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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   November 2012

Meet Your New Assistant

Tablet computers can help streamline the business of brokers on the move

Sometimes, the life of a mortgage broker can feel like the life of a nomad. You’re constantly tasked with driving around and meeting clients, seeing properties and negotiating with lenders. For many mortgage professionals, the car often serves as an office, making it tough to stay connected to a fast-changing mortgage market.

New technology is making life easier, however. More specifically, tablet computers are helping mortgage brokers and originators conduct business while on the go, helping them find the best deals for homebuyers, communicate with lenders and reach out to new clients.

Make no mistake: Tablet computers offer more than just e-mail and Internet access. Powerful apps can transform the way that you conduct business by making you more productive while out of the office. According to the Small Business and Entrepreneur Council, mobile apps save small-business owners an average of $377 per month by making themselves, their staff and their companies more productive.

"Imagine meeting with a client, making changes to a loan application, signing it and shipping it off to a lender — all without leaving the lunch table."

Here are five ways that mortgage brokers can make tablet computers work for them:

  1. Take your office with you: Apps designed specifically for the mortgage industry give you access to the tools of your brick-and-mortar office. Many brokerages have their own apps, letting their employees access important tools while on the road. For independent brokers and those whose companies don’t have their own apps, there are a multitude of general apps that can be downloaded, the best of which will keep you updated with market rates while providing access to applications, lender contacts and product portfolios.
  2. Tackle paperwork: Mortgage professionals can give their briefcases a break by storing, accessing and editing paperwork via cloud-based applications. Dropbox and iBooks, for instance, can give you access to boilerplates, broker-information kits and other lender documents right from your tablet computer. Related, electronic-faxing apps can allow you to sign paperwork and share it with clients and lenders. Imagine meeting with a client, making changes to a loan application, signing it and shipping it off to a lender — all without leaving the lunch table.
  3. Go paperless: Electronic business-card apps like WorldCard Mobile capture and catalogue contact information with your tablet computer’s camera, making your contact lists easily searchable and sortable. In the same vein, Evernote allows you to take notes on your tablet and store them in a central, secure place.
  4. Use a mobile-friendly phone system: Quality voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) apps provide all the functionality of business-class phone systems, and can be tailored to your mobile work life. With certain VoIP applications, you can set up call screening, call forwarding, voice-to-text and conference calls among other advanced phone features. Some VoIP applications can even consolidate multiple phone numbers and route calls directly to your tablet computer.
  5. Address back-office tasks: Tablet computers also offer access to apps that can streamline many back- office tasks. Expensify, an app that tracks and organizes expenses, can be synchronized with a credit card or bank account and allow you to export expense reports to your manager or accountant. Other apps let users manage timesheets and book travel from the road.

Tablet computers, coupled with powerful apps, can give brokers and originators the mobility they need to effectively service clients from anywhere. Working from multiple locations over the course of a day is a given in the mortgage business, but that doesn’t mean you have to neglect the information and tools you need to build your business.


 
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