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

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

04 January 2022 • 28 min read

Recent studies of homebuyers' behavior prove: real estate app development has never been in the highest demand.

In 2020, 97% of customers went online to buy or rent a house. 76% of them used a mobile or a tablet.

In 2021, over 23% of real estate companies spent over $500 per month on technology tool development. eSignature, local MLS app, social media, lockbox, video conference, CRM, transaction management, showing/open house software are just some of the basic most valuable tools used in business in 2021.

Most valuable technology tools used in business

Yet, one can implement many of these tools in one real estate mobile application. As the real estate market adopts emerging technology and adapts to new challenges, app developers need to keep up with those changes. Professionally developed property management tools have a significant effect on the market. They allow us to simplify processes and make renting, selling, or buying less complicated yet more effective.

As the developers of Apartmii, rental real estate software, and custom solutions for real estate companies (Real Estate Association, Proper, RadPad), we know what it takes to create your own real estate app that covers business needs.

This article shares our expertise, including real estate technology industry trends, ideas and types for real estate apps, features and functionality for a perfect app, and processes that stand behind developing a real estate mobile app.

Why Real Estate Mobile App Development is one of the Leading Trends of the Industry

In 2020, the volume of real estate tech deals in the United States reached $7.3 billion. Statista notes that as of October 2021, Zillow was the leading real estate and rental website in the US. It received over 36 million visits per month, and this number, beyond any doubt, is impressive.

The real estate market is developing faster than it is possible to imagine. The same month, October 2021, Zillow pauses new purchases. Big news for the market competitors of Zillow: Opendoor shares soar.

A rapidly developing market does not leave a chance for mistakes. You should satisfy the needs of all clients; otherwise, you lose the fight. And a mobile real estate app can become a weapon against all competitors.

Read also: How to Develop an App like Zillow

A Faster Sales Process

Agents can speed up their sales process using a customized real estate software solution. Virtual tours in rental search app development would shorten lengthy showings, documents can be digitally signed and transferred, and properties can be found more quickly.

24/7 In-App Communication Channel

Having a 24/7 communication channel in an app enables immediate conversations and decreases waiting time.

A More Rewarding Customer Experience

Clients will be happy to save their searches and favorite properties, get detailed neighborhood information, quickly access a mortgage calculator, take 3D tours, and more.

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Slava Ivanov

Global IT partnerships and Strategic development

Contact Slava to get more info on real estate and proptech software development

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Automation Of Routine Tasks

Agents will be able to delegate most 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 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 various functions and serve many purposes. As a result, before proceeding with the real estate app development process, you should first identify your app’s type, purpose, and features.

Realtor apps

Custom apps for realtors regularly cover all basic features that simplify the process of communication with clients. They give access to real estate documents and additionally reduce paperwork.

Household management apps

In the real estate market, these apps help track the current state of the houses and apartments available for rent or selling.

Property listing apps

Property listing apps provide clients with the lists of houses and apartments available on the market. As a rule, they cover the basic information about each real estate item. Property app development can be an amazing idea that will bring good profit to its owner.

Smart home access apps

These apps serve to find houses and apartments with smart home features. Currently, this is one of the most demanding trends amongst the millenials.

Property management apps

These real estate application software 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 maintenance requests, when rent is due, and advanced analytics of their business.

For example, Proper is an app that we developed to streamline rental property management. It brings together landlords, tenants, and third-party contractors to simplify the relationship between all three parties.

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.

Assistance For Real Estate Agents

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

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Home Valuation

By using public and private data on housing trends and past sales, real estate agents and investors can analyze the true market value of a particular property. The same information helps forecast future home values and determine factors driving those predictions.

Virtual Tours

Both sellers and agents can use 3D tours to 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.

Must-Have Real Estate App Features

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

Basically, all real estate application features can target agents or clients.

