Over the last couple of weeks we’ve seen a handful of companies launch real estate search tools for the iPhone, but Canadian company Utopria is the first out of the gates to take the listing flyer and single property web site and bring it onto the mobile platform.
I gotta say. I love this thing.
Here’s how it works: Punch in a single property website URL found on sign rider (e.g. www.262mapleview.com) using Safari on your iPhone. MediaPod (Utopria’s platform) then delivers a specially formatted version of the listing page to your phone.
The Mediapod flier incorporates all the expected marketing elements, like a company logo and phone number but the first sign that this is something different is that rather than a static head shot, Mediapod gives agents the ability to embed a video that introduces themselves. Very slick.
(Another clever touch is that the agent’s contact information includes e-mail and phone links that dump you directly into the respective application on your iPhone.)
Still pushing the multimedia angle, inside the property information section of the flier, in addition to the standard information (price, square footage, etc.) prospective buyers can listen to a pre-recorded audio introduction by the agent about the specific property.
Another slick touch is that buyers can also choose to view surrounding schools, restaurants, parks and shopping outlets from a drop-down menu and then have those instantly mapped into the Google Maps application on the iPhone. (To which you could then get directions, using iPhone’s location awareness.)
If you don’t have an iPhone, you can see how it works watching this video.
A few downsides, however. The implementation of the property photos seems a little weak. I would love to be able to pull up the photos full-screen and be able to scroll through them using the beautiful touchscreen interface of the iPhone, though I suspect this may be due to the limitations of the iPhone SDK rather than the Mediapod platform.
Also, any existing virtual tours of the property are disabled — but this again is due to a limitation in the iPhone OS, which has put the kibosh on Flash. Presumably though, if the home has a video tour associated with it, that could play through.
Finally — the basic design of the page could use a bit of a face-lift … it didn’t knock me off my seat. But I guess that’s something that could be customized for each agent anyway.
All in all, Utopria’s offering is a fantastic demonstration of what makes the iPhone such a powerful consumer tool — and I suspect it is the first shot in a coming fusillade of iPhone-based property marketing tools.
I’d say it’s well worth exploring as part of your marketing tool set, especially for any agent who’s looking to establish a differentiating "wow" factor for their sellers or one who works in a tech-heavy (Silicon Valley, Seattle, New York) area.
Originally posted on the Future of Real Estate Marketing. Joel Burslem is vice president of content at Inman News.