Real estate mobile app development marketing and monetization
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Real estate mobile app development marketing and monetization

20 min
Sep 18 2020
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Technology is changing the face of the real estate industry. Buyers no longer use local newspapers and property listing booklets to look for homes on the market. Now people opt for mobile devices to access information and keep in touch on the go. For businesses to stay ahead of the curve in the modern real estate market, they must adapt to the global, fast-paced mobile movement. In this blog post, we'll share tips on creating a successful real estate mobile application that will give you the edge in the highly competitive real estate market. We'll explore the most recent trends, technologies, and the key features to have in a mobile app for the real estate business. We’ll look at how to estimate real estate app development costs and cover the best marketing and monetization practices for the industry.
Table of contents

Big data & business intelligence

By integrating big data tools with other technologies such as CRM systems, businesses can now optimize their workflows and personalize offers to deliver more value to their clients. Besides that, real estate agencies can use big data-backed insights to improve their marketing strategies and find new ways to attract customers across different marketing channels.

Artificial intelligence & predictive analytics

Artificial intelligence can help real estate agents get more personalized relationships with their clients, identify quality leads, and streamline transaction processes. Sellers and agents can use sentiment analysis and NLP algorithms to identify buyers who are genuinely interested in a purchase. For buyers, machine learning can improve the search process by analyzing their search patterns and creating a more accurate picture of their perfect home.
Another advantage of AI in real estate is that it can help estimate property values and predict future prices. McKinsey’s study revealed that 60% of predictive power in real estate comes from non-traditional variables, such as customer ratings for nearby cafés, number of food stores within a mile, or distance to the closest gourmet restaurant. By combining CRM, marketplace data, and data points from other sources, AI can help discover non-linear relationships between data and property value estimates of today and the future.

Augmented reality & virtual reality

AR and VR technologies offer prospective home buyers the possibility to take virtual tours around properties without actually visiting the property. For new builds, virtual reality can help create realistic images and virtual walkthroughs of a property even before construction is finished.

Data security & blockchain

Security and transparency are the core advantages of blockchain technology. In the real estate business, this can be used to prevent fraud, reduce red tape, and avoid costly intermediaries. Applications may include cash transfers, digital contracts via encrypted protocols, financing, and many others.

Sustainability & sharing economy

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria are becoming increasingly important considerations in the real estate industry. Natural daylight, green building materials, efficient energy use, access to outdoor spaces, and healthy food options are among the factors that shoppers may be looking at when searching for a home. Another essential real estate trend is the rise of the sharing economy and collaborative consumption, which leads to increased demand for co-living and co-working spaces. This trend is the most prominent in the rental submarket.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to an ecosystem of sensors, computers, and smart devices connected with each other and the Internet.
IoT-enabled devices give residents more control over household energy consumption and utility spending. For example, homeowners can use smart lighting to automatically turn lights off when they exit a room or dim when there’s enough natural sunlight. IoT can also be used to track building performance and notify users when a maintenance check is due.

Why Get a Custom Real Estate Mobile App for Your Business?

Developing your real estate mobile app is one of the most rewarding ways to gain an edge over your competitors. Consider this: 44% of home buyers start their buying journey by looking for a property online. Among them, 76% of buyers found their homes using a mobile application. Mobile apps are faster and better alternatives to web browsing. Moreover, native mobile apps can take full advantage of device-specific capabilities, such as cameras, GPS, click-to-call, text messaging, and push notifications. Below, we list some of the many reasons why you need a mobile app for your real estate business. Promote your brand People now spend more time on their phones than anywhere else. In particular, mobile apps are used more often and for longer than their equivalent mobile websites. This creates an excellent opportunity for brands to foster trust through regular interactions with the highly engaged target audience. Connect with your customers better Interaction is an essential part of every business. Unlike with a mobile site, an app is always available at your customers' fingertips. This makes it easier for businesses to stay in touch, provide timely support, and collect feedback. Target your market more accurately Mobile apps make it easier for businesses to target key customers with location-specific, time-sensitive messages. A simple example would be sending notifications about homes and deals in the user's current location. Increase market reach Having a mobile app for real estate business will help you cater to mobile users of any demographics. All generations — from younger Millennials to mature buyers in their 70s — have their share of users who found their home or agent with a mobile app. Leverage granular analytics insights Integrating analytics into your real estate application will help you:
  • Drive personalized marketing campaigns,
  • Improve your app's visibility in app stores,
  • Identify new acquisition channels,
  • Find new ways to retain customers,
  • Get new ideas for monetization,
  • Improve your bottom-line ROI.
Optimize business processes A real estate mobile app makes it easier for users to access property information without visiting the location in-person. Moreover, buyers should be able to contact agents for more details without any extra delay. For real estate agents, an app can provide a way to automate time-consuming tasks and manage all aspects of the selling process on the go. Retain leads and increase sales Fostering customer loyalty requires much more than having reasonable commission rates or using the right marketing resources. Customers want cohesive, personalized, end-to-end journeys. You can assist them along the way with timely communication, relevant offers, and more streamlined buying experiences in the palms of their hands.

