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Real Estate Apps: Do You Need One?

Apps have changed the world and how the world lives. For many smartphone users, apps have gone beyond fun little games like Angry Birds that you play while waiting at the doctor’s office. They have become fundamental aspects of daily life. Apps are software programs specifically designed to interact with phones. In many cases they are extremely user-friendly and tailored to fit a user’s needs.

There are apps for tracking calories, fitness, purchases, finance, even pets. To the 90% of Americans use their mobile on a daily basis, an app is simply an extension of their phone.

It’s no surprise that when they want to look for a new home they automatically start looking through their mobiles. Luckily, there’s an app for that. Many potential buyers now go through the internet first before even contacting an agent, and apps are an ideal way to showcase home listings.

Free apps like Lovely and Homesnap for iPhone and Android and use different ways of listing homes that help buyers to find what they want. For many people, a dream home goes beyond the two to three bedroom A-frame with a white picket fence. Nowadays homeowners are extremely flexible but also have specific needs. Furthermore, these apps are also used for people looking to rent for transient stays.

Top apps go beyond just listing homes and prices, but give a good rundown of the surrounding neighborhood, amenities, schools, even if the area is pet-friendly or not. For the potential buyer, this is also an ideal way to tap in with what other people think of the area. For example, Trulia coordinates with review site Yelp.com to so consumers can read ratings of nearby restaurants. For a buyer concerned about quality of life and the quality of the neighborhood, this can be a selling point.

Apps like Zillow take it one step further by incorporating mortgage calculators to help you decide if you can actually afford the home. For real estate agents, this can mean that homeowners come in savvy and willing to talk pricing even before you make an offer.

Should your real estate company invest in a custom made app? It’s a case to case basis. Building a user-friendly and working app means an in-depth study of what your consumers want. It also means hiring developers to actually create the app for you, as well as provide aftercare and customer service for future troubleshooting and updates. It’s not simply a matter of uploading data into a template. The idea of an app is a customized piece of software that showcases the best your company can offer. It’s an investment that you may want to consider, but an expensive one.

The two major systems — Apple’s IOS and Google’s Play Store — both charge developers fees to include apps in their listings. Apple also has a strict set of guidelines that you must follow, or the app will get yanked from the list. In many cases, a mobile-friendly website is the better idea unless you have a huge network, thousands of listings and a developer budget firmly set aside.

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