Real Estate

Real Estate App Development Guide: Features, Process, & Cost

05 May 2021 • 18 min read
Real Estate App Development Guide: Features, Process, & Cost
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Andrii Horiachko
Written by Andrii Horiachko
Co-Founder and CTO at Softermii
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The use of mobile devices for real estate is continuously increasing.

This indicates that developing real estate apps is a profitable investment for this industry. After all, people are increasingly using mobile applications to sell and purchase homes, and agents are using them for daily tasks, contact and coordination with clients, and marketing activities.

Furthermore, according to the Real Estate In A Digital Age, 2018 Study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 73% of homebuyers use digital tools, such as a mobile app or website, at some point during their search.

real estate mobile app development

With this information, it becomes clear that real estate is an industry that is well-suited for mobile apps. One key reason is that the market has always been willing to adopt emerging technology and adapt to new challenges.

In addition, the high level of competition in real estate demands a digital solution that can assist agents in their work or allow clients to discover what they are looking for. This digital solution can vary from an exceptional website with amazing features to custom real estate mobile applications for both agents and clients.

In this article, we will discuss real estate development trends, real estate mobile app features, details about the industry in 2021, and how to build a real estate app.


Why Real Estate Mobile App Development Is One Of The Leading Trends Of The Industry

Creating a mobile app for your real estate business will distinguish you from competition. If your app is more engaging and useful than the rest, a potential customer is more likely to choose you over a rival. With that in mind, let’s examine what a custom real estate app can offer you.

A Faster Sales Process

Agents can enable a faster sales process by using a customized solution. Virtual tours would shorten lengthy showings, documents can be digitally signed and transferred, and properties can be found more quickly.

In addition, by using Softermii’s LJ Hooker Avnu application, agents will be able to gather real-time data and analytics on their clients’ search. They can then use that information to gather a more detailed buyer profile and narrow down the search.

24/7 In-App Communication Channel

When someone is looking to buy a home, it can be a stressful time. They will have many choices available to them and they may need to make a fast decision. As a result, they would want to be able to contact their agent at all times. Having a 24/7 communication channel in an app would allow for immediate conversations and decrease wait times.

real estate application development by Softermii

A More Rewarding Customer Experience

Clients will be able to enjoy a personalized experience that perfectly fits their needs. They will be able to save their searches and favourite properties, get detailed neighbourhood information, quick access to a mortgage calculator, take 3D tours, and more. By creating a rewarding experience, client satisfaction will be higher, and according to a recent Criteo research study, real estate mobile apps are twice as more likely to retain users than websites.

mobile app development for real estate

Automation Of Routine Tasks

Agents will be able to delegate a majority of their tasks that would normally be time-consuming. Property information can be auto-filled, chatbots can immediately reply to potential clients, and generate leads. Homebuyers can also benefit from automation, as they could instantly receive documents, submit offers, and be notified of new interesting homes.


Real Estate App Ideas & Types

A custom real estate app can perform a variety of functions and serve many purposes. As a result, before proceeding with the developmental process, you should first identify your app’s type, purpose, and features. The following are a few examples of real estate solutions that are currently available.

Property Management

These solutions are designed to provide property managers with a general understanding of what is going on with their properties at any given time. They could use the app to see maintatence requests, when rent is due, and advanced analytics of their business. Our article of property management software development provides a more in-depth examination of the benefits and features. Read also: Property Management Software Development for Real Estate

For example, Proper is an app that we developed to streamline rental property management. It brings together landlords, tenants, and third-party contractors in order to simplify the relationship between all three parties. You can read our case analysis on how to create a real estate app such as Proper.

real estate web app development

Buying Or Renting A Home

Buyers and renters can search for their new home by entering their criteria, such as location, price, and amenities. Results will automatically populate based on their requirements and give them detailed information about each listing.

