Why You Can't Afford to Ignore Mobile Anymore

By
Real Estate Agent
In doing some research for my new company, I read through the 2013 & 2014 Home Buyer Survey's from CAR (California Association of REALTORS®). Coming into the report I had expected to see that in the past few years there has been a massive shift towards mobile, and a change in consumer expectations regarding instant communication, but these numbers blew my mind.
 
 
"The majority of buyers (70%) primarily accessed the internet from their smart phones, 15 percent accessed it from their tablets, eight percent from a laptop and seven percent from a desktop."
 
 
Seven percent of home buyers accessed the internet from their desktop as their primary means. That fact alone should make every single agent stop dead in their tracks and think: 'What is my mobile strategy?'

 
 
 
There are hundreds of thousands of agents in the country with a desktop version of a website, and yet just a small handful of companies that offer a good mobile experience for consumers; Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Realtor.com. 

(Important note: Since 86% of the time consumers spend on a mobile device is spent using an app and only 14% on a browser, a website optimized for mobile is not the same as a great mobile experience.)
 
Seriously, stop and think about this for a minute. Every agent has a desktop website. Almost zero agents have a (decent / user friendly) mobile app for their clients to use. Yet, 70% of home buyers reported using their phone as a primary means to search for homes. Who do you think they used? (I mentioned the names above).
 
Hopefully everyone reading this post right now is thinking, is it good for the industry, and perhaps more importantly, is this good for me? I personally don't think it's right that a majority of consumers must first go through a third party gatekeeper to find a home.

30% of the market is being chased by 100% of the agents. The other 70% of the market is left to be feasted on by the Zillow's, Trulia's and Realtor.com's of the world. And they are feasting on it, make no mistake. 

The primary reason that they can do this is because they have had zero competition from the actual real estate professionals until this point. HouseLine will change this. 

 

 
Houseline is going to give real estate agents a fighting chance by literally giving them a direct line of communication with the home buyers - and it turns out, that is exactly what they really want!
 
 
 

 
 
Communication Isn't The Key.....It's How You Communicate

The report goes on to outline how agents and buyers communicate. And it clearly points out a pretty wide gap between how our buyers would prefer we communicate and how we actually communicate with them.

Only 11% of buyers prefer to communicate by phone (down from 17% from just last year!), and yet buyers report that 38% of their agents prefer this as a primary means of communication. Further, 40% of buyers would prefer text messaging as their primary means of communication (up from 28% last year), and yet buyers as a whole reported that only 15% of their agents preferred that method.

 
 
 
 
 
I get it, we want them on the phone. But more and more, they would rather just text. As an industry, we are trying to force our buyers to communicate on our terms, instead of on their terms. These numbers will continue to move toward less talking and more messaging.

And they want that communication fast! I'm talking instant responses. In 2007 only 10 percent of buyers expected an immediate response from their agent. In 2014 that number had more than quadrupled; now almost half of all buyers want an instant response when they have a question about real estate.

 
 
 

 
 
So What is the conclusion?

To conclude the survey, buyers were asked to give their agents advice to improve the home buying process or level of service. Here is what they said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What The Heck Can I Do?

We're building Houseline to solve many of these exact problems.

It's a mobile app that will allow agents to provide listings to their clients on the platform they prefer - their phone. We've built in-app messaging (the first of it's kind in the real estate space), where an agent and their client can easily communicate during the search process. Allowing you to respond faster, communicate better, and use the communication method preferred by your clients. 

You can learn about my new company and how it might help you get ahead of the mobile revolution by visiting the post I wrote announcing the launch of HouseLine


If you would like to try Houseline for free, you can do that by signing up for a free agent account here. On December 1st, we will be launching in Washington State, with coverage of the NWMLS.

We will be adding additional markets in the coming months. If you would like to sign up for the free version of Houseline for your particular MLS, please go ahead and do that and we will contact you once your MLS is added. If you are in Washington, get signed up today and we'll get you all set up on December 1st when we launch.


(*please note that as of our December 1st launch, the Houseline App will only be available on the iPhone, iOS operating system. If you currently have an Android, or other operating system, you can still sign up for a free account and we will notify you when your version is added)
 

Comments (58)

Tanya Van Blake-Coleman
Van Blake-Coleman Realty, St. Thomas/www.talk-to-Tanya.com - St Thomas, VI
Improving the Quality of Your Life

The trend may continue but market and and the target specifically within that market may or may not be in the mobile loop. Older clients will likely want more actual conversations if face to face interaction is not possible. Some of the foreign investors I deal with that want properties in the Virgin Islands may have use for mobile applications in addition to contemprary online search engines. Good luck.

Nov 10, 2014 08:34 AM
Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation
RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate - Victoria, BC
Accredited Real Estate Consultant

Hi Jon Washburn  Can't Wait, very excuited and looking forward to Houseline. I signed up with my $$$ a while ago, hopfully it's work great in Victoria, BC

Cheers

Nov 14, 2014 03:22 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Are we getting close?  I can't wait to see the program in action!

