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These are my top 10 technology tools to manage my real estate business.

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Technology is evolving even as I write this, so double check prices and services when you look into these services.  But, right now, six of these are free, and the other four are really inexpensive.  Combining them all will only cost around $10/month, and you'll be managing your real estate business on the road with efficiency and covering all the bases.

I am constantly testing and playing with the latest in online, software and hardware, but there is this core group of services that seem to stay on top of my list because they're simple and easy to use, as well as free or inexpensive.

1. Gmail - The Foundation for an Entire Management System

Email in a bottle.
iStockPhoto

The link above will take you to a set of articles about Gmail. The titles will help you to check them out in the order you desire, or just work your way down.

 

  • All of my business email, and Gmail checks multiple POP email accounts so I can use my domain email addresses.
  • Filing and easy retrieval of all email, now more than 30,000 of them.
  • Integrates with my Calendar and Tasking.
  • Provides simplified contact management capabilities.
  • Replies with email address to which email was sent, keeping that branding.

Several of the tools below are tied into Gmail as well, so it's the first and most important tool in the box.

GMail is still a totally free service now.

2. Google Calendar - Tight Integration With Gmail

Google Calendar screen shot.
Jim Kimmons

This link takes you to several articles on different ways to use Google Calendar to manage your meetings, appointments and events. You'll also see in the first article how it ties into your overall business management system. The high points are:

 

  • Integration with Gmail, including ability to add events from an email, and display upcoming events and appointments next to your email.
  • Takes voice appointments from Jott, which I'll talk about in this group of tools.
  • Lets you set up custom reminder systems for text messages, email and popups.
  • Integrates RTM, Remember the Milk tasks (later in this tool list) into your calendar.

Google Calendar is free now as well.

3. Remember the Milk - Task Management the Easy Way

RTM screen shot.
Jim Kimmons
The top four or five articles at this link will show you how RTM, Remember the Milk, works. I use it for transaction task management because:

  • It integrates with Gmail and displays my tasks in Gmail's screen.
  • With my calendar appointments, email and tasks all on one screen, I'm more organized.
  • It allows me to import via email an entire list of dated tasks when I start a new transaction.
  • RTM tasks can also be picked up in Google Calendar, so my one calendar view tells all for the day, week or month.
  • Alarms via text or email for tasks deadlines.

The free level of RTM should work for most people.

4. Evernote - Simply Fantastic for Information Gathering & Storage

Pile of file folders.
iStockPhoto
I can't begin to tell you in this space how many things I do with Evernote. At $45/year for the Premium level service, it's worth many times that. I'll just say that there are 50 ways to use Evernote in your real estate business at the link.

5. Xpenser - Simple Bookkeeping In the Cloud

Broken pencil
iStockPhoto
Just one article at the link tells it all. Do simple accounting for your real estate business in this free online service. And, it takes voice input from Jott.com, just like the Google calendar and Remember the Milk.

6. Jott.com - Voice to Text Conversion on the Fly

Cell phone.
iStockPhoto
Several articles at the link show how I use Jott.com to call in from my cell phone, use my voice, and:

  • Send email notes to myself.
  • Send email and text messages to anyone else in my contact list.
  • Post Xpenser with expenses as they happen.
  • Add tasks to RTM, Remember the Milk.
  • Add calendar events and meetings to Google Calendar.
  • Add notes to Evernote.

Only $39.50/year for unlimited messages.

7. Thunderbird - Gmail Backups + Transaction Email Archives & Printing

Search engine robot.
iStockPhoto
Articles at this link show you how to use Thunderbird and IMAP to back up all of your Gmail onto your hard drive. But, even better, you can create "search folders" that will gather all emails related to a transaction into one folder. You can then create a PDF of all of the email after the transaction closes.

Thunderbird is free software.

8. Sugarsync - Easiest Backup + File Sharing Across Computers & With Clients

Online backup solution.
iStockPhoto
The articles at this link show you how to use the Sugarsync service to backup up folders and files on your hard drive as you work in them. But, there's a lot more as well. You can share folders & files securely with clients, so large transaction files can be downloaded by clients. Still more, you can access your files on any computer, including the iPad with the Sugarsync app.

For $50/year, most people will have all of the storage they need.

9. Picasa - Photo Management & Geo-tagging

Picasa web map.
Jim Kimmons
The articles at this link show you how to use Google's free Picasa photo service to build online photo albums, and even geotag them for mapping. I like it better than Flickr, and it's free and easy to use, with automatic syncing of photos from your hard drive.

10. YouTube for Website Video

The Flip video camera.
Jim Kimmons
Articles at this link give you information about the importance of Internet video, the massive audience, and how to use it on your real estate website. I give you some tips about cameras, and how to use this free service to make your website the place to go for prospects who want to see video of your service area.
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