Special offer

The five best video chat apps for real estate agents

Real Estate Technology with realtor.com®

No, you’re not imagining it. Open house attendees, showing appointments and even your fellow agents are video chatting a lot more often these days. It makes sense that in our hyper-social world, buyers may want to crowdsource their decision before they make an offer.


But they're not the only people who can get ahead using video chat technology. Agents can also leverage live video chat apps to keep in touch with out-of-town clients, update buyers about small changes that have been made due to contingencies or inspections, or to simply show off their latest listing to other agents who are too busy in the field to swing by the broker open.

We’ve done the research and the Results Series team informally voted on our top five favorite video chat apps for 2017. Read on to see which video chat app is best for you and your clients.

1. Most Intuitive: FaceTime

FaceTime is the native video chat app for Apple mobile devices — iPad and iPhone. FaceTime is designed to use your wi-fi connection first, but will connect and run through your data if wi-fi is unavailable. Here’s how to check to ensure that your iPhone knows to use wi-fi first, with data as a backup.

Biggest FaceTime advantage: Unlike other apps that require a special download, FaceTime has just one barrier to entry: it’s available to iPhone users who are contacting other iPhone users. This makes it a great option for anyone, regardless of their technical prowess.

The technology comes pre-loaded on your iPhone and you just have to tap the FaceTime icon within your contacts to make a FaceTime call.

Biggest FaceTime disadvantage: FaceTime is still a 1-to-1 app, so you can’t yet host a group video chat. Rumor has it that you’ll be able to host group chats with the launch of ioS 11 this June.

FaceTime best practice: Even if the purpose of the call is to show off the listing, be sure to start every call in selfie mode, so you can quickly establish a connection before you turn the camera on the property. And remember to avoid looking at the corner where your face is; always make eye contact with the call recipient when in selfie mode by looking at the lens.

2. Most Versatile: Skype

Skype has big-time name recognition, making it an easy sell if FaceTime isn’t an option. Unlike FaceTime, you can use Skype to host a group video chat, making it a convenient choice if you’re recording a chat with two or more people who aren’t in the same place.

Biggest Skype advantage: You can use Skype to call mobile to mobile, or mobile to desktop. If you’re working with an overseas client or someone active duty in the military, they may have the best experience by chatting via the Skype desktop computer application (as desktop connections can be more stable than mobile devices).

Biggest Skype disadvantage: Unlike FaceTime, which allows you to change from selfie mode to forward-facing (and back), Skype wants you to pick a camera mode in advance. If you have time, you can try to set up so you are in the shot of your forward-facing camera to greet your client, then you can “get behind the camera” as you show them the listing.

Skype best practice: If you’re calling from one Skype account to another, the call is free. Be sure to exchange Skype usernames in advance so you can find and connect with one another prior to the call.

If you are calling a landline or mobile telephone number, you’ll need to purchase (relatively inexpensive) Skype credits. In that case, remember to buy the credits in advance so you’re not late for your call.

3. Best Sound and Connection Quality: ooVoo

While you’ve been using the standard video chat apps that have been around the longest, ooVoo has been quietly emerging as a leader in terms of crystal-clear calls. More than 100 million users have now downloaded ooVoo, which is available for both ioS and Android devices.

Biggest ooVoo advantage: Video chats can go wrong quickly, and when they do it’s usually because of a lost connection or sound and echo issues that turn off users. ooVoo’s engineers have worked to:

  • Recognize your network and adjust the configuration accordingly
  • Boost audio quality by reducing echoes in calls

Biggest ooVoo disadvantage: Even though it’s growing in popularity, your clients may be wary of using a brand-new technology they’ve never heard of. It may take a bit of convincing (and troubleshooting) to get a tech-averse client to use ooVoo.

ooVoo best practice: The app allows you to easily change from a video chat to a regular call. When hosting an ooVoo chat with new users, try starting in video mode and promise that you’ll switch over to a regular call if they get stressed or overwhelmed.

4. Best Newcomer: Google Duo

Announced this last August 2016, Google’s Duo platform is (in our humble opinion) the video chat app Hangout always wished it could be. The technology promises to switch seamlessly between wi-fi and data, and to slowly reduce clarity when a connection’s bandwidth is reduced. In short, it solves a lot of the issues that we have with other video chat applications.

Biggest Google Duo advantage: Duo was built with end-to-end encryption, making it a super-safe application if you’re chatting with clients about important, confidential topics (like making an offer).

Biggest Google Duo  disadvantage: Like FaceTime, Duo is designed for 1-to-1 calling. That means no group chats — you’ll have to go back to Google’s Hangouts for that feature.

Google Duo best practice: You know that sinking feeling you get when someone is video chatting you and you aren’t sure why? Or maybe you haven’t showered yet and you’re not sure if you’re about to be projected live into a 50-person birthday party for your grandma? Duo understands that anxiety, so they built a “Knock knock” feature that shows a quick preview of who’s calling and why.

So if you’re calling to video chat a client about their offer being accepted, try holding up a “GREAT NEWS!” sign when you “knock knock” them, and they’ll be much more likely (and excited) to answer your call.

