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

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

25 January 2023 • 33 min read

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

In 2022, 96% of customers went online to search for a property. 60% of them used mobile devices.

According to the Center for Real Estate Technology & Innovation (CRETI) report, there was an increase in real estate tech investment in 2022. In Q1 and Q2 of 2022, $13.1 billion was invested in proptech companies. This was a 5.6% jump in funding year-over-year. eSignature, local MLS app, social media, lockbox, video conference, CRM, transaction management, and showing/open house software are some of the basic, most valuable tools.

Create a real estate application

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, developers must 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, Rently, RadPad), we know what it takes to create your real estate app that covers business needs.

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

Why Real Estate Mobile App Development Is One of the Leading Trends in the Industry

The real estate market is developing faster than it is possible to imagine. It 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

Here are the primary reasons to opt for real estate mobile app design and development:

  • A faster sales process. Agents can speed up their sales using a customized real estate software solution featuring virtual tours, digital document signature and transfer, and advanced property search.
  • 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.
  • Automation of routine tasks. Agents and homebuyers will benefit from the streamlined property information filling in, swift document exchange, and automatic responses via chatbot.

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.

App Type

End-Users

Benefits

Realtor apps

Realtors, tenants, and homebuyers

  • Simplified communication with clients
  • Access to real estate documents
  • Reduced paperwork

Household management apps

Real estate agents, tenants, and homebuyers

  • Effortless tracking of the current state of the houses and apartments available for rent or selling

Property listing apps

Real estate agents, tenants, and homebuyers

  • Smooth viewing of the lists of houses and apartments available on the market
  • Included basic information about each real estate item

Smart home access apps

Real estate agents, tenants, and homebuyers

  • Finding houses and apartments with smart home features
  • Trending among millennials

Property management apps

Property managers

  • Streamlined property management in real time
  • Convenient viewing of maintenance requests, rent due dates
  • Advanced analytics feature

Buying or renting apps

Sellers, landlords, real estate agents, tenants, and homebuyers

  • Convenient search for housing to buy or rent
  • Entering criteria, such as location, price, and amenities
  • Automatically populated search results based on requirements
  • Detailed information about each listing

Real estate agent assistant apps

Real estate agents

  • Seamless communication with clients
  • Automated document management
  • Simplified listing process
  • Reduced agent’s workload

Home valuation apps

Sellers, landlords, real estate agents, and investors

  • Analyzing the true market value of a particular property
  • Using public and private data on housing trends and past sales
  • Forecasting future home values and determining factors driving those predictions

Virtual tour apps

Sellers, landlords, real estate agents, tenants, and homebuyers

  • 3D tours for a more genuine experience of viewing properties online
  • Getting more saved and favored properties by tenants and homebuyers
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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.

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 favorite listings

Analytics

Property cost and mortgage calculators

Personal profiles

Feedback system

Administrative panel

Chatbot

Augmented reality

Categories and filters

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Here’s a brief description of each real estate mobile app feature mentioned above.

Navigation and Street View

Similar to maps, users can better comprehend the area more deeply. A Google Maps API lets interested parties 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, 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

Customers can get on-demand answers without delay with a chatbot and online chat. Frequently asked questions can get automatic answers, and users will learn more about a particular topic without searching 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 are other options that help simplify the search process. When developing a real estate app, ensure 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 recommend implementing voice and video calls to create more communication options.

Read also: How to Make a Messaging Application?

Real-time messaging feature

Calendar

With a simple calendar feature, buyers can schedule viewings or appointments with their agents. 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 searching for a house or apartment more efficient.

Personal Profiles

A profile can benefit agents, too. Realtors 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 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

Additional Useful Features for Real Estate Mobile App

Basic functionality may not be enough to create a real estate agent app that stands out. The good news is you can enrich your application with some other handy features. Here’s a brief overview:

CRM Integration

A customer relationship management (CRM) system can be a helpful feature of your real estate app. It allows managing communications with clients and leads without any extra effort.

Real estate mobile app design and development

MLS Integration

A multiple listing service (MLS) is a private database that contains numerous property listings that real estate experts can access for a specific fee. Integrating such a service will allow professionals to easily import and publish more real estate offers on their platform.

Comparison Feature

The comparison feature will make life easier for tenants and homebuyers. Instead of comparing housing offers in separate tabs, users will do everything on one page.

Currency Converter

Real estate mobile app developers

Make sure to integrate a currency converter with an in-app payment feature. It will make the payment process even more convenient for your users.

Advertising and Marketing Tools

You can also provide landlords, sellers, and real estate agents with tools to promote their listings. In particular, it can be email marketing, content marketing, or social media marketing.