Zillow and Trulia are two of the leading home searching apps. Other mobile solutions have been quick to challenge them as competitors, and we created one of them - RadPad - an app that was built for both landlords and tenants. Check out the mobile developmental process of RadPad for a detailed insight of the inner workings of a real estate solution.

realtor app development

Assistance For Real Estate Agents

This type of software can be used for a variety of purposes, such as communicating with clients, managing documents, and simplifying the listing process. This type of approach can significantly reduce an agent’s workload and make their job easier.

Connecteam is one example of this type of solution. It has communication features, schedule managing, a database of forms, automated reports, and attractive listings.

Home Valuation

By using public and private data on housing trends and past sales, real estate agents and real estate investors can analyze the true market value of a particular property. The same type of information can also be used to forecast future home values and to determine what factors that would drive those predictions.

A perfect example for a home valuation application is HouseCanary. It uses algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) to extract important insights and information from a large database of residential properties, and educates its users on upcoming trends.

Virtual Tours

Both sellers and agents can use 3D tours that can create a more genuine experience of viewing properties online. Furthermore, according to Zillow’s research, homes with virtual tours were saved and favorited 32% more than homes without. Another study also reveals that more than 80% of millennial buyers want to see 3D virtual tours when searching for a home.

Matterport is an example of a real estate software that can create virtual tours with just a smartphone and some photos.


Must-have Real Estate App Features

When considering what features to add during real estate app development, it is important to first consider who the app’s target audience will be. It is equally crucial to examine functionality. With that said, let’s go over some features in more detail.

#1 - Navigation and Street View

Similar to maps, users can get a more in-depth comprehension of the area that a property is in. With a Google Maps API, interested parties can preview the neighbourhood without having to travel there in-person. They can travel down streets and create a more immersive experience that cannot be achieved with a map. Additionally, it adds a level of transparency that users can appreciate.

Rently is a one-of-a-kind app that our developmental team created in order to streamline both the rental process. You can see how our StreetView feature greatly benefited the software by reading our detailed portfolio page.

realtor app development

#2 - Databases

It’s critical for a real estate app, especially for a real estate finder app, to have integrated databases. In order to receive listing data that can populate searches, Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is most commonly used. With the assistance of third-party apps, such as iHomeFinder, and through using APIs, MLS data can streamline data flow and configure it to match the application’s format. Listings can also be generated by allowing brokerages and agents to manually submit their own.

#3 - Advanced Search Functionality

A structured filtered search can greatly increase an application’s UX. Developers can perform A/B testing in order to determine the order of criteria that are displayed to users and which query is more popular than others. With AI and analytics, an app can provide more relevant results. All search functions should at least have the following options: location, property type, price range, listing type, lot size, square footage, the year of construction, and amenities.

realtor app development

#4 - Save Search and Favourite Listings

To retain users, they should be allowed to create a list of properties and searches that they can return to. It will also be useful for agents to see what interests their clients so they can suggest similar options. The section to return to favorited listings should be easily accessible either on the user’s profile.

#5 - Map View

Information about neighbourhoods play a significant role in any real estate app as homebuyers will always carefully scrutinize the community that they plan to live in. As a result, it is essential to have a map view that can give detailed information of a listing’s surroundings. Pairing up with map APIs, users can see information about local transit, schools, and other places of interest. With geolocation, they could see even more details.

Users should be able to specify their criteria when viewing a map, and they should also be able to draw an area to find listings that fit their interest. In order to gather the proper information, many cities and countries have open databases. Crime rates, demographics, housing data, and more can be retrieved from these open portals.

realtor app development

#6 - Real-Time Messaging

Agencies, agents, and homebuyers should have comprehensive instant messaging in order to communicate with each other. Not only should they be able to text and email each other, they should also be able to send files and attachments. It is also highly recommended to implement voice and video calls to create more modes of communication.

