mRealty is what I’m calling real estate services that are delivered to mobile devices. It’s another area that I’ve had my eye on and that I’ve written about several times before (see mRealty: House Shopping by Phone or House Hunting On The Go).

We know that most people start their home search online these days (insert random NAR statistic here) but what is somewhat surprising is that yard signs still register highly as ways that people find out about homes for sale. I suppose there is still a large group of people who enjoying spending their Sundays driving around checking out new neighborhoods where they want to live. Not my cup of tea, but to each their own.

It’s only natural then, that curbside marketing is still incredibly important. The Bloodhound is already doing custom signs, but mRealty takes that idea one step further.

bouncepadlogo.gif

Bouncepad.com is a new service that has just launched that promises to help deliver important marketing information via text message or SMS to a home buyers phone. It also renders a mobile-ready version of property listing inside a phone’s mobile browser. It’ll deliver pictures of the property too – presumably of the home’s interior, exterior shots seem kind of redundant.

This is not a new concept, and it’s becoming an increasingly crowded space; CellSigns, text-ed.com and P4CELL all already deliver similar services – but if anything all the competition tells me there is an underlying trend at play here.

So called ‘Smartphones’ make up a growing percentage of handsets sold (sales rose 42 per cent worldwide in 20061) and, more and more, consumers are turning to their phones to be more than just a way to talk to each other. Apple’s soon-to-be launched iPhone is an excellent example of this – a hybrid phone, multimedia and mobile internet device.

Further evidence of this growing trend – AT&T just became the most recent carrier to launch a new unlimited messaging plan (see AT&T gives in to unlimited messaging trend, too on Engadget Mobile), which to me signals increased consumer appetite for data services on their phones. MVNOs like Helio are enjoying pretty solid subscriber rate growth by designing whole mobile “experiences”.

So, what does it mean? mRealty – just like the syndication of data to web based property searches, will be an important new consideration when it comes to marketing properties in Real Estate 2.0. Realtors and brokers should start evaluating mRealty and seeing how it can fit into their marketing strategies, especially when considering how to differentiate their services from their competition.

For a glimpse of the future of mRealty, check out Real Property Associates’ mobile real estate search (developed by Robbie Pamplin of Rain City Guide) on your phone – (mobile.rpare.com). It’s pretty slick stuff.

1 BusinessWeek, Nokia Tops in 2006 Smartphone Sales

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