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Three cheers for iPad

16 August 10

One solicitor/estate agent was quickly sold on the new gadget as a way to do business

by Robert Carroll

I have to confess that I am a gadget freak. But usually being an early adopter is a bad idea as a new, improved version follows soon after. So why did I buy not one but two iPads for my business within a few days of their UK launch?

 

Here are the reasons why iPads are brilliant news for estate agents:

1. Wow factor – it looks gorgeous and it’s new and hyped enough to help make first impressions count!

2. Non-owners often argue that it falls between a phone and laptop and is therefore rather pointless. However, with a battery that will last 10 hours during heavy use and several days on standby, it’s perfect for checking things quickly on the go. For reading documents, keeping in touch with the office and occasional email, it’s better than a phone or a laptop.

3. Blackberry and iPhone users take it for granted that checking emails means squinting awkwardly at a tiny screen. The iPad has a nine-inch screen and lovely email, calendar and address book apps that work seamlessly with Microsoft Exchange and (for us) Google Apps.

4. You can check your photos of a client’s property on a good-sized screen in the car outside, and if there’s a problem, go back and reshoot, then fire them straight off to the office so they can start working on the property schedule. Ideal if the client is about to go on holiday.

5. Whizbang presentations. You’re running your client through the different marketing options available and the breakdown of costs, plus a report of comparable house prices to back up your valuation. You can go out armed with an entire ream of paper. Or you can just go out with an iPad that has all that information in a lovely little slideshow.

6. You go to a potential client’s house armed with all the paper just mentioned, and they tell you they hate printed schedules because they’re harmful to the environment. Needless to say, unless they have a problem with the suicide rate in the factory in China that manufactures the iPad (alarmingly high according to a recent Guardian article), they shouldn’t have much of an issue with one electronic gizmo.

7. If you’re portraying yourself as a modern company that embraces technology and uses it to the client’s best advantage (which, of course, we do), what does a bundle of paper say about you? On the other hand, what does the latest piece of gorgeous Apple technology say about you?

8. You’re asked a question about your terms of business but sadly that document is tucked away on your PC. Well, apps like Dropbox and Sugarsync now allow you to access, and indeed edit, all the crucial documents on your office PC while you are on the move. It works passably well on the iPhone. It’s brilliant on a screen the size of the iPad’s.

9. So you’re not happy just having access to your documents? You want access to your entire PC while you are on the move? With the free Logmein app, you can do just that. You’re on holiday and remember that you forgot to send your client’s floorplan to your property manager just before you left? Two minutes later, you’ve done it.

10. For the time being, the iPad is limited only by the range of apps available for it. Those I’ve mentioned only scratch the surface of useful productivity tools for business. Yes, most of these are based on iPhone apps. But they are hugely more useful and useable on the much larger iPad.

The iPad’s usefulness is beyond what I’d ever have expected. As time passes, that can only get more so.

Robert Carroll is managing director of Mov8 Real Estate Ltd. A longer version appears as a blog “10 Reasons Why iPads Are Great News for Estate Agents” at http://robert-carroll.co.uk/

 

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