Features for clients Features for agents

Navigation and Street View

Databases

Advanced search

Real-Time Messaging

3D Virtual Tours

Calendar

Save Search and Favourite Listings

Analytics

Property Cost and Mortgage Calculators

Personal Profiles

Feedback System

Administrative Panel

Chatbot

Augmented Reality

Categories and Filters

Softermii Logo

Here’s a brief description for each of the real estate mobile app features mentioned above.

Navigation and Street View

Similar to maps, users can get a more in-depth comprehension of the area. With a Google Maps API, interested parties can preview the neighborhood without traveling there.

Navigation and street view feature - real estate app development

Advanced Search Functionality

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.

Advanced search functionality feature - real estate app development

3D Virtual Tours

Virtual tours can create more attractive listings for homebuyers. It provides more detailed insight and layout of the property, providing an accurate perception and understanding that descriptions often fail to achieve.

mobile app development for real estate - 3D virtual tours

Save Search and Favorite Listings

To retain users, let them create and save a list of properties and searches for later. It will also be useful for agents to see what interests their clients to suggest similar options. Make these lists easily accessible from the user’s profile. Typically, this feature is very popular in developing a mobile app for real estate agents.

Save search and favourite listings feature

Property Cost and Mortgage Calculators

With different calculators, they can receive automatic estimations to make the process easier. Property costs can be determined with down payments, taxes, and interest, while mortgages include monthly payments, taxes, and insurance.

Property cost and mortgage calculators feature

Feedback System

Ratings can create loyalty and trust among homebuyers. If past clients can leave feedback for agents or landlords and users post neighborhood ratings, an app becomes more reliable and transparent. This is another valuable feature that is used in the development of mobile apps for real estate agents.

Feedback system

Chatbot

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

Chatbot in a proptech application

Augmented Reality (AR)

AR can benefit both buyers and sellers. Interested users will enjoy customizing properties with new wall colors, different furniture, and renovated interior designs.

Categories and filters

Categories and filters is another option that helps to simplify the process of search. When developing a real estate app, make sure you understand what features are the most demanding among your clients and add them to the categories and filters.

Categories and filters system

Databases

It’s critical for a real estate app to have integrated databases, especially if it helps find a property. With the assistance of third-party apps, such as iHomeFinder, and using APIs, MLS data can streamline data flow and configure it to match the application’s format.

Databases in a proptech application

Real-Time Messaging

Agencies, agents, and homebuyers should have comprehensive instant messaging to communicate with each other. It goes not only about sending texts and emails but also files and other attachments. We highly recommend implementing voice and video calls to create more communication options.

Read also: How to Make a Messaging Application?

Real-time messaging feature

Calendar

Buyers can schedule viewings or appointments with their agents with a simple calendar feature. They will see available dates and book them through the property listing app.

Calendar feature

Analytics

For the company, collecting and processing information about their clients' preferences and behavior is critical. The analysis results can make the search for the house or apartment more efficient.

Analytics feature

Personal Profiles

A profile can benefit agents, too. A realtor can describe their experience and features, attract potential clients, or publish their listings and availability.

Personal profiles in a proptech application

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 real estate application features to ensure smooth and simple administration.

When creating a real estate website, the list of features may differ, but at the same time they will be very similar.

Administrative panel in a proptech application

Real Estate Application Design Best Practices

As mentioned, real estate app development is booming. Therefore, there are certain trends and best practices that you are to obey to provide your customers with an excellent user experience.

Simplify customer journey

Real estate app users expect that the process of finding an apartment or house will be easy for them. Ensure that your app provides them with the basic features, like integrated filters and simple navigation forms.

For example, information about neighborhoods is significant for any real estate app. Therefore, you are to ensure that the customer has easy access to this information in your application. You can add a map view to the navigation panel and provide a map view in the object's description.

Work on high-quality gamification

When choosing an apartment or a house via a mobile app, a customer wants to get all possible information about the object. Adding photos and videos is not enough. Modern trends provide multiple options for making the process more interactive and effective.

