The Unconditional Blog

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The iPhone is ready to revolutionise real estate

Posted on: June 10th, 2008 | Filed in Technology

The announcement by Vodafone today that NZ will be among the first countries to be given Apple’s new baby – the 3G iPhone is great news for this country and the real estate industry.

To quote a phrase I have used recently in presentations to this industry and respectfully borrowed from an Australian conference speaker

“Agents will not be replaced by technology – they will be replaced by agents with technology”

that technology arrives on the 11 July, and I for one can’t wait to see the adoption of this by every real estate agent.

Just image the future of real estate – you have briefed a buyer’s agent to find you a family house of 4 bedrooms close to the heart of Christchurch as you have been relocated by your company. Your agent pressured by an active market is viewing a selection of possible. At one she senses she has found your perfect home. She captures some still shots and video and upload them to a hosting site – an email alerts you to view and the GPS enabled iPhone captures the location and also using compass telemetry you can see the exact location each photo is taken from, overlaid on an enhanced view of Google earth. You call the agent to clarify the aspects of the property and ask her to photo the view from the top floor master bedroom.

Equally keen to find a buyer for an investment property you want to liquidate the agent meets you onsite and armed with their iPhone they capture some “scene setting” pictures. These they upload to our website to recreate a temporary draft listings accessible to the vendor and the agent. The upload carries with it the GPS positioning which is interfaced with the geo-location database to add to the listing all the legal description and specification of the property together with the property sales history and the market trends in the area. Being a rental property there is no internet onsite so the agent reviews the “draft listing” with the agent on their iPhone and tweak the content to suit the vendor all in real time. Then they agree the marketing campaign and with an email send a project brief to the professional photographic company who will take quality images and replace the “scene setting images”.

All of this is now possible especially with the benefits of the new iPhone – as ever turning possible into probable takes vision and commitment from those in the real estate community to embrace technology which more and more will play a larger role in the future.

Article Discussion

  1. Ross says:

    It would be great to have an i-phone if only the actual signal strength on the Vodaphone network was up to the task. In many areas of central Auckland 021 phones hardly work, for example in Pt Chevalier coverage is appalling yet we are only 6 kms from the City Centre. Strange thing is that 0274 phones work fine in that area. Does anyone else find the call quality on the 021 network unsatisfactory and experience frequent dropped calls, no signal, distortion etc?

  2. magnus says:

    Location based functionality will for sure be the killer app in real estate. Especially when it’s in such a brilliant interface as the iPhone.

    It will be launched in Sweden in July and I’m indeed eager to try it out. It looks almost to good to be true.

  3. Magnus

    Thanks for joining us – down here!

    I have checked out your website and like the approach you have to the melding of technology and real estate – also good to see you will be attending Inman Connect in SF in July.


  4. magnus says:

    Thanks mate!
    Looking forward meeting you at Inman.

    Take care.

  5. Matthew says:

    There is surely a huge follwing for the new iphone and according to reports its starting price is going to be from *from $199US. Will be interesting to see what price New Zealand Vodafone releases it for and what term contract you need to sign.

  6. Mathew

    It is going to be interesting as someone commented that if you interpret Steve Jobs’ comment he talked of 199 dollars everywhere (in the world) – one would infer that 199 at todays exchange rate which could mean $250?? – that would be massive in NZ – it could mean that they could sell I would reckon over 200,000 by Christmas!

  7. This article from Newsweek explains that iPhone has a way to go to catch Blackberry.

    My Blackberry Pearl is very reliable, lightweight, does everything. Had it for 12 months and no probs. I had an iMate before and was constantly getting it fixed and it jammed up a lot. A friend with a new Apple iPhone (bought in USA but using in NZ)) told me he had to get it fixed the other day at a phone repair centre…that rings alarm bells with me…especially noting my previous bad experience and my current good experience.

