By Todd Carpenter, Director of Digital Engagement, National Association of REALTORS®
REALTOR.com’s iOS apps received a significant upgrade this week. Chief among the changes is the ability to identify foreclosed listings and price reductions. In addition, the app features a new “Nearby Recently Sold” search on the home page. After testing a beta of the app over the last week, I see this as a great new feature. Consumers want to know what homes in an area might be worth, and this is a great alternative to providing a “guestimate” of value. Sold data is available on the app as soon as 24 hours after a final sale.
REALTOR.com also made two significant user experience improvements to the new app. The Area Scout feature is more prominent in the navigation. This function updates a map with new listings as you travel — perfect for a client to view as you drive them around a neighborhood. The Area Highlighter has also been promoted to the home screen. This function allows the user to draw a border around a specific area on the map to isolate listings within that specific boundary. This is an incredibly useful feature that many of REALTOR.com’s competitors are now trying to replicate.
Mobile traffic to sites like REALTOR.com is suggesting that apps are becoming many consumers’ preferred method of searching for real estate. Even regional MLSs like Metrolist are adopting these technologies. It’s more important than ever for real estate professionals to consider how their listings are being viewed on these apps. Do you have a mobile marketing strategy for your listings? Maybe it’s time to consider one.
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). Continue reading »
With the iPad 2 slated for release sometime in 2011, this could be the year of the tablet computer. For our February Buyer’s Guide, we’d like to hear your thoughts: Which mobile platform will you invest in next, and why?
And if you’ve already made the move to a tablet, tell us about your experience with the hardware and software. Is a tablet a practical real estate tool? To share your thoughts, plans, or experiences with mobile computing solutions, contact writer Mike Antoniak as he prepares this guide. Also, be sure to participate in the polls below.
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, Contributing Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
QR codes are being hyped as the “next big thing” for connecting prospects to your marketing, according to several tech experts during the California Association of REALTORS® Expo in Anaheim this week.
So what are they and what can you do with them? QR codes, which resemble a store’s barcode, can be added into your marketing materials, such as on your flyers, brochures, or signs. Others can then scan and snap a photo of the code using their smartphone’s QR code reader app, which is basically available on any phone. The code reader transcribes the code and then instantly sends the encoded materials and information to that person’s phone.
For example, say you had a QR code on your business card that contains all of your contact information. When a person takes a photo of that QR code using the app, she will instantly receive all of your contact information on her smartphone, never having to input a thing. Your contact information would automatically be added to her address book.
Admittedly, it’s hardly a must-have tool, but if you’re looking for a way to spice up your marketing, particularly among your more tech savvy prospects, you might try it out. It’s easy to make your own QR code too. Just Google “QR code generator,” and you’ll find plenty of vendors. You just plug in your URL or text and then you’ll instantly receive a code to use in your marketing. Or you can just go straight to Clikbrix to access a solution designed especially for real estate purposes.
By Todd Carpenter, Social Media Manager, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate launched an iPhone app today. True to their brand, the app adds the flavor of the magazine by including tips on how to live green, make over a room, or tackle an entire remodel. BH&GRE also added a neat camera function to allow an end user to take pictures of homes they like, geo-code them, and send them off to one of their agents. Toss in RedFin’s more utilitarian but awesomely executed app, and both brokers and brands throughout the industry have two fine examples of how to execute a mobile application.
That’s great for big companies, but what about the little guys? Here’s a list of cool apps I’ve found that real estate pros should consider running. Continue reading »