#7 - Push Notifications

Push notifications are key to retaining users and creating customer engagement. They can remind users of important updates, such as price changes or new listings, and encourage active use of the app. However, they should not be abused. A user is more likely to delete the application if they’re being spammed with irrelevant alerts. As a result, you should only send out personalized notifications that bring value.

realtor app development

#8 - Social Media Integration

During the onboarding process, users should be allowed to sign in with their pre-existing social media accounts, based on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Not only does it create convenience, but it also builds a level of trust. Furthermore, this feature can allow users to share listings on social media channels in order to either attract interested parties or receive feedback.

#9 - 3D Virtual Tours

Virtual tours can create more attractive listings for homebuyers. It provides a more detailed insight and layout of the property, providing an accurate perception and understanding that descriptions often fail to achieve. Users will also be able to take their time and restart a virtual tour as often as they like, avoiding long travel times and showings.

#10 - Personal Profiles

A profile can benefit both agents and buyers. For a realtor, they can describe their experience and specialities, attracting potential clients. They can also feature their listings and their availability. They may even have a QR code that can lead directly to their profile. For a buyer, they should be able to see their saved listings and searches.

#11 - Property Cost and Mortgage Calculators

Math is often needed for homebuyers to figure out whether or not they can afford a property of interest. With different calculators, they can receive automatic estimations that can make the process easier. Property costs can be determined with downpayments, taxes, and interest, while mortgages can include monthly payments, taxes, and insurance.

realtor app development

#12 - Feedback System

Ratings can create loyalty and trust among homebuyers. By allowing past clients to leave feedback for agents or landlords and users to leave neighbourhood ratings, an app can be more reliable and transparent about its information.

realtor app development

#13 - Administrative Panel

This feature can be extremely useful for agents, property managers, and landlords. Each party would be able to submit or remove listings, and monitor their revenue stream. This panel can also allow a rental agency to receive credit reports from rental applicants and see their tenants’ rental history. Softermii’s RadPad includes these features to ensure smooth and simple administration.

#14 - Chatbot

With a chatbot and online chat, customers can get on-demand answers without delay. Frequently asked questions can be responded with automatic messages, and users will be able to learn more about a particular topic without having to search for it through the application.

#15 - Calendar

Buyers can schedule viewings or appointments with their agents with a simple calendar feature. They will be able to see available dates and book them through the property listing app. Agents can also manage their own time by checking their automated calendar to see what appointments they have. A calendar can also send reminders to both parties.

#16 - Augmented Reality (AR)

AR can be beneficial for both buyers and sellers. Interested users will be able to customize properties with new wall colours, different furniture, and renovated interior designs. They will be able to easily visualize the home after purchase and be able to make faster decisions on whether they want to proceed or not. Agents can also use AR in order to show off pre-construction properties and fill empty spaces with furniture.


How To Develop A Real Estate App: Tech Stack

In order to create a real estate app, you will need a powerful backend. The following list includes useful tools that can be used during real estate application development:

  • CoreData or Realm frameworks - manages a list of saved properties.
  • Google Places API - provides users with details about the local area and neighbourhoods.
  • Firebase SDK or Apple Push Notifications Service - incorporates push notifications.
  • SimpleRets, iHomeFinder, Spark APIs - normalizes MLS data flows.
  • Facebook SDK - integrates a Facebook sign-in option.
  • Zillow API - provides access to Zillow’s neighbourhood information and listings.
  • Mapbox or Google Maps API - builds custom maps.
  • The Onboard Informatics Community, Spatial Neighbourhood APIs - provides demographics and information about particular districts.
  • Java or Kotlin - developmental language for Android.
  • Swift or Objective C - developmental language for iOS.
  • Amazon S3 - cloud storage for listings.


Innovative Technologies That You Can Implement In House-For-Sale Apps

There are all sorts of new and emerging tech that you can use in your real estate and realtor mobile app development. Some of that might include:

AI For Task Automation

AI can automate data collection, process information, create analyses and reports, and certain customer interactions.