The Best Real Estate Apps of 2020

Zillow

Zillow is arguably the most popular real estate and rental marketplace in the US. The app offers instant access to millions of homes across the country, including homes that aren’t listed on MLS.
The platform is best known for its "Zestimates" — algorithmically generated home value estimates based on "zillions" of data points. Zillow also uses AI to estimate property values by analyzing photos and discovering details that may affect property prices. For example, a newly renovated stylish bathroom can become a turning point in a customer’s buying decision and thus add up to the value estimate.
Zillow makes money by selling ad space on their website zillow.com and the Zillow mobile app. It also offers paid Premium services for agents with its Zillow Premier Agent app.

Trulia

The US second-most-popular online real estate marketplace, Trulia, started as an independent company​ but is now owned by Zillow. The two platforms are now sharing some of the behind-the-scenes data, including ad products, listing databases, and user profiles.
Trulia uses AI-powered computer vision technology to identify features that may be of interest to a particular person, such as their preferred type of floors, color palettes, and construction materials. The app's recommender system uses a similarity graph to consider the preferences of other users who have browsed similar properties and displays recommendations on the best-matching listings.
Trulia also stands out for its 34 map overlays, making it easier for users to feel what it's like to live in a home and neighborhood. The distinct feature of Trulia is its crime map data. The platform pools crime data from local law enforcement and news reports, allowing users to determine the community’s safety. Trulia is free for users and earns its revenue mainly through advertising services.

Redfin

Buyers looking for homes on Redfin enjoy a huge database of US MLS listings, 70% of which are updated every 5 minutes. Redfin is also a brokerage company that offers users its agents to work with.
Redfin was the first-ever website to offer search-by-map functionality. Another feature is a custom search radius where users can outline areas manually to narrow down their findings. Other features include rich map overlays, 3D home tours, and touring schedules.
What truly makes Redfin stand out among competitors is its low listing fees for home sellers. With the Redfin model, sellers only pay 1.5% or $4,500 instead of the traditional 6% commission rate. Redfin gets its revenue through listing fees, commissions, and advertising fees.

Realtor.com Real Estate

Realtor.com is the official search system for the National Association of Realtors. The app provides data on property listings sourced every 15 minutes from over 800 MLSes. The app also offers unique options such as cross-sharing of private listing data between partner MLSes, and in-app scheduling service for real estate agents. What makes Realtor.com different from other apps is that it deliberately excludes many conventional features. For instance, Realtor.com doesn't display property estimates, as the company claims that "the local real estate professional is the best person to determine the value of a listed property.” Realtor.com is free to use. It mostly makes money through its marketing services.

Homesnap

Homesnap is both an app for home buyers and a portal for agents, providing MLS data with enhanced features.
Homebuyers get access to quality photos, property lines, property history, and specialized features like school attendance zones. Real estate agents can use a similar version of the app with extra features to see what clients are looking at and help them find their perfect home.
Homesnap allows users to “snap” a photo of a home to access information about the house. The application also offers a built-in messaging feature that allows users to share and discuss homes within the app.
Homesnap also claims real-time MLS updates, which means users can access new and updated listings as quickly as possible.
The Homesnap app is ad-free. The service provides Pro+ subscriptions for real estate agents. The company also offers agents the ability to buy ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Waze. Finally, it provides branding packages for brokerages at a one-time fee.

