Green Industry Articles

10 Apps That Help You Save

By Nate Ellis

Is 2012 the year you've picked to make your real estate business as green as possible and to save money?

Just 10 technology apps can help you do both and protect the environment.

Test out some of these smart apps for creative ways to cut back on paper, gas, and energy.

Save Gas

Have you ever wondered about the most efficient route to take when you're driving a buyer from home to home?

Route4Me.com has an Apple device app (iOS) that lets you map out 10 addresses for free and find the most efficient way to go.

If you want to beat those fluctuating gas prices and don't want to drive at all, consider conducting an online meeting instead.

WebEx.com offers apps for all the major devices. And Google Hangouts is a new, free option. Check out this link to host an online meeting today.

Help the Environment

iRecycle, an iOS and Android device app , tells you where you can recycle anything from used motor oil and antifreeze, to the toilet you just replaced with a low-flow model. Check out www.Earth911.com for other earth-saving tips.

Have you ever asked, "What kind of tree is that?" Well there's an app for that. LeafSnap.com allows you to take a photo of a leaf on your iPhone or iPad 2 and it will search its database and deliver the name of the tree.

Paper Cut

You know that real estate is a paper-heavy business. Cut down your paper use and save some trees by using these next few apps.

Evernote gives you free storage in the cloud to store your notes and documents. Cloud storage is like an extra hard drive you access via the internet. You can not only share the documents with others, but also access all your files from any device that connects to the internet.

• You've been back from the NAR EXPO for about a month now. Do you still have a huge stack of business cards you collected and still need to put in your database. Try CardMunch.com. It lets you take a photo of the cards and put them into your database. This is one of the few apps that is available on Blackberry as well as for iOS and Android.

• Stop faxing your contracts. Instead, just send and sign them digitally. Docusign.com just released a new product, DocuSign Ink, that gives everybody the ability to sign documents digitally and do it for free. Well, at least five sets of signatures free per month. Check out this page on nar.realtor for the full details and to sign up.

• QR Codes are the new craze, but they're ugly. Make them pretty with www.QRStyler.com. You can add your logo and other cool effects to make your QR Codes more interesting. To scan a QR Code, try Scan by QR City on iOS or i-Nigma for Androids.

Slash Energy Bills

Use WattRebate on iOS to find out what in your house is worthy of an upgrade. The app is also a way to quickly find all the local incentives available for upgrading your appliances, for buying solar panels, and so forth.

Ever wondered what the average utility bills is for a neighborhood? Find out at Home Energy Saver.

Greening your business in the New Year will not only help you save money and the planet, but it can actually buy you something equally precious.

Time.

So test out a few apps to make it a better, more efficient and green year.

Nate Ellis is a REALTOR, NAR Instructor and Education and Training Coordinator for the Contra Costa Association of REALTORS in Northern California. Nate@CCARU.com @iN8LS on Twitter