Looking at properties and assessing deals is something I’m asked to do a lot. I hear a lot of the same questions wherever I go. One is about the mobile apps I use. This comes up when I’m speaking at events or during my members-only Q & A with J web show. It also happens in real life, because people have eyes and can see that I travel light, using Starbucks as my “office” more than my real office.
I like the hub bub of Starbucks. The staff at the one near my home I like to use almost every day is used to me. Once I have my coffee in hand, I take up a corner seat, pull my laptop, iPad and iPhone out, and then get to work. I couldn’t do this so effectively if it weren’t for a few great apps for my phone.
People ask me what apps I use to help me get my work done and to keep my team and me on the same page. As a Real Estate Investor, you might think most of the apps on my mobile devices are related to calculating, but you’d be wrong. Beyond the obvious need to have good assessment tools, what I do involves a lot of communicating, travel and time management. I need productivity tools, too.
Following is my list of the 31 mobile apps I use with a quick breakdown as to why I find them so helpful. Some are only accessible for iPhone users, but most are good for Android users, too.
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m iPhone all the way. (That means you can access each of these hot apps through iTunes!)
- 10bii Financial Calculator – This is the #1 calculator we should be taught to use in high school but aren’t. Not knowing how to use this calculator catches investors unprepared when it comes time to calculate all the different parts in a deal, for example, seller carry back and finer points in your terms. You can get significant discounts and still pay retail with this calculator.
- Voxer – You can use this in different ways, for example, as a walkie talkie or just a simple messenger tool. You can type or speak your messages to members of your team. It’s a great productivity booster, because there are so many ways to use it. If a member of my team is in another state looking at a property for me, she can Vox back and forth with me any questions or concerns, and she can even send me pictures. I have different groups set up in my Voxer account so we can each communicate about different projects we’re trying to get done. Because I have two sides of my business, investing and education, I also have a number of different individuals handling the various aspects. Voxer gives us all a way to communicate effectively, either privately, as a private group or as an organization. It’s according to who needs to hear what information. Voxer provides for compartmentalized productivity!
- TapeACall – As the name indicates, this app lets you record calls. I use it to record interviews and conversations, because there are nuggets of great information we can use in my business. Or I need to make sure I heard something right in negotiations or terms. I could do this with a notepad, but I could get things wrong, and I am not always in the best situation to take notes. With this tool you can always take notes without the need for pen and paper. You never know when you need to take notes anyway, because anything can happen during a conversation. With this app you can take notes, record and email it to DropBox or Google Drive to use later.
- LiveScribe – I’m in love with this device and the app behind it, because this phenomenal note-taking pen lets you turn those notes into content. All you have to do is email the notes and they are converted to text! Send them with audio so you have complete clarity on what was discussed at the table with investors. This gadget has been a lifesaver for me.
- Snap – This cool app lets you add people to your contact database, which should always be expanding each and every day. We use InfusionSoft, and Snap loads a person’s information directly to our InfusionSoft database! Snap and you’re done. It’s way better than trying to keep track of all those business cards!
- Starbucks – Yes, there’s an app for this great “watering” hole that lets you locate Starbucks wherever you are and gives you discounts and special offers. It’s a simple app, but I thought it would be good to add here. Like I said at the top of this article, I’m at Starbucks more than I’m in my actual office. I’ve done more deals sitting at Starbucks than anywhere else. (Investors are everywhere!)
- Skitch – This handy app is great for taking screenshots on your phone and annotating them for distribution to your team or whomever you may be communicating with about those screenshots. It’s very fast and easy to use.
- Fantastical – This is by far the BEST calendar on the planet! It lets me set appointments verbally. All I have to do is hit the microphone button and say, “Set appointment at [TIME] with [PERSON] at [PLACE],” and this app does the rest, dropping the information accurately into my calendar. It gets the details right every time. It is absolutely fantastic!
- Good Notes – This one’s pretty simple. The app turns your iPhone and iPad into note pads. This can come in pretty handy from time to time in the field.
- Join.me – I’ve tried different screen-sharing tools over the years. This one is my top pick. It lets you share your screen with members of your team(s) so you can all stay on the same page. This is excellent when working out marketing campaigns, assessing properties, going over plans of any type, etc. This app has taken some of the stress out of planning and has made us a more productive team on the side of our marketing strategies. I can show others what I’m thinking instead of trying to explain it and hope they understand.
- Western Union – This works well for small wire transfers. You can wire funds without disrupting your day. No longer will you have to rush around reacting to some “urgent” trip to the bank. Your time is valuable. If you can do the wire transfer from your mobile device, why wouldn’t you? It is secure. At least I’ve never had any issues. Again, this is for small wire transfers. For the biggies, you still have to get yourself to the bank.
- Strides – You don’t have to use an app like this, but I like to because it lets me track my goals and habits. We all have good habits and bad habits. Once you track your patterns you can become more productive and reach your goals faster.
- Uberconference – This is my top pick for a simple conference call system. It is UBER easy to use, very mobile-friendly, has a call-recorder component so you can record calls and listen to them later. I always record our team conference calls and email them to the people on the call later. It’s a great way to reduce confusion over what was said or not said.
