real estate mobile app

How to Build a Real Estate Mobile App?

Estimated read time: 13 minutes

Are you interested in building a real estate mobile app for the growing real estate market?

According to a research report, the major percentage of new real estate buyers, that is 58% of millennials and 46% of generation X buyers, perform house hunting on mobile devices as compared to just 33% of baby boomers.

Mostly, mobile users spend their time on mobile apps as they offer a better user experience. Mobile apps are more adaptable to the device’s interface and can offer more personalized features such as push notifications, use of GPS for user location, etc.

Real estate mobile apps are also transforming the way the real estate industry operates now, adding more efficiency and accessibility for both buyers and sellers. Let’s see how you can build a successful real estate mobile app.

Building a Real Estate Mobile App

You will go through the following stages to build a reliable app for real estate businesses:

Decide the type of real estate mobile app

The real estate market is quite huge with different user roles such as buyers, sellers, real estate agencies, etc. You have different options to improve business processes. There are various types of mobile apps that you can develop for real estate companies. Some of these include:

A house-hunting app:

This real estate app will help potential buyers in browsing extensive property listings. They will be able to search for houses in preferred locations and according to their budget. A mobile app lets users view many properties in a small time as compared to visiting them physically.

An app for a real estate agency

You can develop a mobile app to help manage operations for a real estate company. A real estate agent will be able to display all its properties in the form of a catalog on its mobile app. Moreover, they can personalize it according to their brand identity.

This will help real estate companies to reach more customers in a small time as compared to the traditional method of in-person meetings.

You can add more features to assist a real estates business like customer relationship management, transactions management, contracts and agreement management, etc.

A property management app

Such apps help property managers and owners. Features can include sending rent reminders, timely notifications for property maintenance, contract management, etc.

Moreover, such apps can help in maintaining communication channels between property owners and tenants.

A virtual tour app

Such apps use technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality to show the entire property details including the whole floor plans, surrounding areas, etc. to potential buyers and tenants virtually at their homes.

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3D videos and images help people house-hunting to have a close look at multiple homes in a short time. If they are satisfied they can pay a visit in person. This helps both buyers and sellers

Decide the features for your real estate mobile app

After deciding on the type of mobile app, you will decide on the features of your real estate app. The essential features include and are not limited to the following:

Onboarding

The users’ onboarding process should be quite simple. Allow them to browse without signing up. The signup feature can be linked with users’ social media accounts, emails, or phone numbers.

Single sign-on (SSO) technology is very popular today as users can log in on multiple platforms with just one account.

User Profiles

Profiles for each user role including buyers, sellers, and agents.

Buyers will be able to see their last viewed listings, saved properties, etc. on their profile. Sellers can similarly view their current properties on sale. Real estate agents can create their own catalog of properties for buyers.

Property Listing

Property listing will enlist all properties that are up for sale or rent. They will be categorized according to the property type.

Search and filters

Users should be able to perform a quick home search according to their requirements. A filtered search will allow doing so. There can be options like filtering by property type, property area, location, price range, etc.

Property profiles

There should be a property profile page for each property showing detailed information like the number of rooms, location, contact person, images, price, etc.

Price Calculators

This feature will help buyers to calculate actual property selling or renting prices including taxes, agent fees, installments, loan interest, loan repayment period, etc.

Maps

Maps integration help users locate the property area. They can see the nearby locations like schools, parks, hospitals, commercial properties, etc.

You can also display statistics related to a specific area like crime rate, chances for natural disasters, demographic data, etc. You can find such information from government websites for integration into your app.

Push notifications

Push notifications are important to keep engaging users with your app.

You can send personalized notifications like when a property is added to the listing in an area a particular user might be interested in, or there is an update to the information your user has previously viewed, etc.

Chat or call

This feature is important to allow efficient communication between the concerned parties. Inefficient communication channels hinder deals from maturing.

A chat box will allow a prospective property buyer or tenant to leave a message for the property owner or a real estate agent who can then get back instantly.

