I do not believe that mobile is the future of online real estate search. Why you ask? Because mobile is online real estate search and consumers have already been conditioned to get the information they want from their smartphone. With the popularity of real estate apps and searches, it’s difficult to make an argument that the mobile real estate revolution hasn’t already arrived.
According to the Google/NAR Digital House Hunt Study, “36 percent of home buyers use a mobile device while watching TV.” We know that home buyers use different technology during every different phase of their home search, but as practitioners, are we reactive or proactive in how we respond, adapt, and offer technology to our clients?
In an effort to be proactive, I have spent this past year informally polling all of my buyer clients on their search habits. What I’ve discovered is that some like Trulia, some like Zillow, some like to perform a basic Google address search but a lot are using the realtor.com® app. While there are no major differences with any of these apps, my polling revealed that mobile real estate search preferences vary according to personal style and familiarity with the application or program.
Personally, I have been evaluating the realtor.com® mobile app for iPhone. So far, I think it has fairly good features not only for the agent but also for the consumer. And my clients are loving it! The real difference between this app and many others is that with the realtor.com® app, I can add my clients using my login information—much like a friend request on Facebook—and once my client accepts, we are connected. Because of this feature, there’s a collaborative aspect to this app; I can send my clients homes they may be interested in and more importantly, they can send me homes they want to see or get more information about.
For example: Last weekend, one of my clients was driving around looking at neighborhoods, saw a home, opened the realtor.com® app, and used it to get details about the home. Instantly, the details were sent to my phone, which alerted me of my client’s desire to see the property. This is a perfect example of the collaboration between home buyers and their agents that our industry has been talking about for years.
If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to download the app and ask a few clients to do the same. They will be happy you are involving them in the home buying process and you’ll be able to check out some pretty neat technology. Mobile is not the future, mobile is now. So what are you waiting for?
Jason O’Neil is an associate broker with Encore Sotheby’s International Realty in Indianapolis. Connect with him at jasononeilrealtor.com.