In the early stages of growing a real estate business, there comes a point in time when you just can’t keep doing it all on your own. In the beginning, it’s easy to keep all the plates spinning and manage everything yourself, but as soon as your business starts taking off, it’s not long before all the paperwork, emails, and checklists start catching up with you.
When you reach this point, you really have two options: you can either choose to allow the stress and constant flood of busy work to slowly chip away at your energy, happiness, and drive, or you can take the opportunity to invest in the right tools that allow you boost productivity, free up your time, and continue focusing on the bigger picture.
If you’re in favor of the latter of the two options, don’t wait until you’re overwhelmed to start learning about and testing tools that can help you scale your business. Take the time to prepare yourself now.
To get started, read through this list of 25 best productivity tools for real estate agents:
Organization & To-Dos
These five tools can help you better manage and organize information and projects as your real estate business grows:
1. Google Apps for Work: Google Apps provides users with a whole suite of tools that make creating, storing, and organizing information much easier for growing businesses. Instead of collaborating with your team members or clients using offline products like Microsoft Word, Excel Spreadsheets, and PowerPoint, you can store everything in the cloud and access it instantly from anywhere. It’s a great tool to use if you want to spend less time looking for and keeping track of files on your computer, or going back and forth with clients over email.
2. Evernote: Evernote is a powerful note-taking app that also exists primarily in the cloud. You can use Evernote to manage your daily to-do lists, take notes at meetings with clients, take and store photos of properties or specific features that clients like or don’t like, and best of all, it’s all accessible from any device. Evernote syncs across desktop, web, and mobile, so you never have to worry about needing to get back to your office in order to transcribe notes or track down a piece of information that you need before your next meeting with a client.
3. Trello: Trello is a visual-focused project management tool that you can fully customize to meet your individual needs. It utilizes the kanban board framework, which is a fancy way of saying that your dashboard is made up of cards that can be moved from one column to another as a project progresses. You can use Trello to manage personal projects, or you can use it to collaborate and communicate with your buyers or sellers. With Trello you can create to-do lists, set deadlines, utilize custom labels, attach files, @mention other users, and build project calendars. It’s a great tool to use if you’re visual person who loves being able to see the big picture before diving into specifics.
4. Todoist: Todoist is a simple to-do list app that works where you work—you can use it to build to-do lists on your smartphone, in web browsers, on your computer, or from the convenience of your email inbox. Like Evernote, the tool leverages the cloud which means that your information automatically syncs and becomes instantly accessible from any of your devices. Todoist offers users the ability to set reminders, organize tasks based on their priority, create custom labels and filters, share and collaborate with others on to-do lists, and much more. It’s a great tool to use when you’re ready to ditch the post-it notes and throw away the messy notebooks and calendars that you’ve been using to manage your time and get your work done.
5. LastPass: LastPass saves you time by securely storing all your passwords in one place and allowing you to automatically log in to any saved site without having to enter your information each time. With LastPass, you don’t have to waste time creating, remembering, and resetting passwords. All you have to do is set one master password, and LastPass takes care of the rest for you. It’s a great tool to leverage if you’re constantly on the go and moving back and forth between multiple devices when meeting with clients.
These six tools can help you streamline, improve, and keep track of all communication with internal team members and clients as your real estate business grows:
6. HomeSpotter: I couldn’t share a list of productivity tools for agents without mentioning our own app, HomeSpotter. HomeSpotter makes it easy for real estate agents to quickly communicate with clients about properties, make real-time edits to listings that appear in their app, and manage all conversations in one place. To learn more about the importance and potential value of using messaging apps when communicating with real estate clients, read:
- How Messaging Apps Are Changing The Real Estate Industry Forever
- 8 Essential Tips for Selling Real Estate to Millennials
7. Boomerang: Boomerang is a Gmail-only tool that allows you to schedule emails to send at a later time. You can also use the tool to get automatic reminders sent to you if you don’t hear back from a contact, and during particularly busy times, you can even use it to schedule important emails to refresh back to the top of your inbox at a later time. With real estate you never know what you’re schedule is going to look like week-to-week. A tool like Boomerang allows you to boost productivity and streamline busy work when it’s most convenient for you to do so.
8. Twitter: Twitter is a great tool to use when you want to gain additional exposure for your business, boost your reputation as an agent, and communicate with more prospects. Instead of relying solely on email and referrals, you can use Twitter as another channel for finding and engaging with your next homebuyers or sellers. With Twitter, you can communicate with clients and prospects publicly, or you can engage with them privately in 1-to-1 messages using the Direct Messages (DM) feature. As I mentioned in my last post, in order to be a successful agent today, you have to be willing to connect and engage with buyers in channels where they already feel comfortable and spend most of their time. If you’re selling to millennials (which most agents are these days) Twitter is one of those channels.
9. Slack: Slack is a messaging app that you can use to improve and streamline communication with your internal team. The app can be accessed through mobile, desktop apps, and the web, allowing you to communicate from anywhere. Slack allows you to create public and private channels for different topics or groups of people, have 1-to-1 conversations with individual team members, and share files with others. Slack also integrates with many of your other tools. As mentioned, this isn’t really meant for communication with clients (that’s where HomeSpotter comes in handy), but it’s perfect for communicating with your employees or coworkers.
10. Campaign Monitor: Campaign Monitor is a simple tool that you can use to build and send email marketing campaigns to your list of past, current, and future clients. It features a convenient drag-and-drop email builder that allows you to start and finish the entire email campaign creation process in a matter of minutes. The tool also has powerful personalization and reporting features that you can use to improve your emails over time. Eventually you’re going to get to the point when you can’t manually send emails to every person you’ve ever worked with in the past in order to drum up new referrals. Campaign Monitor can help you communicate with clients and prospects at a much larger and more manageable scale.
