Radiant light from the word "TECH"

Got a smartphone? Almost everyone does these days. I love technology and gadgets anyway and use mine all the time. In fact, it’s hard for me to remember how we got things done before we had GPS navigation, instant/text messaging and Web access from nearly anywhere!

I made a strategic decision years ago to differentiate myself from other realtors by doing a better job leveraging technology on behalf of clients than any other agent out there. So I’m always looking out for the best new technologies and innovations to come along.

Here are some of the most useful smartphone apps I’ve come across, for Dallas area professionals, especially.

Evernote. If it’s been a couple of years since you first looked at Evernote, look again. It’s pretty amazing.

For busy people who run around a lot, like me, Evernote’s mobile app is a Godsend. Like any real estate agent, I’m off running around showing homes and speaking to buyers and listers all the time. Evernote becomes my own personal filing manager. I can keep notes about anything – even grab pictures, screen shots, web pages, text… anything I can digitize, and keep a digital filing cabinet with all of them. I can walk through multiple new listings in a single day, taking voice notes and snapping photos on my mobile device, and when I get home to collect my notes and prepare listings, advertisements and actually execute my marketing plan for my clients’ homes, it’s all there for me, easy to find, each group of notes and voice recordings and photos all in the right “file” on Evernote, already uploaded to the Cloud (so I don’t even have to worry about extracting it from my easily-lost cell phone!).

One of Evernote’s best features is the card scanning function. Ask any active salesperson or business development professional: Managing the constant deluge of new business cards and contacts is a huge time management challenge! Evernote lets you scan a business card and upload the information directly to the Web. You can add comments and geo-tag where you got the card, as well. It’s much easier to capture new contact information and facilitate the follow up your customers and clients deserve.

But it gets even better: If Evernote recognizes that information on the card also matches a LinkedIn profile, it will also pull up additional information from LinkedIn.

Which is a major leap forward, if you work on a lot of referrals, like I do!

But it gets even better: Once you scan a card, you have the option to immediately follow up via LinkedIn or email. You sales professionals know how important that is! Think that makes it easier for me to sell your house?

It takes some time to learn all the features, but Evernote has saved me a ton of time, and helps to make me a much more efficient, productive and effective real estate agent for my clients!

NTTA Tollmate. There are other traffic apps out there, but this is a great one for Dallas-area residents because it communicates directly with the toll roads around here. I’m on those roads constantly. NTTA Tollmate lets me easily and conveniently track my toll balances, pay my toll road usage bill in just a couple of finger strokes, and gives me a quick alert to any lane closures or traffic alerts.

For you folks who are on the road a lot, check out Waze, which is kind of a social media app. You can alert other drivers to speed traps, share restaurant and gas station bathroom reviews (don’t underestimate how important these are!) and get a heads-up for any delays, reported by your fellow drivers.

Dallas/Texas Traffic Cameras – Travel & Transit & NOAA Pro. This is another great one for Dallas folks. You hit a button on your mobile device, select a road, and in a flash, you can see, right in your hand in real time, how the traffic is moving along your selected highway. This app, developed by Calvin Chen of Crystal Consulting, costs $1.99, but it’s well worth it for frequent Dallas road warriors.