I was searching the Geek Estate repository recently and saw the significant number of iPhone application reviews for real estate professionals on the market. I’m salivating over them as I write this and often wish my Blackberry would magically turn into an iPhone. I haven’t made the switch yet primarily for one reason. I’ve been telling myself that I’m more efficient as with my Blackberry as I can type with my eyes closed and much faster than an iPhone. Those of you with iPhones might disagree with me but I have at least one BARCamp Tweet-Off title and another 2nd place finish (lost to another Blackberry) to prove Blackberry offers some advantage with the keyboard. But on a more serious note there are roughly 17-18million more Blackberry than iPhone users (although shrinking) as I write this. Even with this huge base of users, there are few real estate specific applications available.
I’ve listed several applications which you can download and start using today to become a better mobile real estate professional. I’ve recommended applications I’m using for real estate purposes which aren’t necessarily built specifically for real estate. Once you’ve downloaded the App World Application from Blackberry’s mobile site, you can quickly access these.
#1 Google App Suite – The Google App Suite is a must for any real estate user of Blackberry. It provides you quick access to Google Maps (life saving), Google Reader (for reading your real estate blogs, including GeekEstate, of course), Mobile Search, Gmail (or Google Apps for you corporate users), Calendar, Photos, and Notebook (great for notes on the fly when you realize you forgot your pen). These are quick to access, load fast, and are extremely dependable on your Blackberry.
#2 Smarter Agent – Smarter Agent seems to be the only major real estate centric application on the market right now. I’ve found it useful for accessing MLS data on the go. Since it is pulling from the MLS you get tons of data although it loads incredibly slowly. It is especially useful in scheduling showings, looking up seller agent data, finding comparable sale, and as an overall tool for buyer reps. The cost is free and I’d strongly recommend every real estate professional with a Blackberry download it.
#3 UberTwitter – I’ve tried many Blackberry Twitter apps only to have settled, for now, on UberTwitter for Blackberry. The distinct advantage UberTwitter offers over its main Twitter for Blackberry rival is that UberTwitter offers is the ability to search and to do it well by geography. This allows me to quickly access hashtags, search for users, key phrases, and more. I can also narrow the search by the number of miles from location and enable geotagging on my Tweets. Until something better replaces UberTwitter, I feel like it wins on ease of use and features. UbertTwitter is free.
#4 Yammer– Real estate is still very much a people business and effective communication in within companies is more important than ever. Twitter for business comes most easily the shape of Yammer. Yammer allows teams and groups to easily communicate without having to create email distribution lists. The Blackberry app is sweet because after a showing an agent can send a quick update back to their team, or allows a team leader to easily distribute a lead to an agents phone. My company has become Yammer addicts facilitating more team communication. The Blackberry App for Yammer takes this completely mobile. Cost is free.
Bonus Item: Your CRM – If you use a CRM tool or are evaluating one, make sure they have a mobile version of the software. I personally use SalesForce.com and they have an excellent application for Blackberry which lets me search for contacts, update contacts, add tasks, and much more.
Of course these are just a sample of the many useful Blackberry applications for real estate. There are certainly many more such as mortgage calculators, flashlights, voice-to-text translating, and everything in between. Despite the buzz surrounding Google’s Nexus, the Android operating system, and iPhones, Blackberry is holding its place in the enterprise and with many in the real estate industry. The Blackberry App World gives those of us clinging to our Blackberrys hope in creating a mobile tool box for real estate.