Gone are the days of looking in the classifieds section of a newspaper to look up property listings or driving around the neighbourhood to find out what’s available. We live in a digital world now where searching for a home is all done online and through mobile devices. The home buying and renting process is much more smooth and simple as mobile technology is helpful in making our everyday lives more convenient. With the combination of mobile apps and real estate, the whole process of searching, buying renting or selling is much easier to handle.
According to the National Association of Realtors, in 1981, 22% of home buyers read newspaper ads to find a home and 8% used friends as an information source. In 2016, 44% looked for properties online first and 58% of Millennials and 46% Generation X found their home on a mobile device.
With more real estate agencies jumping on board to use mobile apps to help our potential clients, this post will focus on the current mobile app trends and features being used to help with the positive growth of the real estate industry as well as some successful apps benefitting the sector such as providing mortgage calculators and easy to use property searching tools.
What are the Current Mobile App Trends and Features Benefitting the Real Estate Industry?
With real estate agencies having a connection to mobile apps, it extends and increases their market reach and exposure. Below we have highlighted some of the trending features used in real estate mobile apps to help clients have a smooth, secure, simple and convenient home buying and renting process.
- Geolocation specifications. This feature takes into account the app user’s current location showing them properties with any nearby schools, local crime levels, any potential hazards, hospitals, grocery stores, places to eat etc…
- Push notifications. Instant notifications are sent the moment a property is available whether it’s for renting or purchasing, or when listing prices change.
- Interactive Map. Having a map feature helps clients to see the listings available in their area while driving around or even sitting at home, making it easier to search for properties. Commercial real estate apps use a GPS to show properties available based on specific geographical areas. Users can then click on the properties shown on the map which then displays a description of the home and the pricing.
- Immersive technology. Using technology like virtual reality and 3D visualization can help give 360-degree virtual tours of properties. This has eliminated the need for having physical showrooms and allows potential home buyers to see a home without having to be there in person.
- Using a camera. Implementing a camera feature in the real estate app can allow people to take pictures outside of homes that are for rent or sale as they walk by and find out their estimated value, floor plan, the number of rooms and people can also see the interior pictures of the home.
- Mortgage calculator. This tool can help find out about mortgage rates including taxes and insurance. This feature can help clients make comparisons between different properties they are interested in.
- Electronic signature. Having this tool incorporated into a real estate app can help with signing electronic documents, saving the time and energy of dealing with mountains of paperwork. It is also good to have the app connected to cloud services like DropBox to share, store and save important files. This way they can be accessed from anywhere on any device by both the real estate agent and the client.
- Messaging and communication system. This tool is a means of contact between agent and client, allowing for easy and fast communication through the app. This can be text messaging or live video and audio chats, making communication seamless and offering flexibility for contacting on the go.
- Advanced searching options. Incorporating this feature helps to search for properties based on listing prices, number of bedrooms, home type, square footage, number of bathrooms and location. This helps clients narrow down the scope of their search and easily find a home that suits their needs. For example, clients could specifically search for homes that have been built recently in the last 2 years.
- Calendar. A calendar tool allows clients to see available dates to book meetings with agents and see possible dates for visiting properties. They can easily book these appointments online from any device through a real estate app.
- Advanced security settings. This feature could involve eye, fingerprint or face identification scanning to access sensitive information in the app including personal data and financials.
- Saving favourites. After doing their research looking at different properties online, clients will want to save their favourite options. Having a feature where they can store them all in a list to consult later-on and narrow down their top choices is essential for helping them find their perfect future home.
Groundbreaking Real Estate Mobile Apps
As you can see there are several different modern tools and features real estate mobile apps can implement and incorporate to help ease the buying and renting process for clients. Below we have compiled a few real estate apps that have made their mark in the industry.
According to the team: “More people around the world are choosing to live together and we think sharing a place can be a brilliant living experience and a great way to save (or make) money. Founded in September of 2003 and based in New York City. Roomster has made the experience of sharing a home easy & safe. Roomster is a trusted name for people to post & search for accommodations around the world with other like-minded individuals.”
According to the team: “Our top-rated Real Estate app simplifies your home search. Instantly see nearby homes for sale, apartments for rent, or open houses. With hi-res photo galleries and essential info like crime and school ratings, you’ll be one step closer to home.”
*Trulia also has an app for property rentals and calculating mortgages and loan quotes.
According to the team: “Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help. Zillow serves the full lifecycle of owning and living in a home: buying, selling, renting, financing, remodelling and more. It starts with Zillow’s living database of more than 110 million U.S. homes – including homes for sale, homes for rent and homes not currently on the market, as well as Zestimate home values, Rent Zestimates and other home-related information. Zillow operates the most popular suite of mobile real estate apps, with more than two dozen apps across all major platforms.”
According to the team: “Homesnap is the only nationwide home search portal that gives you access to the same real-time MLS information available to your agent, so you have the most accurate details about the home you’re interested in at your fingertips. Homesnap Pro puts accurate, real-time MLS data into agents’ phones to help them stay connected with clients and colleagues while on the go. This MLS membership benefit includes complete confidential listing information, rapid CMAs, in-app messaging, an agent safety timer and much more.”
According to the team: “RoomScan Pro is the only app with three great ways to get a floor plan, making sure it always gets the job done. Touch Phone Against Walls — perfect where the view of the floor is blocked or poorly-lit, just touch your phone against each wall for a rapid plan. Augmented Reality Scanning — new in iOS 11, use your iPhone 6s, iPhone SE or above’s camera to scan the floor and accurately add walls in seconds. Draw Manually & Use Laser — take advantage of slick integration with Leica & Bosch laser measures to get precise measurements onto your plan in moments. RoomScan Pro can scan building exteriors, yards and gardens too, with the ExteriorScan & PlotScan features.”
According to the team: “See every nearby home for sale or draw your own custom search area. Instantly book tours of your favorite homes with our experienced local Redfin Agents. When you find “the one,” we’ll make your home-buying experience seamless & save you thousands on closing costs.”
According to the team: “Homes.com gives you access to millions of homes for sale and for rent across the United States. With our real estate app, you can procrastinate for days searching interactive maps, high-res property photos and other nifty things. Peep on the neighbors with our home values. Explore houses, condos, apartments, bungalows, dungeons and townhomes.”
According to the team: “Introducing a radically better way to buy or sell a home. Xome Real Estate App is the world’s first truly integrated way to buy and sell a home. We assist you from start to finish; including finding your dream home or listing yours for sale, making and receiving offers, moving into escrow and finally closing the deal.”
It is great to see that technology trends are helping to create a smooth environment for home renting and buying. Check out some of our previous posts for more on how mixed reality and augmented reality are impacting the real estate industry.