Juanita McDowell shows an audience member a Siri shortcut during the "Gadgets and Gizmos" session at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans on Friday.

7 Gadgets You Should Try

Juanita McDowell shows an audience member a Siri shortcut during the "Gadgets and Gizmos" session at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans on Friday.

Juanita McDowell, right, shows an audience member a Siri shortcut during the “Gadgets and Gizmos” session at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans on Friday.

Does the technology you use maximize your time? There are new apps and gadgets being released all the time, but it can be hard to tell whether the ones you’re considering for your business are worth it. Juanita McDowell, a real estate technology instructor with InMotion Consulting LLC in Atlanta, highlighted her favorite tech tools during Friday’s “Gadgets and Gizmos” session.

Animoto

Upload your photos and video clips to one of Animoto’s video templates to easily create a video slideshow of your listings. The best part, McDowell said, is that background music is included with each template, so you don’t have to source music yourself. Business plans start at $249 per year; animoto.com

Neat Receipts

Use this portable scanner to scan all your receipts on the go. All scanned documents are put into a database, and you can search for receipts by store name. You can create an expense report, track your expenses for tax time, and make PDF or Excel files. $179.95; neat.com

Olloclip

Attach this telephoto lens to your smartphone to shoot better-quality fisheye or wide-angle photos with better zoom capability. The downside, McDowell said, is that you have to take the case off your phone to attach the lens. “Who wants to carry around a naked phone?” she said. Prices vary depending on phone; olloclip.com

Eyefi

Stick this special memory card in your digital camera, and using your phone’s Wi-Fi connection, you can send the photos you take with your camera directly to your phone or tablet. Prices vary by plan; eyefi.com

RemoteCam

A surveillance camera disguised as a keychain, this comes in handy when having conversations with clients that you want on record. It comes in handy if a client ever threatens to give you a bad review online, McDowell notes. Shop different models on amazon.com.

AudioNote

This app allows you to take notes while recording a meeting or conversation and sync the notes to the audio. So when you click on a specific word or phrase, the audio will play back at the point in the conversation where that word or phrase was used. $4.99 in the iTunes store.

Postagram

Create a postcard using any photo on your phone, write a message, and have it mailed—all from your smartphone. Free to download in the iTunes store, 99 cents per postcard. sincerely.com/postagram

Graham Wood

Graham Wood is a senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at gwood@realtors.org.

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Comments
  1. Neat receipts and Eyefi seem like they would be a life saver! :)

  2. Cam Scanner does the same as Neat Receipt but is free on PlayStore (Android). .pdf’s receipts and you can email to yourself or whatever.

  3. Elaine Hansen

    neat receipts is just another item to have to carry. no thanks.

  4. James Daniel

    A couple of these look interesting, and a few are just not necessary. From the viewpoint of an agent, here are my grades for the products. Grades are based on what I believe would be of some value for the real estate professional. Just my opinion of course!

    Animoto – For that amount of money I can get a photographer who will give me pro quality pics, a slide show and a floor plan. There are single property websites that have slideshow features built in. Grade: F

    Neat Receipts – There’s an app for that. Grade: F

    Olloclip – This looks very interesting. I can see using this if you don’t mind shelling out $70 bucks for something that, if you’re like me, will get misplaced. And do you really want to deal with removing it every time the phone rings? Grade: B

    Eyefi – Hmmm…a tool to put in a camera to send photos to a smartphone. Wirelessly. Seriously, why not take the pics with your phone in the first place? You can use your Olloclip. I don’t get it. Grade: F

    RemoteCam – Good idea. A manager could use this to help agents hone their listing presentation skills. And though it didn’t get good reviews on Amazon, I found what I think is a better product for this use. It’s called Spy Pen. Also less money.
    Grade: C because of the bad reviews. Spy Pen – Grade: B+

    Audionote – Another good concept. This could be useful if it works as advertised. Grade: A-

    Postgram – Very cool! Best idea of the bunch. Looking forward to using it. Here’s what I see. Take a photo of a new listing, throw in some text and send out quick new listing postcards to the neighbors. Or invite them to a neighbor sneak preview. A+

  5. Ted Schatz

    Secretly recording your clients doesn’t exactly set up a relationship based on trust, does it?

  6. I actually bought the portable unit. I software caused by Windows 7 operating system to crash. Took it back off and all the problems stopped. Not worth the money.

  7. Animoto is just too pricey for what you get. Lots of other options out there.

    Neat Receipts has lots of competition too, from apps to Scan Snap, I like Scan Snap.

    Olloclip seems like it would be inconvenient at best.

    Eyefi looks interesting but with a $15 USB card reader I can get photos and video on the computer much faster than wifi. Time trumps convenience.

    RemoteCam sadly reminds me we live in a world of espionage, it’s no longer paranoid and delusional to assume you are being watched all the time because you probably are.

    Audionote is the most intriguing of the bunch to me. This could be really handy if it works well.

    Postgram knows their market judging by the photo of grandpa on their website https://sincerely.com/postagram getting the mail. It’s a nifty idea but we live in more of an instagram world.

  8. Neat Receipts does sound pretty neat :-)

  9. So many of these options have free versions! Why promote something paid to agents, who are always having to keep costs down, when you could promote the workable free versions? :)

    Also, I think there might be some legal issues with recording calls…

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