Real Estate on a Macbook?

April 11, 2008

My wife is a real estate agent. Real estate agents rely on the MLS system to look up house information for buyers and sellers. In the Tri-Cities, as in many areas, the MLS system runs only on Internet Explorer, and only on a PC. (So 1995….)

Until now.

Tools of the Trade

This is what arrived at our house today, and it’s all in the name of making Cari what we think will be the first Mac-using Tri-Cities real estate agent. Here’s what we got:

  1. Macbook – the low-end Macbook, which I expect will offer more than enough speed and space to do the job. It’s a 2.1 ghz Intel processor and 120 mb hard drive. That oughtta work just fine.
  2. Brenthaven shoulder case – this is a copy of the case I use. These are pretty expensive, but worth every penny. They’re custom-sized specifically for the 13″ Macbook, and have all kinds of padding to keep the machine protected. And there’s plenty of storage space, too.
  3. Extra battery – just to be safe. She’ll be using the power adapter most of the time, but it’s good to have an extra battery in case of an emergency.
  4. Memory upgrade – two 1gb memory cards to replace the 256mb cards that are pre-installed. So we go from 512mb of RAM to 2gb. Gotta have the extra juice to run Nos. 5 and 6…..
  5. Parallels – the software that will let her run a full version of Windows on the Macbook. Easy to install, too!
  6. Windows XP – I wouldn’t go near Vista if you paid me. No way, no how. And last, but not least….
  7. Speck plastic case – another one that’s somewhat spendy compared to similar items, but worth every penny. It’s a tight-fitting plastic case to protect the Macbook from dings and scratches. It’s see-through, too, so you keep that Macbook “cool” factor going. I have a red one. Cari went with the blue, as you can see.

I’m about halfway done all the setup to get her going. I’m sure it’ll work just fine because I bought my own copies of Parallels and Windows XP a couple weeks ago and used my laptop to make sure this’ll fly. Took a bit to get the MLS web site to work (Explorer really sucks), but eventually got there on my laptop. We’ll get there on hers and she’ll be an original of the species: the first Mac-using real estate agent in Tri-Cities, Washington.


  • Reply Phil R April 11, 2008 at 4:38 am

    Why Parallels and not just bootcamp? Could have saved a couple bucks…

  • Reply GetSkinsNow.Com April 11, 2008 at 5:03 am

    Hey –
    Thanks for adding the Speck MacBook in there. We sell those among other items at GetSkinsNow.com. One thing I’d consider adding is either the Marware Protection Pack or the iSkin Protouch keyboard protector.

    I like the protection packs because of the soft stick-on pad that covers the wrist rest area, keeping it from getting scratched up by watch bands, etc., plus it just “feels good”.

  • Reply David Mihm April 11, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Wait, did Cari win all of this stuff from Mac or something? Or did you guys actually go out and buy it?

    Also, you can run XP on a Mac? Who knew!!? (and what’s the point?)

  • Reply Matt April 12, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    @Phil – I read some articles long ago that recommended Parallels as the way to go. Plus, if we were more concerned about saving money, we’d have bought another PC. 🙂

    @GSN – thanks for the ideas.

    @David – bought it, no contests or anything. 🙂 Yes, Parallels is software that lets you run Windows on your Mac. There’s a new(er) piece of software that does the same thing called VM Fusionware (or something like that), which is also getting good reviews.

    The point? To be able to use Windows while still enjoying the elegance and simplicity of a Mac. If the MLS people would make their web site compatible beyond Internet Explorer and a PC, we wouldn’t have to do this, but…..

  • Reply J. Scott Anderson April 28, 2008 at 4:42 am

    Some options for running Windows applications (notice that I didn’t say just “Windows”):

    • Boot Camp
    • Crossover
    • Parallels
    • VM Fusionware
    • Citrix

    Each has strengths. I just ran a trial of Crossover with IE 6 (unfortunately it doesn’t support IE 7 yet). It ran well enough–certainly better than the Citrix option that our local MLS does. Plus it saves you from having to purchase a copy of Windows.

    Parallels and VM Fusionware are full-blown virtualization products. They allow you to run Windows (even several instances of different versions of Windows…or any other OS) on your Mac. Both are top-notch and will work well for the light needs of the MLS.

    Citrix is the solution for Mac users in our MLS area. Basically, it is a client that let’s you run IE on a server and they pipe the output to your computer across the net. It is still in beta. The performance and stability is terrible. If it is all you have (and yo have a very fast connection) then it will eventually get the job done. However, a pleasurable experience it is not. I would recommend any of the other solutions to having to use Citrix.

  • Reply Grimesland NC Real Estate May 20, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    My thought is that this may be just what our local market needs to stir up some excitement and activity. We are still the same agents, the same leadership, the same company. We still have the same values, the same strengths, integrity, pride, knowledge and power in the market. This will be a fresh new start to end a period of the industry being in “the doldrums.We will gain new momentum and move forward stronger than ever.

  • Reply J. Scott Anderson May 20, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Our local board is still stuck in a pure Windows world. However, if they can allow someone to touch their stuff, perhaps we will see another tool added to our arsenal of portable technology…the iPhone.

    I can easily see real estate agents handling most of their work via an iPhone. Going to the MacBook Air when heavy document editing is required or for running presentations or editing real estate photos (sorry, can’t see using the iPhone or any phone for quality photos). Combine that a portable printer and a portable scanner (Fujitsu has a nice one) and agents can get out of the office and where the product and customers are more often.

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