3 Features That Your Realtor Branded App Should Have

Todays’ technology makes it easy for Realtors to work remotely but having and maintaining a mobile application can be a little frustrating.

It can get overwhelming when deciding what features your personalized agent branded app should have.  While many apps have great features, some may have too many which can leave a buyer confused and disoriented.

The more features your app has the more places it has to glitch up and crash. The key to preventing your app from constantly crashing, confusing a user, and preventing you from having a constant headache is to simplify with these 3 features.

Mobile MLS Mapping – Most applications have this as a standard feature. When building your own app this is a must have. This feature allows the user to search for property from a “Google Maps” platform. It’s extremely user-friendly and anyone who has a smart phone (if they don’t they’ve got bigger issues) can use it.

Agent Branding –  This seems like a no brainer but you’d be surprised as to how many apps do this incorrectly. Agent Branding is simply making sure the app is clearly about you. You should have features that allow the user to contact you (by phone or email) regarding a property they find on the app directly from the app. This also leaves no room for another agent to get your client!

Home Spotter – I put this on the list simply because I think it’s extremely cool! This home Spotter feature allows the user to hold his/her smart phone or tablet up to a property (as if they were taking a video or picture) and get all the info for that property. Price, listing agent, how many rooms, everything is virtually displayed over the property! This feature is just for bragging rights. You can bet the other agent doesn’t have it on his/her app and it will definitely impress your clients.

 

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Take Your Real Estate Marketing Online

A lot of Realtors consider themselves to be “Old Skool” (yes that’s school with a k). I’ve had many Realtors express concerns about the effectiveness of online lead generation.  The question they ask is, “Can we compete in our market without implementing an online or web 2.0 campaign?”

Of course it’s “Possible”. However, as you continue the practices that you’re used to, you can be sure that your competitors are venturing in areas that you are not. As I’ve mentioned in earlier post, most people searching for a new property start by searching online. Here are two statistics for you to think about when considering taking your marketing campaign online.

  • According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 90% of home buyers searched online during their home buying process. Real estate-related searches on Google.com have grown 253%  over the past four years.
  • NAR studies show that 52% of buyers turn to the Web as their first step in the home buying process.

So what does this information tell us? It tells us that almost all home buyers went online at some point in their home buying process, and over half did so before they even turned to a broker. The majority of people buying homes today spend time searching, learning and taking information online before they even think about speaking with a broker.  This alone is enough to consider expanding your marketing efforts online.

Real Estate Report Card

There are a lot of Real Estate companies with applications that claim to be the “best choice for your Real Estate needs”. I’ve just recently come across an article that I feel accurately describes and grades a few of the major Real Estate platforms. It goes without saying that each review should be taken with a grain of salt. Most of these applications give you the same MLS listing results, so the majority of the reviews focus on design and touch user interface. The only way to find out which one is right for you is to try them all!

“Reposted from 1000watt Blog.” 

Zillow

Zillow announced that it will be the first publicly traded company to take questions from investors via Twitter and Facebook. It also re-launched its mobile apps, moving all the search options under the “hamburger” icon and integrated its Mortgage Marketplace into the experience.

Grade: B+

I think Zillow’s openness on social media has done wonders for its brand and I like the new design… but I don’t love it. Somehow it feels like it has lost a bit of its personality. Maybe I miss the green from the new all-blue look. (Too Trulia for them, perhaps?) Also, I’m really beginning to think that the map is not the best view for real estate listings on mobile. More on that in another post, though.

Trulia

Trulia’s suite of consumer products, its website, mobile apps and iPad app all got face-lift too. Photos got bigger. The design got flatter. And in the case of the search results page on their website, they lost the left rail altogether and moved to a two-column layout.

Grade: A

I like the direction that Trulia is taking its design. Deep-sixing that left rail of refiners is like a blast of fresh air across the page. Trulia was the last holdout of the major portals on this front. Vendors and brokers, if you’re still desperately clinging to that wall of drop downs and form fields on your website, do yourself a favor and move on.

Realtor.com

Realtor.com released school search in its iOS and Android apps this month. The feature lets you quickly find properties within specific school districts or boundaries with a quick tap. Great school ratings are integrated, as are important data points like teacher/student ratios. Parents everywhere rejoice.

Grade: A-

I love all the innovation coming out of “Move” on the mobile front. They were first out of the gates with a draw-to-search feature, which still feels like magic. School search is a such a no-brainer and their execution here is fantastic. I love the speed and responsiveness. My only hesitation in awarding them an A grade this month is that the app itself is starting to look a little tired, with feature upon feature being piled on. I think this is an app that is screaming out for a UI refresh.

Redfin

Redfin pushed out a major design overhaul of the company’s website a few weeks back. They buried the previous design’s “cadaver blue” and splashed the wall with Redfin red . The company’s tree logo also got felled. A quick survey of the comments on the blog post announcing the change shows people were none too happy with the change.

Grade: B+

The new identity and red makes a ton sense. After all, the color is in the company’s name. I really like the cleanliness of the new site too, but its mobile apps still look like they’re the walking dead.