Innovative app development approach for real estate agents: Realtor Association case explained.
The real estate market experienced turbulent times amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The companies were in turmoil and expected a large drop in sales. Fortunately, this has not become the truth. The recent reports by E&Y state the market follows an optimistic scenario of actual sales. Moreover, this scenario is heavily driven by digital disruptors.
The real estate digital adoption is unavoidable as the real estate tech market keeps growing. The investments in real estate tech solutions reached $6.7bn in 2020. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the adoption of digital transformation has dramatically accelerated. It is about developing the digital workforce of the future. After the sudden shift to remote working, real estate companies will need to help employees succeed in a virtual workplace. Agencies and associations started overlooking new opportunities for growth and automation. Among them — French Realtor Association, our client who needed mobile app development for realtors in Europe.
Exhibit 1-8 Real Estate Tech Global Financing History
Meet French Realtor Association, the client
French Realtor Association is a French enterprise for real estate agents. They have their web real estate software: it combines numerous databases of property objects, agencies, and agents. As smartphones have become a tool for work, the association came up with a decision to develop its mobile application. The main goal of the application — simplify closing deals for real estate agents and digitize the workflow.
Mobile app development for realtors step by step
By that time, they already had the first version of the real estate mobile app for realtors though it required significant changes.
The first version provided an Airbnb-like interface with the listing of available properties. The app contained a search bar with numerous filters: location, number of rooms, square meters, and photos. Once the agent receives the information regarding the client's needs, he/she checks out the app and searches, applying filters. Once realtors complete the research, they can make personal lists of potential properties.
Key features of the first version:
- The realtors enter the main screen — a map. They set up geo and see pins with price tags and the location. By clicking on the pin, they get an object card on the bottom of the interface. The card leads to a property description with photos, important info regarding the property, and characteristics. On the same screen, you can apply any other filters, only relevant results remain.
- We've helped them implement the second feature — a database with a list of real estate agencies. Once agents switch to this tab, they can check out what properties this agency owns and their object cards.
French Realtor Association asked us to improve the first version of the house buying app. The most notable new feature is the ability to draw your zones. Let's imagine you look on the map and think about what area seems the most corresponding to your needs. You draw a circle with this area inside. Those coordinates are sent to a particular API and API sends back the suitable objects. The end-user sees properties located only in highlighted areas.
With the second version, we've moved even further. Our goal was to provide an innovative real estate app development for realtors. Among our best solutions, we highlight:
- Home screen. The home screen consists of a map and a new feature — a list of properties. Now real estate agents can switch from map to list mode and vice versa.
- Custom areas. The agent can create its areas. First, he/she needs to set up location parameters and coordinates. Those can be set manually by choosing a region, city, or by drawing an own area. Every new area has its color, as all the pins do. Agents can create up to 10 custom areas.
- Updates and notifications. Once the new property inside of the area appears/disappears, changes, an agent gets a notification and can check out what change was made.
- Navigation. Now real estate specialists can easily switch between zones and clients. We added a new tab with notifications. The users can open it and switch to any event they are interested in.
- Likes. The agents like the property and automatically start following it. Once any change to the property is made, they get push notifications.
More about our real estate app developers team
Eventually, the team managed to develop a mobile app for realtors and cover all client's needs. We at Softermii found specialists who had a vast experience and worked on brilliant projects before. The team consisted of:
- 3 iOS developers
- 2 QA testers
- Project manager.
The first iOS developer worked on refactoring an existing application and built an entirely new architecture. It wasn't a standard MVC architecture (massive, all in one place). He came up with MVC: there are many modules with their logic: data service, UI service, UI model, controller, API's. To make it work, our developers connected them with a complicated logical controller . Anyway, like any project, we had some challenges:
- Creating custom pins on Google Maps. You usually can't easily customize Google's pins, so Client had their design. Custom pins require lots of memory. We had to write scripts on memory limits.
- Merging custom zones. For example, an agent creates two zones, and they both have a common area. It was a baffling task because it required developing a mathematical model to merge these two zones into one.
The interaction between Softermii and the association was top-notch. Our project manager and product owner from the client's side were brilliant in their collaboration. With all the deep logic, diagrams, and detailed documentation provided by their team, the development process was seamless. Every screen was signed, all designed requirements were clear and accurate.
Challenging but rewarding
As for now, Softeermii's team is expecting the client to release the final version of the application. Thanks to French Realtor Association we've expanded our development opportunities and expertise. The result is satisfying for both sides. We are happy to be a part of this product still as we're providing ongoing support. Moreover, Softermii's mobile app for realtors solution received the Web Marketing Association's MobileWebAwards Best Real Estate Mobile Application for 2020. We're proud to be the best in what we do.