In this article, we are going to tell you about real estate app development. Real estate mobile apps and web-based listing aggregators can be standalone startups or tools to increase sales for real estate related businesses:
- Startup projects.
- Real estate agencies (to increase sales).
- Real estate developers (to sell development sites).
- Tourism sector (daily rentals).
- Municipalities of cities (sale of urban real estate), etc.
- Depending on the specifics of the business, it is possible to use the following tools:
- Mobile application for iOS and Android.
- A website (the solution is common but not mandatory, some projects focus only on mobile device users).
- Admin section for admins, moderators, partners.
Building a business process
Any IT solutions should reflect the specifics of the business process:
- Where do you get the real estate database? You can give users the ability to add objects. But no one will use an empty application. It is important that most of the listings are up to date at the start of the project.
- How will the database be replenished? Are ads from individuals or only from partner agencies? Will premoderation be required? Will the ads be free? Paid? Or two types? Think through all the specifics in advance.
- Moderators and administrators. It is important that the employees of the service monitor the relevance of ads (especially important if they are private offers), monitor possible spam (ads off-topic), errors in filling out the data, etc. Users may also need technical assistance.
Main features of the application
To compile a tentative list of app features, we used our own development experience, studied successful projects and user feedback.
The figure shows an example of a map implementation showing the property and surrounding infrastructure in the Trulia app.
When creating an app design concept, it is important to keep usability in mind. The user should intuitively understand how to use the application, where to look for the functions he needs, how to navigate through the menu and catalog.
- A UI-prototype is created, i.e. the user interface itself.
- The visual style is developed, taking into account the familiar user elements of iOS and/or Android.
- All possible screens and their states are developed.
- Based on the prototype, the design is developed directly, taking into account the requirements of the project (color scheme, stylistic features, etc.).
The result of this approach is an application that does not raise any questions from the user. An example of a successful solution is the American application ZILLOW - simple, user-friendly, with clear navigation.
Read more about real estate app development costs.
A real estate listing for sale or rent should be concise yet as informative as possible. The card should display:
- Photo. With the possibility of viewing a gallery of several images.
- Address of the object.
- Main characteristics and description.
- Location of the object on the map.
- Contact with the seller: call or message.
For example, in the Zillow service card, photo viewing is implemented in slider mode.
What a website should be like
The functionality of the site can repeat the mobile application or differ from it. It all depends on the goals set. The structure of the catalog should solve two problems:
- convenient search for real estate;
- search engine promotion of the site.
An important stage of work - the collection of semantic core. Competent structure of the catalog will help to collect traffic from search engines. For example, Google believes that the query "apartment in Atlanta" is more relevant to show a page with a list of apartments in Atlanta, rather than a general list of residential real estate. This requires a separate page on the site with apartments in Atlanta.
All pages should have their own meta-data and be optimized for related queries. For example, "buy an apartment", "rent apartments", "apartments in new buildings", etc. As a result, the semantic core may include tens of thousands of queries. They should be distributed across the pages of the site, taking into account the peculiarities of search engines.
Project admin panel
Several roles should be implemented in the admin panel:
- Administrator. With full access to all functions and reports (statistics, finances, user and moderator activity).
- Moderator. Access to edit and block ads (possibly only in a certain region). View user correspondence to resolve disputes. Ability to block users who violate the rules.Technical support.
In case of cooperation with partner-agencies, partner access to the admin panel with the ability to edit, delete and add ads, correspond from the web service with users interested in some object, as well as view personal statistics - ads, number of user requests, finances, etc. is provided.
It is important to organize fast data exchange between the application and the server part. The database structure should be designed in such a way that the exchange occurs quickly even under peak loads.
If it is planned to automatically update the announcements database by exchanging with other projects or program systems, it is necessary to develop and implement API - a set of tools for automatic data exchange between systems.
A real estate ad involves a lot of images, pictures, photos. You should have enough space to store this information, the site should load photos quickly. To do this:
- Optimize your images. For example, compress them without loss of quality with tinypng.com.
- Upload images asynchronously. Upload the first image first and then all the others.
- If the images don't load, show the process to the user.
For mobile devices, it doesn't make sense to upload large images, optimize them.
What is important for a successful launch
By the time of the project launch it is necessary to solve the following issues:
- Primary filling (database of objects), attracting the first partners.
- Adding the application to Google Play and App Store: preparation of screenshots, description, payment for placement for a year.
- Advertising of the web project (contextual, search engine promotion, SMM, other options).
Every project needs technical support and updates. This is necessary to fix bugs and expand functionality as the project develops. Costs are important to consider when budgeting.
Keep user feedback in mind - quick answers to their questions will increase your credibility. Include a list of fixes in your project work plan.