Secrets to Help You Build a Real Estate App
The real estate market remains popular and saturated for a long time, which makes it, of course, highly competitive. That’s why companies are forced to invent new ways to fight for each client. And one of them is to create a real estate app.
These mobile programs are good at optimizing and automating numerous processes; thus they efficiently contribute to business growth. Though, it’s easier said than done! Real estate app development is by no means a simple process, and many of you, probably, have no idea of what it entails and where to start.
Let's figure it out, step by step!
Real estate trends
As you understand, any market requires investments, including a real estate one. But it's all theoretical... what about the situation in practice?
According to the study, in the last year, $185BN (about 50%) of cross-border investments were attracted by European real estate markets. And $140BN (about 35%) were accounted for cross-border investment in Asia-Pacific countries.
The numbers look impressive, but in order to attract real estate investors, you need to offer a quality product (or high-top services). And this implies the need to keep abreast of developments and market innovations.
So let's talk about real estate trends. What is happening (and what is popular) in the market in 2019?
#1. Market stabilization
According to experts, in 2019 the number of deals on the global real estate market will remain at the level of 2018. Among other things, this is due to high prices for property objects, which increases the payback period.
In general, since the volume of investments has been growing over the past 11 years, market stabilization is quite expected. And then we must be ready to face an inevitable decline (lower prices and the fewer number of deals) throughout the world. However, something of the sort had already been happening in 2008–2009: the process is cyclic!
And if so, all the more reason to think about developing a real estate mobile app right away. As we've said earlier, these programs are aimed to attract new customers and keep old ones.
#2. Innovative solutions
Real estate is getting smarter: sensors, IoT, AI, machine learning, robots, etc. have completely changed the operation of buildings. All major construction firms use smart home technology and other cool innovations.
And, in this respect, real estate mobile app development seems to be a logical continuation of the trend, doesn't it?
#3. Ecological properties
Environmental friendliness is gaining momentum and manifesting itself in all aspects connected with real estate. Buyers are beginning to pay special attention to the "green issue", and realtors cannot ignore it either.
For example, during the exhibition, the world-famous architect Jean Nouvel presented his project for the construction of a building with an area of 45,000 square meters (in Brazilian Sao Paulo). A distinctive feature of his piece of architecture is the use of wood not only as a building material but also in the form of living trees on the facade.
#4. The Amazon threat
The head of Accor (the largest hotel chain in the world), says that there is a chance of Amazon entering the real estate and tourism markets (say, by purchasing a hotel chain). And it will completely change aligning of forces.
The fact is that Amazon has a huge amount of data on 300 million people on the planet, right up to their vacation dates and types of leisure preferred. Therefore, the company can provide the most personalized offers.
But, having commercial real estate apps, you can also collect data about your users and anticipate their needs. It means you’ll be able to offer your clients exactly what they want.
#5. Reduced yield and increased interest in redevelopment
The decline in yield is a pan-European trend in the real estate market: according to estimates by PwC experts, the figure decreased from 6% in 2009 to 4% in 2017. As investors say, today the yield of 3% is considered to be a rather optimistic scenario.
With this in mind, we can understand the increased investor interest in redevelopment and value-added projects which bring 8–12% per annum. Two-thirds of investors (polled by PwC analytics) consider it the best way to acquire first-class assets.
And again: real estate application development is a good step given tough market conditions and, as a result, increasing competition.
#6. Profitable real estate of the future
Housing affordability is the most important social issue that will affect the real estate market in the short term. Solutions for the coming years include the use of micro-apartments, coworking systems, and nursing homes.
#7. Data Security
The development of smart technologies leads to the fact that the owners of buildings accumulate a great amount of data about users and customers: fingerprints helping to open doors, face recognition systems, tracking movements in rooms, and so on… everything becomes known, even the body temperature! And there is a need to protect such data, which explains the appearance of a trend (by the way, real estate mobile apps also require data protection).
And now let's look at your competitors. Namely, what are the best real estate apps?
The best real estate apps
Are you ready to find out who you'll have to compete with and what exactly to expect? Then read on!
