House for sale

“The Ultimate Mobile App for…” is a blog series that will highlight the top three features and characteristics of mobile apps for specific industries and uses. We’ll take a look at the users most likely to engage with the mobile app then identify the key features and characteristics that the app should have to be successful.

The first industry we wrote about was the sports industry. Today we’ll take a look at the real estate sector.

Target Customers: Homebuyers on the Market

Purchasing a home is one of the most important decisions someone can make. Real estate agents used to be the lone gatekeepers of property information but with advances in web and mobile technology, that’s no longer the case, and homebuyers on the market have a wealth of real estate information at their fingertips to find their dream home. The initial reaction from real estate agencies was to fight this trend, but now it’s necessary for them to integrate mobile into their offerings to satisfy this new breed of homebuyer.

Top Three Features and Characteristics for Real Estate Apps

1) Maps

Real estate agents always say that the three most important aspects of judging the appeal of a home are 1) location, 2) location, and 3) location. Thus clean, easily-navigable map functionality in mobile applications are critical for homebuyers to search available homes in desired areas of town.

Zillow’s mobile app does a great job of integrating Google Maps and laying home info on top of it. The app recognizes your location from your smartphone and portrays the homes for sale, with their price and location, in your area on the map. When you move around on the map, the app will perform a new search for houses in the viewing area. Tap on a home icon and a summary of the property will appear, and a tap on the summary will bring up the entire profile. It’s a great user experience.

If you’re a real estate agency looking to build a mobile app, integration of map functionality should be one of the top priorities.

2) Search and Filtering

No two homes are the same, and homebuyers have to understand the characteristics of a house that they desire. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Do you want a parking spot? What’s the price range you can afford? Should you have central heating and air conditioning? The questions homebuyers can ask yourself are endless, but it’s necessary to answer them in order to find the perfect match.

Thus, the filtering function of real estate mobile apps needs to be easy to use and accurate to help homebuyers find the home that they desire. Homebuyers only want to see listings relevant to their needs, and filters have to help them do so quickly and painlessly.

Because there are so many possible factors of a home to filter on the small screens of smartphones, the experience needs to be really simple and Trulia’s mobile app does this really well. In the “search” section of the app, they only list a few primary characteristics of homes, such as price range, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and square foot range, and if the user wants to see more search options, they can access these by tapping the button “Show More Search Filters.” This creates a great user experience by initially limiting the filtering options but providing additional filtering choices if so desired.

The filter functionality is one of the most important features of a real estate mobile app, and it needs to be simple, fast, and accurate to help homebuyers find the properties they desire.

3) Property Images

There’s no substitute for visiting and taking a tour of a house, but high-quality images can help homebuyers prioritize which properties they prefer.

Filtering based on property characteristics like number of bedrooms and square footage help narrow down options, but images can help even more. Pictures let the homebuyer know if the property was maintained well and can give them an idea of how the layout of the home flows and how their furniture may fit into the space.

Additionally, images make the app more engaging by breaking through the monotony of the many words and numbers needed to describe properties.

Technology has disrupted the game and mobile applications are now necessary for real estate agents to stay competitive. The features we mentioned above are crucial to ensure that homebuyers find the listings that they desire. Did we miss any other key features and characteristics? If you’ve developed a real estate app or are a homebuyer who uses mobile apps, please let us know in the comments.

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