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Washington Scott and the Temple of Jobs

Initial observations about the iPad

Admittedly, I am a fan of electronic gadgets that promise to either make my life easier or make my life more fun. That being said I was very skeptical about the iPad when it was announced. I had made up my mind that the Microsoft Courier was going to be the device that was going to rock my world. Well Apple shipped and Microsoft slipped and I was left clutching at the vapor.

Flash forward to May 2011 since I live in the shadow of Redmond I had to make sure that the Great Eye of Gates did not see me enter the Temple of Jobs. I put on my disguise and I slipped into the Apple Store in the Tacoma Mall. I was greeted by a freshly scrubbed face wearing white tennis shoes. I was so surprised by the neat, clean and very well stocked store that almost dropped the Dixie Cup of Kool Aid that was offered to me.

I was allowed to quietly browse the products offered and was quite impressed with the offerings. I was looking for a 16 gig Wi-Fi iPad and I was politely told that they were out of that model. The salesperson offered to take my name and contact information and would notify me when they received one in stock. Terrified that my contact information would somehow slip into the wrong hands I quickly made my exit from the store. Two days later the draw was too strong. I slipped back into the store and quickly exited with a 16-gig 3g model. That moment might just be the transcendent moment in my real estate career.

Taking the iPad home closing the blinds and turning off all computers running any Microsoft products so that my actions could not be traced to the mother ship in Redmond I opened the box and removed the glowing (ok the screen glows not the actual device) iPad. We have been inseparable since.

Currently I am using my iPad for the following real estate activities:

Email: my Exchange email account was quickly and efficiently configured and setup on the iPad. While not, as powerful as Outlook which was the application that I lived most of my professional life using the mail app is effective and allows me to respond to emails much easier than on my Samsung Epic.

Sign My Pad: this application is simply amazing. For a whopping $3.99 + tax I am able to have my clients sign contracts, addendums etc on my iPad. I had forgotten to bring an addendum with me for my buyers the other night. Fire up Sign My Pad and I was able to cover my backside and impress my clients.

Dropbox: I keep my contracts in the cloud now. This is a 180-degree change for me. I will write more about this later. Suffice it to say iPad + Dropbox = productive agent.

Remember The Milk: one thing I have been hoping to find is a cross platform task list. RTM appears to be a solution. I am still setting up and configuring to work with me and the way I work. RTM looks to be a very strong candidate to be my solution to sticky notes, writing on my hand, and trying to remember to print out my task list from Outlook every morning.

NWMLS: here in Washington we use Matrix as our MLS software. Lets just say Matrix is not mobile device friendly. Trying to look at houses on my phone was causing me aggravation when a client would be able to perform searches faster and more accurate on one of the many consumer search sites. I have been able to use Matrix in Safari on the iPad with mostly positive results. Definitely a step in the right direction. I hope that the developer of Matrix will develop a mobile friendly version of the site.

Initially I did not want the 3g version. I did not want to spend the extra money for functionality that I thought I did not need. My plan was to turn my phone into a mobile hotspot and to connect the iPad to the hotspot. Sprint offers this functionality on my phone for $29.95 a month or $1.00 a day if you only want to turn it on for the day. AT&T offers a 250 Meg package on a month-to-month basis for $14.50. I decided to try this for the first month to see how it works. So far, I have only had one area that the 3g service did not work in. My phone also does not have coverage in this location so both options failed. I activated the hotspot on my phone and while it works and does have 4g connectivity, it drains the battery on my phone almost as fast as a Ferrari guzzles gas. This solution would require me to have my phone connected to a power source if I want to use it for any extended periods of time. Not a viable solution. I am now very happy to have the 3g solution. I know that future iPads and other tablets will have 4g options but if they consume battery power at the rate my phone does then I will be skipping in favor of longer productivity.

Perfect solutions to my desires for mobile connectivity and productivity? No, but a quantum leap forward. I look forward to spending more time learning how to pull more and more of the loose ends of my business and personal life into one device. That device can help me do what I love to do, sell homes.

Oh, and Angry Birds is a great way to spend a few minutes while waiting for your car to get an oil change.

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  • 7 comments

    7 Comments so far

    1. Jim Kimmons June 3rd, 2011 9:48 am

      Scott,

      Take a look at Informant HD app. I combine that with Toodledo.com and my gmail calendar, and ALL todos and calendar items show up in one place. I have used RTM, but find Toodledo better for building template of transaction tasks and getting a new set of tasks in quickly.

      Jim

    2. Greg Swann June 3rd, 2011 11:40 am

      Two words for now: Google Maps. It’s a show stopper for comparing locations on the spot. We were at a class this week at the Phoenix Association of Realtors and they were pimping the old-style maps books at a huge discount. Seemed about as useful to me as… the Yellow Pages…

    3. Jill Kipnis June 3rd, 2011 12:15 pm

      Scott, have you used your iPad to search for properties, or to bring along on home tours with your clients? Realtor.com’s iPad app is really fun to use!

    4. Kevin Hughes June 3rd, 2011 8:11 pm

      Scott, this couldn’t have come at a better time as I was just starting to learn about iPad functionality, resources and advantages for our real estate team. From what I gather, there is a wide variety of very useful apps available at low or no cost. I would be very interested in hearing from other real estate agents who have integrated the ipad into their day to day operations- in particlular, what apps and resources are most useful to your biz?

    5. Scott Cowan June 4th, 2011 7:31 am

      @Jim thanks for the recommendation. I will checkout Informant.
      @Greg working on that exact thing. Google maps are great. I agreevthat map books seem better suited as reminders of just how far we’ve come.
      @Jill I have not used the Realtors iPad app. I do use other apps to help my clients look at houses when we meet.
      @Kevin. There are a lot of apps available that can help your team. I am just scratching the surface of what I can do with mine.

    6. Barry Bevis June 5th, 2011 5:23 am

      Mine is going to be delivered this week. I was looking at this free app to sign PDFs.. anyone use it? http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pdf-notes-free-for-ipad-pdf/id391487223?mt=8

    7. Barry Bevis June 8th, 2011 6:47 pm

      FYI- after a few days with my Ipad PDF notes for free is the bomb… much better than Sign My Pad and free.