How to design an efficient real estate mobile app in 2021

Reading time 15 min | Sep 24, 2021
Copywriter
Bystrytska Kateryna
Creating real estate mobile app in 2022:
everything you need to know

The real estate market has changed sweepingly in the last few years. The explanation of those changes is quite simple: people who buy houses and apartments also have changed, and they need new methods to communicate with the market. The strong influence of trends and technology opened new communication channels. App development for real estate became one of the most common tools for hunting property, managing houses, and building better relationships between realtors and clients. 

The research argued that in 2021 50% of home buyers will find the property online. More than 45% of buyers are millennials, which means they have a new approach to searching and choosing communication channels.
The statistic also shows that in 2022 more buyers will use Youtube to explore the neighborhood and mobile apps for searching for the best home options. It makes the real estate market rethink its communication principles and invest in developing advanced mobile apps.

This article will outline the basic principles of building real estate mobile apps in 2022 and the essential features in application development. Also, it will focus on the UX/UI design tips that can improve the mobile app for searching, selling, and buying homes and discuss how to make money in real estate with the app.

What is a Food Delivery Application?

It is not a secret that the real estate market is one of the most competitive. For today almost every agency has its website, but as we found, there is not enough. People spent more time on their phones, making the market invest in real estate web and mobile app development.

Buying a house is a huge purchase, and people used to be careful in interaction with realtors and agencies. A real estate mobile app is a software solution that collects all information to help people find the living places for their expectations. Those applications have a list of buildings for sale and additional information to help you buy the house or apartment. In fact, you will have an extensive database on the real estate market in one program.

It's beneficial for homeowners, home buyers, renters, or investors, as they can use filters to find the best home variant based on location, number of rooms, or cost. At the same time, realtors are also interested in developing real estate apps, as it helps to learn customers' needs and build a stronger relationship with clients. Someone can say that these apps make realtors' work unnecessary, but it’s a wrong point.

Let's discuss how real estate app development targets different types of users. We will overview homeowners, real estate agents, and customers' benefits from using those apps.

Homeowners
Real estate mobile apps help homeowners and landlords to manage their property and work remotely. They can add photos, additional information in the request or even track payment or generate invoices. Apps make communication with the landlord more accessible and straightforward.

Customers
The biggest group that benefits from using real estate mobile apps is people looking to buy or rent a living place. First of all, they have more accurate research on the building they are looking for. Also, a lot of filters allow them to do a direct search and find the best options. Moreover, customers have 24/7 access to the database and can search for the house from any location.

Realtors
For real estate agents and brokers, the app increases the speed of sales and enhances communication with customers. Also, the realtor app for Android and iOS provides a unique marketing channel that ensures the best target audience for selling the property.

Types of real estate apps

There are 3 the most common types of real estate apps in the market:

  • Software solutions for real estate agencies. For example, the BombBomb app or Freshdesk messaging. This app helps realtors communicate with customers, save and collect the data, use data analysis to make market predictions, and store all the documents on every property they work with.

  • App for house search or rent hunting. The most popular application is usually used by people who want to buy a home or find a place to rent. In the article, we speak mainly about this type of app, as it is the most popular app in the market. Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com, Century 21 local (managed by Century 21 agency) are the most trendy apps.

  • App for managing property. The time of collecting all the information on every building in excel is already gone. Nowadays, the real estate market uses unique software solutions to manage all the data, get brief details on every building, its updates, owners' contacts, and documentation. The most commonly used software solutions are Buildium, Hemlane, or Green Doors.

Technology trends that influence real estate mobile app development

Before discussing the features and functions of real estate mobile apps, we need to outline the technology trends that influence the market and impact the development process.

The most important technology trends in real estate mobile app development:

  • Big data. This technology helps collect and analyze a large amount of information and predict the best buying options for each user.

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. AI technology and machine learning are usually used for smart houses. AI ensures the most accurate building suggestions for app users. It also helps to determine the rent or check the information about tenants before renting the property.

  • Chatbots. This technology ensures communication with customers 24/7 and helps to optimize this process. At the same time, chatbots help save time for realtors, as they do not need to uncover the same questions.

