The idea that mobile internet usage would one day overtake desktop internet usage was once looked at as being as far-fetched as, say, a self-driving car. Well, the time for skepticism is gone. Today, as someone sits in an IoT enabled car, they are likely on their mobile device. And they would be in good company. According to a 2017 mobile usage report from comScore, the tipping point for mobile is here based on percent of mobile minutes spent online.

Mobile digital media time in the US is now significantly higher, at 51 percent, compared to desktop at 42 percent. That sends a pretty clear message – for many people in the US, it’s not only mobile first, but it may be mobile only.

One industry that particularly feels the force of mobile is real estate. Today’s renters and buyers, particularly those in the Millennial and Gen Z segments, want on-the-go tools they can access from anywhere at anytime to help them find a new home. In fact, 52% of all home buyers used an iPhone in their home search. While having a mobile responsive design is critical for any successful multifamily company, it can and should go beyond that in terms of being truly mobile friendly.

Today’s smartphone users install an average of 88.7 apps on their smartphone. However, it’s important to note that they only used 24.9 of them on a monthly basis, so apps must show their value to be used regularly. For home shoppers, that means saving them time, money and hassle. 

Save Time (and Hassle)

One of the major complaints in the real estate market is the amount of time it takes to find a new home. In fact, 56% of respondents to a recent survey said it took more than three weeks to find a new apartment. From open house to open house, tour of community after tour of community, today’s busy home buyers and renters don’t have that kind of time.

That’s why many renters begin the process online. The survey also showed that 29% of people said they looked at more than 20 apartments online before finding the one and 20% of women in particular said they look at more than 30. But that only narrows down how many they try to see in real life.

So how can real estate professionals save these busy consumers time and hassle during the real estate search process by catering to a mobile-first experience? Connect with them live via mobile app or send videos that communicate what it would really be like to live there. Your phone or tablet innately has the ability for you to live stream or record a video. Adding an app built for real estate touring will give you the capability to connect with a prospective resident and have them “be” at your property touring it from the comfort of their own home or anywhere while you can be building the relationship with them. Not only does a live video tour allow that prospective resident a streamlined way to see their prospective new home, but it simultaneously provides them a place to be able to ask questions that can be answered on the spot.

And speaking of removing hassle — how many times have potential residents visited in person for a tour, then had to come back to see the property again because they didn’t have their roommate or family member with them the firs time, or didn’t ask the right question, or they want to see another floor plan for comparison? Take the tours to them and connect with them where they are — on their mobile devices. Connecting live will not only save them time and hassle, but it will save you and your onsite team time and hassle as well. Win win!

Save Money

Finding a new home in and of itself can be a stressful time for people because of all of the changes happening, the moving, the purchasing of new furniture, etc. and all of that gets amplified when moving long distances. When it comes to the search for a new home, distance not only amplifies the time and hassle involved in finding a place to live, but can exponentially increase the costs involved as well. Having to fly in and out of, or continuously driving to and from an area can definitely rack up quite the cost for individuals, and even more so for families.

Sure, seeing still photos online can peak someone’s interest in a community or property, but they never tell the full story and leave prospective buyers / renters with no other option than to physically travel to the property to see what they want to see. Preserving the power of a personal experience and showcasing a space in a way that is transparent and real will not only make you and your team stand out in the eyes of that prospective resident, but it will save them significant resources during their search process and make you a hero.

Is it always best when the prospect buyer/renter can physically be there in person to see the space, ask you questions, and shake your hand? Yes. As a real estate sales or leasing professional, your goal should always be what is best for your client though. Using nothing more than what is always in your purse or pocket you can make the overall real estate search process more efficient for prospective residents while also saving them money in the process. 

As consumers become increasingly more mobile, real estate has the opportunity to not only keep up with mobile trends, but lead the way in terms of mobile progression. Realizing the power the you hold in your hands could be the difference between thriving and surviving as apps continue to revolutionize the way people shop for new homes. The ‘future’ is now and it is easier than ever to impact your clients and your business in the best way possible.

Have questions about real estate apps that can help you save your clients time, money and hassle during the real estate process? We’re here to help!

Until next time…keep it real!