mac or pc? for commercial real estate


UPDATE:  Mac rocks.

So I have been thinking about moving away from windows and going to Mac after good experiences with my wife's macbook. I was 90% sold on mac but I, being in commercial real estate where most programs (and websites) are windows "picky" I needed a little help from my friends.... The email I sent out on CCIM Mailbridge is below along with the replys from other CCIM commercial real estate professionals.

I am now 100% swithching to mac. I am going to get a mac book pro, cinema docking monitor, time capsule and use mobile me to store files on idisk and be able to access the hard drive copy of my mac book pro which will reside on the time capsule and then accessed through mobileme. That is kind of a circular sentence but that is why the system is so cool. Until I can get the time to make the hardware switch, I have upgraded my wife's tiger to leopard and ilife as well so I can become an "expert" with the OS before the big switch.

Thank you fellow CCIM's for the great responses! What an amazing network!

Original Email:

Are any of you using a Mac for your primary computer?

I have been using my wife's macbook by night and my pc by day. I am now convinced that mac is easier, faster, more secure, smarter and overall a better user experience. And with the new MacBook Pro, Leopard OS combined with their mobileme (online account) and time machine (auto real time back up) it is now time to make the switch.

I was wondering what people's experience were with using mac with windows (boot camp or VMware), ms office for mac and other buisness and/or real estate programs that normally are windows based. What about using the CCIM xls forms with mac....good, bad, ugly?

I use google apps for email, docs, calendar etc. salesforce for CRM. MS office (word and excel of course) and MS publisher for brochures etc. blackberry for mobile.

Your thoughts, tips, tricks would be greatly appreciated. I am happy to share all responses. Best, Thomas

CCIM responses:

"Once you go Mac, You Will Never Go Back! " I originally started out with a Apple llc in my early real estate career (1980'S?) but completely changed over to Mac 2 years ago. I am a Certified Microsoft Professional (MCP) and swore by Microsoft since it's beginnings and the fact that our real estate industry was PC driven just made sense, but then 2 years ago when Apple introduced the MacBook with Intel Chip, this was my chance to return to Apple. After all Apple is far superior in multimedia, graphics, photography and so much more then Microsoft and the fact of having to shell out money constantly for Microsoft Upgrades and Virus Programs, etc., and all the security patches and virus definitions just made me totally disillusioned with the PC in general.

Here is what I done:

I bought a 17 inch MacBook Pro Laptop and self-installed a 250 GIG Hardrive because 160 GIG was just not enough at the time and I added more memory and then partitioned the 250 GIG Hardrive for OSX and Windows XP. I originally ran Parallels but changed over to Boot Camp once the bugs were worked out by Apple. There are some downsides to both Parallels and Boot Camp. I then went out and purchased a top end MacPro Desktop with the large Cinema Screen. I run OSX on a 500 GIG Drive and XP on a separate 500 GIG Drive and when I need my Microsoft Dependent Real Estate Programs (Investment Software) I just boot up under XP. I have been consulting to the Real Estate Industry in Office Automation and Technology for 29 years now and have build several companies. I would be happy to talk to you and answer any of your questions regarding MAC. I will never go back to Microsoft again. I also use both a Blackberry and iPhone. I do not miss the Microsoft Blue Screen of Death Either! I am sold 110% on Apple Products and I got use to the spinning beachball on the Mac!


We're an all Mac shop with 25 people on Macs. All the software you'll need is either available for the mac natively, an ASP solution like salesforce that runs through an internet connect, or can be run with Parallels. And when you switch to an Iphone and see how it integrates, you'll be blown away.


I am a new CCIM candidate, but have been in real estate market research for years. I switched to Mac about 6 years ago and have absolutely no regrets. I was liberating to switch.

There are no problems using Office for Mac programs, such as Word and Excel. Full compatibility with Windows based same (though maybe not with the latest Office version, which is not even compatible with older versions of Windows Office, I understand).

