The mobile experience is everything, especially when it comes to adding value in a consumer-first era and in the wake of consumer lawsuits.

At Inman Connect Las Vegas, July 30-Aug. 1, 2024, the noise and misinformation will be banished, all your big questions will be answered, and new business opportunities will be revealed. Join us.

When not watching demonstrations of real estate software or reporting on moves in proptech, my time is spent working as a commercial backpacking guide in Yosemite National Park. Part of that requires me to preview, or scout, trails that I’ll later be leading customers through on a commercial trip. It’s hiking due diligence.

On a recent such trip, I had three friends in tow, two of whom were involved in a real estate deal together. One was executing a reverse 1031 exchange, and the other was his agent. This is a big, complex deal with a menagerie of moving parts that will put his family in a long-sought-after location along the San Diego coast. We’re all happy for him.

It doesn’t need to be said, but this is the perfect case study for why buy-and-hold is such a good investment strategy and why the right real estate agent is such a valuable business asset.


Along with magazine-cover-worthy views of the park’s brutalist, glacier-crafted Half Dome, our campsite is well within reach of a Verizon tower. Why not get some business done?

The buyer scrolled through a DocuSign form — comfortable in a portable camp chair, Nalgene of mid-tier whiskey open next to him, and his hiking-shoed agent offering supporting narratives on the clauses, terms and legalities he needed to initial and sign. After 4.5 miles and a 3,000’+ climb, the deal was the only thing still moving.

I sorted out my needs for the night, delivering cheese and sausage to my mouth via dirty hands stained with sunburn and stole some swigs of whiskey. As I stacked dried Ponderosa pine for the fire, they closed that day’s business on their phones overlooking legendary Tenaya Canyon.

Mobile is standard

In a May 31 study on social media and search engine use, Forbes found that a third of respondents use only their mobile phone to access the internet and that 24 percent of people say they only or primarily use social media to search online. The trends shift downward as the generation surveyed ages, meaning Gen Z and millennials are the most apt to eschew Google to find something online.

The most commonly used mobile apps are YouTube, Instagram and TikTok for Gen Z. For millennials, swap Facebook for Instagram and for Gen X, it’s Pinterest, YouTube and Google. If you’re looking for places to advertise for the mobile audience, there’s your list.

Exploding Topics, a research and data analytics company whose list of clients includes Netflix, Google and Microsoft, reported that slightly more than 92 percent of internet users access it via a mobile phone.

The news here is that search trends are changing and that big screens are in decline. If you’re not communicating with the mobile market, you’ve aged out of the business.

Relative to the Forbes study, my friends and I are firmly middle-aged. My buddy didn’t mind a bit using a mobile interface to secure his new home.

Responsiveness = value

Buyer commission rules in the proposed NAR settlement have coaches, brokers and industry talking heads emphasizing tactics to communicate the value of buy-side representation.

To start, consider how you communicate. Find ways to be where your clients are already communicating, and it may not be via traditional text or email.

Hate texting about deals on the iPhone’s native app? Consider WhatsApp, a highly popular (2 billion+ global users) tool for mobile messaging among younger demographics. The app launched its business version in 2018 and doesn’t limit messaging capabilities between iPhones and Androids. It shares files instantly and makes group creation easy. Remember, responsiveness is a core tenet of business value.

HomeStack is a unique application that helps users build mobile tech stacks to share with clients. I reviewed it, lauding the search experience, ease of use and CRM flexibility. It offers connections to a number of common players.

There are several other mobile solutions out there, and more are on the way. Eden is an AI-backed home search and buying solution about to enter beta. RealtyTek is a nice mobile sales solution, too. There’s also Hōm, a buyer experience application that’s mobile-first. There are others, including all the “big search” brands.

If your CRM has a companion app you’re not using, consider using it. It offers immediacy in how you respond to leads, get answers to customers and helps you keep up with deal progress. If it has document management onboard, don’t shy away from it.

It’s very likely your brokerage has a DocuSign, Lone Wolf or SkySlope account, so download their respective mobile iterations, and challenge yourself to use them on your next sale.

It’s already everywhere

I no longer think cash is easier. Tapping your card is pretty awesome but mobile phone payments and transactions are all but ubiquitous, meaning more people are becoming comfortable with digital deal-making every day in almost all aspects of our lives. It’s a direct link to your accounts, links to bookkeeping apps and a range of other personal economic conveniences. The case is the same for your real estate business.

In my guiding business, the number of guests asking for my Venmo in lieu of carrying a cash tip into the wilderness has grown every year. My colleagues sit around the guide house after trips, waiting for the notification.

Had dinner in Europe recently? Their point-of-sale terminals are mobile, fast and increasingly mandatory.

Retail business trade pub Retail TouchPoints said in a June 12 report that in 2023, mobile phones accounted for 75 percent of retail website visits and 70 percent of purchases.

To summarize, the comfort level with mobile business is here, and growing quickly.

If you take anything from this experience, it should be that the consumer will keep moving forward, with or without you.

So stay mobile.

Email Craig Rowe

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription