By LESLIE MLADINICH SAN FRANCISCO -- Real estate professionals, especially agents, need to embrace the consumer use of mobile apps and social networking sites, according to analysts and product developers who predict standalone Web sites will become passé, and mobile apps will be more popular as smart phones become less expensive. Two sessions Thursday at the Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco focused on putting mobile apps and social networking to use. Greg Sterling, principal of Sterling Marketing Intelligence and analyst of mobile communications, offered statistics that pointed to how pervasive mobile use among consumers is becoming. Even though e-commerce is only 3.5 percent of all U.S. retail purchases, according to 2009 U.S. Census Bureau figures, 58 percent would use the Internet to research an electronics purchase, according to 2008 Nielsen research. Forty-one percent of homebuyers will use the Internet to research property, says a Trulia-Harris ...
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