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Realtor.com opens door to mobile search via express app for homebuyersBy
Move Inc.’s realtor.com is angling for mobile search to become an integral sales aid as it rolls out the Express Home Search app, which enables users to scout potential properties by using 3D maps, school search and a streamlined interface.
The brand’s new app, which is only available for iOS 9 devices, functions as an express version of its eponymous mobile tool. However, several key features such as enhanced search options and property details have also been added, as realtor.com ramps up to stay competitive in the increasingly digitized real estate sector and grab more business from time-strapped customers.
- “Our mission at realtor.com is to make all things home simple, efficient and enjoyable,” said Tapan Bhat, chief product officer for realtor.com, San Jose, CA. “The most exciting aspects of our express app are the new flyover and spotlight search features which take advantage of new iOS 9 technology.”
Catering to home buyers
Realtor.com is aiming to boost sales from home buyers by providing streamlined ways to search for local properties on mobile platforms, a move that could grab attention from consumers perusing listings during their commute or lunch hour and prompt them to visit an open house.
The brand is also hoping to empower current and potential customers by making every aspect related to the home-purchasing process as simple and efficient as possible. An increasing amount of consumers are turning to their mobile and tablet devices to browse desired properties before arranging to see them in-person.
Therefore, realtor.com opted to streamline its database of for-sale homes into a singular app that cuts down on the minutiae related to purchasing or renting a new place.
“Speed-to-transaction is critical in mobile design,” said Gary Schwartz, CEO and president of Impact Mobile, New York. “Last week I walked by a bus with a Remax banner that advertised ‘no app required.’
“Optimizing clicks to commerce is the hallmark of real estate brokers as well as Amazon, Paypal and other shopping leviathans.”
The Express Home Search app provides new flyover and spotlight search tools, as well as a 3D map feature that offers customers the ability to see homes in three dimensions in select markets. To use this functionality, users must click “3D” on the map view, tap their area of interest and adjust the screen accordingly using two fingers.
Additionally, consumers who want to search listings directly from the home screen without opening the app may type a city name into the search bar.
The app boasts enhanced search features, proving that mobile search is a function that will continue to gain traction for a variety of sectors. Users can locate open houses within specific neighborhoods, as well as whittle down choices based on address, price or school district.
If individuals are interested in a particular property, they may save available open house dates to the app for future reference, or request a private showing.
Mobile house hunters
House hunters are finding many mobile resources and tools to help them in their search for a new home. Real estate marketers must recognize the importance of using digital channels to pique consumers’ interest with easy-to-scroll listings and high-resolution images.
Realtor.com has branched out into cross-partnerships to better leverage the influx of rent-sharing platforms on mobile.
Over the summer, it teamed up with listing marketplace Airbnb, enabling interested homebuyers to use the mobile-optimized real estate site to book a property near their desired neighborhood in an effort to test out the location (see story).
Marketing to consumers on wearable devices is also a strategy that could potentially garner more brand awareness, and consequently, revenue.
Real estate brokerage service Re/Max targeted time-strapped consumers looking for new homes by rolling out a new app for the Apple Watch that allows users to scroll through for-sale listings and agent contacts with the swipe of a finger (see story).
“Realtor.com’s spin of ‘express’ service with simplicity and accessibly is every brand’s goal,” Mr. Schwartz said. “However, crucially, it has also become their mobile customer’s goal and positioning ‘express’ as the magic ingredient in this app may be a win in itself.”
Alex Samuely, staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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