- Voice Recorder Pro 7 – Ever been driving around alone in your car or walking your neighborhood and a fantastic idea hits your brain? Great. Record it quickly and easily for posterity and later use with this app. You never know when a bit of wisdom is going to hit cha!
- Audible – Because we will never out-earn our personal growth, we should always be learning something new. But we’re also really busy and on the go a lot. If you don’t have time to read books, that’s fine. With Audible you can still “read” the latest entrepreneurial content and learn about Real Estate Investing wherever you are and at any time. This app reads books to you. I have always listened to books on tape. Even in my earliest times as an investor when I was walking different neighborhoods night after night putting cards on cars I was learning. I always had a book being read to me through my ear buds.
- Drafts – Another quick note-taking app that can be controlled by most mobile devices. (Hey, you can never have enough note-taking apps, right?)
- Vypr VPN – This one is great for securing your mobile phone so no one can get into your documentation or information but you! Lock it down. Use this app.
- Black’s 9th Law Dictionary – This one may seem an odd addition to the list, but I use it a lot. If I’m not clear on any terminology I can quickly and easily look it up. He who educates dominates his market. I want to make sure I understand every word!
- UBER – This is kind of obvious, but this service gives you options beyond paying the high rates taxi drivers have to charge or paying full fare for a private car pickup service. You get to meet interesting people, and that’s what my business is all about. The more people I meet the better! This service can be scheduled from your mobile device and I find it to be uber helpful.
- Duet – Some of us like to use two screens and sometimes I have to because I’m on the road a lot. This app lets you use your iPad as one screen and your laptop as another. I recently used it for a Q & A with J web show while sitting at a Starbucks somewhere near Los Angeles on my way to speak at an event. I pulled off and created my private tabletop “studio” in minutes. Because I hadn’t planned for that to happen, it was nice to know I had the option. It worked well, thanks to this and a couple of other apps.
- Relax Melodies – We all have to relax from time to time, but it’s challenging when you’re an on-the-go entrepreneur who often finds himself in the middle of a room full of noise and people. This app coupled with a good pair of noise-reducing headphones or ear buds lets you block out noise and get some quiet time. I like the white noise option.
- Jot Not Pro – Ah, this is a good one, people! This app lets you scan, fax and email with real paper right from your phone or mobile device. All you need is a good WIFI connection and you’re good to go. I love this one, because I’m always faxing documents.
- Convert – If you travel overseas and you’re like me you want to know the conversion rates of your currency. This app does that quickly and easily for you. Plus, it converts measurements, which comes in handy when I’m assessing properties in other countries (than the U.S.). I love the metric conversion tool in this app.
- 1Password – Hey, we all have several emails and accounts. It’s tough to keep all the passwords under control, and we’re told not to use the same password for everything. This app rides herd over all your different passwords and makes your life a little easier.
- Economy – As an investor I need to know what’s happening in different neighborhoods, cities, states and countries. This app lets me stay up to date with the numbers in any area, like job growth and other types of growth that have an economic impact. I can project trends using these numbers that are gathered from different sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The information I take from this app is a fabulous conversation starter, too. If I’m talking to sellers, buyers and/or investors from a certain area about properties in that area, it’s nice to have the facts.
- Kitco – Another great app that gives you materials to use as conversation-starters, Kitco lets you know what’s going on in the gold, silver and precious metals markets. Maybe it’s just me, but I love this sort of information. If the topic comes up I’m informed enough to share what I have learned.
- Property Evaluator – This is sort of a no-brainer, because as the name reflects this app lets me evaluate properties from anywhere. I like to use it when I’m in the field. It works great.
- Tripcase – This app offers a great way to keep a handle on your travel and to notify team members and loved ones about gate changes, flight delays and more.
- SugarSync – Gone are the days of the old file-sharing cabinet. SugarSync lets my teams share documents and files seamlessly. Plus, it’s very secure. We’ve never had any issues with losing information.
- OmniFocus – Want a great way to keep track of all your projects, where you are at any stage in those projects and what you need to be doing right now to keep them moving forward? This app is it!
- Social Media and Communication Tools – Because these all work together and offer similar functionality, I’m lumping various apps my team and I use to not just stay in touch with each other but also with the world. We have a great private Facebook group where members communicate about deals, answer questions, ask me questions and even do deals together. Each member of the team also has a Facebook page, which is nothing out of the ordinary, but together we can share items between our pages and boost our visibility. We also have company and personal pages on Twitter, Linked In and other social media sites. We use Google Drive to share documents from time to time, I use Skype to conduct podcast interviews (and that works out great!!), and we use Messenger, Pages and DropBox. The latter is critically important, because DropBox is where we keep and share lots and lots of documents, files, images, video and information that the whole team can access. Because we create a variety of marketing campaigns, it’s awesome to have one place we can all access for the parts we each need.
My team and I don’t use each and every one of these apps and tools all the time. But they come in handy frequently. Some we use every day, because they are needed to keep our business moving forward. We most certainly use the communication and file-sharing apps.
You don’t have to get all of these apps, but you should pick and choose those which will serve you best in what you’re doing. Minimally, you need good productivity and communication apps. You need DropBox if you deal with lots of documents, images and files.
Skype is an excellent tool for communicating with people anywhere in the world, especially if you have or plan to have a podcast. The audio can be lifted out, so no one sees the video. It’s really easy to use, but you probably already know that.