It’s nearly xmas so I thought I would create a list of the top 10 Gadgets for real estate agents. Some of them you would expect but others might be a surprise.
Tablet PC’s are starting to become very popular in the US amongst real estate agents but have yet to take off here in Australia because of the lack of wireless broadband till recently.. but as we finally get easy access to wireless broadband their popularity will rise dramatically. Tablets are the real portable computer that laptops want to be. Try to open up a laptop behind the steering wheel of your car or maybe taking notes as the seller gives you tour throughout the house.
A tablet PC handles that easily and using the same programs available on your desktop pc, not expensive cut down versions available on handheld pc’s. With wireless broadband and a VPN connection you can even have access to your office from anywhere. When you take it back to your desk you have a normal keyboard and mouse so it looks and acts like a normal pc.
Forget the Laptop.. next time try a tablet pc. A true tablet pc, often called a slate tablet, has no keyboard at all and you use a stylus or your finger as the mouse. If you cant fully make the break from the keyboard there are models available that convert from a laptop to a tablet and back to a laptop again. They are not as light as a true tablet but are worth considering.
Smart Phones are becoming smarter and smarter with many just handheld computers with a phone built in. Still there are a stack of other different styles and flavours that should fit any request.
The Blackberry and their clones should satisfy the email warriors amongst us whilst the trendy iPhone will keep the video, photo and web junkies sated. Nokia’s high end Symbian powered phones like the N95 pack a powerful package in a normal phone form factor and to top if off you have rumours continuing to run rampant on the net about a soon to be released Google Phone.
USB Flash Drives
As memory costs drop the size of USB flash drives are increasing at a rapid rate. You can buy 4gb and 8gb versions for $50 to $75 allowing you to carry around your office in your pocket. Whether you use it for immediate access to all your documents, photos and files or just use it to back up your office data every day your information is immediately at hand right on your keyring.
In fact many programs are now made portable to install specifically on your memory stick so you can run them on whatever computer you plug it into.
Wireless broadband solutions until recently were a dismal failure however with the mobile phone companies 3G networks opening up fast access on the move wireless broadband become a reality.
Whether you own a laptop or a tablet pc you can supercharge it by giving it wireless broadband access allowing you to connect to the internet and even to your office through a VPN connection no matter where you are. Vodafone has just released a 5GB per month plan for just $39 per month so expect to see the other big players to react shortly.
Having driven the same streets over and over again you might know your way around your local neighbourhood but quite often your buyers don’t. You can use your GPS as a map to show local services, schools and business to potential buyers. High end units like the TomTom Go 720 even have bluetooth speakerphone built in so you can answer your phone without risking a fine.
Forget pacing out a room with one of these Laser Distance Measurer in your pocket. At the press of a button it will tell you the distances between two walls. Another press and you have the other measurement of the room and it will even calculate the total area of your room, quickly and accurately. There are cheaper ultrasonic versions around, but any true gadget guy would insist on the ultra accurate laser versions.
Digital Voice Recorder
Tape recorders are a thing of the past. Digital recorders give you clear recording without handling and erasing messy tapes. Throw it in your pocket or briefcase on your next presentation and then review your performance when you get home.
Digital cameras have been popular in real estate for quite a while but recent advances have allowed easy access to wide angle cameras now. Next time your buy a camera insist on at least a 28mm lens equivalent such as the Fuji Finepix 480.
If the salesperson does not understand that just walk away and deal with a specialist camera dealer like Teds. The other options is the Digital SLR Camera which use to have an entry price of $3000 but you can now buy a great digital slr for around $1000. Wide angle lenses are the norm for slr cameras but you can still get ultra wide angle lens as an add on that will capture even the smallest room in just one shot with an equivalent 16mm lens.
I bet this one got you thinking,,,. What would an agent do with an iPod? You have probably got a stack of training cd’s in the cupboard you never get out and listen to because in this day and age CD’s just are not portable enough. It takes just a few minutes to rip them to your computer and upload them to your mp3 player.
Most mp3 players have an FM Transmitter accessory that will output the sound to an FM radio signal so you can tune your car, home or work radio into so you can now listen to your training cd’s wherever you are without carrying around bulky cds.
Listening to the latest training cd’s will be a lot more productive of your time than some talk back radio discussion with your training library in your pocket. With the latest video models like the iPod touch you could even have training videos in your pocket.
Digital Photo Frames
They start at small desktop units like the Phillips Photo Frame and go right up to my personal favourite, the 22inch widescreen units that hang on the wall like a piece of artwork such as the models from Photovu which will display photos from USB flash drives, portable hard drives, wired and wireless networks and even the internet. Load up the desktop versions with inspirational photos, messages and pictures from home.
The larger units are perfect to hang in your reception serving up those hundreds of happy client photos you have amassed and are doing nothing with. They will be the talking point of the office and your clients will love them.