The Era of Mobile Is Here. What Are You Doing About It?

By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine

If you’re wondering when we’re going to get to the era of mobile, you’re contemplating the wrong question, says Bob Hale, CEO of the Houston Association of REALTORS®. Instead, you should be thinking about how to optimally deliver your content via mobile devices right now.

“It’s here. There’s no question that we’re at a critical mass,” said Hale, in remarks about where multiple listing services (MLS) are headed last week at the Xplode conference in Chicago.

Speaking on a panel moderated by National Association of REALTORS® Director of Digital Engagement Todd Carpenter, both Hale and Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) CEO Russ Bergeron said they’re taking steps to accommodate mobile users.

MRED now offers what Bergeron termed “public-service apps,” such as resources from Fannie Mae on short sales and downpayment assistance. Also, the organization is developing apps that can be branded by brokers and individual agents as their own, Bergeron said. HAR is also rolling out new apps, targeted at both members (for searching the MLS and editing listings) and consumers (using geolocation to search for nearby listings and opens).

Even though we’ve entered the mobile age, there are still some issues that have to be worked out, said Seth Kaplan, a founding partner of Mobile Real Estate LLC and columnist on mobile technology for RISMedia, in a separate Xplode session.

For instance, there are a ton of mobile Web browsers out there (compare that to the half dozen or so that dominate desktops), Kaplan said. That means there’s a wide range of user experiences when browsing the Web on mobile devices. Consequently, a site that renders well on one may not look good on another.

Also, for all the focus on cutting-edge mobile technologies, the most popular form of communication on these devices is — by far — good ol’ text messaging. Kaplan said this is a great way to establish an initial connection with clients and consumers, particularly younger ones. “It’s easy, quick, and efficient,” he explained.

What are you doing to connect with consumers through mobile? We want to hear about it.

Brian Summerfield

Brian Summerfield is Manager of Business Development and Outreach for NAR Commercial and Global Services. He can be reached at

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  1. This was one of the best sessions at Xplode Chicago. Thanks so much to Bob and Russ (and Todd)

  2. For the techies out here 😉 A very promising library called jQueryMobile is promising to solve the browser fragmenteation. It’s a great resource to create beautifully looking mobile sites that work on almost all phones (yeah, including most dumbphones too).

    We use over at to power our mobile sites.