Nov 18, 2014 10:27 AM
Bob Stewart
ActiveRain - Mesa, AZ
ActiveRain

Evelyn Johnston ,

We are getting closer, that's for sure! We just got approval through the App Store! The App will be releasing in a 'soft' release in Washington State with the NWMLS on December 1st. 

From that point, we will be moving into a number of MLS's across the country in the next few months. Which MLS are you in? 

(not sure if you were expecting an answer from me.....but I joined the Houseline team last week!)

Nov 26, 2014 04:09 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Bob, an answer from you is as good as they come! I'm sorry for ActiveRain's loss but Woo Hoo for Jon! I am with Elkhart County Board of REALTOR(r)'s (ECBOR) and I am counting on their participation.  I know IDX is available because I have it on my website. Hurry Bob! I really cannot wait!

What about The Play Store and Android phones? Will I need to buy an iphone too?  If I need to I will!

Nov 26, 2014 10:26 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Today is the day of your first launch date Jon Washburn  and Bob Stewart, it is all I have thought of all day long.  I am counting the days until you reach Indiana! Congratulations as you watch it grow and spread like wildfire! And it will...

Dec 01, 2014 11:20 AM
Esperanza Butler® 818 926 5425
Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - West Hills, CA
Homes For Sale in West Hills, Ca (818) 926-5425

 

I am a little confused. A few months ago I  signed up and paid #$$$$ for the new Houseline. Now my question for you is this.  Why are you offering this for free after we paid for it? Or is what you are offering is just a trial?.

 

I am in California if it’s possible I would like to know when it will be activated in California.

 

Dec 01, 2014 02:57 PM
Bob Stewart
ActiveRain - Mesa, AZ
ActiveRain

Esperanza Butler Realtor ®- 

We had a little change in the business model. The free version of Houseline will only allow someone to have up to 20 clients connected to them at one time. The premium version will allow for more than 20 at once. We are also working on some additional premium features on the back end of the app.

When we get to your market, we will make sure that it's well worth your while to have signed up early, I promise!

Which MLS are you a part of?

Dec 02, 2014 07:38 AM
Kevin S. McCullough
McCullough & Associates Realty, Inc. - Trinity, FL
Broker

The app sounds great...mobile is great, and the more tech tools we can have to choose from the better we can operate!

Dec 09, 2014 02:14 PM
Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation
RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate - Victoria, BC
Accredited Real Estate Consultant

Hi Jon Washburn  Canny wait for you to include BC

Cheers

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Dec 17, 2014 12:21 PM
Esperanza Butler® 818 926 5425
Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - West Hills, CA
Homes For Sale in West Hills, Ca (818) 926-5425

Hi Bob,

I hope you had a nice Christmas. Sorry for insisting but

I have never waited this long for something that I had paid for months in advance.

My MLS is CRIS Net/Matrix

Any update?

Have a Happy & Healthy New Year

Dec 29, 2014 03:28 PM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Bob Stewart I signed up a while ago also. When do you expect to have this up in our area? We were told October? I'm with CRMLS

Dec 31, 2014 05:06 AM
Esperanza Butler® 818 926 5425
Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - West Hills, CA
Homes For Sale in West Hills, Ca (818) 926-5425

 

Any update?

Jan 20, 2015 02:05 AM
Esperanza Butler® 818 926 5425
Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - West Hills, CA
Homes For Sale in West Hills, Ca (818) 926-5425

Any update?

 

Feb 10, 2015 04:22 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

What is new with the release of Houseline?  It has been a couple of months and both you Jon Washburn  and Bob Stewart have been really quiet.  Can we get some updates?  Is it working as you expected?  Are you including new markets as you thought you would be?

Feb 13, 2015 01:37 PM
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL
GRI, ABR, SFR, CDPE, CIAS, PA

Active Rain has done a great job in bringing out the best potential in all of their members blogs like this one.

Mar 24, 2015 08:09 AM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Jon, for so many years I can't remember, I have said if I had to give up every device, my cell phone would be the last to go- how can I not expect the public to be doing/saying the same thing? This sounds like another blockbuster venture for the two of you!

Mar 30, 2015 09:27 AM
Marina Sarabia & Kathleen Costanzo
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Fort Lauderdale, FL
954-914-8060 ~ 954-914-8056 ~ We Sell Broward !!!

Agreed--you can't stay away from technology.  It truly has taken over our life and it is the way business is being done today and for all of the tomorrows.  We must get out of the past and stop doing things like  .. . .we used to.

Jan 04, 2016 09:21 PM
Ingrid Pierson
HomeTown Realtors - Auburn, CA
Making Friends & Helping Friends with Real Estate

Interesting article and I do agree... Just wondering if it ever rolled out...

Jan 26, 2016 06:03 AM
Tyra Hatcher Mitchell
Alliance Realty - Portland, ME
Southern Maine Realtor

Great post. 

Dec 07, 2017 08:04 PM