I use Parallels to run Windows on my Mac desktop and Macbook for programs and services that require it. Easy to do and Windows runs very fast on the Mac.

The Safari browser is also much superior to Explorer, although some idiotic websites (such as my board's MLS site) only work with Explorer.

Just be sure to get as much RAM and hard-drive memory as possible in your new Mac, which is always a good idea no matter what kind of computer. And check out columns by Walt Mossberg in the WallStreet Journal about Macs. They are all probably online.


We use an exchange server windows in our office and I have a mac at home.  I swear by the macs and the next computer I have in the office will be a mac.  I use VMware to connect to the exchange server from home and I haven’t had any problems.  I do use the Microsoft office suite in the mac for excel and there appears to be a little difference, but nothing that affects my productivity.  I am very surprised you haven’t switched to an iphone…that should be your next move.


Thomas, I too have discovered the ease and security of the Mac. My biggest problems have been attempting to use my computer during ccim classes.  The excel macros do not transfer to the mac office software, and I am unable to open some of the class cd's content.  I solved most of the problem by purchasing vmware fusion, however i have been unable to install a copy of windows office so I still can't use the excel files. When I used a blackberry I had all sorts of problems trying to sync my contacts and calendar, but since I have switched to an iphone everything seems to work seamlessly.  I have come to the realization that mac products were all meant to work together so the more you have, the more they work together to make your life easier. There must be a growing number of converts in the ccim arena because there was a booth a the Fort Worth Technology Expo from a company that specialized in integrating Mac's to PC dominated offices.  I can't remember their name but I will scour my office for their card and send it on if I find it.


I just switched to a macbook myself, and love it for all the reasons you mentioned and more.  My wife is a graphic designer and has had her G5 desktop for about 4 or 5 years now.  I was doing the back and forth between Mac and PC at home and work (respectively) as you mentioned because my office runs a microsoft/PC based terminal server. Recently though, we've added a web-based set-up through Google, so I made the transition accordingly and picked up a macbook.

DEFINITELY a great move!

All my systems are now web-based.  I use Google for email, calendar, etc.

which syncs with my blackberry.  This combination doesn't have the same synchronicity that my old Treo/PC terminal server had yet, but I'm sure it'll be along soon since there are many, many other users out there like ourselves.  (Mobileme does have that same synchronization if you have an iphone)

I debated using the bookcamp and getting windows,

but realized with everything going web-based, I could get around it and save myself a few hundred dollars.  As I mentioned, it's not quite as smooth as my old set up, but I'm quickly adjusting and have found ways around just about everything.

Good luck with your new machine, and welcome to the world of Macs!


I've had both macs and PCs since the 1980s. My office runs on PCs but I use a mac exclusively. I have a 2006 MacBook Pro running OSX 10.5.7. I recently bought a new iMac for the office which is dedicated to making flyers and hosting our commercial database (Filemaker Pro 10). The database runs cross platform - the PCs can access it.

There are a couple of programs I require in my business that only run in Windows (MapInfo, Quickbooks 2008, and my website publishing software), so to accommodate them, I run Parallels on the mac. You will need a copy of Windows to install within Parallels. It has run flawlessly. I know of others who use VM Fusion instead of Parallels and they are also very happy with it. I've had no problems running any Windows software or connecting to peripherals. You can copy/paste and share documents between the environments seamlessly.

MS Office for mac is fully compatible with Office for Windows. No one will ever know which platform the docs were created on. I trade Word and Excel files with others all the time.

I don't use MS Publisher, so I can't comment on that. I use Adobe CS4 for all of our brochure needs (PhotoShop and InDesign, primarily). Once created, all flyers are saved as PDFs, so they can be emailed and shared cross platform.

I'd go with the mac, hands down.


I've used a Mac for several years and have no problems. We do keep a PC in the office just in case, but rarely use the thing. I do use Pages instead of Publisher. Often times the Firefox browser is better to use than the Safari browser - with the REI software, for example. But I'm sure you will not regret your decision - I would never go back to a PC.


