Today, many potential buyers screen properties online before going to see them in person. Because people increasingly use mobile devices to browse the web, support for cellphone users is becoming central to the real estate industry.
Real estate agents are often turning to mobile apps to connect with clients and deliver features they can’t provide with a website. Soon, effective real estate apps may become a standard industry offering — and agents that don’t have their own apps could be left behind.
This is why every real estate business should consider developing an app by the end of the year. Here’s what you should take into account when designing your business’s app.
1. You Can Capture Mobile Users
On average, American consumers spend much more time on their smartphones than on a desktop. When they use their smartphones, they’re also not typically using a mobile browser. Instead, they primarily spend their time in apps.
If you offer a mobile-ready website, you’re already off to a good start on capturing this audience. However, you can do even more. According to data from Comscore, apps account for over 80% of mobile time in the U.S. Because consumers spend so much more time using apps compared to browsing the web, creating one can help you more effectively capture cellphone users.
This is especially true if your real estate business is trying to reach younger consumers. Gen Zers and millennials are significantly more likely than baby boomers to shop with their phones and spend time in apps.
2. You Can Provide Features Unique to Mobile Apps
Mobile apps can do things that are difficult or impossible for a standard website.
With a mobile app, you have full control over the code used and resources loaded in. This means they can be faster than a webpage while providing the same functionality. You also have much more control over the look and feel of the app compared to a website.
You can also take advantage of mobile phone features, like integrated GPS location services. With GPS-enabled search, a potential customer can quickly get a sense of what the real estate market looks like in a radius around their current location.
However, when building your app, it is important to remember how poor design choices can significantly impact the overall user experience. Apps can deliver a much better experience than a website alone, but a poorly functioning one can have the opposite effect. For example, long page load times can significantly increase an app’s bounce rate.
3. You Can Stay in Constant Contact With Your Audience
Mobile apps make it easier for real estate agents to connect with customers. Tools like push notifications and in-app live chat can help you provide updates on properties and changes to the local market.
This constant connection can make it easier to retain customers and help you build brand recognition. Providing useful features that make working with your company easier can ensure customers remember your brand when they need to work with an area real estate business.
Effective push notifications can also make an app a much better investment. Engagement is key to a mobile app’s success, and push notifications are a great way to encourage users to stay active and interact.
4. You Can Get to Know Your Audience Better
Because users are always logged into a mobile app, you’ll also have an easier time collecting data on how people interact with your app and browsing local real estate listings.
This information can be a major asset in several ways. First, data on individual browsing habits can help you personalize in-app offerings and advertising, ensuring that you deliver the most relevant content and notifications to each user.
This information can also help you improve overall user experience in the long term. In addition to qualitative data collected from surveys and user testing, it can help you understand how potential buyers approach the property buying process. This can allow you to develop new tools and services that make it even easier for customers to work with your company.
5. You Can Offer Offline Browsing
One of the best features of mobile apps is their ability to offer certain features offline, which helps when people are on the go.
For example, one real estate app may provide features that allow users to store information for offline use. Clients could cache a version of their local real estate market with information on property locations, prices, amenities and neighborhood benefits. They could then browse that map while on the move — even if they don’t have a connection over Wi-Fi or data.
If you offer certain services that can only be accessed through the web — like lists of local properties — you can provide a little extra convenience to potential buyers with an offline version.
What Apps Can Do for a Real Estate Business
Mobile apps are becoming a more common offering from businesses of all kinds — and real estate is no exception. They can offer some major advantages. Benefits like offline access, better loading times and personalization help make apps more engaging than websites — potentially helping real estate companies build brand recognition and secure conversions.
The data that mobile apps provide may also be an invaluable asset when it comes to developing new features and improving the customer experience.
About the Author
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a prominent digital marketing agency prior to becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.