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SPW Insights

Even Dinosaurs, Like Me, Use Mobile Real Estate Apps

3 Mobile Steps for Finding the Right Home at the Right Price

Posted on 28-May-2015

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Even Dinosaurs, Like Me, Use Mobile Real Estate Apps

3 Mobile Steps for Finding the Right Home at the Right Price

When we hear the word app, most of us think of a game we play on our smart phone or the icon that leads to our camera and personal library of music.

We have associated apps with entertainment for so long that we forget that there are many apps out there that are less exciting (and maybe even dull) but nevertheless serve a valuable utility that makes our lives better.

Real estate apps would fall into this latter category.  No one would put a real estate app in the same category of excitement as Angry Birds, iTunes, or Fruit Ninja.  However, when you are buying or renting a home, real estate apps can make it much, more possible to find the right home at the right price.

Consumer real estate apps, like SRX Home Search, are available for free at Apple App Store and Google Play store.  And, apps for professionals are inexpensive.  They digitize much of the traditional three-step process of finding a home:  search, view, and negotiate.

In the olden days, before Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007 and fostered an explosion of apps for smart phones, finding a home was cumbersome.  It consisted of exchanging information by word-of-mouth, sifting through hundreds of 3-liners of advertisements in the print classifieds, hit-and-miss home viewings, and negotiations based on suppositions rather than facts.

Real estate apps have changed the way we buy, sell, and rent right before our very eyes.

Take search, for example.  Using a smart phone (or a computer if you are a dinosaur like me), you can search an entire market of homes by location (i.e., districts, MRT, schools, and lifestyle categories like parks and clubs ), project name, asking price, property type, age, tenure, and bedrooms.  In seconds, you can zero in on a very specific listing.

Big deal, you say.  Digital search is old hat. 

Well, here are three things you might not know about search.

First, not all search engines are equal.  Quality search is hard to explain, but you know it when you don’t get it. 

For example, try typing in the name of the building that shares the same name as a product.  Say you want to live near the Bosch Building, which is located in the Bishan neighborhood.  If the search engine is not location-based, it will give you irrelevant home matches as far away as Tampines because Bosch appliances are in the listing descriptions. 

The search engine must be smart enough to recognize the difference between the name of a building and a washer and dryer.

Second, not all search engines show you the highest quality listings at the top of the search results, wasting your time sifting through tons of duplicates and dummy listings.  Instead, many property portals allow automated software to repost listings so what appears at the top is not necessarily quality but listings that are trying to game the system.

A quality search engine will have listing rules based on the quality of the listing and move the better listings to the top of the results pages.

Third, not all search engines are digitally linked to the classifieds.  Advanced search engines allow you to take a code from the classifieds and see the digital version of the home on the big screen of a computer, smart phone, or tablet.

When I think of home viewings in the old days, the word drudgery comes to mind.

It used to be that your agent would cobble together a list of, say, ten homes to visit and write them down on a yellow legal pad.  Many of these homes would come from word-of-mouth. 

You would then visit the homes, crossing off each home on the legal pad.  If you didn’t like any of the homes and you asked to see more, the agent would have to drop you off and spend the next week searching for a new list of homes to view.  In my experience, this would take a minimum of a week.

Today, using agent-only apps, like SRX Property’s Agent ConnectTM, an agent can schedule new home viewing on the fly.  It’s a simple process of doing a quick search on the smart phone app and selecting the phone icon to arrange the new viewing.  In many cases, your agent can arrange with the agent of the seller or landlord to view the home that day. 

This, in turn shortens the duration of viewing homes from weeks to days.

In the old days, we negotiated real estate deals with irrelevant, faulty or misleading data or all of the above. 

Now, mobile apps instantly process real-time data at the unit level and then display the results in a convenient interface.  Furthermore, each result, whether it is an X-ValueTM or a 50- page Home ReportTM is backed by all the substantiating data and calculations.

This technology ensures that negotiations are based on facts rather than conjecture or one party’s insider information.

Mobility is changing our lives.  Smart phones are ubiquitous.  We no longer put a coin in a payphone.  If you look down the cars of an MRT, you will see people using smart phones and tablets to read, listen to music, chat, write emails, watch movies, trade stocks, play games, and do business.  Even dinosaurs, like me, have no choice but to carry smart phones because our family, friends, and colleagues expect us to be reachable at all times.

If your agent isn’t using mobility to help you find the right home at the right price, then he doesn’t even qualify as a dinosaur.  (Would that make him a Carboniferous amphibian?)

Furthermore, and more seriously, by not going mobile, he is doing you a great disservice and could be costing you time, money, and aggravation.

Click here to learn about SRX Property's consumer app and agent apps.

Click here to go to Singapore Property Watch

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