AR/VR For Property Showings

With a real estate VR app, buyers will be able to minimize travel and be able to see properties from their phones and tablets. They will also be able to customize homes to their likings with AR.

Iot Technology For Real Estate

Productivity can improve, operations can be streamlined, customer engagement can be increased. There are many benefits to incorporating IoT into a real estate app. During our development of Rently, we were able to use start home and lock technology for agents to remotely unlock properties for showings.

Big Data

Studying and extracting information from large amounts of data can provide detailed analytics. It can be used to predict a user’s behaviour and decisions, allowing for more appropriate search recommendations and notifications.


Real Estate App Development Cost

At this point, you may be wondering how much real estate app development costs. Unfortunately, there is definite answer due to various factors. Some of them include the complexity of your software, whether you are developing it in-house or outsourcing the work, and overall features.

However, we can examine the main stages of the developmental process in order to get a general estimate on the costs. The following information is based on an hourly wage of $30.

Web Development

This stage involves creating a customized panel for administrators. This can provide helpful features, such as advanced analytics, automated marketing, membership management, and more. Developers, like our dedicated team at Softermii, will also review your goals and create wireframes that you can follow.

This can take up to 300 hours, which is roughly $9,000.

Native Development

Reactive native involves building either an iOS or Android app, or both. However, before starting, there will be smaller stages, such as prospecting marketing insights and creating realtor mobile app designs. The apps will also have to follow strict rules and guidelines that are enforced by the Apple Store, Amazon Appstore, and Google Play.

This is a much longer process that can take up to 900 hours, costing approximately $27,000.

UX/UI Design

By studying your target audience, a unique UI/UX design will create responsive user interfaces and positive experiences. Furthermore, with an adaptive real estate mobile app design, it will run smoothly on any device, especially if it is a cross-platform app.

This stage can take up to 200 hours, costing $6,000.

Testing And Quality Assurance

It is crucial to test your product before it is released to the public. At Softermii, both manual and automated testing will be performed in order to ensure that performance is unimpaired and that all bugs are eliminated. Furthermore, this will provide insights to the application’s usage, which can improve features and interfaces.

QA can take 450 hours, which totals to $13,500.

Project Management

A project manager will ensure that milestones are met and the scope of the project remains as you want it to be. They will also perform risk analyses to identify potential security weaknesses and communicate with you on the overall process of the development.

There is no set price of a project manager as it typically costs 10% to 15% of the total budget. However, in consideration with our current estimate, it will be approximately $5,500.

In Summary

The following table sums up each stage of real estate app development, their hours, and cost:

Stage Hours Cost
Web Development 300 $9,000
Native Development 900 $27,000
UX/UI Design 200 $6,000
Testing and Quality Assurance 450 $13,500
Project Management N/A $5,500
Total Cost $61,050
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Keep in mind that this is only an estimate and that costs can vary. This calculation is based on property apps that have multiple real estate mobile app features that would assist both agents and buyers.

A basic and simple solution can be priced from $25,000 to $45,000. However, more complex real estate apps, such as above, can cost upwards of $70,000.


Softermii Experience

Softermii is well-versed in the complexities and challenges that come with developing real estate technologies. With over six years of experience, we can create products that are driven by IoT, AI, video conferencing, and AR/VR.

Furthermore, we have developed a number of apps in the real estate industry. These include Proper as a property management tool, Rently as an instant property tour solution, app for real estate agents and RadPad as a rental app for both landlords and tenants. Our real estate projects received widespread praise and RadPad was even named as one of the Top 10 Best New Apps for two years in a row.

We have also created Apartmii, a custom engine that is immediately ready to be integrated into any real estate application. With its inclusion, developmental steps can be accelerated or even skipped as it utilizes new real estate technologies that can provide users with a safer and easier experience. It employs AI to learn about user behavior, VR for virtual tours, AR to highlight features, a basic UI for anyone to use, a live video tour to get the online experience as close to real life as possible, and automatic credit scores for rental applicants.

