Ten Useful iPhone Apps for Real Estate Lawyers
December 29, 2009 by Peter M. Leschner

It is no secret that Apple’s iPhone App Store is a runaway success, with in excess of 100,000 applications currently available and over two billion App downloads by users – those numbers are increasing every day. More and more individuals and enterprises are using the iPhone or iPod touch in their personal lives and for work-related purposes. As a Macintosh and iPhone user and a real estate attorney, I was interested in discovering applications that might prove useful to real estate lawyers. There are many applications in the App Store that might fit into that category. As a start, here is a brief summary of ten that I found particularly interesting and useful:

1. Legal Edge (Free). JD Supra recently launched a very interesting free iPhone application called “Legal Edge,” which streams legal information written by lawyers and law firms so that it is available on the iPhone. Various legal subjects, including real estate, as well as others such as immigration, bankruptcy, labor and employment, insurance, tax, consumer protection and intellectual property are offered. The App allows users to search through the latest legal articles, news of interest, blog posts and court filings uploaded to JD Supra by lawyers and legal professionals, and to read the content in iPhone’s Safari browser or PDF reader. Legal Edge serves as a good way for lawyers, law firms and legal professionals to market themselves through the exchange of legal information – including court decisions, articles, newsletters, blog posts, and other attorney-written material. This App can prove useful for keeping up with the latest news and developments in one’s field and for attracting clients through the articles written.

2. Worldcard Mobile ($3.99). Worldcard Mobile is an accurate business card reader App. The built-in camera of the iPhone is used to take a photo of a business card. Optical character recognition software converts the information into text and the information is categorized. The results of the scan can be edited. The resultant information can then be imported into the iPhone address book.

3. Redlaser ($1.99). Redlaser is an amazingly accurate barcode scanner that uses the iPhone’s built-in camera and Google Product search to find low, online prices for scanned products and supplies. Useful for making sure one is not overpaying for products and supplies.

4. Zillow (Free). Zillow is a real estate application that helps a user determine how much a house is worth and if it’s for sale. It also lists recent comparable sales.

5. DocstoGo ($9.99). DocstoGo is a mobile office suite that lets you view, edit and create Microsoft Word and Excel files. It also allows you to view PowerPoint and PDF files. With the aid of a desktop application, files can be synced between one’s iPhone and computer. Files can also be e-mailed directly from one’s iPhone or iPod touch.

6. Mortgage Loan Place Mortgage Calculator (Free). Mortgage Loan Place Mortgage Calculator is a free, simple, easy-to-use fixed-rate mortgage loan calculator with sliding controls to set and then vary the amount of the loan, interest rate and term. It is very useful for getting a quick read on a monthly payment for a loan. It lacks an amortization schedule, however. There are many other, more elaborate mortgage loan calculators available in the App Store, such as Mortgage Calculator ($1.99) and Mortgage Calculator Pro ($.99), which do provide amortization schedules.

7. iDisk (Free). iDisk is a free App from Apple that enables MobileMe users to view and access files stored on their MobileMe iDisk from their iPhone or iPod touch. Files can also be shared with others by tapping on the share icon; a file link will be sent to the recipient via e-mail. Passwords can be assigned to keep files secure and a limit can be placed on the number of days that a given link is available.

8. Around Me (Free). Around Me is an App to quickly enable one to find out information near one’s at your current location. It uses the built-in GPS capabilities of the iPhone to determine one’s location and tell you where the nearest restaurants, banks, gas stations, theatres, supermarkets, taxis, etc., are. Very useful when you must travel for business meetings or a closing.

9. Trulia (Free). Trulia is a real estate App that enables one to find residential real estate for sale. It supplies information regarding what homes are for sale in one’s immediate area (using the iPhone’s built-in location systems) and when open houses are being held. In addition, one can set up custom searches and find homes for sale based on criteria searched; e.g. price, location, number of bedrooms, etc.

10. Property Manager ($1.99). Property Manager is a property management tool. It can be used to manage multiple properties with numerous tenants. A property is set up by adding identifying address information. Images of the property can also be added. Then operating expenses (e.g., mortgage, heat, electric and real estate, etc.) are added. Lastly, tenant information (e.g., apartment number, rent, lease expiration date, etc.) is added. After the information is entered, one can quickly review building information, operating expenses and cash flow per unit. This App is still a work in progress, as indicated by the “updates in the works” note in the App Store description, but it shows a lot of promise.

It should be noted that it is also possible to add useful Web pages to one’s Home Screen for instant access by navigating to the page in Safari on the iPhone and clicking on the + button. One of the options shown after clicking the + sign is to add the page to one’s Home Screen. Thus, for example, if one wanted to have the ability to calculate New York Realty Transfer Taxes, one could add the New York ACRIS page to one’s Home Screen and gain one-click access to the calculator for that purpose available at the site.

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