers is HUGE in the world of real estate. Without a good, quality representation of your property, you're not going to get very far with finding people to do business with. This is an app that I use whenever I possibly can, because it's quick, easy, and delivers great results.
If you have a subscription plan with OpenPhone, this can be an amazingly helpful app to keep your phone and fax communications cloud-based. What's better yet – you can use this app to call people from your business phone number. If you're as protective as I am about giving out your personal cell phone number (via the caller ID of the person you're calling), you can use this app to call from your OpenPhone number, allowing you to keep your personal and business communication completely segregated (as they should be).
As you can see, some of these apps are great for more than just real estate, they can be used for other types of business ventures (and even your personal life). Most of these apps are available on virtually every major mobile platform – so it doesn't matter which device you use.
Blinkist is an app that lists the top non-fiction books and gives users a brief, 15-minute synopsis of each one. Want to read a great book but you don't have several hours to sit down and go through it page-by-page? Blinkist can help you FLY through a great book and still walk away with all the key lessons and insights that are buried deep within the pages of a full-length book.
If you're one (like me) who struggles to fit the latest and greatest books into your daily schedule, this is a great app for you!
The Pros of These Mobile Apps: Speed, Agility, Knowledge
As a real estate investor, your ability to compete with other investors in your market is often based on three factors: the speed with which you can move on deals, the agility with which you can react and adjust to changes, and your knowledge of investing and the market where you invest.
Mobile apps can help you with all three.
Use the apps above to be able to operate your real estate investing business on the move — whether you invest full-time or simply do the occasional flip on the side. These (and other) mobile apps for real estate investors help you stay connected with your partners and support personnel, with your market, and even with your properties themselves.
You have a supercomputer in your pocket, connected to an endless well of human knowledge. Take advantage of it.