Buying a home could probably be the biggest purchase a person makes in a lifetime. You can imagine then (or have probably experienced it yourself) that it takes an insane amount of research to find the right property. People spend months, perhaps years, combing through listings, contacting real estate agents, visiting properties, comparing prices, calculating interest rates, and most of all, analyzing the future value of making such a humongous investment. Just like everything else in life, people look to the help of technology when taking this gigantic decision. With a truly useful, well designed and feature rich real estate app, you can tap into this ever growing, highly profitable market that is truly looking for a disruption.
That’s right. Even though online property finder apps and websites like Zillow and Realtor.com effectively revolutionized real estate a decade or two ago, a bigger disruption is now in order, where apps leverage the powers of mobile technology and geo-fencing, augmented reality and virtual reality, to help dwelling-seekers and investors find the right property for them. Mobile real estate apps could help buyers visualize the future of their property in real time, see what it will look like in a few years when the development is complete, assess if this place would be worth the price tag, and do so much more.
So in short, property buyers and sellers with thousands, maybe millions at stake, would be willing to pay handsomely to use an app that will help them make better decisions. If you can provide them the right app, you’re sitting on a billion dollar idea here. Today, let’s take a look at how you can develop a killer real estate app that can truly help users and in turn bring in top dollar revenues. We’ll talk about the top features, technologies and creative ideas you can integrate into a mobile app to make it every property buyer’s holy-grail. So let’s dive right in.
1. Real Estate App Needs Fantastic Search Capabilities
To be able to truly make property search effective, you’ll need develop some fine search capabilities. Users want to be able to view, search and sort/filter properties in a myriad of ways. They can be as broad as ‘apartments for sale in New York’ to as narrow as ‘2 bedroom condo for rent in Lower East Side Manhattan’.
Now here’s the thing about search – most property finder apps rely on the listings provided by the sellers themselves. From my own experiences of hunting for a home in the city, I can tell that the folks looking to sell aren’t always super careful about entering details. There are homes listed with the area name in place of the address, and the app’s map is thus unable to show the right location of the property. To make your app truly searchable by location, encourage your sellers to enter the right address. Develop systems to detect properties with incomplete addresses and make efforts to contact these sellers and find out the right address. Always attempt to get the property location as precise as possible as it is the first thing buyers search for, and the biggest deciding factor.
Talking of search, develop systems that can perform radial search – allowing users to search all available properties within a certain radius. I was willing to buy a new home, an old dilapidated property, an apartment or just about anything that fell in a 5-mile radius of my workplace. Develop a super-intuitive map search that shows properties by their location on the map, moving along as the user navigates the map. In addition to conventional filters like size, age and condition of the property, include more intuitive filters like properties with a backyard, green-facing properties, close to a lake or close to a mall or any other creative filters you could think of. The idea is to let users search for all the things they want in a property.
2. Great Viewing Features
After searching comes viewing. Now that users can search for hundreds of homes on a given area, they need to be able to see each one inside and out, in order to further narrow down their preferences. A great real estate app must help users make as close an assessment as they can by viewing the property in-app, before they actually go down to visit in person. Once again, reach out to the sellers listing their property and nudge them to click several high quality photographs of the property from various angles, helping buyers get an honest perspective of whether this is the property they’re looking for. For premium properties, consider taking the pictures yourself.
Include features like 3D view to get a realistic look of the property as well as the surroundings. In addition to that, use features like augmented reality to show how an old home could look after renovations and use virtual reality to show how a new development would look after the roads, landscaping and surrounding homes are all built. The current state of the property may be all bricks and concrete – not very inviting to look at, but AR and VR could show the buyers the true possibilities of a new development, helping them make a more informed choice, and feel better about it.
3. Help Understand Financing
While searching, finding, viewing and assessing are absolute necessities, a good real estate app can take things a step further and help buyers deal with the next biggest problem in buying a property – financing. Understanding mortgages, down payments, interest rates and estimated monthly installments isn’t exactly easy, and frazzled real estate buyers need all the help they can get.
A good real estate can make it easy to break down payment plans based on the price of the property. The app can give out updated information about interest rates from leading banks, types of loans or mortgages that can be availed on that property, how the buyer can break up the charges and a whole lot of other financial information.
4. Facilitate Easy Interactions
The app can build in additional features like buyer chat or send seller a text to show interest in a certain property. Buyers feel hesitant to call sellers at odd times, but they also tend to forget to call them later. When they do remember, they might not have the number handy. Enable your app to facilitate easier interactions so that buyers can subtly leave a message for the seller and the two can either chat, or get on the phone at a time convenient for everyone.
5. User Account and Profile
Allow users and sellers to register and login so that they can save their search history, shortlisted properties, favorites etc. and keep their house hunt organized.
The Cost of Building Such an App
Depending on the features you wish to include and exclude, your cost will vary across the board. A basic real estate with quality search and filter capabilities will cost you anywhere close to $20,000. As you add more features like loan calculator and 3D, VR and AR, the costs will go up, anywhere in the range of $30,000 to $50,000.
That price tag might seem a tad steep, but if you think about it, Zillow is a free to list site for buyers and sellers. Yet, it saw a massive 51% rise in year-over-year revenue from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019, grossing a total of over $454 million in the first quarter of 2019. And that’s just from advertising. So if you build an app that truly hits it off with real estate buyers and sellers, you are looking at a really rewarding ROI right here. So go ahead and drop us a line to discuss your real estate app further and let’s turn your vision into a reality.