The Unconditional Blog

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12

Realestate comes to the iPhone

Posted on: November 26th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Technology, Website news

Apple - iPhone 4 - Video calls, multitasking, HD video, and moreIf you are one of the 200,000 odd people in NZ (or in fact one of the 74 million around the world) that own an iPhone then you can now discover NZ real estate on your smart phone.

Realestate.coIphone home page - cropped.nz has been since its launch 4 years ago a leader in online real estate marketing; through social media, rich property and community information as well as innovation through the adoption of Google maps. That is why we are pleased to bring NZ real estate to the iPhone. This is the first dedicated iPhone app for the whole NZ property market. It is also the most comprehensive app for discovering property for sale.

We built the app after extensive research from around the world. We wanted to build an app that was not just a website on a mobile platform – that is not what buyers want.

We reviewed the top apps from the US (Zillow, Trulia and Redfin) and from the UK (Rightmove), we also looked at specific real estate company apps (Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate). We wanted to bring the best experience we could to make sure we offered a great experience – something that people would love to use and love to share.

In some ways the app needs no description – it is designed without a user manual. It is intuitive. However here’s 10 great reasons why this app is a must for any house hunter or real estate enthusiast:

  1. It is a discovery device Download the app and first off it shows you a property that is for sale near you! Hit the “near you” button and you are instantly shown what is for sale within a 1km radius (actually depends where in the country you are – in a remote location means it will search a wider radius).iphone near me
  2. Open Homes We have highlighted open homes with a flag to allow you easily see what you could pop around to view today or this weekend. Great when you have a quiet afternoon.
  3. Refine your search From the map you can refine your search – fancy property over $500k but less than $700k with 3 bedrooms, no problem. Fancy spreading the net wider than just your current location – zoom out on map to see a broader range. Keep zooming out a far as you like to see the whole country if you like!
  4. Zooming! You will notice that as you zoom out we have clustered the pins into blue dot which are numbered – this is the aggregate of listings in this area.iphone clustering
  5. Check out all the photos Found that interesting property along the road? Just tap to see the full listing details and all the photos. Flick the iPhone round to see them in landscape mode. Like the property but want to know more? – just call the agent or send an email – all from the iPhone.
  6. Virtual open home notebook When reviewing any property (especially open homes) you can make notes on all aspects of the property. Hit the inspection button and you can rate, make notes and add photos (or video) for any section of the property – the living area, the kitchen, bedrooms, outside etc. Also check out the Tips for things to look for and checkout when inspecting a property. All these notes then become part of the stored “My Property” section of the app housing you favourites. At this stage we have not, given this is version 1 synchronsied these with your “My Property” section on the website, that will come later.iPhone taking notes at open home
  7. Search by location Find out about property for sale anywhere in NZ. Given the comprehensive content of Realesate.co.nz why not go check to see what is for sale in your dream location. Use the “Search” function on the home page and either select by region, district and suburb or else type in the name of the town or street in the search box at the top – whichever way you choose you instantly see what’s for sale there.
  8. What you see is what you get Seem simple but this app only shows properties on the map where we have an address supplied by the agent. If you want to check to see if there are other properties for sale then hit the “list view” button on the map result page to see all the properties for sale in the area.
  9. Favourites Your favourites you have saved as well as open homes and also the most recently viewed properties are all stored in the “My Property” section – we want you to easily find that great property you were just checking out.
  10. The Mortgage So you have found that perfect home – but can you afford it? We have partnered with our good friends at Westpac to bring you an affordability calculator for each property. Check it out to see what the fortnightly or monthly repayments might be for different terms and different deposits. Then check out the local Westpac branch near you – right on the app for the contact details of a mobile mortgage manager to assist you. Oh and by the way the maps also feature locations for all of the Westpac ATM’s so there is no excuse for being short of some cash!iPhone westpac

So as you can see we are excited by this new app, so please let us know what you think, go to iTunes and download the app or visit our download page for the iPhone and leave feedback or on iTunes.

We are conscious that this is version 1.0 – we will continue to develop and improve the app, so tell us what you would like to see and how we can improve it. We can learn best when we listen.

Article Discussion

  1. […] 26th Nov: have just been informed that the App is an iPhone app not an Augmented Realty like I thought, sorry for any […]

  2. Lovely App, great job, cutting edge. Love the Redfin-like clusters.

    Recommend you find an easier way for addresses to be put onto listings that aren’t loaded with addresses. It’s not enough for you just to wield a big stick and tell agents to be more efficient. That won’t work for you, them or the public.