  • Blockchain. The most influential technology for the real estate app market allows clients to make clear and protected transactions. People also store data and documents with this technology. In some cases, blockchain divides property ownership and makes an investment into real estate easier for a broad audience.

  • Virtual reality. This tech tool helps clients to see the house even from other parts of the world. The perception of property by using virtual reality technology is more accurate than looking into photos. More apps start using this feature to build better communication with customers.

All the technologies became the cause of necessary features for every real estate mobile app development company.

Top features of real estate mobile app development

Technology is growing and changing rapidly, and sometimes it's difficult to predict what will influence the real estate market. The most common question from people is how to develop my own real estate app?. To answer this question, you need to follow fundamental tech trends first. Next, we will focus on the most efficient features that will be popular for the next few years.

1. Signup and Login. This is the essential onboarding feature for any real estate mobile app. It must be simple and easy to use from a phone. You can log in with social media, email, phone or create a new username and password. It is better not to require mandatory login when the user opens the app for the first time. You need to give customers a chance to learn the app's functionality, look at the property and authorize in case of interaction with the app.

2. Different users' profiles. App users must be able to choose what type of profile they need. It can be a buyer's profile or an agency's profile. They will have different options and views of the app. In some cases, the same person can change the type of profile or use both of them. For example, Airbnb users can search for the rent or become a host with the same login information but choose different accounts for different needs.

3. Maps and listing. To find the best property, users also want to explore the neighborhood. The best option is to integrate a map and allow users to see the surroundings of the chosen building. Some people start searching for the property by watching the list, and when they want to get details, they can change the view to a map. In some cases, people start looking for the property by exploring certain parts of the city by watching the map with buildings for sale.

4. Property management. All the buildings in the app should have their own page with detailed information. People can find the property in the list or on the map and need more details on cost, photos, history of the building, etc. It is an important feature to make these pages attractive, with good quality photos and all possible information users can need to get.

5. Virtual tours. The next thing that became possible with the integration of virtual reality techniques is virtual tours for users. It became pretty popular in times of pandemic when people couldn't get in-person tours into the houses. With virtual tours, they need only an internet connection to watch the home they choose. Also, some apps have 3D tours for every place in the listing.

6. Analytics. This is the most crucial feature for agencies and realtors in real estate mobile apps. It helps to analyze all the users' information and create valuable predictions on how to help people find the best property. Data analysis ensures real estate market development, as realtors get insights into their clients' needs.

7. Push notification. It can be critical for users to get the information about the property in time or not to lose the message from the realtor or landlord. Push notification can report the new property in the selected area, changes of the cost, or any further updates on specific properties.

8. Call to action button. Users need to know how to communicate with realtors or property owners. They need to have a button for online chat or for getting direct contacts of the properties management. This button must be visible and easy to find, and it's necessary for real estate app design.

9. Calendar. It will also help users to have an in-app calendar for planning the views. This calendar can be integrated with their usual google or outlook calendars. Also, it would be good to use it for booking the day and time of the visit to the property.

10. Price calculator. It is a great option to allow users to learn the property's final price with different loan options and taxes. It can be integrated with banks and compare the data on loans from various banks.

11. Various parameters for filters. Each user can have its own parameters they pay attention to first looking for a property. The best thing you can do is include as many filters on the housing list as possible. It will help people to find exactly what they want. Trulia, for example, even pools the users in the neighborhoods and includes the results in the area description. The user can find, for instance, that 80% of neighbors are not afraid to walk there in the dark, or 60% of them have dogs.

There are the basic features for each real estate app development. Most of the top apps, such as Zillow, Zumper, or Trulia, use them to build better communication with their users and help people be satisfied by using the mobile app and looking for the best property to buy or rent.

The cost of real estate mobile app development in 2021

The following vital point in real estate app development is its cost. To evaluate the app and get the approximate price, you need to understand all the stages of development. The cost will depend on the technology stack, features you want to implement, and the company's hourly rate that creates the application.

There is no unique answer on how much development of the app will cost. At the same time, you can sum the time and cost of each development stage:

  • Discovery stage
  • UX/UI design
  • Building MVP
  • Backend/frontend development
  • QA/monitoring

The timing of each development stage will depend on app features. For example, building a real estate Android app from scratch can cost from $10 000 to $100 000.

