Some real estate agents share live video of properties from their mobile devices to help faraway clients virtually scope out homes.
But what if you could expand those private showings into virtual open houses?
That’s one service that video-sharing app ReaLync is pioneering. The startup recently closed a $300,000 funding round to continue to pioneer a better way for people to “downselect” properties than viewing listings or visiting properties in person.
“ReaLync takes a more mobile approach to real estate buying that can’t be matched by any other platform,” said Jeff Schwartz, president of Nanochem Technologies, in a statement. “Once this concept grabs on, it will become the new norm in real estate sales.”
Less than one-third of Inman News readers who responded to an Aug. 5 poll said they’d shown a home using video chat. But the number of agents that use the technique may grow if video-sharing apps made specifically for real estate become available.
ReaLync offers several advantages over other streaming video apps like FaceTime, Skype and Google Hangouts.
For one, it records footage to the cloud so that buyers can review and share it. During tours, it also lets viewers see property details, send instant messages to their agents, shoot photos and take notes that they can review later. Finally, it lets many people view tours from different locations.
“Virtual open houses” would allow an agent to showcase a listing to many buyers who are tied up or not anywhere nearby.
“If they’re at their kid’s soccer game on a Sunday afternoon, they can pull out their phone or tablet and they can join an open house of the property,” said ReaLync CEO Matt Weirich.
Agents could also use the open house functionality to host “real-time neighborhood walk-throughs,” as one agent has done, Weirich said.
Weirich doesn’t think it makes sense that 90 percent of buyers and renters search for properties online but still physically tour over 15 properties in person.
ReaLync and other alternatives to listing photos, like online 3-D models, are just the ticket to sparing consumers those visits to listings where they “instantly know that they’re not going to live there,” according to Weirich.
“We don’t see a majority of the market purchasing sight unseen,” he said. “However, being able to rule out properties, we see that ever increasing.”
ReaLync has 250 users so far, and is currently piloting the app with eight brokerages. The startup aims to sell enterprise subscriptions that would give brokerages a certain number of touring minutes to share with their agents.
Agents may use the app on a free-trial basis, after which they must pay as little as $9.99 a month or as much as $89.99, depending on how much they use the app.