Similarly, providing contact information and a call button makes users dial calls then and there without waiting. This increases the number of sales through a realtor app.

Market research and requirement analysis

Now, that you have decided on the app type and key features that you are going to build in your real estate app, perform market research.

You can learn a lot from studying how your competitors are moving in the market. You will locate opportunities, challenges, rooms for improvements, etc.

You can finalize your functional app requirements and business requirements in the form of a product requirement specifications document. This will later help your software development team in understanding your business goals and mobile app requirements.

Build the project team

Your mobile app development team will include:

  • A business analyst;
  • A UX/UI designer;
  • An iOS developer for iOS app development;
  • An Android developer for Android app development;
  • An App tester;
  • A project manager.

Choose a real estate app development methodology

Mobile app development methodology will help you plan the app development process. The agile development methodology is widely adopted while developing a system of engagement like a mobile app.

A mobile app goes through frequent changes given the changes in users’ demands. An agile technique like Scrum can help with such a development process where the whole project is divided into sprints.

In each sprint or iteration, a cross-functional dev team develops, tests, and deploys a specific feature.

The next iteration is based on the feedback of the previously deployed app feature and in this way, the mobile app matures and improves according to the target market requirements.

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Our guide here discusses in detail how you can build a scrum team for your real estate app project.

Select the mobile backend infrastructure

You will provide the mobile app development infrastructure to your mobile app developers so that they start designing and coding your mobile app. This backend infrastructure will include servers, storage, networking, databases, third-party API integrations, etc.

A cloud-based mobile backend as a service can make your work easy. You can purchase the required computational resources according to your app needs from an MBaaS provider.

The MBaaS provider will host and manage your backend resources while your app developers will focus solely on developing your business application.

Popular cloud computing service providers for mobile app development include Amplify by Amazon, Firebase by Google, etc.

Design the real estate mobile application

Now that your team has access to the required tools and resources, your designers will start designing the layout of your mobile app. Mockups and prototypes help in quickly visualizing different themes, placement of app elements, etc.

Your app designers can use tools like Marvel, InVision, etc. to quickly build app mockups.

Develop the real estate app

Your software developers will now start developing the app features. Your dev team will start from the core features of your business app. This basic app with essential features is called a minimum viable product.

It has minimum (but essential) features and takes minimum time. The less time-to-market helps in gauging users’ responses early in the project development cycle.

Your developers will perform further development of features based on the gathered users’ feedback data.

Read more on developing an MVP in our article here.

Your mobile app developer will use tools and technologies according to the mobile OS they are building for. Apart from it, there will be an implementation of app security, the use of the latest technologies to provide innovative features, etc.

Let’s discuss these skill sets next.

Native App Development

Native apps are developed for a particular mobile OS. These apps run natively on a mobile device and benefit from the mobile phone’s hardware like a camera, processor, GPS, etc. This is why they show better performance in terms of speed, memory management, etc.

The two popular mobile platforms are Apple and Android. You will start development for a particular platform considering your target audience.

Apple has the most stores in developed counties like the US, Japan, UK, Canada, etc., and hence the more iOS users. Android has a bigger user base in developing countries.

If you plan on developing an iOS app, make sure app developers are proficient in the Swift programming language, XCode IDE, Flawless for iOS designing, Parse for backend services, RxSwift libraries, etc.

Android developers will use Kotlin or Java programming language, IDEs like Android Studio and Eclipse, tools like Android Debug Bridge and Android Virtual Device manager, etc.

Cross-Platform App Development

Cross-platform or hybrid apps are web apps that can run on multiple mobile operating systems. They are quick to develop and cover a larger user base. However, they are slow in performance as compared to native apps as they are not solely developed for a particular mobile device.

Developers develop hybrid apps using web technologies like CSS, JavaScript, etc. and are then wrapped in native applications using frameworks like React Native, Ionic, and Xamarin.

API Integrations

Your developers will add common mobile app features like push notifications, integration to social media platforms, chatbot integration, etc. through third-party providers’ APIs. This will make the product development process faster as there is no need to develop these APIs from scratch.

