The Short List: Amy Smythe-Harris’ Tips for Using Technology to Find a Sound Work/Life Balance

by James McClister


Amy Smythe Harris is the broker-owner of Urban Provision Realtors in Houston.

Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we spoke with Amy Smythe-Harris, broker-owner at Urban Provision Realtors, shared her tips for using technology to find a sound work/life balance.

For finding a sound work/life balance, it’s important to first identify your “time sucks” and then find an app or piece of technology to make that part of your life more efficient, and therefore more enjoyable.

6. A normal “time sucks” for agents are emails. There are times when I send out emails, and then later ask myself if I ever got an answer to that email. Then I spend time scouring my inbox to find if I did actually receive an answer. You can use an Add-in called Boomerang, in which you can set up on an outgoing email with a time on it so that if they don’t respond within the time you set, it will automatically send an email on your behalf telling the email receiver you have not responded to the original email. I also use Xobnit – or some agents like Rapportive – to easily search all their folders, and also see what social media sites they are connected with. It gives additional contact information that might not be in an email.

5. I use Dropbox and Evernote so much that I am not sure how I could live without them now. Dropbox is like my “old” filing cabinet, and Evernote is my “old” spiral notebook. If you don’t use these currently in your business, you may want to look into taking a webinar to learn how to use them efficiently.

4. I use Timebridge – MeetingWizard is another popular one – with my clients to set up times when I am available to show, or I use a showing agent and then pay them via PayPal. If I don’t use Timebridge, it’s because I’m setting a listing appointment over the phone with the client. I then send them a calendar invite from my phone so that it will alert and remind them, and myself, about the appointment. Much of corporate America uses this, and it adds to your professionalism. My family also uses this at home to make the household more efficient. Some agents prefer to use Cozi App.

3. If I need to write an offer quickly, then I use the app called NuOffer. I can write the offer on my Ipad and have it sent for signatures within 3 minutes flat. It’s great when in multiple offer situations.

2. Sometimes, writing an email does not convey the message you want to send to a client, or you are afraid they are not going to be able to read your “tone” in an email. For that,  I use either EyeJot, ZapVM or BombBomb. It is video email messaging. I can create a video email within 10 seconds versus typing an email and worry about how the receiver understood it.

1. For my personal life, I try to use as many apps as I can, especially for places that I frequent, like Walgreens, Target, Avis, United, Pizza Hut, etc. One app that is a huge time saver for my family is Buy Me a Pie app, which is an cloud-based grocery list; we all have the app on our Iphones, so everyone can add to the list. So when I am grocery shopping, I don’t have to worry about list that I use to leave in the kitchen drawer.

Amy Smythe-Harris is the broker-owner of Urban Provision Realtors in Houston, and has been working in the real estate industry for more than a decade. Apart from her position with Provision, Amy is heavily involved with the Texas Association of Realtors where she has been both technology chair and director. 

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