Technology

4 brokers who are ahead of the curve in mobile

These apps are loaded with features that rival or surpass those offered by third-party portals

The top real estate portals may get much of the attention when it comes to mobile apps for home search, but some real estate brokers are not content to give up that terrain. These four brokers have apps or mobile sites with features that rival, or exceed, those offered by third-party portals, with well-designed user interfaces to match.

john greene Realtor:

With about 80 agents, john greene Realtor shows that a firm doesn’t have to be huge to put its best face forward on mobile. The Naperville, Illinois-based firm hired Mobile Realty Apps to develop its home search app, which includes two distinctive features: the ability to search by commute time (car, public transit, bike or walking) and Mobile Realty Apps’ augmented reality tool HomeSpotter, where agents point their smartphone or tablet’s camera toward a home and the app serves up nearby active and sold listing information. The app also includes a gallery view of listing photos for easy scrolling.

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Michael Saunders & Company:

Unlike the other firms on this list, Sarasota, Florida-based Michael Saunders & Company is included here for its brand-new mobile website. Developed in-house, the responsive site caters to the 600-agent firm’s out-of-town clientele with hyperlocal, photo-centric pages that illustrate each neighborhood’s ambiance and link directly to its for-sale listings. Users can filter their home search by lifestyle or features such as downtown, golf course or waterfront. Each listing page includes a map showing nearby recently sold properties, nearby amenities, and multiple listing service-derived market stats, including how much sale prices and inventory levels have changed in the past 60 days.

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach:

Not long after its acquisition last year, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach released an agent-branded mobile app for its more than 4,000 sales associates in the Philadelphia metro area. The app, powered by Smarter Agent Mobile, serves up sold and active listings, rentals and open houses. A drawing tool allows users to define their own search area. Users can also save and share favorite properties, and add their own notes and photos. In the iPad version of the app, a “Local” tab maps nearby amenities such as restaurants, schools and grocery stores.

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William Raveis Real Estate:

This app is jam-packed full of features. Users can take and save their own property photos and notes; use one of three mortgage calculators; see nearby schools, hospitals and other amenities; view local housing data and demographics; see nearby sales comparisons; check out open houses; and look up community information, including the nearest airport, major sports team and colleges. Users can also apply for a mortgage preapproval, request a home or auto insurance quote, and connect with one of the firm’s 3,500 agents in eight Northeastern states via phone, email, text or chat.

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