Real Estate Agents! Can you ditch the laptop for a Treo 700p?

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Real Estate Agent with Cooper & Associates Real Estate

Can you ditch your laptop and work off your Treo 700p or smart phone?

I posted a blog about my Treo 700p and now I wonder if it's possible for me (or any Realtor for that matter) to ditch my laptop and work only using my Treo.  I believe I can.  With third party applications and high speed internet now available to Sprint and Verizon networks, the Treo smart phone has been a nice little tool in my arsenal.  So much that dragging my laptop out has become cumbersome.  So I ask, "How long can I work off my Treo without having to reach for my laptop?"  Before I answer this question, let me see what I currently use my Treo for and see if I ditching my laptop is even an option. 

Obviously, phone calls, calendar, contact management and text messaging are my Treo's number one purpose.  I have installed a commercial software called ChatterEmail to "push" my email to my Treo so I get an email message seconds after it's delivered to my inbox just like a Blackberry.  I can take pictures with my Treo's camera for clients or even myself for blogs and such. 

I also installed Docs To Go so I can view, edit and create Word and/or Excel docs.  I could even view PDF files which means, with a Fax to Email service such as eFax, I can receive faxes as email attachments and view them with Docs To Go.  If I need to get my client's signatures, I just forward the email to my client, have them print it out and either fax it back to my eFax or directly to my transaction coordinator.  This helps since it eliminates the paper waste but still gives me access to them anytime.  

I use Kinoma 4 EX to listen to internet radio and podcasts and to view streaming vidcasts and other video sites like Google vids and YouTube.  I use pTunes to listen to my MP3s and audio books of Zig Ziglar & Robert Kiyosaki.   

I have Supra software to open up Real Estate lock boxes and to look up listings on MLS.  It also tracks who accesses the lock boxes and keeps an inventory of them.  I also have WINForms Mobile installed to view my transactions with my phone.  

When looking for a particular address, I installed GoogleMaps.  For GPS support, I have TomTom Navigator 5.  I installed Directory Assistant to be able to look up the phone number and/or address of any business listed in the Yellow Pages.

For those long waits in line or while at an open house at vacant homes, I have SlingPlayer Mobile for Palm OS to link to my Slingbox at home so I can watch whatever is on my TiVo.  If nothing is on TiVo, I have TCPMP installed to watch any DVD that I ripped (from my desktop, not laptop) and saved onto my 2GB SD card.  If I don't feel like watching movies or listening to music, I installed Little John MultiEmulator that can emulate and play GameBoy ROM games, Nintendo ROM games, Sega Genesis ROM games, etc. 

So now that I've pretty much dissected my Treo's software and capabilities, what exactly do I need my laptop for? 

Chris Molina
Elk Grove CA Realtor 

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Rainer
25,796
Chris Molina
Cooper & Associates Real Estate - Elk Grove, CA
Realtor, Elk Grove CA

Jim,

I can use VersaMail but I opted for the true push email.  ChatterEmail handles IMAP much better than VersaMail.  If I were running strictly a SMTP email then VersaMail would suffice.  Believe me, I tested out all the email applications from SnapperMail to VersaMail and ChatterEmail and was extremely satisfied with Chatter. 

Jul 16, 2007 06:02 AM #24
Rainer
19,252
Jay Emerson
Weichert, Realtors® - Galster Group - Fair Oaks, CA
Broker, e-PRO, SFR, CHS

The reason I still have a laptop is for storage and to keep email recipients from getting confused.  Since VersaMail is a different email address, it is confusing to people who have emailed me at one address and get replies from another. 

I've also set up my laptop hard disk to synchronize from my external drive at home.  Therefore, the most I can lose is 1 day's worth of data/updates (or however long it was since I linked to my home network).  Therefore, whether linked or not, I store and retrieve from my external hard disk.  When I'm not tethered, it still looks like it's there.  The Treo can't store all of the CMAs, pictures and reports that I produce or save.

