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Best of 2013: 5 Ways to Use Your iPad at Open Houses

December 25 2013

We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down the most popular articles of the year. This article was posted back in April and is #5 in our countdown. See #6 here.

Open House Weekend is just a few short days away. You've probably got the 'Open House' sign and refreshments plan ready, but have you thought about your iPad? If you leave your tablet at home this weekend, your event will be missing out on a crucial enhancement.

To help you make the most of your open house, we've rounded up five easy ways agents can use their favorite mobile device:

brightopen ipad ms1. As a Sign-in Sheet. Toss the paper and pen and let visitors sign in on your iPad. Mobile apps like Open Home Pro make this a snap. Even better, they simplify capturing lead information and automatically send follow-up emails to prospects. Open Home Pro will let you import new leads into your CRM, empowering you to convert that lead into a sale!

If you're a Top Producer user, BrightOpenBrightOpen will automatically sync new contacts to your database. If you also use MarketSnapshot, you'll be able to send attendees neighborhood market reports to keep them informed of price changes, days on market, and more.

2. Help Buyers Visualize Living in the Home. Ever had visitors who love the kitchen but hate the wallpaper? Virtual and augmented reality apps like Paint Tester let prospects change the paint color of any room. Just snap a picture, pick the desired paint color, and voila--your potential buyers are one step closer to picturing themselves in your listing. Paint companies like Behr and Sherwin WilliamsSherwin Williams offer similar apps.

FurnishFurnish and AugmentAugment go one step further. These apps let you show visitors how furniture and other household items would look in the home. They connect to e-commerce websites like Amazon, IKEA, and Pottery Barn and overlay selected products over a live video feed or photos of a room.

Agents who use Obeo HomeSite can achieve a similar effect via a tool they already use. When StyleDesignerStyleDesigner is added to single property websites, viewers can instantly change the floors, walls, trim, counters, cabinets, and even the roof of a listing!

3. Teach Prospects About the Neighborhood. One of the top concerns of home buyers is the neighborhood they'll eventually live in. Luckily, with your tablet in hand, you'll have ample access to any information they need.

For example, Walk Score can be used to calculate commute costs and times or rate the walkability of a neighborhood based on access to grocery stores, restaurants, and other community features. Walk Score's crowd-sourced neighborhood tours also provide open house visitors a glimpse into the area according to the people who live, work, and play there.

If you have prospective buyers who are more interested in the values of home in the area, just open HomeSnap on your iPad and escort them outside. Next, take a picture of any nearby home to discover its estimated value, the last price it sold for, how many bedrooms and baths, and more. HomeSpotter functions similarly by displaying information on homes for sale over your iPad's live video feed.

Buyers with children will want to know more about local schools. An app like GreatSchools can show prospects parent reviews, recent test scores, and district information of schools in the area.

4. Record Video. Use your iPad's camera to record video of your open house. You can use the footage in a couple of ways. Are visitors giving you positive feedback on your listing's remodeled bathroom or the beautiful windows in the family room? Record it and integrate the great comments into a property video.

Is hosting events like this one of your strengths? Capture those comments--they'd make great material for a "Why You Should Choose Me as Your Agent" video.

5. Take notes. You'll likely get plenty of questions and comments at your open house. By using a note taking app like EvernoteEvernote, you can keep track of them all. If you use the program similar to the GoodLife team, you can add notes from promising visitors to your "Prospective Clients" notebook. Other comments and questions can easily be filed into the notebook dedicated to the listing you're showing.

What else do you use your iPad for? Are there any other tools or apps that are an indispensable part of your business?