- A brand new app for Amazon Echo is currently being tested in the Albany, New York, market and caters to buyers, sellers and renters. It's also designed to be a lead capture tool.
- Every form of software interface, from bots to voice assistants, will be looked at as a way for consumers to find more information about real estate.
- Home information is no longer the domain of the MLS; as more tools emerge, the data source will lose more of its already-scant relevancy.
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A real estate broker from Albany and his son have developed an app for the Amazon Echo home automation device.
Miguel Berger, president of Better Homes and Gardens Tech Valley, announced the launch of the Alexa-voiced app via email last week.
He demonstrated its capabilities through this Facebook Live video.
A search on Amazon for “real estate” within the Echo app marketplace reveals three results, one of which helps users find mortgage rates.
Another is My Realtor, by ECapture.
The third, Miguel’s app, is called “Real Estate.” (The shortage of ratings on each suggest that Echo remains a very fringe market for real estate.)
‘Welcome to your virtual agent’: How the app works
Activated by telling Alexa to “open real estate,” the app responds by saying “Welcome to your virtual agent,” and asks users whether they’re looking to buy, sell or rent.
If buying, the app inquires about budgets and bedrooms. Matches are pulled from the local MLS integration.
When looking to sell, users answer a few basic questions, and an agent is notified via the Voiceter Pro real estate state companion app, which underlies the Echo talk-track. Thus, it’s also a lead capture tool. Voiceter Pro will be ready in a few weeks.
The companion app shows users the property images and reveals more details than Alexa is able to articulate.
The current plan is for brokers to buy market-exclusive rights to the app. Brokers can then disperse leads as they see fit.
A father-son story
The coding talent behind the software is Miguel’s son, Chief Technology Officer Ami Berger, who lives in the Bay Area.
Miguel is an industry veteran of more than 30 years, so Ami has been surrounded by real estate his whole life.
While his calling was technology, he found the development of their app to be a great way to be involved with the family business.
Obviously, the duo is part of a very select few quick to realize how home automation tools like the Echo are advancing beyond playlists and headlines.
Consumers are searching for homes today with the same tools and user interfaces designed to find mechanics, good soft serve ice cream and all other forms of commodity.
‘Alexa, ask Real Estate to find me a home’
The app is currently being tested in the Albany market. Its infancy suggests a few wrinkles need to be ironed out before a more widespread launch.
Granted, Alexa could use some smoothing out as well.
Her ability to hear clearly, like others of her ilk (I’m looking at you, Siri), remains a concern more irksome than most want to admit. I’ve had several talks with both of these loquacious bots that have resulted in me stomping away in a childish snit.
(Fine, I’ll just type the question if you won’t listen.)
Still, once dialed-in, I envision the Bergers’ software as a fun way for buyers to check-in daily on new listings, price reductions and other updates to their search.
The pair plan to mate their app with Google’s home automation tools, the API for which was released last week.
Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.