- A brand-new app combines MLS-powered home search with the ability to hail an available agent in real time to see a home immediately.
Colorado’s largest MLS is getting in on the on-demand showings game.
Although hailing an agent like an Uber ride has been possible for awhile through various apps — and tech-focused brokerages such as Redfin and OfferPad also offer similar features — agent on-demand app companies have typically partnered with brokerages, not MLSs.
But in a move that could allow for quick industry adoption, brand new home search and agent matching app ArriveHome has partnered with Denver area-based REcolorado.
The deal gives the MLS’s 22,000 agent and broker subscribers exclusive access to the app, meaning they are the only MLS members in the state that can use the app “for the next several years,” according to REColorado spokesperson Deborah Shipley. The app, which is free for consumers and available on iPhone and Android devices, officially launched Sept. 20.
Shipley declined to disclose how much REcolorado paid to give its subscribers access to the app, but the cost for subscribers who wish to use the app is $39.95 per month. The company plans to expand nationwide and is working to make ArriveHome available to agents in other states.
The agent experience and privacy protections
Real estate agent users first download the app, create an account and set up a public profile.
Consumers can use ArriveHome to connect with nearby agents who are “live,” or leverage it to work with their current agent more efficiently.
The app shows the real-time locations of agents who are immediately available for showings or to answer questions. By tapping on a property, home hunters can locate the closest agents to the house, see their profiles and customer reviews, and map out the driving distance to the home.
“ArriveHome gives agents the tool they need to reach active home shoppers, connect immediately to potential leads, and instantly respond to requests,” said Staci Wood, REcolorado’s vice president and chief product officer, in a statement.
Thanks to ArriveHome’s “agent scrambler” feature, the no. 1 request from agents during beta, users can adjust the icon of their face on the map to anywhere within a quarter-mile circle of their exact location for privacy reasons. Some agents weren’t keen on their location being on display while they were at home, for example.
In the screen shot below, the green dot (not visible to consumers) is the agent’s exact location. Agents can use their finger to move their photo icon (which is visible to consumers) within that circle.
“This way an agents’ ‘proximity and readiness’ near a property is not compromised, yet the agent is able to not share their exact location,” Todd Narlinger, ArriveHome co-founder and a real estate broker, told Inman via email.
“Deep linking” technology allows agents to invite clients to ArriveHome through the app. The consumer menu then shows clients when their agent is online or when he or she was last live, in addition to displaying the agent’s contact information.
Agents can also share links to their ArriveHome profile on social media, and when a consumer downloads the ArriveHome app through that link, the agent becomes that consumer’s “Preferred agent” on the app.
Clients connected with agents will continue to see other agents on the map.
“If a consumer were to reach out to another agent through the app, with the understanding they had an agency agreement with another one, the agent being contacted would not know,” Narlinger said. “We ask that agents respect the agency relationship and it is on the agent to ask the question, ‘Do you have an agent or are you working with one currently?'”
ArriveHome also serves up available “live” lenders so that homebuyers can get pre-qualified for a mortgage faster. Lenders pay to be on the app, and fee structure will vary market to market. ArriveHome is adding the ability for lenders to invite their contacts to the app as well.
Can the app really offer instant showings?
ArriveHome features listing information for all homes for sale in the MLS, not just vacant ones. So even if agents are willing to be on standby, what’s the likelihood that sellers will skedaddle on a whim to accommodate a home tour?
According to Narlinger, most occupied homes for sale are available to be shown immediately, too. Contrary to apps that offer the ability to “contact an agent” or calendar invites for scheduling, ArriveHome offers instant access to an agent who can verify the home’s showing status.
“Yes, some may have some type of showing restriction, but the majority are ‘go and show,'” Narlinger said.