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How to Create a Real Estate App?

28.08.2020 Christina Kovalevich
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How To Create A Real Estate App

The real estate domain has been high on the list of user interests for a long time. Today software for real estate helps to handle and process a large amount of information, arrange meetings and properties, get necessary reports in two clicks. Developing a real estate app is a new way to succeed in the field.

Why Create a Real Estate App?

Every person who has a mobile phone uses it for at least a few hours daily. People like the idea of completing many tasks on the go from any part of the world. That’s why almost 90% of real estate agencies already have or are developing applications for their businesses. Real estate applications improve not only homebuyers’ experience, but also help real estate agents and boost businesses. For example, the Zillow app, which was launched in 2006 grew up to 196 million monthly unique users in 2019.

Going digital with your real estate business is a necessary step to make. And in this article, we are diving into real estate app development. Check out the things we are observing below:

Where Buyers Found The Home They Purchased

If you already have a real estate app and think of improvements, the following information may be useful or help you to make a decision in defining the concept of application development.

Virtual and augmented reality

One of the fastest-growing trends in the real estate industry. AR & VR technologies empower agents with the ability to create virtual tours and showcases. This will set aside important time and cash offering rather a better encounter with the clients. These are the advantages emerging from the use of VR/AR in real estate:

  • Remote virtual tours.
  • Property marketing is more efficient.
  • Mobile and web access.
  • More time for a customer to see a property in detail, no need to waste time going to a real object.
  • Has a big potential to become a part of any sale stage or decoration, renovation of a property.

Artificial intelligence algorithms assistance

As National Association of Realtors reports: “5.34 million existing homes were sold in 2019”. Imagine this amount of properties listed on a website. People would’ve spent weeks before they find a few matches even using various filters. These are two ways in which AI can improve your business performance:

  1. Recommendations. AI makes the most relevant recommendations. This is highly important for real estate websites and apps to provide clients with the ability to choose their dream house. Moreover, AI-based algorithms personalize interactions of users with an app or a website.
  2. Property management. AI algorithms monitor vital metrics and highlight things like possible errors, property maintenance scheduling, property price changes, crime rates, etc.

Blockchain

Until recently, blockchain was mostly associated with Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Today people realized that blockchain-based smart contracts can play a much larger role, than just being a part of crypto transaction processes. Talking about the real estate industry, this technology can transform core operations such as property transactions (purchase, sale, financing, leasing, and management). The brief information on how a real estate business can benefit from blockchain is listed below:

  1. Instant transaction records. Blockchain technology records information about any transaction which is stored and can be easily found. After the transaction is complete it is impossible to remove or edit any information about it. Recording every transaction makes it safe from double payments, fraud, abuse, and manipulation of transactions.
  2. No third parties. Blockchain allows two participants to transact directly without involving any trusted third party to control the honesty and transparency of the transaction.
  3. Censorship resistant. The crypto-economics built into the blockchain model provide incentives for the participants to continue validating blocks, reducing the possibility of external influencers to modify previously recorded transaction records.

Real Estate Mobile App Development Plan

What to start with when you decide to create a real estate app?

First of all, define the main purpose of the app. Will it be an app for property management, scheduling, listings for real estate agencies and realtors, or just a platform for buying, selling and renting houses? This stage will require some research and analysis of already existing apps. Compare the features, specify your requirements for the future app. Think of the roles the app users will have. For example, an average real estate platform has at least three roles: administrators, agents, and users.

The best practice is to create an MVP project just to test out if it corresponds to your needs or idea.

Must-have Real Estate App Features

Any real estate app has at least two types of users: customers and agents. The functionality for both types will differ but must let users achieve their goal like buy, rent, or sell an apartment. This basic functionality defines the set of must-have features for a real estate app.

Real Estate App Flowchart

To create an app that will be competitive in the market, firstly you should analyze the features in already existing real estate apps. The absence or presence of a certain feature may be crucial for an app’s success. After analyzing a number of apps, we can figure out a list of must-have features for your real estate app.

Messaging and Communication System

The ability of agents and clients to communicate easily in the app. Today, there are a few ways to chat like text, record an audio or a video message, and call (can include video as well).

The communication system within the app should be perfect and flexible to meet all the users’ needs.

Geolocation specifications

The ability of an app to show nearby properties according to a user’s geographical location. Together with the properties, the app can show other important information like nearby hospitals, grocery stores, schools, local crime levels, etc.

It helps people to make their search more detailed and saves time by excluding variants with an inappropriate environment.

Push notifications

With this feature, users can get instant notifications when, for example, there is any new property listed that matches a user’s search criteria.

Also, users can get notifications when there are any price changes, discounts, sales, last minute offers, reviews. Users who list their properties can get daily statistics about views.

In addition, the app should be able to notify about new personal messages.

Interactive Map

Users click or tap on the properties they want to check, then the app shows a description of the offer, pricing, pictures, and rate. In some cases, it may include rates and reviews that can be checked in one-two clicks.

Mortgage calculator

An important tool that makes the app move convenient for all the users when they can easily calculate the mortgage rates, together with taxes and all kinds of insurances. With this feature, there is no need to close the app and look for any other services to calculate the expenses.

Another advantage of a mortgage calculator for a user is that all the offers can be compared to each other according to the pricing.