The Main Features to Include in a Real Estate Mobile Application

Register and login Users should be able to sign up and log in to your app using a verified email address and/or phone number. You can also let them log in using Twitter, Facebook, or other social media accounts. User profiles Users should be able to create personal profiles with details such as age, name, address, and other information. Agents should also be able to add properties to their catalogs, upload photos, and create property descriptions. You may also want to develop a profile verification strategy to add credibility to your app. Search filters Advanced search options will save both agents and clients a lot of time by excluding properties that don't match the buyer’s needs. The point here is to make the search as convenient as possible for any app user. Databases and listings A stable, secure, and scalable database is crucial for any real estate app. That said, data has to come from somewhere, and you’ll need a lot of data. First off, you’ll need access to property listings. To enable data exchange between an MLS and your app, you’ll need to implement Internet Data Exchange (IDX) or Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS) integrations and APIs to normalize data flows from disparate MLSes. Remember that property listings aren’t the only data your customers need. Your real estate app should be able to provide buyers with comprehensive neighborhood information for their chosen locations. Consequently, it should be able to automatically retrieve data from geospatial systems and local open data portals, among other sources. Property details Property profiles should provide detailed information about a property, including images, videos, price details, total square area, number of rooms, amenities, and other decisive details. Shortlisting Users should be able to save their preferred properties in their accounts and access them later on. The caveat of having a “favorites” feature is that a client must have an account to save a property. For real estate agents and brokers, this provides a great way to capture leads and follow up with relevant offers. Mapping and GPS-based features Interactive maps and geolocation-based features are an integral part of any successful real estate app. Apart from showing property locations, maps can also provide users with neighborhood data, including information on schools, hospitals, landmarks, transportation, and other facilities. Push notifications In the real estate world, push notifications are a great way to improve customer engagement and streamline closings. First, they help retain users and bring them back to your app. Second, they allow businesses to reach out to clients and notify them of important events, such as price changes or new properties in the area. Real-time messaging Real-time communication options available from within the app are ideal for customers to get the support they need from realtors or agents using direct calls, text messages, online chat, callback options, or other communication channels. Analytics Whether you're looking to design a platform where real estate agents meet their customers or a mobile app for your real estate agency, you should be able to see how exactly users interact with your app. From app downloads to ad views to home closings, analytics will give you valuable insights into user behavior and help identify future growth opportunities. CRM and lead management software integrations It can help realtors manage their incoming leads, track customer interactions, and keep up with essential tasks. Admin panel Your app’s admin panel can include many features, depending on your app’s purpose. Among them, app admins should be able to:
  • Manage home buyers, owners, and realtors;
  • Keep track of all revenues generated through the app;
  • Update property details on time;
  • Manage deals, discounts, and loyalty rewards;
  • Add and remove featured listings and user profiles.
Price calculator Give your users a chance to calculate the final price of their home, including the information related to loan interest and mortgage payments, installments, taxes, and insurance premiums. Virtual tours A virtual tour or a 3D walkthrough is a great way to give buyers a real-time feel of the home they want to purchase. Social media sharing options NAR (The National Association of Realtors) cited social media as the best source for generating high-quality potential customers. Moreover, allowing users to share properties on social media apps will enable you to expand your brand’s reach and drive app installs.

How to Estimate Real Estate App Development Costs

How much does it cost to make a real estate mobile app? The answer to this question will depend on many factors, primarily, on the list of features you want to implement. Below, we provide our estimation of the working hours and costs of developing a custom mobile application development for real estate. Please note, these are rough estimates. Contact us to find out our current rates and determine real estate mobile app costs for your project.
Feature Time to Implement (hours)
Sign-up and login via email8
Sign-up and login via social media8
2-factor authentication9
Buyer profiles16
Broker profiles17
Reviews8
Integrations with listing services16
Photo uploads8
Video uploads8
Property search16
Property filters17
Sorting options24
Property descriptions11
Media gallery16
Maps & Geolocation32
Neighborhood information22
Navigation & routing16
List views17
Favorites lists19
Rich push notifications25
Real-time messaging & communications42
AR/VR virtual tours122
Video walkthroughs40
Price calculator24
Social media sharing22
Open house calendar & scheduling32
Property price evaluations44
User analytics dashboards81
User management panel44
In-app advertising management panel121
E-signatures33
Payment systems77
CRM/ERP integrations79
App analytics75

