Being accessible 24/7 may be aggravating at times, but the evolution of the cell phone into a million-use device has created a lot of productive applications. As an iPhone user I find myself constantly searching for another app to simplify the way I conduct business and my life altogether. I came up with a list of mostly free apps that I use daily to help my real estate business and while none are specifically geared towards real estate investing, they all help increase my production or provide a service I find to be valuable.
Dropbox – while I did not necessarily list these in order of preference, it is no accident that Dropbox is the first app that came to mind. Dropbox is a free service that allows users to store files (pictures, videos, documents, etc) on the “cloud” and access them from anywhere, at any time. That alone provides a great service but the function that makes Dropbox one of my favorite applications is its folder sharing capability which is perfect for anyone who needs to easily share documents with business partners, clients, or team members. It also makes collaborating on projects a breeze. While there are similar programs launching all the time, Dropbox remains my favorite storage app.
Waze – there are always more properties to see and with a sense of direction like mine a free turn-by-turn GPS application is a must. After trying dozens of GPS apps I was not finding one with all the features on my wish list. Waze meets all my requirements and then some as a turn-by-turn GPS with the ability to set favorite destinations, find the cheapest gas prices along a route, and avoid traffic. Waze even has built-in social/community features for those who enjoy live updates from nearby users (especially speed trap warnings). It’s not perfect, but for free it is very close. If you need help finding that property tucked away in a neighborhood maze, give Waze a try!
CamScanner+ – even in this digital world hard copy paperwork can’t always be avoided, which makes CamScanner+ a must have app to convert paperwork into electronic files. You no longer need to find a working scanner, just grab your phone, snap a picture and voilà, you have a digital copy. CamScanner+ makes scanning single or multi-page documents on the go effortless and adds the ability to edit, share and store the documents. I use this app to instantly scan receipts and file them in my electronic file box (which I share with my business partner via Dropbox)…if that is not easy, I don’t know what is.
Expense Manager by Joyful – tracking expenses is a critical aspect of running any business and Expense Manager makes doing it on the go painless. Making new entries is very simple and the app allows you to export reports to excel with the push of a button. I typically use this app to track travel expenses, which makes tax season a little less stressful.
Trip Miles – mileage tracking can be a serious hassle, but not with Trip Miles. You can easily start and stop tracking, save common routes, track multiple vehicles and drivers, attach notes, add related expenses (tolls, parking) and export to excel. It doesn’t get much easier than Trip Miles, so if you are in need of a way to track your mileage, consider giving Trip Miles a shot.
Aviary – taking photos of properties is important to track progress on renovations, market completed projects, and share with potential partners or investors and Aviary takes the iPhone camera capabilities to the next level. With Aviary you can snap a picture of a property, crop it to the perfect size, adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation, add text, and just about anything else you would expect from an expensive photo editor, except Aviary is free. Now you can take professional looking photos with ease.
CardMunch from LinkedIn – the disconnect between the electronic world to the paper world used to mean doing a lot of things twice, but card munch removed the monotonous task of adding business card contact information into your phone by hand. All you have to do to add new contacts with CardMunch is to take a picture of the card with your phone! The card information is then transcribed (by real people) and readily available for use in your phone.
Mixology – like any business, real estate investing can be frustrating every once in a while, so next time you have an encounter with a terrible contractor, find a new cocktail to help you relax! Mixology allows you add all the ingredients you have on hand to your “liqueur cabinet” and view cocktails you are able to make, which is perfect if you like to try new concoctions (I would recommend the Ramos Gin Fizz after a long day)!
There are many great applications out there and the list is growing every day, so no matter which phone you have, figure out how you can use it to make your life a little easier. Try some of these (and their competitors) to see which you can utilize, and which will sit untouched until you finally remove them.
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