StreetEasy is one of the most popular real estate apps in the USA. Its goal is to help in finding housing in New York. With a huge database of real estate information in all areas of the celebrated Big Apple, including such famous ones as Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, the service has won the love of numerous American users.
An interesting app feature:
StreetEasy provides its users with the ability to send messages directly from the application - to the agents' email right away. Usually, the feature is implemented through regular HTTP requests.
Since 2008, Homesnap has been one of the top real estate apps in the US market. One of the reasons for its popularity is the constant updating of the program, the addition of new useful features, and the improvement of old ones.
An interesting app feature:
With the help of Homesnap, users get detailed data about any object of interest. All they have to do is upload its photo or enter the address.
Among the great real estate apps, one cannot but mention Naked Apartments. Even its name is very original and immediately attracts attention: it's small wonder that users are really enjoying this program.
An interesting app feature:
We'd like to talk more about the Showings On Demand feature. It allows users to quickly see the apartment they like - on demand. Such a possibility, among other things, explains the relevance of the application: as you understand, the chance to explore the property without delay sometimes becomes a decisive factor (especially in huge megalopolises with high competition).
The list of good real estate apps wouldn't be complete without Apartments.com. This is another user-friendly program that is in particular demand in the USA.
An interesting app feature:
Apartments.com offers a virtual tour feature which includes detailed information on all properties. In addition, this implies the ability to view options in 3D and communicate with agents in real time.
If we previously described American applications, now it’s time to touch on the Australian market, namely, the Realestate.com.au program. The fact is that it offers interesting features which would help you come up with splendid real estate mobile app ideas.
An interesting app feature:
Realestate.com.au efficiently uses a system of smart push notifications. Notifications are being sent daily at 6 o'clock in the evening. This allows potential customers to see changes in the status of their requests, find out news about their favorite (or similar) property options, read about the latest real estate market events, and the like.
The time for sending notifications is very true: users are more relaxed and ready to accept new information at the end of the working day.
Who is interested in developing real estate apps?
In any business, there are two parties of the interaction process: those who offer something (sellers of goods, providers of services) and those who are looking for something (consumers). The latest in the real estate market are tenants and buyers. And among initiators of the deals (providers) are:
startups dreaming of earning by the real estate market;
real estate agencies and realtors;
travel and tour agencies;
It is the above organizations that are interested in a mobile app for real estate business… but why? What benefits do they get?
Luckily, we have the answer.
Benefits of Real Estate Apps
All described companies (startups, agencies, and so on) are happy to develop a mobile app for real estate business because they understand: such a step brings a lot of undoubted advantages. Let's list the main of them!
high customer loyalty. Farsighted businessmen are actively using loyalty programs to attract customers, and the mobile application is a good assistant in this matter. Such a solution would allow you to achieve amazing results, and you won't regret your decision to create a real estate app.
an increase in the number of successfully concluded deals. The 2nd benefit is logically related to the previous one. As we’ve said, the mobile app improves customer experience (by bettering client service through a number of helpful real estate app features (we'll discuss them below)). And satisfied users are more willing to make deals.
an accurate hit on the target audience. In order to successfully sell (no matter what, goods or services), you need to know who exactly is interested in your offer. Therefore, by advertising your application, you can more precisely target your audience and attract those who need your very services. And these users are your future potential customers.
marketing tools. Real estate marketing apps are an excellent tool for marketing activities. Analyzing the user's behavior, you can send him relevant advertising. And this is just one of the similar examples!
effective analytics. Owning a mobile application, you get a chance to collect information on user behavior. Such data would help you provide each client with a personal approach, adjust business strategy, etc.
real-time communication with customers. The real estate agent app means the ability to be constantly in touch with the user and quickly respond to his feedback.
a revenue increase due to the project monetization. Of course, a real estate agency is unlikely to make the mobile monetization the key income source but it can be a welcome bonus. And why not, actually?
reduced advertising costs. Maintaining the interest of regular customers to the mobile application through interesting real estate app features, you can save on the advertising campaign and boost its effectiveness.
brand recognition. Developing a real estate app contributes to the growth of company awareness and gives a chance to build a product using a logo, corporate colors, fonts, and so on.
internal business processes optimization. Any business is inseparable from different managing tasks, and apps for real estate are good in simplifying all these processes. In addition to increasing the efficiency of the company, they save financial and staff resources.
