My Top iPad Apps for Real Estate Appraisers

Do you have an iPad? Did you buy it to help yourself become more productive and mobile in your real estate appraisal business?  Are you actually using it in your business in this capacity or are you just using it to play games, surf the net, and watch movies?  This is a question I had to ask myself recently.  I had purchased my iPad several years ago and found it hard to integrate it into my daily work routine.  I am proud to say that I have finally started using it on a daily basis in my business, and I wanted to share with you the apps I find to be the most useful.

PhoenixMobile
phoenixmobileThis app is used to collect data during an appraisal inspection.  I use Appraise-It from Software For Real Estate Professionals, Inc. and Phoenix mobile is the mobile app that allows you to sync the field inspection data with the form filling software.  I fill in as much information as I can at the office and then sync it with my iPad.  While in the field I collect the physical data on the property and then, once I am back in my office, I sync it again to the laptop.  The user interface with the app is pretty good and straight forward.  My wish list for future versions would include a free-hand note taking app as well as an option to take audio notes.  The app is free, however there is a small fee to upload/sync the file.  You can learn more about the app at the PhoenixMobile site.

Dropbox
dropboxDropbox allows me to bring MLS printouts of my comparable sales with me on my appraisal inspections.  Rather than printing out the MLS sheets and wasting paper and ink, I can save the print outs in a PDF format.  I drop the files I want to take with me into my Dropbox account and then pull them up on my iPad.  If you have a 3G account with your iPad you can pull them up while in the field, or if you have the wifi version, pull them up while you are still in your office and save them to the iPad by tapping the little star in the upper right hand corner while the document is open.  The MLS sheets help me find my comparables and verify the MLS information about the house.  The app is free and can be downloaded from the Dropbox site.  I use this app in conjunction with the GoodReader app.

GoodReader
The GoodReader app works great with Dropbox by allowing you to open the Dropbox file in GoodReader and make notes on the document.  I use my stylus to notate what number photo the sale is and also to circle or highlight important features noted on the MLS sheet.  I also use it when I get back in the office by making notes on the document after I talk with the agent or get additional information that is not on the MLS sheet.  This app is not free but it is worth the price you pay.  Find out more about it at their website, Good.iWare.

Calendar
The calendar app is a native app on the iPad because it comes already installed on the iPad when you buy it.  I use Google Calendar on my laptop and this app integrates very well with it.  I keep all of my appointments up to date on the laptop and it automatically updates my iPad Calendar.  If I ever get a call while out of the office and I need to set up an appointment I can refer to my Calendar to look at my schedule.  I can add the new appointment on my iPad Calendar and then when I have access to a wifi account, or when I get back to my office, the appointment will sync with my laptop Google Calendar.  Another nice feature on both calendars is that you can add the address of your appointment and it will link to a Google map to help you get to your destination.

Maps
The Maps app is also a native app to the iPad.  It works well with the Calendar app as I noted above because when you type the location of your appointment it will give you the map to it and you can also get directions.  My wish list for this app would be that it could import My Maps from Google so that I could import all of the properties I will be taking pictures of, but that is not the case.  Maybe in a newer version?

 

MileBug
MileBug is a useful app to keep up with your mileage and related expenses.  Appraisers spend a lot of time on the road and this app helps you keep up with it.  It has an easy to use interface and you can easily email mileage reports to yourself.  I use to write my mileage down on paper and keep up with it that way (I should say try to keep up with it).  I was constantly losing my mileage sheets which resulted in gaps in my record keeping.  This is so much easier and having this information on my iPad, along with everything else, makes it easier to keep track of.  Learn more about this app from the MileBug website.

Square
Before I found Square I was not able to take credit card payments unless I wanted to set up a commercial account with a bank and pay large monthly expenses.  This did not appeal to me because I do not have to regularly take credit card payments.  At times, when I would do appraisals for individuals where a bank was not involved, clients would ask me if they could pay with credit card and I would always have to say no.  But with Square I can now do this.  They have various plans available but the one I use is the flat 2.75%  per swipe fee.  This works great for me because I only pay  when I need it, and the 2.75% fee is competitive with other similar products.  Learn more at the Square website.

Carbonite
I use Carbonite to back up my appraisal files.  Appraisers are required to keep copies of their appraisals for at least 5 years and electronic copies count.  In addition to the appraisal report I keep pertinent file information that I used to complete a report.  If I ever have to refer back to this information it’s right at my fingertips.  This app is also useful for viewing files when I am not in my office.  The iPad app allows me to navigate to the file I need and immediately view it.  Carbonite has many plans available and you can find out more about them here.

These are the iPad apps I am currently using in my appraisal practice but I am sure there are many more that could be used to help an appraiser to be more productive and hopefully make their job easier.  What are yours?  I’m always looking for new apps to use so leave me a message below and tell me what you’re using.

If you have any real estate appraisal related questions you can call me at 205.243.9304, email me, or connect with me on Facebook., Twitter, or Youtube.

Comments

  1. Hello,thanks for sharing such a great list of real estate app that help every customer to get in touch with property dealer. Such a nice blog you have share here….

  2. Just got an iPad Air2 and would like to incorporate it into my business, particularly with inspections. Can anyone suggest a good case for it? Lots of snow where I’m from. Would hate to drop it. Ideally something not too bulky and possibly hold business cards and maybe a loop for a pen/stylus. Thanks!

  3. Would you recommend the ipad or ipad mini for use in the field?

    • The iPad offers a lot of alternatives to the traditional paper and pencil method, and there are a lot of apps to use as I mentioned in the post. If you want to go paperless then the iPad is going to go a long way in helping you in that goal. I personally like the iPad over the mini, but that is a personal preference. I like the bigger screen, but I think the bottom line is which one would you be more likely to actually use? I would go with the one that I know I would stick with. Good luck in whatever you choose Emily.

  4. Michelle Patrick says

    Thanks for the insight Tom. As a new ipad user I have been looking for production aps for my appraisal business. I have dropbox but did not even consider dropping my mls sheets into it. I am slightly confused about how to open them on the road but I will play with it a little and see if I can figure it out- no more clipboards and files- TY again!

    • Michelle, if you have internet access you can pull them up, but if not you can save them to the iPad before you leave and then pull them up out in the field. You cannot annotate the file on dropbox so I use Goodreader. If you need any more help let me know and GOOD LUCK!

  5. Levi Niendorf says

    I got an ipad for my appraisal business and similarly it took awhile to implement it. Here are my top 5 apps for the ipad

    1. Realtor.com – Not sure if this is available in all areas, but in my market of Tampa, FL works great. When I turn it on it locates me using the GPS and automatically shows me all the listings, sold, and rentals within 1 mile radius or other parameter that I set. EXCELLENT APP!!

    2. Loopnet – Similar to #1, but for commercial applications.

    3. Total – My software is alamode and this works well for collecting the field data.

    4. 2Do – Excellent app for managing your daily 2Do’s

    5. LogMeIn – I can access my laptop from anywhere. It is a little slow and takes some getting used to but overall is a great app for increasing your productivity!

    I use many other apps for managing social media, sharing files, etc. but these are my top 5.

  6. Hmm, maybe Santa needs to bring me an iPad. I’ve been sitting on the fence. Thanks, Tom.

    • I love my iPad Ryan! I highly recommend it since they have so many apps for them. I’ve been watching Krisstina Wise at the Goodlife team real estate brokerage. Even though they’re in real estate sales and not appraisal, they have really set the standard for running a mobile and paperless business.

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