For example, by implementing AR and VR technologies, you can provide your customers with a new experience of visiting an object without the need to visit it offline.

MPA format makes sense

To make your app more prominent, create multi-page apps. They are more effective for SEO optimization. It’s also easier to integrate analytics tools and analyze the pages and information you need for further enhancement.

How to Develop a Real Estate App: Tech Stack

To build your own real estate app, you need a powerful backend. The following list includes useful tools useful for 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 neighborhoods.
  • 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 neighborhood information and listings.
  • Mapbox or Google Maps API - builds custom maps.
  • The Onboard Informatics Community, Spatial Neighborhood 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.

As a rule, the technology part of the project is completely taken over by the real estate app development company.

Developing Apartmii Real Estate App

To create Apartmii is a custom engine for a real estate mobile app that is immediately integrated into any real estate application. We implemented industry best practices and our expertise in real estate mobile application development

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.

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The technology stack used to develop Apartmii:

  • .NET
  • NodeJS
  • JavaScript
  • React JS/Native
  • Typescript
  • AWS
  • Kotlin
  • Swift
  • WebRTC
  • Kubernetes
  • Elasticsearch
  • Azure

Real Estate Application Development APIs to Add

As a rule, real estate app developers (or realtor app developers) integrate certain APIs for the application for renting, selling, and buying houses. Here are the most popular API integrations for real estate mobile applications:

  • Google Maps API
  • Mortgage Payments API
  • Zilyo API
  • Zillow API
  • Points of Interest API
  • Yelp Fusion
  • Community API
  • SchoolDigger API
  • Rets.ly
  • SimplyRETS

These basic API allow to cover basic features of any real estate mobile application. Depending on the feature list you may need for your application, these APIs may change.

The more features you want to add to your application, the more APIs you should integrate. Any real estate mobile app development company will tell you that.

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 see properties from their phones and tablets. They will also be able to customize homes to their liking with AR. You can also learn more about the VR app developent cost in our other article.

IoT Technology For Real Estate

Improve productivity, streamline operations and increase customer engagement. You can do it by incorporating IoT into a real estate app. During our development of the real estate app Rently, we were able to use start home and lock technology for agents to unlock properties for showings remotely.

Big Data

Studying and extracting insights from large amounts of information help make data-driven decisions. Big data can predict users’ behavior and decisions, allowing for more appropriate search recommendations and notifications.

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Challenges of Mobile App Development for Real Estate

To develop a real estate agent application that covers your business needs, remember that this is time-consuming. The challenges you will face during the app's development may dramatically affect the process.

Highly loaded market

Real estate has always been a complicated market with high competition. Mobile development is not an exclusion.

Need to integrate various APIs

Even if you want to build a real estate listings app, you need to integrate various APIs that will help you demonstrate the benefits of each object.

Lack of expertise

If you are planning to build a real estate application on your own, the lack of experience of your team may fail the whole project.

It’s better to rely on professionals who already have experience working on on-demand real estate app development. In this way, a sufficient result is guaranteed.

Real Estate App Development Cost

At this point, you may be wondering how much real estate app development costs. Unfortunately, there is no 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.

First, let’s list the main real estate mobile app development stages.

Web and Mobile Development

The basic stage of creating real estate app development.

This is where the process of tech implementation happens: from the administrative panel and up to features and technologies you want to have in your application, like AR, chatbot, or push notifications.

The key thing is that the more complicated features you want to implement, the higher the development costs will be.

Additionally, you need to consider the platform for your app, iOS or Android. If you want to cover the needs of all clients, it’s better to create cross-platform apps that will be compatible with major OS.

Read Also: Rental Platform Development Guide

Web and mobile development price: can take up to 900 hours, costing approximately $27,000.

UX/UI Design

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

UX/UI design price: up to 200 hours, costing $6,000.