We run our company on Mac. All of our brokers use them.


I've used a MacBook Pro for a year or so, Thomas. I use Bootcamp, and run my business applications (MS Office, etc.) under Windows XP, Service Pack 2. I wouldn't go back.

I really like the configuration. You won't get the pure Mac speed (especially at boot up and shut down), but you'll be more stable in general. Drawback- if you have files on your Windows HD (i.e. photos, contact info, docs, etc.), you can't get to them from the OSX HD. A memory stick is a good investment.

A friend recently bougth a Mac, and runs the Microsoft Office suite for Mac, so she's totally away from windows. She claims that it's wonderful.

(We both do commercial appraisal work, so there's heavy lifting with regard to data crunching, document handling and so forth.)


I am primary Mac user and only have windows as back up for running MLS.

My Fusion VM pulls up all windows software on my Mac for MLS and other apps.

Use Excel 2004 to bring up CCIM xls forms. In few months Apple will introduce the new version of MS excel which will support widgets running CCIM forms.

Only 2004 MS office supports widgets.

Right now I am developing File Maker Pro 10 on Mac to run Commercial listings,transactions, projects, brochures, apple mail,apple ical all synchronized as turn key application.

Once complete I will offer for sale to my CCIM mac buddies.


I’m been using a Mac for two years. With office for mac (student edition), I have had no issues whatsoever. Will never go back to PC. I have tried boot camp and parallels to run windows programming. They’re a pain and these days really unnecessary. I never have to use windows anymore. By the way, Iworks is supposed to be better than Office and interfaces with Office (word and excel), but I haven’t used it.

Go for it.


I love it but there are challenges. I have been using bootcamp when I have to switch over to a windows program, but it is so inconvenient I rarely do it. I have ended up keeping a windows laptop handy rather than using bootcamp. In particular I’ll use MS Publisher, MS Streets and Trips, and Argus on Windows. Some of the online resources do not work well with Safari and that can be a problem which requires MS Explorer. I may get a parallel program and see if that works with Argus etc.

We have a MS Exchange for email, outlook, etc. and it does NOT like the mac at all. I use Entourage for CRM and it is fine except except for the exchange issues. I would be interested in hearing about Sale Force or any other Mac CRM. When our server dies, we will be getting rid of exchange and moving our mail server to something like google and that should work much better with Mac. I highly recommend the iphone with the apps and GIS system as well. Mac is definitely the way to go


Our shop is (almost) totally mac. We have a pc on the network, but I never use it. It does keep us out of CoStar though, as their platform is mac-phobic. We're happy to trade the mac os for CoStar however. Very few other limitations that we have not been able to work around comfortably.


I use a Mac Book Pro with no issues. Office for Mac had problems when it first came out, but they have been corrected and work fine now. Good luck with the switch!


I've been using a Mac primarily for over 5 years. It's been bumpy at times, but I have always loved it.


As a Mac user of less than a year, I will strongly recommend that, if there is an Apple retail store near you, sign up for the one-on-one training deal they offer for $99. It is the best deal out there. Unlimited 1-hour sessions with a Mac expert who will teach you anything you need to learn. Best money I have spent!


I have used a macbook pro for two years now, and I love it. Unfortunately the real estate world is not mac friendly. I use VM Fusion with a copy of Windows XP for the items that will only work with internet explorer (MLS and Zipforms online plus quicken and quickbooks). I absolutely love working with Keynote for presentations and Pages for brochures. On a personal note, iPhoto is a terrific program. I keep all my pictures on it, and the slideshows are great for personal and business. If you have not tried mobile me for cloud computing it is a must.


I have been a "Dell/Windows" user for years and upgrade computers frequently. I have received my share of "errors" with the Windows based system and bought an IMAC for home use and training. Out of habit, I continued to use the Windows side of the IMAC partition to a greater extent than the OSX (Apple) side and learned very little. However, I was impressed that the data files were recognized on the OSX side of the partition.

