Like virtually everyone else on the planet, Iâ€™ve finally succumbed to tablet-mania and become an owner â€¦ of an iPad. I coupled it with a totally cool Zagg Folio leather case/keyboard combo. Although itâ€™s an incredibly useful tool in so many ways, Iâ€™m particularly excited about how it can totally transform the home buying process.
Not knowing where to start in the search for a great local Realtor, a potential homebuyer from Fremont, California grabs their iPad during their lunch break and loads the Google app. They type in â€śfind a realtor in Fremont, CAâ€ť and, at the top of the list, they see â€śFind Local RealtorsÂ® – Research & Compare Realtors Online.â€ť A tap on the link takes them to HomeGain.comâ€™s homepage where they can enter their criteria and then search for a top-notch area Realtor – anonymously. As proposals start to come in from Fremont Realtors, they select a few profiles they like, click through to email the agents and ask for interviews with their top three choices. A quick tap on their Starbucks app allows them to share the address of their favorite location with the Realtors and appointments are quickly set up.
After meeting with the Realtors and choosing the one that is the best fit, they listen as they meet with him for the second time so he can explain the search process. He has a first-time buyer presentation on his iPad that he uses to explain every step of the process (using a PowerPoint presentation and the QuickOffice Pro app). He uses his Loan â€“ What If app to quickly run mortgage numbers for them and then emails them the contact and app info of his preferred lender so they can get pre-approved. By accessing the lenderâ€™s app, they can fill out their info form, access current rates, run financing scenarios and more. Lastly, the Realtor provides them with a list of useful iPad apps, including Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, House Hunter, Dictionary of Real Estate Terms and DocuSign Ink (for signing contract docs).
Itâ€™s Friday a few weeks later and a potential homebuyer has finalized the list of homes they hope to see the next day. Using the REALTOR.com app, theyâ€™ve looked at the area map, drawn a polygon around the specific area theyâ€™re interested in, examined the data from each listing, checked out all the pictures, sorted the homes by interest level, saved their favorites and then forwarded their selection to their Realtor.
Their agent, after receiving the list, looks up all the properties on his MLS (Multiple Listing Service). He contacts each seller for showing instructions and then uploads the listings they can see into Cloud CMA. This app bundles the properties into a tour which the Realtor then forwards to the buyers. It includes maps, photos, neighborhood info, walk scores, local school data and more. It also has space for comments â€“ by opening the file in Note Taker HD, the buyer can write notes about each property directly on the iPad screen using their finger or a stylus.
Saturday arrives, and the agent meets the buyers at their favorite Starbucks. Beverages in hand, they hit the road. While driving, the agent mentions â€ścontingenciesâ€ť and the buyer goes to the Dictionary of Real Estate Terms app for clarification. Before arriving at the first home, the buyer loads House Hunter. This app allows them to enter a property address, add property features, write notes, take and store pictures (ALWAYS get permission to take pictures of properties) and then share with others. It also boasts a mortgage calculator for quick payment calculations.
They decide this home is not for them, but, while looking in a bedroom, the buyer sees walls painted the exact color theyâ€™re hoping to use once they find their new home. They load the ColorSnap app and instantly have the corresponding Sherwin Williams color information. In the next home, a family room is painted Cal Trans orange. They love the room but hate the color, so they load their Home Decorator app, take a picture of the room and then, on their iPad, change the room color to a more desirable color so they can see what it would look like.
In the third home, they encounter some questions about potential repairs. Using the FaceTime app, they contact a friend who is a licensed contractor and show him, in real time, streaming video of the issues with the property. In a few short minutes, their friend has a solution and a suggested price.
They love house number four, so as they leave, they load the Where app and perform a quick search to check out local grocery stores and restaurants. They also use the Bing app to view the address in Birdâ€™s Eye view to see what parks, schools and other features are close by.
After consideration, they inform the Realtor they want to write an offer. He sends them a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) using CloudCMA and recommends a price and terms. They agree and he sends them the purchase agreement which they sign on their iPads, using DocuSignâ€™s Digital Ink. Using the built-in iPad camera they take a picture of the deposit check and text it to their agent, who uses Genius Scan to crop it, then save to a PDF file to be included with the offer. They go online and email bank statements to their agent so he can include them with the offer for verification of funds.
Sound exciting? Thatâ€™s just the beginning! New apps are appearing every day and the only limit will be our imaginations. Truth is, in the same way the Internet completely changed the way we do real estate, tablets are now poised to take the buying and selling process to a whole new level. A bonus? Itâ€™s paperless and â€śgreen.â€ť And I, for one, am thrilled with the potential!