“When WebMD first came out, some people started to predict a future where medical diagnosis would be largely self-service,” says the chief technology officer at Mobile Realty Apps, “but there’s no way that a great data source like WebMD is ever going to be as useful as the combination of an experienced doctor and a great data source. And that’s equally true in real estate.”

Chief technology officer, Mobile Realty Apps

Time at Mobile Realty Apps: 11 months

What he does: In addition to overseeing the engineering team, I do development across all of our supported platforms, including Android and iOS development, as well as server-side development to support our applications.

Age: 31

Degree: M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota

Location: Bloomington, Minnesota

Social media: LinkedIn and Twitter

Writing code to solve problems is still just as much of a thrill for me today as it was when I was in middle school writing games for my TI-82 graphing calculator. Upon entering the ranks of professional software engineers about 10 years ago, I discovered a new thrill — collaborating with and learning from others. Every day at Mobile Realty Apps, I’m working with others to build great software for agents and homebuyers.

These days, I’m focused on building native iOS and Android applications to help homebuyers and agents by providing powerful tools to find just the right property while on the go.

In addition to a focus on great user experience, I’m always looking for ways to make sure that our search tools are as fast as possible. This isn’t always easy, since mobile devices are frequently connected to networks with limited speed, so we have to be innovative and diligent in our designs.

We’re working to build out a core platform of powerful and intuitive search tools like our Commute Time search that helps users find properties based on commute time and our popular HomeSpotter augmented reality feature that allows users to quickly find information about homes for sale near them.

Agents are as valuable to homebuyers today as they’ve ever been, and we aim to build tools that showcase that value, and I’m excited about what the future holds!

my-desk-2

Leverentz’s desk. He does not use an external monitor, he says, because he likes both the Retina display on his MacBook Pro and to work at various spots in the office throughout the day.

 

Favorite movie?

“Inception.”

Favorite food?

Anything with raspberries in it.

Favorite video game?

The “Portal” series. I love puzzles, and the humor in those games made me laugh a lot.

Favorite city?

As a tourist, I think I’d say Stockholm is one of the coolest cities I’ve visited — it’s a beautiful city, with lots of interesting things to see and do.

Favorite band or singer?

In my book, you can’t go wrong with U2. But now that I’m a parent of a young child, I’ve been listening to a lot more Raffi lately.

What do you hate about technology?

I hate trying to use my smartphone to navigate a website that wasn’t built with mobile devices in mind.

What is one thing you would like to fix about the real estate industry?

I’d like to reduce some of the fear surrounding technology’s impact on real estate. When WebMD first came out, some people started to predict a future where medical diagnosis would be largely self-service, but there’s no way that a great data source like WebMD is ever going to be as useful as the combination of an experienced doctor and a great data source. And that’s equally true in real estate: Technology can enhance what great real estate professionals offer, and shouldn’t be seen as a threat to the professionals.

Do you think technology can change the industry?

I think the real estate industry is poised to benefit greatly from the explosive growth in the popularity of mobile computing that we’ve seen in the last decade. Mobile technology is a great tool for homebuyers and real estate professionals alike, allowing homebuyers and their agents to share important information in a timely manner wherever they are.

In or out of real estate, is there one problem, large or small, that you would like to solve?

Outside of real estate, I’d love to see autonomous vehicles become widely usable as part of a fast, flexible and safe transportation system. All of the flexibility of a car, the efficiency of a well-coordinated, computer-controlled transit system, and the safety of systems that can sense dangerous situations much faster and more reliably than a human could. There’s a lot of interesting work being done in this area, and while we’re a long ways off from this, I hope to see significant progress toward this in my lifetime.

What motivates you?

I love solving problems. To me, there’s something sublime about the feeling of discovering a solution to a problem; it’s like the feeling you get after hiking up a long and steep trail and you reach the peak of a hill and can finally see a beautiful vista in front of you.

Would you like to participate in our real estate hacker profile series? Email contributors@inman.com.

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