How will the rise of mobile devices impact the real estate industry?
There was a time when successful real estate agents needed a huge knowledge bank, a flexible support team and lots of time to close a deal. Now, thanks to advances in technology, it's a lot easier and quicker to get a job done and a deal closed.
As smart phones become more prominent, it’s more important than ever to make sure your assets are mobile-friendly, both for clients and employees.
Across the country, Australians are spending more time online on their mobile devices, with an IAB Australia and Nielsen report revealing that 52 per cent of digital screen time is now spent on mobile devices. Clients now expect real estate websites to be optimised for their smart phone or tablet, and it’s a huge turn-off if they come across an old website that doesn’t have a responsive design. Google are also changing their algorithm in favour of website that are mobile friendly and helping searchers deep link into useful apps. With prices dropping to make use of this new technology, there’s never been a better, or more important, time to get on board.
One of the biggest advantages of the rise in mobility for the real estate industry is that mobile devices can identify your location immediately. Apps can immediately home in on your location, telling you all you need to know about a property and its surroundings.
Do you need to know how far a property you’re representing is to the nearest bus stop, supermarket or post office? Do you know which schools are closest, the selling history of a particular street or the crime rate in an area? All of this kind of information and important selling points can be made available at your fingertips.
A mobile friendly business is a good business
The decision regarding which real estate website or app a house hunter or property investor will choose to use, and who they will trust to spend their money with, will in many cases be based on how well the mobile website or app for that business works on their handheld device.
One of the most common times people use smart phones or tablets for extended property searches is during a work commute, an often trying experience that leads many to consider moving closer in. If they’re offered a slow, inaccurate or hard-to-use website or app with a property listing that doesn’t work on their mobile, they’re going to look at what your competitor offers.
Two of the biggest mistakes agencies make is not keeping their mobile offerings up-to-date (both with postings and technology) and trying to force on users listings that don’t match their search filters (the most common problems are showing houses outside the requested price frame or including studio flats with one-bedroom properties).
Mobile-friendly real estate sites and apps aren’t just for home buyers or property investors, though. For agents rushing to finalise a deal, having a way to confirm a sale, instantly scan and send documents or virtually sign them can be a huge time saver (and, for employers, it means more work can be done between viewings). Up-to-date schedules and directions to new appointments can also be a great help, making agents more organised and reliable. Plus, being able to save every potential client’s details instantly for follow-up can make a huge difference.
Considering the costs
One issue that often holds a business back from creating the perfect app is the expense. However, offering a free service to users (with ads) and an ad-free version that they have to pay a few dollars for means you can easily recoup some of the costs which, before you even consider the effect of better ratings and word-of-mouth buzz, can make the jump from average to amazing very worthwhile.
Melanie Hoole, Marketing & Product Director at Campaigntrack, believes that agencies that don’t invest in apps for their business are making a comparable mistake to not having a website a decade ago. Reckoning that apps are the changing game for agents when it comes to property marketing, she said “These days people are never very far away from their phone. The convenience of mobile devices, and the role apps play as a utility in enhancing our everyday lives can not be ignored“.
The realestate.com.au app is a great example of an application that is making waves in the industry. With over 4 million downloads recorded, the app is a must have for anyone looking to buy, rent, sell or browse real estate information in Australia.
With the real estate industry’s audience shifting to mobile devices, it’s never been more important for agencies to invest in the cutting edge technology that could transform their business.