Research shows that the average user checks their smartphone up to 200 times a day which has sparked a large-scale movement towards creating apps to promote brands and products across the widest possible audience.
Haider Ali Khan, CEO of UAE's leading property portal Bayut.com said: "An app is a perpetual neon sign you put in the users' range of vision. It helps your brand be visible and more importantly, available to the end user at all times. It's an absolute necessity to get the brand into the users' sub-conscious".
"Websites were great because they allowed businesses to save costs by selling in a virtual marketplace but apps are far superior for their ability to keep the user informed at all times and at all places leading to better prospects of sales," Khan added.
Sharing Information has never been so easy
From an estate agents' point of view, getting listings or promotions information in front of the clients' eye as soon as possible can make the difference between a sale and no-sale.
Co-founder of Pakistan's top real estate portal Zameen.com said: "It's a cut-throat environment. Success in today's business environment relies on the power of data and trend analysis and how quickly you can process them. If you have a good deal at hand but cannot get it across to the right person, it's of no use whatsoever. An app lets you do that. It lets you get the information to the right quarters in the shortest possible time."
Avoiding the Expense of Developing your Own App
Embracing any kind of new technology and getting the most out of it can be time-consuming and expensive. That's why it makes sense to shop around and see what off-the-shelf apps are available to help launch your business more effectively over the mobile platform, without paying geeks bundles of money to create it.
Here's a selection of the best available apps on the marketplace for real estate professionals including agents, brokers, buyers, sellers, home owners and investors:
Google Maps is a must-have for every real estate agent (also applicable for anyone generally terrible when it comes to directions like myself).
Years ago agents would have to waste double the petrol on scoping out how to get to a property before showing it to clients, because let's be honest, nobody wants to waste valuable time with clients getting lost. Nowadays, you could buy a satnav device and hook it up to your car, but you could just as easily (and for free) download the Google Maps app! You can enter a property's location, scope the area out on street view, and set the in-built satnav functionality to make sure you get there without any problems.
Available on: Web, Android, iOS, Windows Phone
Sitegeist is a great app (also free) that has a number of uses depending on what you need to know. Wherever you are, it immediately provides interesting data about the surrounding area, including: average age of residents, political contributions, average temperature, commuting trends, and popular nearby places. Sitegeist is handy for agents because it could provide the facts your clients are interested in knowing about each area they visit.
In addition, with a little bit of research combined it could help pinpoint prospective clients. For example if you did a little research on what age prospects are likely to think about buying a home, you could combine this with data from Sitegeist in order to choose an area to post your real estate flyers.
Available on: iOS and Android
Mortgage Calculator is an easy-to-use tool that helps you understand the repayment requirements a particular mortgage will need. It's a fantastic app (and it's free!) that factors in a number of important parameters to give the most accurate results, and then tells you what your monthly or bi-weekly mortgage payments will be as well as your future payoff date.
Available on: Web
I absolutely love Vert, (as I'm always working in various different currencies) it's an “anything and everything” conversion app. Real estate agents can often have to deal with lots of different metrics when it comes to size, weight, volume, length, and like me, currency.
Vert turns your smartphone into an all-in-one converter that you can use anytime, anywhere! The basic version is free, but I'd highly recommend the new 2.4.2 version for $2.99 (approx. €2.63)
Available on: iOS
Cam Scanner is great for when a client decides to move forward with a property and the paper work starts stacking up. It allows you to scan documents directly from your smartphone or tablet and makes them look like real scans.
This free app means that rather than having to rush back to the office to send out those all important documents, you can now do so faster and more efficiently whilst on the go.
Available on: iOS and Android
If you don't already have Dropbox, get it! Dropbox is a life saver; it presents a simple way to safely store documents in the cloud, meaning you can access them from anywhere. As a cloud storage solution that works on pretty much any device one can imagine, it enables you to have your client folders in order and handy whenever need them.
You can even share them with clients, lawyers, and other collaborators to make sure everyone is on the same page! (See what I did there?!) Dropbox give you up to 2GB of storage for free, but they also have some great premium plans available to expand and fit your storage needs.
Available on: Web, Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone
SignEasy is a great tool for agents on the go. Simply create a free account (you can upgrade for premium features), draw your signature, and start digitally signing documents directly from your smartphone!
Available on: iOS, Android, and Blackberry
Do you know of any other helpful real estate apps? If so we'd love to hear about them, let us know in the comments below!