Why it's the perfect time to go all in on mobile apps

Real Estate Agent

1. It's where your customers are

The average US consumer spends an average of 2 hours and 19 minutes on mobile apps a week right now. Now that statistic is a lie, but if it was real it would be profound and reason enough to make sure that you are investing significantly in mobile app marketing. Right?

The real figure is much more staggering. The average US consumer doesn't spend 2 hours and 19 minutes on mobile apps every week. No, they spend that much time on their mobile apps - are you ready for this - every day!



2. Your customers prefer Apps over Browsing

85% of US consumers preferred mobile apps over mobile websites. When asked why, their answers were that native app experiences are: more convenient, faster, and easier to navigate.

In fact mobile apps now account for 86% of the average user's time on their mobile devices, with web browsing fighting to hang on to the remaining 14%.



3. Less competition

How many browser based real estate search websites do you think are there in the US right now? 10,000... 100,000?

There are about 2 million licensed real estate agents in the US, so I'd think it would be safe to apply the 80/20 rule and asssume that at least the top 20% of agents have a website. So there are probably 400,000 websites where home buyers can search for homes.

How many mobile based search apps are there? You can probably count them all using just the fingers on your two hands.

This means that there are hundreds of thousands of websites all competing for the attention of desktop users, and just a dozen mobile apps having a free for all for the more valuable mobile users. It makes sense then, why Zillow reports that 70% of their users now access their site from a mobile device. - They don't have any competition.

Today, you have a simple choice. You can either compete against 400,000 other people for a market that is shrinking by about 25% a year (316 million visits to real estate desktop sites in February of this year from about 416 million in February from the year prior), or to compete against just a handful of people in a market that is doubling every year.


4. Mobile shoppers are more valuable

Zillow reports that their mobile based users are three times more likely to contact an agent, and Trulia reports that their mobile users increase from about 50% of their site traffic on weekdays to about 2/3's on the weekends. If you think about it for a second, the reason is obvious: Home buyers use mobile apps while they are actually out looking at houses.

So you can either spend you money marketing to people on desktop computers while they are in their homes, or you can reach home buyers while they are out and about, looking for houses.

Here is my final staggering statistic: Glenn Kelman, Redfin's CEO announced at Inman this year that 50% of the showing requests they receive are from home buyers while they are standing in front of the house they are interested in buying! The only way that you are going to be in a position to receive this call is if the user is using your app or you are buying leads from third party portals.


The 3 best ways to reach home buyers on mobile

Zillow Premier Agent

Trulia Mobile Ads

Houseline - Secure your lifetime membership. Sorry, this program has ended! *I'm the CEO of this company.

Comments (49)

Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Remax.com has had a mobile site for over a year. It will give you the price of homes in your close proximity and it is free. Love Tammy Lankfords comment also and I agree.

Sep 24, 2014 06:15 AM
Bill & Cyndi Daves
Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, Hayesville, Murphy and Beyond! - Hiawassee, GA
TeamDAVES - Your REALTORS In the GA/NC Mountains!

Jon Washburn  - I agree that mobile is NOW.  Thank you to REMAX for providing us with a great mobile app!


Sep 24, 2014 06:19 AM
Jon Washburn
Seattle, WA

Hi Bill Reddington and Bill & Cyndi Daves 

How is the RE/MAX app working for your business? Do you use it to collaborate with your clients, or do you use it for lead generation?

Sep 24, 2014 06:22 AM
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Broker/Owner
Travis Realty - Enterprise, AL
email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846

Good info - 2+ hours a DAY - I believe it (and so does my wife ).

I have the same questions as Ms. Karen Fiddler #23.

Sep 24, 2014 07:57 AM
Jon Washburn
Seattle, WA

Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor  and Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker 

1) is the app free to the consumer to download?


2) if a client of mine downloads the app, do I pay for that download? 

You can refer your clients to the app through a custom link that only belongs to you. When a customer uses that link to get the app, then they are automatically paired to you.

3) Can I advertise the app in a blog post or advertisement of my own? like a link? and what is the cost if they download the app that way? 

Absolutely. We designed the app so that you can market it anywhere that you think is best. All of the users that register through ads that you created are paired to you.

Sep 24, 2014 08:19 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Thanks Jon! and when you say "paired with me" that's when I'll pay a fee? 

Sep 24, 2014 08:25 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

And I have signed up...I'll trust you on this app thing! I'm excited! 

Sep 24, 2014 08:26 AM
Jon Washburn
Seattle, WA

Hi Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor 

It's free. 

As long as you drove the user to download the app, then the user is assigned to you for no charge. 

The only time that you'd need to pay Houseline additional money, on top of your subscription, is if you want to have us manage your marketing for you.

Sep 24, 2014 10:19 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Got it! Thanks so much for answering my questions! I'm looking forward to this...and yes, I'm sure I'll want to have you do the marketing. :)

Sep 24, 2014 10:20 AM
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"

Our company has a mobile app for their website

Sep 24, 2014 10:54 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Are you done?  Are you done?  Are you done?  I'm ready to begin.....

Sep 26, 2014 04:44 AM
Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula
Realty Works Temecula - Temecula, CA
Realty Works Temecula


Will you be showing the App at the C.A.R. Expo in Oct?

Sep 28, 2014 01:53 PM
Kela Caspillo
Kauai Dreams Realty - Kapaa, HI
Kela Caspillo

Jon I love you ideas! I have always been thinking that our MLS system really needs to make an app for us Realtors! That way we can search for properties on the go.

Oct 01, 2014 09:11 AM
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Interesting post.you have given me a lot of food for thought. Thanks.

Oct 03, 2014 11:46 AM
Greg Mona
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

Jon - Great post and definitely worth looking into.  That said, we have a personalized app we can offer our clients via our brokerage.  Our app is personalized to have our name on it versus the generic one, and is super easy to upload.  The biggest problem I have had thus far is getting the people who have downloaded it to use it!  They seem to revert back to the mainstream ones, even though those are fraught with inaccurate information while our app is directly tied to our local MLS, which means the info is up to date to the second!  Go figure.

Oct 06, 2014 06:37 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Jon Washburn I totally forgot about this app and someone talked about the mobile app - and so just checking how far are we in getting a 'Welcome Kit'.

Oct 06, 2014 12:40 PM
Ann Marie Clements
Remax Realty Group - Gaithersburg, MD
Montgomery County & Frederick County

Mobile is convenient and it goes with you anywhere. Phones are getting bigger all the time - this app looks exciting! 

Oct 20, 2014 01:35 PM
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

Very interesting. Glad I found the post. What is the update on Houseline?

Oct 23, 2014 07:25 PM
Winston Heverly
Coldwell Banker Access Realty - South Macon, GA

It is a bit of a treat going back and reading some of Active Rains best archives  like this one. Should be shared again.

Mar 28, 2015 12:08 PM
Bruce Hicks
Best Homes Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
Your Best Hawaii Realtor!

Since your post, I would bet that the mobile app time count has increased to 90+ percent Jon Washburn .

May 25, 2015 01:51 PM