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5 Tools Real Estate Agents Will Love

October 31 2016

fiveMaybe it's because we've just entered the fourth quarter of 2016, but our minds have recently turned to how agents can maximize what's left of the year and come out ahead in 2017. Part of this involves being mindful of your finances, and staying on top of new channels for marketing your business.

To that end, we've rounded up a few apps and online tools that can help. Several of these apps can help soothe the tax-related stings of being an independent contractor, while others are excellent weapons in your marketing arsenal. Read on to learn more!

1. MileIQ - Driving to showings and client meetings is a huge part of an agent's job. In fact, the average Realtor qualifies for over $16,000 in mileage deductions every tax year. But the IRS has strict rules that require taxpayers to keep detailed records of business related drives in order to be eligible for mileage deductions. MileIQ takes the hassle out of record keeping by automatically tracking and logging all of your business drives for you. The app not only tracks the distance driven, but the route and potential deduction value of each drive. MileIQ's mileage log meets IRS requirements for record keeping--protecting you in case of an audit, and potentially saving you thousands of dollars every year. To learn more about MileIQ, read our product review.

2. Painless 1099 - Speaking of accounting related issues, as independent contractors, agents are no strangers to the challenge of paying quarterly estimated taxes. If you've ever struggled with putting the correct amount of money aside for your taxes, Painless 1099 can help. The service processes your commission checks (or any other income sources), deducts the taxes and deposits them in a savings account, and then deposits the remainder to your regular checking account. When it's time to pay your taxes, you can pay them from your Painless 1099's savings account in just one click.

3. Facebook MarketplaceFacebook Marketplace - In a move designed to challenge Craigslist, Facebook has launched a new feature called "Marketplace." Like Craigslist, Marketplace lets anyone post a "for sale" ad for an array of items, like furniture, laptops, clothes--and, yes, even houses! Unlike Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace posts allow links (Craigslist banned them in 2013), meaning that agents can include a link in their postings that sends viewers to the property details page on their website for more information. Marketplace is well-positioned to eventually eclipse Craigslist, too--after all, people spend triple the amount of time on Facebook than any other site on the web--so agents are advised to keep an eye on the social network's new feature as it evolves.

4. RoomScan Pro - Looking to add a little flair to your online listings? Consider uploading a floor plan of the home you're trying to sell. If your client doesn't have a floor plan that you can use, RoomScan Pro can help you generate one in just a few minutes. Simply tap the walls of any room with your phone, and the app will create a floor plan with measurements for you. Once created, you can export floor plan images and upload them to the MLS, your website, or anywhere else you're marketing your listing. Currently, RoomScan Pro is available only for iPhone.

5. Quickbooks/TurboTaxQuickbooks/TurboTax - Yep, we're cramming one more accounting app into this list. Why? Because NAR just announced that they'll be offering two Intuit financial apps as a new member benefit. Realtors can now enjoy discounts on QuickBooks Self-Employed and TurboTax. According to NAR, the new partnership is designed to help Realtors maximize deductions, simplify tax time, and gain visibility into cash-flow throughout the year.

The tools above can help you manage your business and enhance your marketing efforts. Looking for more app recommendations? Find more here.