5. Global Dominator: WhatsApp

While the U.S. has been busy with SMS and iOS messages, nearly one billion people around the world are using WhatsApp. The messaging app (and its user data) is considered so valuable that Facebook paid $19 billion for it back in 2014. After years of loyal fans begging for video chat capability, WhatsApp launched the feature in November 2016.

Biggest WhatsApp advantage: WhatsApp is considered the crown jewel of global messaging apps, so it’s perfect for agents with overseas clients. Keep one record of all your communications by using to WhatsApp to discuss properties and transaction details, then leverage the app’s video chat technology when you need to host a recorded showing or share big news.

Biggest WhatsApp disadvantage: If you (or your clients) prefer to live off the grid, WhatsApp may not be for you. The company admitted that it shares phone numbers and usage information with its parent company, which Facebook uses to customize ad experiences on the site. However, all data that is shared within the app — messages, voice calls, video calls and text files — remains private and backed by WhatsApp’s encrypted technology.

WhatsApp best practice: WhatsApp is extremely intuitive, but you may want to download it and test its features (from finding a contact, to messaging them, to video chatting) so you can get to know its full capabilities before you use it with a client. If you end up working with global buyers,  you’ll want to be on your A-game, as they’re likely to be “super users” who take advantage of the technology constantly.

What do you use?

Did we miss your favorite video chatting option? Tell us which app or technology you use, and why it’s the best choice for your business. Share your insights in the comments!


Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

oh Boy! Oo Voo... never heard of it... I am on the back fence on these things... it is the way of the world... I am just not there yet! Great Post Very informative!!

Apr 13, 2017 12:32 AM
Realtor.com® - A division of Move, Inc.

Debra Leisek -- it's a newcomer so don't beat yourself up for not having heard of it. ;)

Really, you only need the ONE video chat app that works best for needs. Good luck as you get started!

Apr 17, 2017 11:58 AM
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

I've used 3 of these.  Never heard of OoVoo.  I haven't had the occasion to use video chat in my business as of yet.  I've used it with my grandkids who live away from me.

Apr 13, 2017 06:05 AM
Realtor.com® - A division of Move, Inc.

Nothing beats keeping in touch with family and friends, Mick. If the opportunity ever arises to use video chat with a client, you'll already be an expert! :)

Apr 17, 2017 11:59 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

3 and 4 are new to me and I use the other three. I will check on the two.

Apr 13, 2017 01:13 PM
Realtor.com® - A division of Move, Inc.

Terrific! We're glad we were able to share new options with you. Maybe one of the other two will help you close a gap in your business. Take care, Joe Pryor!

Apr 17, 2017 11:59 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Wonder why REALTOR dot com does not have the social media link for youtube? Video is huge and should be an instant option for connecting with buyers online that want the video open house on demand. Beyond the link to the property listing for the local community videos. It would be easy to add the link to facebook, twitter, etc. collection.

Apr 13, 2017 01:59 PM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Tried to install ooVoo without success. Most of these tools are IMO not reliable. However, I appreciate the awareness of new technology, so thanks for sharing. 


Apr 13, 2017 11:48 PM
Realtor.com® - A division of Move, Inc.

We're sorry to hear that, Kimo Jarrett! In creating our rankings we tested each of them but it's certainly true that you should feel 100% comfortable with a technology before you begin using it with clients. In your case, it sounds like FaceTime or Skype may be a more reliable option. Good luck!  

Apr 17, 2017 12:04 PM
Karen Deis
ApartmentToolKit.com - Minneapolis, MN
When In-house training is not enough!

Skype and What's App - I have an android phone. 

Apr 14, 2017 05:15 AM
Realtor.com® - A division of Move, Inc.

Awesome! We're glad you found the tools that work best with your device.

Apr 17, 2017 12:04 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

I appreciate your description of each app, with pros and cons.

Very helpful post. Thanks

Apr 14, 2017 07:17 AM
Realtor.com® - A division of Move, Inc.

We're so glad you found it valuable. Thanks for weighing in, John Wiley!

Apr 17, 2017 12:04 PM
Ron Aguilar
Gateway Mortgage Group - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

Facetime has been my fav but watch it eat your data plan if no Wifi is present. Otherwise the others have their pros and cons. Thank you technology!

Apr 14, 2017 07:22 AM
Realtor.com® - A division of Move, Inc.

Yes, that's a great point! Thanks for bringing it up, Ron Aguilar

Apr 17, 2017 12:05 PM
Donna & Larry Johnson
Keller Williams Real Estate - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County

A couple new ones for me but all sound great!

Apr 14, 2017 07:30 AM
Realtor.com® - A division of Move, Inc.

Thanks, Donna & Larry Johnson

Apr 17, 2017 12:05 PM
Robert Hicks
United Country River City Realty - Savannah, TN

Lots of info here. The times,,,, Yes,,,, they are a changing.. Thanks and I look forward to learning more..

Apr 18, 2017 12:17 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I like intuitive apps most of all and I hope there's more of these coming down the pike, as they say.

Apr 26, 2017 10:17 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I use facetime when it is possible for my local clients ( became very popular during quarantine)  and skype/what's up for the client out of country or those who do not use apple products. 

Nov 12, 2021 10:23 AM