    Solve that and you’ll have the perfect package that I would trust to find my next home. As I walked past one of my colleagues signs the other day minutes after your App had loaded onto my iPhone, it would have been so cool to see it on my iPhone screen as well, but alas it wasn’t there.

    As a consumer I’d maybe think, in that moment, nice idea but inefficient.

  3. Alistair Helm says:

    Steve,

    I really appreciate the positive feedback. We are really pleased to have put this app together and to be getting great feedback.

    The addressing issue is key. I am not wielding a big stick without cause.

    These are the facts. We have around 61,000 properties on our database at this time – these are properties for sale (exc sections). Around 97% of these are complete listings with an address. This comprises around 59,200 listings.

    Now of these around 42,000 are displayed on the site – so we can accurately display 71% of all the listings with an address – so why can’t we display the balance of 17,000?

    For a number of them the address details are not complete enough or are not in a form that allows up to accurately map them using Google’s mapping tool – roughly around 2,000 of these 17,000 are not accurately mappable – we do use human support to try and map them and most of the time we can – it is just every day we get new ones and it takes time.

    So what of the balancing 15,000 listing? – well the fact is in the data feed we have a indicator which each office send us within the file for each listing which says “display the address” or “do not display the address” – we comply because our customers pay for the site. We could ignore this request but that would be inappropriate.

    We can turn the “don not display address” off with just a simple call to our office or else each salesperson can do it in their office. They choose not to for a number of reasons:

    1. They do not check listings to see if the address is shown

    2. They have a company policy which says they do not display the address

    3. They have been told by the vendor not to show the address

    4. They believe that by not showing the address they will attract enquiries

    So there is no silver bullet to get more listings mapped – to a large extent it lies in the hands of the industry to better appreciate the importance of addresses showing for listings and how this is judged by buyers as very importance. From research over 94% of buyers said they wanted the address so it could be found on a map.

  4. Ariel Levin says:

    Sensational tool for the tech savvy home buyers and well done – it took a while but on initial use I think it was worth it.
    Android should be next on your list as the the phones using it are more affordable and therefore available to a larger audience.
    The use of gps makes this a better app than Trademe’s one.

  5. Thanks Alistair,

    Could you send an email to all your customers saying that, in the best interest of all site users, all listings will display an address from x date? If your customers do not want an address showing, they could have one (small print) option to show the street only (and you could do a cluster of listings in the middle of the street with no street numbers perhaps – at least then if a customer is walking the street they at least have the option of making an enquiry to the agent).

    You would get a few complaints from offices but I reckon they would be minimal. In a short time offices would get used to this new system and you will have probably less than 3000 properties without addresses/streets in no time.

    I think it’s more a matter of you breaking a bad habit, than forcing offices to do something they disagree with. I think you’d be surprised by the number of offices that wouldn’t bat an eyelid when they get the email I suggest you send.

  6. Quite a few Taupo/Tauranga properties showing in Remuera/St Johns park due to same/similar street names BTW

  7. Alistair Helm says:

    Steve

    Thanks for the suggestion. I have this feeling that the launch of this app is the leverage that is needed to address the issue of addresses (excuse the pun!) – I think you are right that the issue may be a perception of an issue rather than an issue.

    We could apply the principle that we show the address regardless, if you don’t want to show the street number then don’t send the number.

    As to the wrong mapping – the is something that I guess becomes so much more noticeable with the app. In the past the issue was probably there but all that happened was that on the website when searching for Taupo property within the listing you would see a map showing the property in Remuera.

    I will see what we can do about doing some more clean up of the database on addresses next week – it is important to have clean data. It shows as ever the importance of ever agent taking the time to “proof” each of their listing – seems such a small task by 10,000 agents as compared to us having to review around 700 new listings a day!!

  8. james macintosh says:

    i wonder why rentALs are not showing up.

  9. Alistair Helm says:

    James

    At this time our focus was to get property for sale on the app. The next step will naturally be to add rentals. Thanks for the feedback.

  10. […] Zealand portal realestate.co.nz has just released what it says is the first dedicated iPhone app for the country’s property market. The new […]

  11. Greg Watson says:

    What an excellent app!! Great features and so easy to use. I have been showing everyone I know. The ability to effectively rate properties is top notch.

    I am really excited about getting a rental property version, as we also run a property management company.

    Keep up the good work.

  12. Alistair Helm says:

    Greg

    Many thanks for the review and for taking the time to share the feedback. We certainly have plans for the addition of rental property.

    We are realistic and wanted to get this version 1 out, listen to feedback and then take the next step, so bear with us – we do want to be even more comprehensive.

    Thanks also for sharing the experience of the app with friends and colleagues.

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