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Best of 2013: Agent Mobile Apps: Better for Agents, Great for Consumers

December 24 2013

We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down the most popular articles of the year. This article was posted back in October and is #6 in our countdown. See #7 here.

mobile group shot 500pxAccording to the California Association of REALTORSĀ®, over 80% of consumers access real estate information on mobile devices. This data seems to be reflected nationwide, where smartphones and tablets are the tool-of-choice for homebuyers. Many real estate agents are missing an opportunity with mobile, failing to create their own branded apps for real estate search and losing that important customer touchpoint to third parties.

"Wait," you're probably saying, "why do I need my own mobile app when my clients can download any number of property search apps?"

We asked that very question of Philip Charles-Pierre of Smarter Agent. He'd been talking about the new mobile apps Smarter Agent is developing for agents across the country and we decided to play Devil's Advocate. "Okay," we said, "convince us. Tell us why agents should have their own branded app." His response: because it's good for consumers and better for agents. He provides several persuasive reasons.

Better for Agents

The reasons that a branded mobile app can be beneficial to agents should be fairly obvious.

  1. The app won't be covered with ads for your competitors.
  2. The app won't send leads to your competitors, only to the agent whose app it is.
  3. It provides yet another way to position yourself as the local expert (with an app right on your clients' phones).
  4. It creates another link between you and your clients.
  5. Your competitors likely have their own app already.

Good for Consumers

Many of the benefits for agents carry over to consumers, although in slightly different ways.

  1. Unlike some third party apps, agent apps are 100% accurate. This is, of course, assuming you choose an app developer that has a data agreement with your MLS. "Smarter Agent began by building apps for franchises and MLSs," explains Charles-Pierre, "So we already have relationships in place and access to MLS data for use in our broker and agent-branded apps in those areas."
  2. No annoying ads!
  3. Any leads go directly to the agent they are working with, so consumers won't be getting a call or an email from some random stranger they've never heard of.
  4. The app is a convenient way to communicate with the agent. If you're already using the app to search for properties, it's easy to contact the agent through the app.

When you get a new lead or meet a prospective new client, sending them an email with a link to download your app is a great way to follow-up. You can say, "Here's an ad-free, completely accurate property search. And if you want more information, you'll be getting a response from me, someone you already know you can trust."

To see an example, we looked at the app for a Keller Williams agent, built by Smarter Agent.

smarteragent better great