11. Amy: Amy is an AI-powered assistant that can help you spend less time scheduling meetings with clients, other agents, and new prospects. It’s a simple tool that eliminates the need to go back and forth multiple times in order to find a time that works for you and the person you’re meeting with. All you have to do is Cc: Amy whenever you get a request to meet and she’ll take care of everything for you. This is a great tool to use if you don’t yet have a personal assistant, secretary, or colleague who can help schedule and coordinate meetings for you.
These ten tools can help you streamline and automate marketing campaigns and tasks as your real estate business grows:
12. Buffer: Buffer is a tool that allows you to compose and schedule posts to publish to your social media accounts at a later time. You can also use Buffer’s Pablo tool to create and schedule original images for your social media accounts, and you can use the Respond tool to engage authentically with your social media followers. Again, the value for real estate agents is that you don’t have to waste time updating your social media accounts multiple times throughout the day. Instead, you can boost productivity by spending an hour or two each week composing and scheduling all your updates at one time.
13. Snapchat: Snapchat is a popular photo-sharing app among young adults. As a real estate agent, you can use SnapChat to connect with potential buyers, show previews of your listings, and strengthen your personal brand. You can also use Snapchat Stories to engage with multiple buyers or interested clients at one time.
14. Facebook Live: Facebook Live makes it easy to broadcast videos in real-time to your Facebook audience. As a real estate agent, you can use Facebook Live to provide a virtual showing to people aren’t able to travel to and meet with you at the actual showing. You can also use Facebook Live to educate buyers on homebuying topics, do interviews with happy clients, and make a good first impression with multiple future clients at one time.
15. Buzzsumo: One of the best ways to attract new clients and strengthen your reputation in your local community is by investing in content marketing. Content marketing involves writing and publishing original, valuable content on your blog in an effort to position yourself as an expert, build trust, and capture and nurture leads. Buzzsumo is a tool that you can use to quickly come up with more blog post ideas. You can use Buzzsumo to search popular topics and other popular blogs to discover content ideas and find out which topics tend to get the most traction and engagement from your target audience.
16. Canva: If you’re investing in content marketing and social media marketing as a real estate agent, you need to also be creating and sharing original images with your followers. Instead of using stock photos, you can use Canva to quickly and easily create compelling images and graphics to share with your clients and prospects. Canva offers a number of free templates, icons, and editing features that you can use to create better images for your blogs and social media updates. It’s a great option if you don’t have the time or money to hire a freelance designer or photographer to help create original images for you. It’s fast, incredibly intuitive, and free.
17. Facebook Ads: If you’re looking to spend less time manually promoting your blog content, but you don’t want to lose any traction, you can create and launch Facebook Ads that send your blog posts directly to the newsfeeds of your target audience. You can run ads for as little as $5 per day, and the demographic and location targeting tools are incredibly powerful.
18. LeadPages: As you continue to grow your real estate business and strengthen your personal brand, more people are inevitably going to land on your website. Once they get there, it’s up to you to convince them to provide you with their contact information so you can begin nurturing them and leading them down the path toward becoming your next client. LeadPages is a handy tool that allows you to build and launch high-converting landing pages in very little time. The tool features hundreds of templates that you can choose from and customize in order to present a page that works well with the visuals and style tied to your personal brand or real estate business.
19. Snapseed: If you’re taking a lot of photos of your listings but don’t have time to go back and edit them on the computer before posting them to your app or website, Snapseed is a great tool to leverage. It’s an incredibly easy-to-use photo editing app for iPhone and Android. With Snapseed you can pick an image from your smartphone, load it into the app, customize as desired, then export as a high-res image—all within a matter of minutes.
20. Splice: Similarly, Splice is also a great tool to leverage when you need to polish listing content while on-the-go. Splice is a video editing app for iPhone. There isn’t a version for Android, there are a lot of great alternative apps out there that you can use instead.
21. CoSchedule: CoSchedule is a tool that allows you to streamline and spend less time building editorial calendars for your real estate blog. The tool allows you to build production timelines, set deadlines, and drag and drop your content into an interactive publishing calendar. It’s fast, easy-to-learn, and worth looking into if you ever plan on hiring someone to help you manage your blogging and content marketing efforts.
These final four tools can help you streamline and automate some of your business management tasks and back-office responsibilities as your real estate business grows:
22. Dropbox: Dropbox is a cloud-based file sharing and storing tool that you can use when you need to send information to and collaborate with clients, prospects, coworkers, and other agents. Like Google Apps for Work, it’s another tool that you can use if you want to be able to access files quickly and from any device.
23. HelloSign: HelloSign is a tool that you can use to gather legally-binding esignatures for any documents you need your clients to sign throughout the homebuying or selling process. It’s incredibly secure and it works seamlessly with many of the other tools mentioned in this post like Gmail, Google Drive, Evernote, and Dropbox. The tool offers templates, custom branding, status notifications on pending documents, and more. According to the website, HelloSign eSignatures are legally binding under the 2000 U.S. Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN), Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), and European Union eIDAS (EU No.910/2014).
24. FreshBooks: FreshBooks is a simple, cloud-based accounting tool that you can use to manage your expenses and finances as your real estate business continues to grow and evolve. You can use FreshBooks to create and send invoices, track your spending, take pictures of receipts, track time, build financial reports, and more.
25. Scanbot: Scanbot is a mobile PDF scanner app for iPhone and Android. It allows you to scan and send important documents to clients on-the-go and eliminates the need for you to go back to the office to scan and process documents using a traditional fixed scanner. It’s another useful app worth adding to your mobile tool belt. To see all the features Scanbot has to offer, click here.
What other tools are you using to boost productivity and success? Leave your suggestions below, I’d love to hear from you.