For example, Apple provides Apple Push Notification Service (APNS) and Android allows a push notifications setup through Firebase cloud messaging service.

Similarly, your developers can use Internet Data Exchange (IDX) API by the National Association of Realtors to integrate multiple listing services into your real estate app.

For the core app features that are unique to your real estate app, your developers can use REST architecture to build them. They can use the Postman tool to design, build, and test APIs and the Swagger tool to document them.

Mobile App Security

Security of user data is important for real estate apps. Your developers will ensure app security through multi-factor authentication, user data encryption, etc.

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Apple provides a Security framework to implement authorization and authentication, secure data, perform code signing, and cryptography. See detailed documentation here.

Android provides security through SafetyNet APIs for safe browsing, verification, etc. You can view detailed documentation here.

Big Data and Artificial Intelligence

Big data and machine learning algorithms together help to implement data analytics. Such data analytics procedures will help you analyze user activity on your real estate app.

You can use valuable insights from user data to suggest to them features and properties they are most likely interested in. A personalized user experience will help in customer retention and targeting new customers.

Apple provides Core ML and Google has ML Kit to help developers in delivering personalized suggestions to app users.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual reality and augmented reality will help you display 3D images and videos of real estate homes on your website. Walk-through virtual tours will accelerate the sales funnel by engaging buyers and helping sellers effectively display their properties.

Android has a VR SDK to implement virtual reality features in Android apps. Apple has an ARKit to help developers include AR functionality in iOS apps.

Test your real estate mobile app

App testing is the crucial phase of the mobile app development project. Rigorous testing will ensure that the app performs as expected in the user market.

Dev teams are encouraged to include test routines while coding app features. They can run unit tests, integration tests, etc. to ensure the code blocks are working fine individually and together.

App testers pass app codes through extensive test procedures. They perform security testing, penetration testing, user interface testing, etc.

App developers and testers can use different tools to make app testing easier and more efficient. Tools like Espresso for Android apps, XCTest for Apple apps, and Appium for hybrid apps can be used for testing apps.

Deploy and maintain

Deliver the app in the market once you are satisfied that it is working as expected and fulfills all the planned requirements. Your developers will use methods like continuous integration/continuous delivery for the frequent and tested deployment of app features in the market.

Your dev team will follow deployment instructions specific to each app store like Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Apps cannot be developed and left in the app market. There are continuous upgrades to the mobile OS, and hence, you have to keep upgrading your mobile app too so that it runs glitch-free.

Moreover, you may encounter bugs in the long run. A dev team will ensure that they provide timely patches especially those related to app security.

Planning to build a real estate mobile app?

Are you ready to engage in real estate mobile app development? The market for mobile apps is huge and the real estate industry is already taking advantage of it.

To stand out in the growing yet competitive real estate market, you should invest in a feature-rich mobile app for your real estate business.

However, to build a mobile app that offers a unique user experience using cutting-edge technologies, you will need a team of competent software developers with experience in using the latest tools and technologies for developing a real estate app.

We would advise you to partner with a reputed software development company if you do not find the required talent in your project team.

DevTeam.Space can help you outsource high-quality and vetted mobile app developers from its field-expert software developers community.

Write to us your initial real estate app specifications via this form, and one of our account managers will contact you for further assistance on your project.

FAQs

1. What are the core features of a real estate mobile app?

A real estate mobile app lets users browse through property listings and view related information. A map feature helps to explore the surrounding location. Users can search using filters such as preferred location, budget, etc. There is also an option to chat with sellers or real estate agents.

2. Why build a real estate mobile app?

An innovative real estate app will help you increase and retain your client base. You will be able to build your brand identity. The mobile app’s features will help you better understand your users and offer them a personalized app experience through suggested features, promotional messages, etc.

3. How can I earn from my real estate app?

You can choose from multiple monetization models for your real estate mobile app. For example, you can offer premium paid features, provide monthly or yearly subscriptions to certain features, run paid advertisements, implement a commission-based model, etc.


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Alexey Semeney

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