The Time is Now For Agents to Mobilize
Where are you reading this article right now? Chances are it’s on your phone. Similarly, the home buying and selling process is quickly transitioning to a mobile-first experience. Zillow, Redfin, Keller Williams, Re/Max and others have invested significant dollars into mobile development (with Keller going all-in by acquiring Smarter Agent Mobile last week).
Key Benefits of Going Mobile
Meet someone in December who won’t buy until June? No problem. A mobile app link can be sent to a lead you met at an open house, over an email, attached to your marketing materials, or placed prominently on your website.
Besides easily sharing an instant connection with a lead, a 2018 Criteo Study of consumer shopping showed that mobile apps have a three-times higher conversion rate than mobile web.
Users are more engaged on mobile apps, which allow for notifications of activity (such as favoriting a new home, leaving a comment, or even a new download notification), offering a much smoother communication medium during the home search.
Client Retention (read: Keep Them Off Zillow)
Watching clients wander back to Zillow after sometime on your MLS-provided search tool is eliminated with a great mobile platform that allows both parties to collaborate and agents to stay better informed of their client’s search progress. Higher engagement with mobile apps offer benefits for clients as well.
Agents can add better value knowing when their clients change their mind, favorite properties, and need responses to questions. Mobile platforms are best suited to handle these problems.
Importantly, handing buyers third-party tools can be an awkward engagement. Presenting your broker or team-branded mobile app is a preferred solution.
Your mobile app acts as a brand extension to the Zillow advertising, for-sale sign, mailers, and additional marketing you’re already conducting. Putting your app in a buyer’s line of vision when they want to search for a home keeps them away from a competitor.
How To Go Mobile
The Build or Buy Decision is Hard. Not Anymore.
For many boutique brokerages, firms, and even national franchises, the build (in house) or buy (third party) is an impossible decision because budgets do not allow for it and existing options are weak (and often not developed from the consumer perspective).
New business models such as Virtual Brokerages are building technology first, then the brokerage. Venture Capital in the Real Estate Industry soared to $13.6B in 2017, up from just $1.8 in 2015. The question is not “How can I afford to do this” it is now, “How can I afford not to do this?”
In Chicago, we’re developing these products with the best technology available. We expect incumbents to continue to develop new features, or be acquired by large brokerages looking for a competitive advantage (i.e. previously mentioned KW acquisition of Smarter Agent, Re/Max acquisition of booj, and Realogy acquisition of ZipRealty and it’s development team, ZipLabs). If you have a mobile app, have you checked who built it? Does your competitor now own your technology?
Keys to A Good App
Here’s a few things to look for when considering mobile apps for your business, team, or brokerage:
Consumer-First Design: This may seem counter-intuitive at first, but tools designed explicitly for brokers (think MLS, as opposed to Zillow) lack features that benefit the ultimate end-user: clients. Is the app fast, beautifully designed, and easy to use? How easy is it to connect with an agent, search for properties, leaves notes and send messages?
Branding: Is the app white-labeled to you completely? Does every user connect with an agent for all communications?
Locality: Does the app intelligently provide searching and communicating within your local market? In Chicago, mobile apps rarely have the necessary neighborhood details and school district searching. Several stretch across vastly different economic areas for a CMA. Does your app provide real value?
The Homebloq apps contain all theses features and much, much more. You can learn more about us here.