The Numbers app is a GREAT tool for real estate agents... and it's one that is both easy to learn and easy to use.
While this app is Apple's answer to MS Excel, you don't have to know Excel to use the Numbers app. Excel users will see some similarities, but chances are you'll never want to use Excel again for mortgage payment calculations, mortgage comparisons, closing cost estimates, and other worksheets for your business. After all, you can only share with your clients the finished calculations of an Excel spreadsheet, but you can use the Numbers app on your iPad to involve your clients in creating a customized spreadsheet for their home sale or purchase.
Are you overwhelmed by technology tools and afraid to get started?
I'm one of those people who learn more easily by doing than by reading "Before You Get Started" in teeny print, whether it's putting together something that comes "ready to assemble" or learning how to use a new program or app. It was a pleasant surprise when I discovered 16 pre-loaded spreadsheet templates in the Numbers app, including two for home buyers: a Mortgage Calculator and a Loan Comparison. These templates made it possible for me to learn by doing, without reading any directions or turning to the "Help" screen.
Using these templates, I simply played with the numbers - substituting a different interest rate, for example, and watching other numbers on the screen change before my eyes. After a few minutes, I had a good grasp of various elements of the spreadsheet - from changing fonts and fill color to adding or deleting rows and entering math functions into cells. It wasn't long before I found myself using these new skills to create other spreadsheets from scratch.
Within an hour or two, I had customized the pre-loaded spreadsheets for my own use in today's local market and added a Seller's Estimate and a Real Cost of Owning to my collection. I inserted a line of text for the property address so I can always customize the the screen for each of my clients to make them feel special, and added a brief comment before or after the chart or table. In the future, I might even add a small photo of the property.
Clients LOVE it when I hand them my iPad to participate in customizing a spreadsheet for them. They find it easy to change the interest rate or sale price and watch the math functions work. When we both are satisfied that the content fits their situation , they simply click on an icon at the top of the screen to email the finished spreadsheet to themselves so they'll have a copy to print or save. When I get back to the office, I print the spreadsheet to PDF and store it in Dropbox, along with other documents relative to this client's sale or purchase.
Another of the pre-loaded templates on the Numbers app is a Calendar, which I modified to become a Listing Checklist by changing the title, adding a property address, and adding this text above the calendar: "Home sellers who want Top Dollar for their homes know their home must be in Top Condition. This checklist itemizes what you must do to put your home in Top Condition so you will get Top Dollar for your home:"
Clients can participate in this process, too, and I invite them to estimate a reasonable date for completing these tasks so I can start planning an agent open house. (Scheduling an agent open house is a great way to establish a deadline for preparing any property to show.)
The Numbers app is powerful for its convenience and also for the "ownership" my clients feel for the content of the spreadsheets, since they entered some of the numbers.
(Word of caution: Save the spreadsheet templates that are pre-loaded on the Numbers app so you'll always have them for reference, and copy them before you start making changes on your own copy. That's my one regret to this process, since I did delete some of the tables and charts on the pre-loaded templates that I didn't want to use at that time.)