Create a real estate agent app

Personal Recommendations

Personal recommendations are another feature that will make your real estate application better and more profitable. Using collected data about your users, you can come up with customized offers.

Creating a Real Estate Mobile App Design

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

Research

It’s the initial step towards quality design. You study your target audience and research the market to offer the best solution.

User Flow

Real estate app users expect that finding an apartment or house will be easy. Ensure that your app provides them with basic features, like integrated filters and simple navigation forms. Also, carefully consider how users will interact with your application.

Information Architecture

Ensuring a smooth user flow is impossible without a well-thought-out information architecture. This step ensures the logical placement of content, buttons, etc., in your app.

Wireframes

After you have passed the previous stages, you can create wireframes. These are preliminary layouts of your app’s main screens, such as the home page, sign-in and sign-up pages, and walk-through pages.

Interactive Prototypes

In this step, you need to create a functional version of the design, which is an interactive prototype. It will help you understand how exactly users will interact with your app.

UX/UI Design and User Testing

Next, you implement your real estate application's UI/UX design and test it among users to make improvements.

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How to Develop a Real Estate App: Tech Stack

To build your real estate app, you need a powerful backend. The following list includes useful tools 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 real estate app development company completely takes over the technology part of the project.

Developing Apartmii Real Estate Engine

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 real estate mobile application development expertise.

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.

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 APIs cover the basic features of any real estate mobile application. Depending on the feature list you 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 the following:

AI for Task Automation

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

AR/VR for Property Showings

A real estate VR app allows buyers to minimize travel and see properties from their phones and tablets. They will also be able to customize homes to their liking with AR. In our other article, you can also learn more about the VR app development cost.

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 used 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.

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 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 the 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 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 that 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 real estate application development process.

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.

How much does it cost to create a real estate application? Look at the table below:

Real Estate App Development Cost

Process

Cost

Web and mobile development

$27,000

UX/UI design

$6,000

Testing and quality assurance

$6,000

Project management

$5,500

Total:

$44,500

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A basic and simple solution can be priced from $25,000 to $45,000. However, more complex real estate apps, such as those 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 may still 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.

What to Look For When Hiring a Real Estate App Developer?

The final step in realtor mobile app development is finding a reliable vendor to do the job. How can you locate the right one? Here are a few tips:

  • Study your real estate development company’s portfolio. Pay specific attention to the projects that resonate with your ideas and requirements.
  • Ensure your vendor has relevant expertise in the real estate industry. Industry expertise guarantees smooth cooperation and complete understanding on both sides.
  • Pay attention to your vendor’s communication style. Consider both communications on a personal level and organizational matters like reporting.

The main idea when choosing a development company is to engage experienced candidates with the necessary knowledge and skills in real estate.

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 product’s successful launch, 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 that intruded on the best practices, market research, and our experience in real estate app development.

The solution:

To redesign Rently, we came up 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 in demographic scope.

Softermii Case: RadPad

Realtor mobile app development

RadPad is a real estate mobile app that connects landlords with tenants across the US. Our client had the first version of this application and requested us to enhance it, providing a better user experience and smooth app operation.

The process:

Our experts approached the task by conducting a business analysis. During this process, we found some usability issues, namely complicated listings. Then our designers came up with smooth navigation, and our real estate mobile app developers delivered a user-friendly solution.

The solution:

To make RadPad work smoothly, we suggested the following solutions:

  • Property listings with multiple filters
  • Location-based search
  • Payments right in the app
  • User-friendly interface
  • Several third-party integrations for event tracking, analytics, social networks, and customer support

The result:

Our team developed an application where users can easily browse millions of properties in a few taps. Plus, our experts managed to deliver RadPad in just five months.

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. 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. Just drop us a line!

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 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.

Other challenges may include the following:

  • Highly loaded market
  • The need to integrate various APIs
  • Lack of industry expertise
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 users’ 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, working with professionals who already have experience integrating complicated systems into a mobile app is critical.

How to choose a real estate app development company?

Choosing a real estate app development company is enough to determine whether there is experience in creating similar applications and how successful it is. Further, you only need to interview to decide whether to hire real estate app developers from this company.

What is better to create first a mobile or real estate web application?

Your choice will hugely depend on your business needs. Generally, it is better to start with a web application that will become the basis for your mobile solution.

Mobile applications, in turn, require more effort from your team, especially if you are not building a cross-platform solution but separate apps for iOS and Android. Still, such applications may benefit your business more since they store data locally on the device, and some features like GPS are available offline.

Is the development of a realtor mobile app very different?

Realtor app development involves implementing most of the features we mentioned today. Therefore, creating such software will not differ much from building a real estate application.

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