Last October I ordered a new Dell T7400 ($3k+) to replace my office computer. I have had nothing but trouble with the new Dell, error upon error, and have had their tech department on the line for days at a time attempting to solve many issues. In desperation I finally ordered a MacPro and have dedicated and disciplined myself to learn to operate the Mac.

There is no comparison! The transition to the MAC is practically seamless. There are only a few programs that I cannot use that require a Windows operating system. I will never return to the Microsoft based system again except for deed plotting and a few additional minor software programs requiring Microsoft.


I have been using Macs as my only computers (both desktop and laptop) for 20+ years (since before the first Macintosh). They are everything you say they are and more.

There have been only two instances where I have been forced to use an emulation program to run PC programs:

Our MLS system, which has changed providers numerous times over the years, now uses Rapattoni, which I like, but they can’t (or won’t) make it available for Macs, and

2. Yardi property management. This is an excellent program which was originally available in both Mac and PC versions, but the company decided a few years ago to go PC only, due to the relatively small number of Mac users.

For both of these programs I am using an emulation program called “Parallels” which although slow to start up, works quite well once it gets going.

The Microsoft Office programs work just fine on my Mac, including the CCIM xls forms. My whole family are “Mac people” and we are quite happy.


I just interviewed with a firm that does brokerage and pm. They swear by macbook.


I use only macs... i would never go back to a pc ever... i do on occasion run a needed windows only program on windows xp through parallels on my mac.. the only issues i have run into with the ccim ms excel spreadsheets is that in MS Office 2008 for mac, the macros do not work. so i continue to use ms office 2004 for mac and have no issues.

I just bought a new macbook pro about 3 months ago, and loving it.. this is third mac for me. I had a 1st generation intel macbook 4 years ago, and also have a mac desktop...

The best thing is that i never have to worry about viruses, crashing, etc...


I recently switched from a PC to a MacBookPro. Microsoft has a version of Office specifically for the MAC. I also bought Fusion software which allows the loading of Windows in a virtual partition along with any other Windows based programs. You can set it up to be able to toggle between the OS and Windows formats. Once you get use to the protocall, file sharing between formats has posed no problem. One advantage that I have that I don't remember seeing in Salida is an Apple Store. For $98.00 you can go in once a week for a year for a one hour private "One-On-One" tutorial. Most of mine is answering questions since the last lesson. Another program is called Pro-Care. With it, you walk in the store and go to the front of the lin with any problems that you have. OS will support anything HP but not Dell printers. You can load them to support applications in the Windows partition. The best thing is to have a son-in-law who is a real expert and Mobile Me software that allows him to take over my computer and fix whatever is wrong with it, any hour of the day or night, from his home in Montrose, CO.


My colleague and I both made the switch last year to mac book pro with VMware - What a difference!

No regrets here.... we have been much more efficient in our work since having switched.

Not to mention that running windows in the VMware environment is amazing; not a single freeze or crash yet in one year!

I took all of my CCIM classes on my mac and never encountered any problems with the spreadsheets or CCIM website.

Also, the MAC Book syncs great with my Treo phone, and the plug N play capabilities with other devices has been impressive.

We use the Pages program for our flyers and website files.

Occasionally the Mail program is a little temperamental regarding the incoming and outgoing ports and the type of internet connection you're on, but for the most part, its very easy to use.

I think you'll be very pleased to make the switch.


I made the MAC switch about 5 years ago and have been extremely pleased with it. I use MS office on it and have not had any problems with it. I also use Time Machine - works great. I did have to hold onto a PC for the property mgmt software I use due to it's incompatibility with MAC.


A client of mine has been using the Mac for coming up on 2 years and he loves it. He is a RE developer and has been able to run everything he wants on his. The Mac version of office even gave him a couple of tricks my PC version did not have.


I use a mac for everything at home and at work.

Entourage for email. And word and excel.

I use reportingbroker.com for marketing.