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Realtor.com to offer agent-branded mobile app

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated to remove an unsubstantiated reference to Realtor.com’s mobile app being the most downloaded real estate app for iOS and Android.

Realtor.com operator Move Inc. will offer a free, agent-branded version of the company’s popular mobile app this fall, branding the app to agents whenever they direct clients to download the app using a unique URL to the iTunes store.

According to a YouTube video posted by Realtor.com, the app will also provide agents the ability to communicate with clients who have downloaded the app via push notifications.

Writing about the new app for InmanNext, Inman News chief evangelist Chris Smith called it "truly a game changer." More than 1,500 agents had pre-registered to download the app as of today.

A recent review of mobile apps by real estate consulting firm Clareity Consulting concluded that among the top 10 most popular real estate apps for consumers, those offered by third-party portals like Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia have the best ease of use, design and speed.

Realtor.com’s mobile app scored an A-, thanks largely to its accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date listing information. Through its ties to the National Association of Realtors — Move has a long-term agreement with NAR to operate Realtor.com — the site receives listing data directly from more than 900 multiple listing services.

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A growing number of MLSs and brokerages also offer mobile apps that provide consumers with direct access to a comprehensive set of Internet Data Exchange (IDX) listings at the local market level. Because most of those apps aren’t among the top 10 downloaded by consumers, Clareity did not review them.

Online brokerage company Sawbuck Realty has made waves with its HomeSnap iPhone app, which uses geolocation to retrieve information about a property when users point their smartphone camera’s phone at it. Minneapolis-based MobileRealtyApps offers similar "HomeSpotter" augmented reality capabilities to MLSs and brokers. Clients include Northstar MLS.

Clareity did rate mobile apps from the Houston Association of Realtors, Redfin and ZipRealty that are popular with consumers, but judged them to be slightly inferior to offerings from the major portals. The firm was even more critical of mobile apps offered by several major franchisors, saying they suffered from slow response times, minimal property detail and glitch-filled platforms.

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