Key real estate app features
To know how to create a real estate app, you have to understand what features you need to build. We offer you to take a look at the list below and choose the items you like. And, of course, you’re free to come up with your own ideas!
user account. Well, the first item on the list is clear, right? The user needs his account to simplify the process of interaction with the application, and the owner of the service will be able to take advantage of the users' personal data to make them unique offers. A perfect win-win situation! By the way, in order to reduce the time of registration, we recommend providing the integration of social networks.
catalog, a very important feature of the real estate app. Such a catalog consists of property cards. Each one should contain photos, descriptions, and other similar information which would allow the user to get a rough idea of the estate object.
search and sort filters. Simplify the search system and allow users to filter and sort their requests according to certain criteria (meaning displaying the list alphabetically, by prices, by date added, and so on).
geolocation. An online map with key objects marked on it (hospitals, schools, shops, and other social facilities) is a great addition to the functionality of a real estate mobile application. Also, it is desirable to provide an opportunity to pave the route to the point indicated on the map (say, to the property object the user wants to give a look-over).
showings on demand. We mentioned this feature when discussing a Naked Apartments app. When is it needed? Imagine that the client is near the property he likes (be it a house, apartment, cottage), and he wants to see it without extra waiting. To avoid a long chain of arranging a meeting, a user can take advantage of his real estate app in a mobile device: if the program has a Showings On Demand feature, of course. With its help, the user receives information about realtors who are located in the specified area and ready to show the selected object (here, again, a geolocation feature is required).
virtual tour. The tour feature was mentioned earlier too (when we were describing the most popular real estate apps). With the help of such tours, customers get a chance to have a look at interesting objects even before the official real-world viewing (and therefore choose the options that best fit their criteria).
feedback and rating. The ability to leave feedback and rate this or that realtor will also appeal to users. The result is increased loyalty.
сhat. Real estate agencies must keep a high level of communication with potential customers, and mobile chat is a good helper in such respect. Also, you can enhance the effect by using chatbots. A chatbot is a program which sends automatically generated messages to users with answers to frequently asked questions. Thanks to chatbots, customers get an answer without any delay, and agents can take their time to prepare a detailed offer.
Push Notifications. Today, this feature is inherent in any type of application. And real estate apps are no exception. Implement such notifications to provide users with the opportunity to receive daily information updates about property objects they like.
QR codes. A real estate company can add QR codes to its billboards or agency booklets. Then, having scanned a QR code using a smartphone, users would be able to read all the information about a particular house, apartment or building.
Offering a good feature set, you'll definitely interest a maximum of potential clients with your program. But remember: the impression of the finest functionality would be spoiled by an ill-conceived interface. Therefore, make sure your real estate app design is intuitive and clear: user-friendly, simply put.
Of course, mobile app development for real estate area doesn't make monetization the top priority, the prime task is to strengthen business positions. But why not try to kill two birds with one stone?
So, what additional monetization options do you have?
Light & Pro. There are a few variations: freemium model, subscription, and more. However, the essence is the same: there is basic free functionality and paid extra features.
Advertising. The second key way to monetize your app is advertising. In the end, your application is a ready-made advertising platform, and you just need to convince advertisers to use it to promote their brands.
As you now understand, a mobile app can help real estate companies to grow their businesses. You just need to find the right approach to the process of developing and promoting your program. And don't rush, this is the case when you must act thoughtfully and calculate every step. Only then your investment will pay off with interest.
Of course, you have to hire a team of specialists first: IT experts skilled enough to build the mobile application you need. And if you're wondering how to find the best real estate app development company, read our article describing tactics that really work.
By the by, we’re happy to offer our services. Having huge experience in developing mobile apps and websites of various types, we're ready for any challenge.