How to design real estate app: UI/UX design tips Top features of real estate mobile app development

In the following paragraphs, we will focus on design and UI/UX features that can help to make an advanced application. To create a real estate app, you need to remember the general principles of mobile app design, such as simplicity, content prioritization, and making navigation intuitive. We will discuss each of the directions in app design and look at every real estate app development stage.

1. Research your audience. It became evident that even before starting your first scratch, you need to understand who the future app users are. Moreover, a lot of designers skip this stage, but we are sure this is a mistake. You can work for millennials who are hunting for suitable apartments, for startup investors in San-Francisco, for older people in New Jersey who want to earn on rent, for students in France, and so on. All these people will require their own design approach. It is perfect for imagining the person who will be your final app user: their age, occupation, level of income.

2. Find your flow. The next step is to understand the app flow or users' journey. It must be easy to understand and navigate. Also, you can focus on the user's objectives and business objectives to create the best app flow. The excellent flow will ensure easily accessible information.

3. Choose a UX strategy. The most critical part of real estate app development. You need to focus on the app architecture, don't make users stack with an app. It should be understandable and easy to use. If the person doesn't know how to use the app, where is the search button, how to find the map, will this person delete the app in a few minutes, and there's a low chance it will be installed once more?

4. Create a sketch. The most fundamental part of design work is to create a layout of the app. We will point to this stage in more detail next and go through the best practices in app design for the real estate market.

UI and UX design features you need to follow to create an efficient real estate mobile app design

Choose the right color.
It is probably the most controversial thing in real estate app development, as the choice of color depends on many factors. You can find that the top real estate apps use blue (Zillow real estate and rent.com), or purple (Zillow for rent), green (Trulia and Apartments.com). At the same time, you need to learn that people who buy a house want to be sure of platform stability. They need to trust this app.

Make an accessible registration page.
As we already mentioned, you need to give an option for registration through social media, phone number, or email. This first page must be minimalistic and straightforward.

Implement wild filtering options.
In general, people don't want to type something into the filter line. They want to choose from existing prospects. It happens because users wish for easy action and don't want to spend much time looking at suitable filters. Focus on filters, make them provide comprehensive info. What can be included in the filter options:

  • Location
  • Price
  • Size (number of rooms/bathrooms)
  • Type of the building/year of construction
  • Additional features (pool, parking lot, garden)

Full-screen photo and video.
The quality of pictures or video can be critical for users in making the decision on buying property. People want to see what they will purchase and continue interaction with an app if they are satisfied by visuals. Photography is a key to emotions. Clients will decide on the subsequent actions based on the first emotions from the house, and good photos can enhance the positive.

Explore the area.
As we pointed out in the text, it is essential to integrate a map and give users the option to search the property in the selected part of the area. Some apps (for example, Trulia) also provide additional information about the place you chose on the map, such as the crime rate, location of schools, fitness centers, groceries, the possibility of natural disasters.

Icons instead of text.
The next option is to use icons instead of text where it's possible. For example, Xome's real estate app focuses on customized icons, making it easier to narrow the search results. At the same time, too many icons can be difficult to perceive. You need to have an optimal balance and use the icons only where it's necessary.

Use CTA buttons.
You can help users to make an action in the app and navigate them through the options. Do not use any fancy shades and text links as buttons. At the same time, the CTA button must stand out in the app, and that's why designers used bright colors for this feature.

Final thoughts on real estate mobile app design

According to Google research, more than 25% of users open an app only once and never return to it. This data underlines the importance of first impressions and straightforward design for the app. The real estate market is multiplying. More and more users switch from websites to apps, as it's often more flexible and easy to navigate and use for home hunting or looking for rental options. At the same time, many agencies require advanced software solutions to manage all the property and correctly use the data.

This article describes the basic features of real estate app development and focuses on the UX design tips that help create an original and quality app. We include the best design cases to inspire you to build the best app for achieving your business goals.

Starbase has broad expertise in creating real estate app design. We worked with a real estate market worldwide, and our experience is based on the latest trend. If you think about developing your own real estate app, contact our specialist for consultation or cooperation.
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