Testing And Quality Assurance

It is crucial to test your product before releasing it to the public. At Softermii, manual and automated testing will be performed to ensure that performance is unimpaired and that all bugs are eliminated.

Furthermore, this will provide insights into the application’s usage, improving features and interfaces

QA price: up to 200 hours, costing $6,000.

Project Management

A project manager will ensure that milestones are met and the project's scope 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 real estate application development.

Read also: Role of Project Management in Software Engineering

Project management typically costs 10% to 15% of the total budget. However, considering our current estimate, it will be approximately $5,500.

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.

The total cost of real estate mobile app development will vary depending on the project's complexity.

The more complex app you want to create, the more talents and technologies you need. Yet, you still may get a price estimation of the custom real estate application before you start to work on it. Feel free to contact us, and we will provide you with an estimate on your real estate app and explain what is included in the development cost.

Softermii Experience

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

Softermii Case: Real Estate Association Mobile App

Real Estate Association mobile app

The French Real Estate Association approached us to develop a mobile app used by realtors that can provide real-time information about the properties available for purchase or rental. Since we have experience in how to create a real estate app, we set about this task.

The process

We started with market research and business analysis to define the key features and tools that a platform should comprise. Later, we moved to UI/UX design and coding. After the successful launch of the product, we keep providing maintenance services for the company.

The solution

For the French Real Estate Association, we developed a mobile iOS application that allows interaction between agents and clients. It helps to improve customer satisfaction and increase the number of successful transactions.

We introduced the following features to the product:

  • real-time visibility of the market section with the option to geolocate and filter searches to identify properties that meet customer requirements
  • detailed descriptions of property added to the platform
  • real-time comparison tool
  • collaborations between agents and agencies
  • custom zones option
  • notifications

The results

Currently, over 3,900 agencies are using the software. Also, the solution achieved MobileWebAwards Best Real Estate Mobile Application for the 2020 award.

Softermii Case: Rently Mobile App

Rently mobile proptech app

Rently is a digital platform that brings IoT into Real Estate and makes it integral to the property demonstration process. Rently reached us with the request to resign the product.

The process

Analyzing the app, we've determined some of the biggest pains to fix. Complicated registration forms and poor UX maps were among them. Our team worked on the major issues intruding the best practices, market research, and our own experience in real estate apps development.

The solution

To redesign Rently, we came with the following solutions:

  • building the initial wireframes
  • creating new user flows
  • redesigning the visual layout

The result

Currently, Rently is widely adopted by the real estate industry. It covers all major US cities and continues to grow demographic scope.

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. We are up-to-date with legislation to ensure that our apps are secure and ready for use anytime and anywhere.

Develop Your Own Real Estate App with Softermii

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. This is what we tried to tell in our article on how to build a real estate app.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Did your team only code real estate application solutions or participate in business research and analysis?

In mobile app development for real estate, our mission is to code and rethink the whole user's journey within the solution and create a fresh visual appearance that would breathe new life into the product. So our business analytics and design team had to step up first, only to connect developers to the process of creating highly functional real estate apps.

What were the main challenges during the real estate app development process?

One of the critical challenges in developing any real estate management solution is to keep the old and familiar brand identity and present it in a new light to expand the outreach to other demographics. For example, our real estate app design for Rently made it even more user-friendly through fundamental improvements in the UX and unique visuals.

What was the main business outcome after finishing a real estate mobile app development project?

The main goal of any real estate app is to solve user’s problems by introducing a seamlessly working A to Z process of showing, choosing, buying, renting, selling or renting out an estate that doesn't require the agent or owner to be on-site physically. To develop a successful proptech app, it’s critical to work with professionals who already have experience integrating complicated systems into a mobile app.

How to choose a real-state app development company?

Choosing a real-state app development company, is enough to determine whether there is an experience in creating similar applications, and how successful it is. Further, you only need to conduct an interview in order to decide in the future whether to hire real state app developers from this particular company or not.

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