Our dedicated team offers a wide variety of real estate software development services. We adhere to GDPR, local data privacy and protection policies, and regulations and ensure that we regularly up-to-date with legislations to ensure that our apps are secure and ready for use anytime and anywhere.


Conclusion

After mobile applications were introduced to the real estate industry, purchasing or renting a new home became simpler than ever. All parties involved in the search process, from agents to brokers to consumers, benefit from these apps. Especially as homebuyers are more likely than ever to use online searches, a professional and well-developed real estate app can be a huge success.

To begin, there needs to be a proper analysis of current market trends and target audiences. For a robust app with useful features, it should include an extensive property database, advanced search and filters, an interactive map, relevant push notifications, and real-time messaging. To remain successful, it is also necessary to maintain regular upkeep and maintenance.

Softermii ensures that you are completely prepared to join and remain in the market with a competitive app. We will help you discover the digital potential of your real estate business and turn your idea into a reality. Contact us for a free consultation and begin your developmental process now.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do real estate apps generate revenue?

Your app can use a variety of different monetization models. Listed below are a few profitable examples:

  • Promotions
    Agents and brokers may advertise their services for a fee in order to generate leads. They can be promoted to a larger number of customers and gain more clients. Offering a free trial period and subscriptions would be a good model.
  • Third-Party Advertisement
    Other parties interested in paying for advertisement space in a real estate app, such as mortgage lenders and interior designers, can also be potential customers. You can set the option of paying for views, clicks, or impressions.
  • White Labeling
    Other real estate app developers and rivals may want to use your code in their own projects. To profit from this model, you can license your code and then sell it.
  • Freemium
    An app can be free for all users to use, but premium users may have access to exclusive functions by paying a small fee. Paid features can include comprehensive analyses, daily reports, and the ability to disable advertisements.

What should I know before I begin developing a real estate app?

Before you begin, it is strongly advised that you research the competition and their apps, monetization models, and features. You would be able to identify areas where there is a shortage of demand and then fill that void. Furthermore, you will be able to see what works and what does not for your rivals.

However, don’t be tempted to make an exact copy of a competitor’s solution. You will need a product that sticks out to convince users to switch apps.

What are the costs associated with developing a real estate app?

Expenses are classified into three categories:

  • Market Analysis
    A market analyst can assist you in analysing competitors, developing a list of features, and prepare app documentation for the real estate mobile application development.
  • Development Process
    This cost is determined by the amount of hours spent developing your app. More details can be found in the above-mentioned section on real estate app development costs.
  • Maintenance And Support
    You will need post-release support and ongoing maintenance. This expense will be determined similarly to the developmental phase, which is based on the number of hours and developers.

What information do you need to provide an accurate estimate for a mobile app development for real estate?

A typical brief involves a business model, app features, market analysis, comparisons for competitors, specifications, deadlines, and business objectives.

To achieve a detailed brief and, therefore, an accurate estimate, you will need to include information about your company’s scope, what features you are looking for, your deadlines, and your objectives. The more details you provide, the better.

How long does it take to create a custom real estate product?

Time, like real app development costs, can vary for a number of reasons. For example, it can take two to four months for a simple solution. However, six months is the ideal time to produce a completely fine-tuned product.

How do you choose a reputable real estate software development team?

You need to choose a software development company with expertise and skills in the industry. This is specifically important as selecting a reputable real estate software development company entails selecting a company that collaborates with you and tailors the software to your exact needs.

Softermii collaborates with clients as partners to create the most sophisticated and stable applications that meet all of your requirements for developing. We ustalize IoT, AI, conferencing engines, and VR/AR to create powerful solutions that can be fierce competitors in the industry.

By partnering with us, we can build real estate software that perfectly fits with your business values and expand your market scope, allowing you to remain connected in the new digital real estate age.

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