The Most Effective Ways to Promote a Mobile App for Real Estate

Mobile app marketing is a complex process, and it doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why your app’s marketing process should begin long before the launch. Here’s a quick breakdown of the essential marketing practices for your real estate app:
  • Analyze your target audiences and your competition;
  • Create and optimize a website to help users find your app organically;
  • Get down to app store optimization with relevant keywords, screenshots, and videos;
  • Create demo videos and tutorials to demonstrate the unique benefits of your app;
  • Create a strong PR-kit for influencers and press contacts;
  • Leverage social media & QA networks to get people talking about your app even before it hits the market;
  • Invest in mobile ads and run A/B tests to figure out what works best;
  • Leverage user feedback and NPS surveys to improve your app over time;
  • Implement a loyalty program to reward loyal customers.

How to Make Money With a Mobile Application for Real Estate

Commissions Your business can charge commissions such as brokerage fees for successful closings for a property posted on your real estate application. Premium memberships It is a good idea to offer additional paid premium features tailored to the needs of particular users. For example, real estate agents may enjoy access to detailed demographic and customer behavior reports, comparative market analysis tools, or e-signature options. Featured listings & realtor profiles You can offer your real estate agent customers to feature them in your app for a fee. For instance, you can show the agents’ profiles to users browsing specific neighborhoods and let shoppers contact them in one click. This way, real estate agents will get more opportunities to promote themselves to relevant clients. Alternatively, let home sellers put featured listings for a property that receives a preferred placement in the app's search results. Selling ads to third-party businesses Ads are the most popular way of making money from any app, and real estate mobile apps are no exception. Your real estate app can offer advertising space to mortgage lenders, interior designers, home furniture companies, and other relevant parties willing to reach out to clients by using your platform.

How to Make Your Real Estate Mobile App Succeed in the Market

Before wrapping up, let’s highlight the key points to consider when developing a mobile app for your real estate business.
  • Databases are crucial for the success of your real estate application. The app should contain many available properties to let users find what they are looking for.
  • Ensure that your real estate application is easy-to-use, informative, and tailored to your target audiences’ needs.
  • Analyze the apps of your direct competitors. Dwell into the features market leaders use to dominate the market to see if there is anything you can do better, or in a completely different way.
  • Put together a list of necessary features to have in your real estate application. Make sure you understand how these features contribute to the customer experience.
  • Explore different monetization strategies, such as premium services or in-app advertising.
  • Develop a solid marketing strategy to promote your app.

Choose Exceed Team as your Real Estate Mobile App Development Company

Our experience is vast and diverse Here at Exceed Team, we’ve provided real estate app development services to multiple real estate projects combining the latest PropTech technologies and proven development practices. Our experience with real estate app development and individual approach to each project enables us to deliver scalable projects on time and budget while keeping the entire process transparent and clear. Feel free to browse through our case studies to get an idea of what we can do for you and your real estate business. Our team meets and exceeds the highest standards We support our clients with a cross-functional team of developers, managers, analysts, UI/UX designers, DevOps engineers, and QA specialists who are solely dedicated to the client’s project. Our approach is passionate and unique At Exceed Team, we are continuously driven by our passion for innovation and improvement. We constantly seek to deliver quality work that exceeds expectations for every client we cater to. We follow lean development practices ensuring that our business operations are as efficient as possible, enabling faster time to market and competitive costs for all our clients. Our tech stack is cutting-edge We have everything to deliver professional on-demand real estate mobile app development services.

Final Thoughts

Being able to stand out in the real estate app market depends on your ability to provide end-users with positive, streamlined customer experience. This involves choosing a reliable development partner with a proven track record in developing custom real estate applications and websites.
Don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or comments about real estate app development. We’re always here to help!
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