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There’s an App for That
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Minnesota Community Living March/April 2011

There’s an App for That

By Tony Poetz, Spectrum Home Services

Five seconds...think of anything you do during your day. Eat. Talk. Drive. There’s an app related to that activity. More than likely there are thousands of apps for that activity. An app (short for application) on your smart phone is a downloadable software program designed to...well, you name it, there’s an app for that. From clocks to calorie counters, maps to markets, there are hundreds of thousands of apps currently available. As of January 16, 2011 the total number of just the iPhone apps available surpassed the 400,000 mark. That’s a one-year increase of around 300,000 – more than 800 produced per day. Many are free. Most are in the $1–$2 range with the average smart phone containing 25 uploaded programs.

As a property manager, association member, vendor or techy resident, you probably already have a calendar app right next to your calculator, email and Angry Birds icon. As of January 1, Angry Birds (a puzzle game in which the user slingshots chattering birds at the enemy pig castle) led the game downloads with 12 million to the iPhone and 50 million across various platforms. That’s a lot of crushed pig castles.

In the time it took you to see if you actually have 25 apps on your phone, there are at least 10 more ready to upload. Here are some available in the HOA world. They are not ranked here and we’re not offering any recommendations ourselves, but these will give you an idea of what is available. They usually have a user-ranking available before you download them.

  • Condo Rants & Raves ($2.99)
    This app claims unbiased comments from 20,000 condo/town home associations across America. There’s gossip, advice, notices that are produced by owners, members, etc.
  • iLandlord ($1.99)
    A highly-ranked app used to track properties, costs, payments, contractors and work orders.
  • Field Agent (Free) 
    A property inspection tool with space for notes right next to the pictures you can upload to organized files within the program.
  • Condo-Communities.com (website)
    This site features multiple apps available for the organization and administration of an HOA. The programs feature varying prices.
  • PICOwatt ($80 hardware)
    The PICOwatt is actually a piece of equipment into which you plug an appliance, then plug the PICOwatt into an outlet. The PICOwatt app you download to your smart phone will let you control the appliance from anywhere. Depending on the weather, you could adjust your furnace or your sprinkler system while you’re in the Caribbean.
  • Hours Tracker ($2.99)
    A popular time sheet program used to estimate and track production of an activity such as snow removal. Plug in the numbers (workers, square footage, rate) and find an efficient estimate.
  • Shoebox Receipts (Free) 
    An IRS approved expense generator
  • Repair Ticket ($2.99)
    A contractor’s app useful for tracking clients, jobs, parts and invoicing.

As for miscellaneous contractor and real estate apps, there are thousands available. If you can’t find the one you’re looking for, consider creating an app for that task. The median price for programming, logo integration, etc. is around $700. Hosting on someone else’s server will cost extra. What are the specific steps to creating an app? Well, guess what. There’s an app for that, too.

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