Jul 16, 2007 09:33 AM #25
Rainer
69,596
Jim Ludes
RE/MAX Top Properties - Coal City, IL
Grundy/Will County, IL REALTOR
Jay...even with a 2GB expansion disk you can't save that??? That's a lot of CMAs!!!
Jul 16, 2007 05:45 PM #26
Rainer
19,252
Jay Emerson
Weichert, Realtors® - Galster Group - Fair Oaks, CA
Broker, e-PRO, SFR, CHS
It goes beyond CMAs.  I have marketing, planning, client, research, and miscellaneous information that already takes 8GB (photos are fat).
Jul 17, 2007 08:17 AM #27
Rainer
69,596
Jim Ludes
RE/MAX Top Properties - Coal City, IL
Grundy/Will County, IL REALTOR
Jay- that's a lot of stuff.....good idea sticking with the laptop in your case!
Jul 17, 2007 09:02 AM #28
Rainer
7,136
David Davison
Western & Southern Financial Group - Eaton, OH
If you had a MacBook, you would wonder what you ever did without it.  Sounds like you are using the Treo very creatively though and I applaud you for it.  Several agents in my office use the Treo and love them.  I do use a Palm Tungsten model to carry things with me in the off hours (like Realtors have off hours?).  It's been a great, reliable tool with a great user interface.
Jul 17, 2007 11:46 AM #29
Rainer
19,252
Jay Emerson
Weichert, Realtors® - Galster Group - Fair Oaks, CA
Broker, e-PRO, SFR, CHS
Mac?  I don't want to think about the changes that I'd have to make if I changed to a Macintosh platform.  Mac lovers will tell me "it's all good" but that's called WIKIWIL (What I Know Is What I Like).  Much of my configuration is Windows-based.  Not, not Lindows either.
Jul 25, 2007 06:49 AM #30
Rainer
4,358
Laura Baptista
Team Laguna - Aliso Viejo, CA

I also am a loyal 700P user (and Sprint offers fantastic real estate pricing- their data is less than 1/2 the price of their competitors).  I use it very similarly to Chris but still feel the need for more, especially for MLS data.  I find that the solution available to me does not provide quite enough information; no pictures, no showing instructions, just the basics.  To that end, I am in the process of incorporating a slate tablet into my tech gear. 

 Great synopsis, Chris! 

Jul 25, 2007 06:38 PM #31
Rainer
70,687
Bill Nazur
Corona, CA
Wow Chris.....like you, I rarely use my laptop now even though I have the wireless card. ChatterMail is about the only tech you're using that I'm not. Does it really make that much of a difference? I typically go through 3 batteries per day on my 700P, and much of it may have to do with all of the "get and sends" that I use throughout the day aside from being on the phone all the time. thanks for reminding me that I'm fairly well connected, though I always imagine that I'm falling behind! LOL!
Jul 25, 2007 07:02 PM #32
Rainer
69,596
Jim Ludes
RE/MAX Top Properties - Coal City, IL
Grundy/Will County, IL REALTOR
Bill- How often do you 'check and send' email?? I've got a 700wx that was going through a battery in about 6 hours because I was checking every 5 minutes....I backed that up to every 20 and get through the day no problem now.
Jul 26, 2007 04:20 AM #33
Rainer
25,796
Chris Molina
Cooper & Associates Real Estate - Elk Grove, CA
Realtor, Elk Grove CA

Laura - My local MLS has a PDA portal that allows me to logon using my Treo's web browser so I can get MLS data with pics.  You should check with your MLS to see if they have the same.

Bill - I have a charger everywhere because my battery dies all the time.  When I get in the car, I have a iGrip cradle that I put my Treo in and plug it in to my car adapter.  Then I have a spare charger at the office and another at home.  ChatterMail is great, but it is a battery hog.  But this is what I feel I need to do to have my Treo act like a BlackBerry.

What is a charicuela?

Jul 26, 2007 07:57 AM #34
Rainer
19,252
Jay Emerson
Weichert, Realtors® - Galster Group - Fair Oaks, CA
Broker, e-PRO, SFR, CHS
I can't get pics to render.  Just the placeholder.  Any clues?
Jul 26, 2007 11:18 AM #35
Rainer
69,596
Jim Ludes
RE/MAX Top Properties - Coal City, IL
Grundy/Will County, IL REALTOR
Brazilian fruit, Chris! DUH....
Jul 26, 2007 02:33 PM #36
Rainer
25,796
Chris Molina
Cooper & Associates Real Estate - Elk Grove, CA
Realtor, Elk Grove CA
With all the iPhone hype, I'm still happy with my Treo!
Sep 06, 2007 06:25 PM #37
Ambassador
566,489
Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team

Well, I am the odd ball. I have a t-mobile dash and I am not sure I can do all the great things you listed.  I like the idea but not sure it will work on my phone.  I use my laptop daily but having it on the phone for those times that I do not have my laptop with me sounds good. 

