Two decades ago to purchase a home or find an apartment for rent people went to real estate companies, as only they had access to the multiple listings services. Or people had to rely on newspapers. How are things going now? The Internet has revolutionized real estate hunting beyond what one can imagine.
A mobile phone is as much a necessity in our daily lives as the air we breathe. A mobile device is more than a computer, it's always with the user, it's a kind of personal space. Today the number of smartphone users worldwide, according to Statista, is about 2.5 billion and the tendency is that this number is getting bigger with every year.
There are a lot of reasons to use mobile apps in real estate business. To find a home or apartment, people don't have to buy a daily newspaper anymore, all they need is an Internet connection and house buying apps.
Why real estate mobile apps are popular
While most modern real estate websites are optimized for mobile devices, they do not provide seemingly endless possibilities as real estate apps do for users. It's pretty obvious that people prefer to use a mobile device when they look for a place to call home. However, these apps are good not just for consumers but for real estate professionals because they help them be more productive.
There are three main reasons why mobile apps for real estate got popularity:
Mobility. A smartphone is always at hand, and thanks to the mobile Internet, realtors and buyers can be online anytime and anywhere, thus staying easily accessible. And this is exactly what people involved in real estate transactions need while they are on the go.
A real estate mobile app takes into account the user's current location. Geolocation specification enables the app to show users nearby schools, markets and hospitals. There are hundreds of properties across the country in the database of real estate agencies and geolocation-enabled apps help customers reach directly to the location. While walking or driving around, users can see the latest added listings in the nearby area and high resolution photos of available homes.
A real estate application makes the buying and rental process more effective. It sends instant notifications to home hunters when a new listing pops up or when the price changes, so that they can instantly start negotiations with a realtor or property owner.
Tools and features to add to a real estate mobile app
A mobile application allows you to make the most of the functions available for the smartphone, it covers tasks that need to be solved quickly, on the go. Here is a brief overview of features that the best real estate apps should have.
The mapping technology allows you to see the whole picture of listings in the area while driving around or sitting on the couch. Commercial real estate apps and multiple listing services like Trulia and Zillow use GPS-based search technology to show you what properties are for sale or sold in a certain geographical area. The real estate app with this feature makes home searching very easy.
3D VR tours
VR technology is an extremely useful offering in the real estate industry. Apps with VR tours let people look around a home without having to visit it in person, which saves lots of time and allows them to view more properties with less efforts.
Using the camera of a smartphone
This feature allows you to quickly make floor plans by moving your phone around the room and using the camera. Viewing space in 3D, editing floor plans in a single tap, adding objects, furnishing home - this is a goldmine for real estate agents. Another way to use the camera in apps for real estate agents and buyers is for the search option, e.g. like in HomeSnap where you can take a photo of any house with your smartphone and find out estimated value, number of rooms, interior photos and other details.
A realtors app that can give the exact info about mortgage rates and payments is the perfect tool when a real estate agent needs to figure the cost of the home or to determine which loan is more suitable for the client. Mortgage calculator by Zillow is a nice example of this feature may work.
Signing documents online
When it comes to getting documents signed, which realtors have to do constantly, the app with electronic signature feature is the fastest way to do it on the go. It is also great to have an app that can connect with cloud services like Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive to import and save documents, track their status and send reminders.
Keeping real estate team organized
CRM and task management apps for realtors can boost productivity of your real estate team. With such an app, you can see what each agent is working on, send notifications about new leads to each team member's phone, set to-do's and schedule reminders.
Related read: A Guide To Determining Real Estate App Development Cost
What to do before developing your own real estate app
When you have a real estate app idea, you should start from careful planning. So, step away from technological aspects, coding and designing, take a pen and paper and define your goals. Start with the questions like:
- Why are you building a real estate app?
- What do you want the app to do?
- What is the target audience of your app - home-buyers or realtors?
After that you can sketch features and tools your app should have and define how the app will function. You also have to decide on how much you are going to invest into building your real estate app - you can use a real estate app cost calculator to get an idea of how much it may cost and compare it with your expectations. Now you are ready to discuss your project with the mobile application development team!
The reality is that the real estate business should strive for development in order to stay on the wave of new technologies and respond to innovations that can make it more efficient. While websites have become the norm for home searching, a real estate app opens huge opportunities and can move your business to a new level.
Looking to expand your business by building a brand new app for realtors and need a trusted real estate application development company to discuss your project? Contact us! Our business analysts will be happy to answer your questions.