The real estate game is evolving. For real estate agents, being Internet savvy and having a strong online presence are now pre-requisites for being an effective salesman. One aspect of the job that is likely never to change is having to hit the pavement; conducting work while on the go, whether it be travelling to a home staging or open house. Many online and mobile tools exist to make the home searching and buying process more convenient for potential buyers. There is a huge market for “search” apps;; popular websites and apps like Zillow, and Redfin. However, there is a growing market for apps targeted to real estate agents intended to boost productivity while away from the office. In this blog, I’d like to highlight some of the more popular apps that I believe should be in every agent’s mobile toolbox.
The first app that will have mass appeal among real estate agents is called “MagicPlan” (download here at the Google Play store). This free app perform an extremely valuable function, allowing the user to easily create a floor plan of a home by taking snapshots of each of the rooms in sequence. A floor plan is created automatically that includes room dimensions, floor and window openings, which can then be easily converted to JPEG or PDF format. And this is where the app gets you; creating the floor plan is free, but exporting it will cost you upwards of $3 each.
“Virtual View”, created by Virtual View App Ltd. out of London, is a free Augmented Reality app for property listings available on iOS devices. This app is fantastic for marketing purposes, giving your promotional material an added flare. Users of the app point their phone or tablet’s camera to a static image that is Virtual View “App-enabled” to access additional digital content such as 3D property models, 3D floor-plans, photo galleries and videos, or to an agency’s social media channels, website, or any other relevant content. Admittedly, a few elements have to be in play in order for the app to truly be effective. First, if you are a real estate agent that still distributes print material, you’ll have to ensure that all content is created and “app-enabled” (attached to the promotional circular), a process that can be laborious. In addition, there is no guarantee that those who receive the print material will have the app handy to view the additional information, making the entire process moot. It’s a novel idea, though.
And then there’s “Vieweet,” made by the same creators of Virtual View, which allows you to create 360 degree virtual tours of your properties with ease. Using a specially designed “fish eye lens” (a separate purchase that you must buy in addition to the app, a huge downside of the product), users have the capacity to create images that are very reminiscent of Google Street View. The panoramas created are more than just images, but also have an interactive element, with the ability to add content on top of the rotatable image.
“HomeSnap”, based out of Washington D.C., touts themselves as the “Shazam for Homes,” but is really more of a real estate specific “Google Goggles.” Either way, it’s pretty remarkable. Using your phone’s camera, simply snap a photo of the home you are looking at, and the app immediately recognizes it and accesses all publically available data, including sales and listing prices. If you are not immediately in front of the home, you can use your phone’s GPS functionality to browse local “For Sale” homes from the comfort of your couch. As an agent, HomeSnap has additional premium features that allow you to add branding to the search results, as well as the ability to receive notifications every time one of your listings gets a search hit. In-app branding is not limited to just agents, with entire brokerages having the ability to advertise. In addition, HomeSnap Pro also provides real-time access to agent-only MLS data, for agents who want to use it as a tool for themselves.