By Nick Caruso
The Internet has undoubtedly changed the way consumers operate, but thanks to smartphones and the wave of mobile optimization, the real estate industry has never stopped progressing with its technology. Mobile has become a dominating force in our society and is crucial for the real estate industry, where every professional and consumer demands up-to-date information on the go.
“Mobile traffic now makes up about 40 percent of our traffic, across our apps and mobile Web,” says Doug Breaker, president and CEO of HomeFinder.com. “With the rise of the iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, it is quickly becoming the way to browse and use the Internet for many people.”
In the case of HomeFinder.com, the company’s new Real Estate Search iPhone app delivers just what the industry needs: increased access to millions of available home listings. With the company’s new app, users can peek inside a property without even entering it, all from the comfort of their mobile device.
With the app in hand, users can view full screen interior photos and property details, access agent or broker contact info for every listing, share favorite homes via email or text, and search for homes on a map or in a list. Thanks to the app’s cutting-edge GPS functionality, users can even search without entering an address.
“If you’re standing in front of a home and you open the app, it’ll automatically pull up that home’s details directly on your screen,” says Breaker.
The mobile app will also auto-sync to your account on HomeFinder.com. If users log on to the website from a desktop computer, any notes made on properties will be easy to find, as well as any former searches or homes viewed and saved. Activity is also saved and synced vice-versa, from HomeFinder.com back to the app.
According to HomeFinder.com’s stats, home searching via a mobile device continues to rise, as users are spending increasingly more time on smartphones rather than desktop computers. Since the phone is in their hands, users are also contacting agents more frequently via apps, and are much more likely to make a call or send an email, which Breaker calls “a game-changer as far as the way people are communicating with agents.”
For agents looking to maximize their mobile presence, Breaker offers the following tips: “If you have a website that you promote and try to drive traffic to, they should absolutely make sure it’s mobile optimized. It should have a clear layout with no flash content, as iOS doesn’t support flash,” he recommends. HTML5 is also strongly suggested, which can help with GPS and quick email integration.
With 36 percent of emails being opened on smartphones today, mobile optimization has never been more important. Mobile optimization should be considered across the board—even for outgoing emails. “If you’re sending a huge image with lots and lots of text, your emails probably aren’t that optimized for a mobile phone,” he says.
For consumers who want a sleek, easy-to-use mobile application to aid in their home-buying process, HomeFinder.com’s Real Estate Search iPhone app is a stellar tool to add to their arsenal, one Breaker and his team are confident users will find valuable.
HomeFinder.com’s Real Estate Search iPhone app can now be found in the App Store and is the third free app in the HomeFinder.com suite of mobile offerings. Their Real Estate Android App is available in Google Play and the previously released Open House iPhone app is also available in the App Store.
For more information, visit www.homefinder.com/apps.
Nick Caruso is RISMedia’s special projects editor.