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Sign of the times

The process of searching, buying, selling and renting properties has become easier now than it was in 1981, thanks to the advent of real estate apps. 

These apps have streamlined the process of searching for the perfect home, considered to be the most stressful and cumbersome stage of home rental or purchase.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 22% of home buyers in the United States in 1981 had to scour through the classifieds section of newspapers to find a home, while 8% relied on information provided by friends and acquaintances

In 2016, 44% used real estate platforms like Zillow and Redfin to look for properties online first, and 58% Millennials and 46% Generation X found their homes on mobile devices.

Moreover, the number of households in the US headed by renters in 2016, especially young adults and working professionals, has been the highest in any point since the last 50 years.

And property listers and renters alike prefer mobile applications like Airbnb and Trulia for their transparency and ease-of-use.

As such, it makes more sense for IT entrepreneurs, who wish to launch their own digital real estate start-up, as well as established real estate agencies to go digital.

Following the Uber model

According to Inman Disconnect’s 2019 edition,  the number of real estate agents will shrink, with home-buyers and renters opting for Uber-like real estate applications. 

The Uber model has already been adapted and proven to be a success in other industries like online food and flower delivery. Uberizing relies on connecting the clients to the service providers directly while hiding the intermediary – i.e., the real estate platform.

In a domain where ‘the early bird catches the worm’, both the agents and their clients have to rely on quick service and fast responses, which a real estate application offers.

This post will analyse the market trends of the mobile app industry and talk about the various aspects of developing a mobile app for the real estate industry. 

Basic Features for real estate mobile app

Every app begins its journey from a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with a sufficient list of features being integrated first for gathering relevant user feedback. 

Below we have highlighted some basic features that will make your app deliver a smooth, secure and convenient user experience.

For Customer

1. Signup and login – Have new users easily log into the app once they verify their identity through their email address or phone numbers.

2. Interactive map – Integrate Google maps or other map APIs into your app and have your customers find properties around them. This will also allow the users to view extra information like public transport, schools, entertainment options, etc.

3. Property information – Let your customers view important information about the property like its age, history of ownership, floor plan, furnishings etc.

4. Favourites – After their research, the user can add properties that they found suitable to their favourites list to see them later at their convenience and narrow down their top choices.

5. In-built calendar – The client can see the dates available for setting up meetings with the agents as well as possible dates for booking property visits. They can easily confirm and reschedule bookings through the app.

6. Messaging and communication system – Allow the buyer and the property lister to get in touch and coordinate visits on the go by integrating text messaging, audio chats or video calling. 

7. Push notifications – Keep your potential customers updated about new listings and price changes as well as notify them about upcoming property viewings. 

8. Online payment – Provide a safe and secure platform for online transactions by integrating several payment gateways into your app.

For Admin

1. Property management – Keep your listings up to date by updating details of new properties and removing those that are booked. Create events like open houses and house tours.

2. User management – Blacklist brokers or tenants for causing damage to the property, supplying fraudulent/misleading information or violating the terms and conditions of the app.

3. Property value monitoring – Check how property prices are affected by real world factors and make changes accordingly.

4. Report and Analytics – Keep a track of the revenue received from property deals and determine areas of improvement.

5. Customer support – Answer all your customers’ questions and queries 24/7 and make them feel comfortable and secure during their in-app usage.

Must-have and Advanced features

1. Search and filter functionality – Harness the power of AI tools like Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning to build a powerful and refined search feature. Filter results on the basis of location, plot size, number of rooms, etc.

2. Neighbourhood score – Provide the customer with a single metric that informs them about the suitability of the neighbourhood of the property for living. Important information like crime rates, potential hazards, proximity to markets and hospitals must be considered while calculating the neighbourhood score.

3. Virtual Tour of property – Have 360-degree pictures, zoomable pictures and videos of the property, which the customer can view and interact with.

4. Mortgage calculator – Allow your customer to compare between the mortgage rates, including taxes and insurance, of different properties.

5. Digital contracts – Go paperless and do away with dealing with mountains of paperwork. Make contracts that can be accessed by clients and agents from anywhere and saved as PDFs.

6. Property verification status – Have your customers not worry unnecessarily. Make sure every property listed in your app is genuine by conducting site visits.

7. Advanced security settings – Make sure that sensitive details within the app like personal data and financials is safe from prying eyes by incorporating authentication by PIN code or fingerprint or face identification.

Benefits of real estate apps

1. Connectivity – Millennials are set to become the largest share of home buyers and renters for the next ten years. As they spend most of their time online, having properties listers and agents accessible always will help customers find their perfect house and contribute to greater customer satisfaction.

2. Extended market reach – Smash geographical constraints and reach out to more customers from different localities and age groups and, in the process, increase your revenue.  

3. Hassle free viewing experience – Make house visits more convenient and easier through open houses and group tours. 

4. Building a powerful brand identity – Make your platform different from your competitors and create a strong virtual identity that is likely to attract customers and drive property listers to your app.

How can real estate apps make money?

1. Third party ads and promotions – Have interested parties like lenders, interior designers and other service providers leverage your platform and expanding their reach by offering them paid advertisement space.

2. Monthly charge from brokers – Have real estate agents pay to have their properties featured on your app. Featured properties are visible to a larger audience and appear more frequently in searches.

3. Premium subscription – It can be beneficial to have a premium version of your app that comes with advanced features and benefits, like priority viewings. 

Cost of developing a real estate app

There is no fixed amount for developing an app and the cost of the app development depends upon a lot of factors like the complexity of the project and the hourly cost.

Assuming an average hourly rate of $20 (the standard rate in India), a breakdown of the estimated cost associated with developing a real estate app has been given below

Stage Developer Hours Cost ($)
Web development: Customer and Admin panels 300 6,000
Native development: iOS and Android 900 18,000
UI/UX design 200 4,000
Testing and Quality Assurance 450 9,000
Project management 10-15% of total budget 5,000
TOTAL COST   42,000

For a comprehensive guide of the cost associated with app development, you can read this article

Conclusion

A mobile application for real estate is guaranteed to be successful as it offers a quicker and smoother process for buying or leasing a property and has the potential to make both customers and agents happy. We can help you start your journey towards creating the perfect platform for improving property management.

Idea Usher is a pioneering web- app development company where we build robust, scalable, and innovative technology solutions. With our comprehensive knowledge and tech acumen in making android and iOS apps, we are the perfect candidate for developing your real estate app. Get in touch to get free quotes. 

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