As more and more prospective homebuyers turn to their mobile devices to find their dream home, at least one real estate tech company is betting on technologies familiar to every smartphone-wielding consumer: text messaging and GPS.
Wilmington, N.C.-based XiLi Mobile LLC, formerly TextThisHouse LLC, has rolled out a Web-based marketing service that offers listing information on a particular property as well as other area homes based on a user’s current location.
The company paints this scenario: House hunters scope out a favored neighborhood and spot a for-sale sign on a home they are interested in. The signs reads, “Text XiLi at 86789 to get information on this home.” After texting on any browser-enabled smartphone, buyers instantly receive a custom mobile website link with listing information for that property and other houses in the area based on GPS location.
When the buyer clicks on a property, his or her cell number is simultaneously sent to the listing agent, who can then text the buyer and offer additional information or a property showing.
“The ability for agents to connect and communicate with buyers in real time through text messaging makes the difference between being able to show a home immediately and missing a sale,” said Don Brailsford, CEO of XiLi Mobile, in a statement.
“Today’s buyers are relying on mobile search more and more, and XiLi gives them instant access to available listings while connecting agents with interested buyers.”
In addition to lead capture, XiLi allows agents to immediately respond and talk to prospective buyers — something that cannot be done with QR codes, fliers or websites, the company said.
“As a broker, having an easy and affordable way to connect homebuyers with our listing agents allows us to better serve our customers and do what we love most — selling dream homes,” said Tim Milam, president of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, in a statement.
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage has more than 300 agents and is the largest real estate firm in the Wilmington area by 2012 transaction sides and sales volume, according to Real Trends.
XiLi obtains information on about 2 million listings through listing data aggregators ListHub and Point2, and is available in all 50 states. The company has plans to expand to Canada as well.
The subscription service costs $9.99 per listing agent per month. Brokers have the option of creating a unique keyword — “abcrealty,” for example — for an additional $0.99 per agent per month. Brokers can place the keyword on any marketing materials. When prospective buyers text the keyword instead of “XiLi” for more information, only the listings for that broker’s agents will be displayed.
The sign-up process for the service takes about 10 minutes and requires no further data entry or maintenance by agents, the company said.
XiLi also partners with brokerages and multiple listing services to offer a white-label version of the tool that can be customized to integrate directly with brokerage IDX feeds.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to note that the company that provides this tool is now called XiLi Mobile, not TextThisHouse.