The Corcoran Group Inc. is the latest real estate brokerage to launch its own iPhone application, which the company is promoting not only online but in print advertisements in newspapers, magazines and phone kiosks around New York City.

Corcoran, which is owned and operated by Realogy Corp. subsidiary NRT LLC, hired Swedish artist Kari Modin to draw up seven pop-art posters "imbued … with a groovy feeling befitting such cool technology," the company said.

Corcoran’s iPhone app can use the smart phone’s Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite capabilities to display apartments, condos and open houses near the user’s location.

It also allows for customized searches, displaying full screen photos of properties listed for sale or rent with Corcoran. Users can choose to be notified of new listings and open houses, and the app will also deliver information about local restaurants, nightlife and shopping.

Joel Burslem, author of the blog The Future of Real Estate Marketing, called Corcoran’s app "very well executed," and said it would join smartphone applications offered by StreetEasy and Redfin among his favorites.

Real estate search apps "are a hot ticket item right now," Burslem said — all "decent sized" brokerages should be "seriously evaluating their mobile strategy for 2010."

But the takeaway lesson from Corcoran’s launch is that "simply building and releasing an app isn’t enough," Burslem said. "It needs to be fully baked into to your overall marketing plan and supported through a well-imagined and targeted advertising campaign, which Corcoran has done."

Another company under the  Realogy umbrella, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC, last month released an iPhone application that detects the user’s location when they snap photos on home tours and provides them with more information about the home and its surroundings (see story).

Realogy is a company with nearly $5 billion a year in revenue, 14,500 franchised and company-owned offices, and 268,000 sales associates operating under its brands. But thanks to operating systems that allow third-party companies to develop software, the iPhone and other Web-enabled smartphones have spurred many companies to develop their own applications tailored to real estate (see story).

Seattle-based broker Redfin rolled out an iPhone app in August that displays how long properties have been on the market and what they last sold for.

Also in August, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC released apps for the iPhone and smartphones running Google’s Android operating system that provide access to international properties.

Real Estate search portal Zillow introduced an iPhone app in April that provides estimated valuations on about 90 million homes. Zillow updated the app in June to take advantage of new features of Apple’s smartphone operating system, including push notification of users when new homes come on the market.

Trulia rolled out an iPhone app in 2008, updated in February, which can display nearby open houses on a map with the time remaining for viewing.


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