    I run Blacberry Enterprise server and my contacts, calendar and email updates instantly on the phone, my work computer and my home computer at the same time – like magic…there’s no sync-ing to do.

    When my personal assistant replys to an email from a customer, my Blackberry displays both the received email and her sent email (real time)…this way I’m kept completely up to date…and I know she’s doing a great job! Powerful stuff, I love my system.

    Ross – regarding reception on Vodafone – I too have problems in Remuera. Vodafone is currently investigating ‘my black spots’ and they’ve asked me to send them an email with three ‘lost coverage’ occurrences so that they can ‘sort it’ (I hope!!).

  8. Steve

    I agree that the iPhone has a job to do to catch the installed base of Blackberry’s – it is the classic battle of the Mac vs PC played out on the mobile platform, although from my perspective having used (not owned yet) an iPhone, the difference is that the iPhone is attempting to be a handheld computer and the Blackberry is endeavoring to be a handheld mail device.

    Apple are the design kings – there ability to anticipate and delight the user with the sleekest design interface leave everybody else looking clunky – remember when you first saw an iPod – you were in wonder how did that circle thing work!

    My money is on the iPhone doing for mobile devices what the iPod did for Walkmans! – Apple are seriously invading all areas of the personal space – music, TV, movies, computers.

    As for Vodafone – have always been a fan – but I get regular drop out on Fanshaw St almost right outside there office – I am a forgiving type so I don’t complain – I just move along a bit!

  9. Martin says:

    It would seem to me that should be leading the way here. It is the only cross company real estate web site that contains ALL the listings by all the real estate companies and as such is perfectly poised to take advantage of the possibilities offered by the iPhone.

    Not only do you contain the property information but multiple photos of most properties as well.

    The location based services offer an unheard of set of possibilities, school zones, proximity to transportation & shops just to mention a few.

    This is a opportunity for to take the lead that it has lost to sites like trademe & open2view.

    As long as Apple/Vodafone price this right, they are on to a sure winner. Don’t forget the Blackberry/Treo/Nokia “competition is in the $700 price bracket.

    The iPhone will have push email/calendar & contacts through their new subscription service plus it will work with MS Exchange.

    It looks pretty good to me

  10. Martin

    Thanks for your comments and your encouragement of us to take a lead in providing more richness of information on a mobile platform – that is the aim of the site – to be the leading portal for real estate in NZ.

    One issue which I wish we could overcome – and any assistance is welcome on this one. We have over 90,000 residential listings – all of which are physical houses, apartments etc – but of these only 30,000 have an address which we can “publish” – we have the physical address of 99% of them, but unfortunately many agents in this industry don’t want to publish or allow us to publish the address – the reasons are many, but most boil down to believing that information is power!! – the internet has changed this and put power in the hands of buyers and sellers. This does not remove the value of agents, but the transition is proving a tough one for many in this industry!

  11. Martin says:

    Hi Alistair

    Wow, I didnt know that the percentage of addresses withheld was as high as 60% You definitely have a lot of hard work to do.

    The key is to convince those agents of the “new consumer”, the one that Mike Russer calls the Internet Empowered Consumer and that new strategies are needed to deal with the fact that the consumer has the power not the agent BUT that there are real benefits from recognising this.

    You could do worse than check out his site, particularly the archives (they’re at least 4 years ahead of us in net trends).

    And for what it’s worth. I reckon you should just “build it & they will come” a demo is worth a thousand words.

    In this market, and I assume the Auckland market is no better than the Wellington market at this time, buyers, qualified buyers are at a premium. Anything that brings an agent a qualified buyer is going to put money in that agents/companies pocket.

    What better way to do that than with a live demo of what the 3G enabled iPhone has to offer!

    Good luck 😉


  12. […] The other component of this true mobile environment, one that has huge implications for real estate is GPS – property is all about location; as is finding retail and services all from your handheld device. The opportunity are limitless as were presented in the recent blog post “the iPhone is ready to revolutionise real estate” […]

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