Last time I checked the Supra was not set up for t-mobile's technology. I'll check back because they said they were going to update.

Thanks for the tips.  I will see what I can use on my t-mobile.

Jan 22, 2008 08:52 PM #38
Anonymous
Anonymous

Rosemary- definitely check with your local association.  In our area, the DisplayKeys were retired, replaced with ActiveKeys (which update wirelessly).  With the change came an increase in price which made the E-Key solution more or less equivalent in pricing.  I find it so much more convenient to have it on my phone.  I know T-Mobile is supported in California- the Dash may be supported since it has Windows Mobile...  I know that the MDA is supported although it is an older PDA.

Previously I had complained about the MLS access through the E-Key software- my MLS is now offering a free standalone solution that is FAR superior to what was previously available with the E-Key Professional for an extra $10/month...  I was happy to see that!

Jan 23, 2008 02:24 AM #39
Rainmaker
629,580
Chuck Willman UtahHomes.me
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes
As much as I like my Treo I wish it weren't so stubborn.
Jan 23, 2008 02:50 AM #40
Rainer
40,825
Carolyn Gjerde-Tu-Davis
Lyon Real Estate - Davis, CA
Ca Real Estate
I just recently switched from a blackberry to treo.  I love the verisitlity of the treo and I'm using it for music, email, contacts and as an ekey.  I don't think it will replace my computer, but is a nice security blanket when I am away from home or the office.
Jan 23, 2008 12:37 PM #41
Rainmaker
73,627
Tarris Rogers
Cascade Sotheby's International Realty - Bend, OR
Bend Oregon Real Estate

I'm looking at the new(er) Palm Pro.  It's a pretty sleek looking phone which Treo's have not necessarily been known for.  My trusty Treo 650 is starting to have a few glitches but I have used it for nearly 4 years and it has taken a lot of abuse! 

You mentioned using yourTreo for music and videos...one cool thing about the Palm Pro is that it finally has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.  Like you said, the Treo's can do almost anything you need them too.  The main thing that i still need my laptop for is MLS searching.  In a pinch I can use my Treo but the screen is simply to small to maneuver through listing after listing quickly and efficiently for my liking.

The great news is with having a Treo, we never have to be stuck in a car with a client without the ability to pull up just about anything they might need.  I got into real estate 14 years ago and at that time they were just phasing out the 'book of listings' that Realtors drove around with in their car while showing property that was updated once a month. (Imagine that)  Technology definitely has its advantages when your a Realtor.

Thanks for sharing all the amazing ways to use a Treo.  You started this post two years ago, the question is have you upgraded since then?

Sep 05, 2009 10:40 PM #42
Anonymous
Laura Baptista

I've upgraded at least 3 times since then...  E-Key now supports many more devices including Blackberry.  Any phone without an IR port (it seems the IR port is becoming obsolete) uses a Bluetooth dongle that works with E-Key for lockboxes...  I believe the Treo Pro does indeed have an IR port so all the better for you!

I believe a realtor without a smartphone is very compromised in efficiency.  If I get an offer by fax, I see it immediately (via fax email service).  If I get an offer by email, I also am notified immediately (PDF in email, basically same as fax).  If a prospect registers on my site, I get a text message.  My MLS also has a wireless option so I can browse listings- and it is "lighter" than the full version so browsing through lots of listings is fast and easy.  Granted, it doesn't have all of the search options as the full MLS but it is fully usable. 

As I am nearly fully paperless, I am able to keep copies of documents for current transactions in my phone (again, PDF's); larger microSD cards help accomodate this.  If someone needs a copy of something, I am able to email or fax it immediately.  Yes, you can fax off your smartphone, too, using fax-to-email services.

Technology definitely makes life for a realtor easier!

Sep 06, 2009 07:36 AM #43
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Chris Molina

Realtor, Elk Grove CA
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