Advanced search options

Advanced search should help users to find variants of the listed property according to filters like:

  • Square footage
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Location
  • Nearby objects
  • Price
  • Built date
  • Publication date

Calendar

Every user should be able to view dates available for booking meetings with agents and visiting properties. Within the calendar, a user can arrange an appointment within the app from any device.

Advanced security settings

Face, eye, or fingerprint access to the app and personal data increases the security and the trust level to a service.

Add to favorites

Users should have the ability to save the properties they like most as their favorites. After looking through many profiles and listed properties, users can save the variants they liked. They may want to take their time and think everything over, that’s why this feature is a must-have in such apps. It helps not to forget something and get quick access to more personalized and useful content.

Monetization app strategies

Ads within an app are one of the most commonly used monetization strategies. Moreover, this is the most flexible way to advertise and cooperate with other brands via an app. Multiple advertisers pay to be shown in a user’s app. Their main aim is to get attention and make a user click a banner or a link and be re-routed to the advertiser’s product.

Since ads may become annoying to users, ads within an app have excellent targeting options. It means that users will only see the ads they’re personally interested in.

A free trial is when a user can have a premium version of an app off charge for a period of time. This period, the limited features, and other conditions are set by an app owner. A very important moment here is that the app can no longer be used as soon as the free trial version is expired, unlike a freemium app which is described below.

Freemium & Premium strategy is when a user can download an app for free and use it as much as it is needed. But the free version has fewer features or functions, than the premium one. And users can decide if they want to upgrade to a premium or not.

Subscription-based apps include content that is released periodically.

For example, a Magic Plan app. With this app, a user can create floor plans with a mobile device. Scan a room in 30 seconds. Use the floor plan app for material & cost estimation, 3D models, virtual tours, and more.

And users can get subscriptions with different capabilities.

Magic Plan App Subscriptions

Paid transactions. In this case, an app serves as a mediator between two parts: vendor and buyer. In simple words, it’s the place where a vendor meets a customer. A customer is looking for services and a vendor is always there to meet the needs of buyers. And the app, where they meet, transacts payments and charges commission for provided services.

Pay-to-download is the oldest way of app monetization. But it’s hard to prove the value of an app that should be downloaded for money when there are so many apps free to download.

Best Real Estate Apps

Talking about how to create a real estate app, requires mentioning some top-rated apps to consider before you start developing your app. It is highly recommended when you are prioritizing features for your app.

1. Zillow

Zillow App

Zillow was launched in 2006 and is headquartered in Seattle. It’s a leading real estate marketplace. It allows users to buy, sell, rent, finance, renovate their properties using one app.

Zillow app includes:

  • The most listings and constant updates a user never misses out;
  • The industry-leading home valuation tool which is calculated daily;
  • Filters for school districts, views, pricing, and more;
  • Push notifications when new listings appear, go pending, or there are any price changes;
  • Neighborhood information including restaurants, grocery stores, parks, and coffee shops;
  • Favoriting, personalized recommendations, home tagging, and quick sharing with family & friends.

2. RedFin

RedFin App

RedFin is considered to be the best for discounted home buying fees. The app has the most relevant home data with most Multiple Listing Services (MLS) that are updated every 5 minutes. By applying filters, a user can search homes according to the location, condos, and townhouses for sale. Check out photos of each home, see the most up-to-date property details, and book a free home tour with an agent.

In the RedFin app users can:

  • Customize search: all the homes, condo, and townhouses that meet your search criteria listed instantly;
  • Sort out properties by price, type, and school district;
  • Instant notifications when a new home is listed;
  • Add properties to favorites and access your account from any device at any time, anywhere;
  • Search for properties near specific schools and school districts;
  • Book free tours with a RedFin real estate agent in the app;
  • Get directions and attend every open house in a user’s area;
  • Share favorite homes via text message, email, and social media;
  • Read home descriptions and comments about a home;
  • Get the latest update on sale prices of homes nearby in most markets.

3. Realtor.com

Realtor.com

Realtor.com has the most homes for sale nationwide than any competing real estate app. Users explore properties for sale with virtual tours, 3D tours, detailed photos, and videos (optional) remotely.

Realtor.com says that whether users are searching for a new home due to the growing family or simply checking listings in an area, they’ll find the best list meeting their needs.

Within the app a user can:

  • Contact a real estate agent;
  • Text or email to learn more about properties they’re interested in;
  • Schedule a video to communicate face-to-face;
  • View neighborhood noise levels;
  • View the crime heat map;
  • Draw a search area directly on the map;
  • View restaurants, shops, and other points of interest.

How Much Does it Cost to Create a Real Estate App?

The total cost of an app always depends on the number of features, platforms, users, integrations, hourly rates, etc.

Still, the approximate price range will be the following:

  • A simple app for an individual or a startup will cost $20,000 — $25,000;
  • Custom development for a mid-sized real estate business will cost around $50,000;
  • If you are thinking of creating a large app with a lot of functions for example, like Zillow or Redfin, the price will start from $60,000 — $80,000.

Don’t forget about more optional costs like UI/UX designers, QA, or a Business Analyst for your project.

More detailed information about the prices you can find here.

Start Developing Your Real Estate App

As you could see, the real estate market is huge and continues to grow rapidly. The decision to create a real estate application should be as deliberate as the decision of your clients to move to a new house and change their lives. To be competitive, you should follow the trends of the industry, plan the development process properly, and choose efficient ways of monetization.

If you want to create a real estate app, we would be happy to appear in your list of real estate app developers. Let’s get started!

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