Home open apps and open for inspection technology have been around for a couple of years now. We take a look at some of the available apps and determine whether they are meeting their promises and providing a better customer experience.
The real estate industry thrives on face to face meetings and personal connections. However, this doesn’t mean it has missed the boat when it comes to keeping up with innovations in technology.
Online listings revolutionised real estate marketing over a decade ago. In more recent years there has been a rush of apps that directly help agents with their day to day activities. These apps streamline internal processes and help agents provide a better all round customer experience.
Agent Sam Outch is a fan of the locally produced open house app Homepass. “The app makes running an open home a lot easier,” says Sam who is based at Century 21 in Sydney’s Hills District. “It saves visitor information and lets you see whether or not a buyer has been through any of your other properties.”
Sam explains he no longer has to head back to the office after an open home to enter information and that the Homepass app can significantly speed up the sale of a property. By sending contracts via the app’s document sharing function, “you can have a home sold within hours of a viewing, or even quicker”.
Image source: Domain.com.au
Former CIO of REA Group, Daniel Oertli is the brains behind Homepass. He and his team founded the app after seeing the lack of mobile digital technology used by agents within their business.
“Consumers when looking for homes for sale or rent can do this digitally but after the initial search real estate activities were going offline,” says Daniel, “I wanted to help close the gap and continue the digital experience customers were used to,” he adds, sharing that he worked closely with agents in order to understand their needs as part of his app development process.
Homepass is not the only offering on the market - there are plenty of other smartphone and tablet apps that improve the open for inspection experience.
Australian Made Open House Apps
The Australian real estate market has requirements and terminology that are different to the rest of the world. This is why keeping your real estate technology local can be a good idea when it comes to industry specific apps.
Homepass is designed to make it easier to manage open home visitors.
The tool sends a welcoming SMS and delivers brochures to potential buyers via their mobile phones. It also allows agents to view a buyer’s past inspection history if they have visited one of your properties in the past.
Using Homepass, agents can send an instant vendor report to their clients. The app also captures data for export or real time synchronisation to your CRM.
A standard subscription for Homepass is $99 per office per month. This gives agents full access to the app as well as agency branding on mobile brochures and ‘kiosk mode’, which is a check-in screen designed to allow the public to enter their own details. Those who don’t wish to pay can still have access to limited features.
Visit the Homepass website for more information.
Open House ID
This home open app works in a similar way to Homepass. For a monthly subscription fee, agents can capture visitor details, create VIP lists, monitor advertising and sync with Dropbox to access brochures and contracts. Open House also includes a Mobile CRM to enable better contact management.
Included in the monthly subscription fee is the ability to:
- Handle contract requests.
- Nominate ‘hot’ leads.
- Track repeat visitors.
- Send SMS to buyers and vendors during and after home opens.
- Categorise contacts and organise to-do lists.
The Open House app offers a one month free trial so you can try before you buy.
Visit the Open House website for more information.
Purple Door puts control in the hands of the buyers by allowing them to keep better track of the properties they have visited. It allows them to give each ‘door’ a rating and lets them share feedback with other people who have viewed the home. There is also a section for rating the helpfulness of the agent at the open house and a place to store agent details.
As an agent, you can use this app to gather feedback from people who aren’t comfortable or don’t have the time to have a conversation about your client’s property in person. Because people can post feedback anonymously they are able to be a lot more candid, which can be very helpful in understanding true buyer impressions of the property and where improvements could be made.
Visit the Purple Door website for more information.
Internationally Produced Options
If none of the Australian home open apps meet your requirements there are global options you may find more suitable for your device or budget.
Open Home Pro
Reviewers describe this iPad-only app as easy to use and convenient. It is quick to set up and provides a ‘guest report’ at the end of the open house to make following up a breeze.
After each open house, the app can be used to send visitors a professional follow up email. It also provides a list highlighting the buyers who are thinking of selling.
Visit the Open Home Pro website for more information.
AM Open House
With a straightforward interface, this iPad and iPhone app allow you to manage residential, commercial and rental properties. It provides a simple sign-in for open house attendees and lets agents share information across their Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media accounts.
“AM Open House offers agents simplicity and efficiency via an iOS and Android enabled app”.
A handy feature is automated notifications – if the price of a home is dropped, buyers who have left their details, through the app, will be sent a message alerting them to the price reduction.
AM Open House also sends emails to buyers and vendors from your email address, giving you the option to include a single property website link and information about nearby schools and amenities.
Visit the AM Open House website for more information.
Open House Toolkit
Currently only available for Android tablets, this home open app is a digital sign-in sheet that can be used at open homes. Reviewers describe it as easy to use and great for saving data.
Available for a one-off cost, the app allows you to specify the details you wish to gather from your client's (such as name, phone number, budget, etc) before saving and organising lead data. There are multiple communication options to allow you to send notifications to buyers and a vendor reporting function that lets you fill your client in on attendance and feedback immediately.
Visit the Open House Toolkit website for more information.
As agents know all too well, hosting an open house is a lot of work! Then, after all that effort, the serious buyers often want to come back for a second and third viewing.
Viewber is an interesting ‘crowdsourcing’ concept that has been introduced in the UK. The company has a national network of vetted people who are on call to walk clients through a home that is for sale or lease.
All an agent has to do is tell Viewber when they need someone to assist them with an open home and a “reliable professional” will turn up to show the property on your behalf. These external parties don’t pretend to be agents but do have to familiarise themselves with the property to gain good feedback and future work.
The system relies on honesty and uses key safes to provide easy access to the house. After the open home, feedback is immediately shared with the selling agent, who can then review the service.
Viewber charges £30 per viewing and claims to have provided hundreds of viewings around the UK. Reviewers say their open home support staff are professional and speedy.
It’s an interesting concept and one which busy agents would probably welcome - another task that can be outsourced with the help of technology.
Visit the Viewber website for more information.
Real estate apps coming of age
When it comes to the uptake of technology, Daniel from Homepass was warned by industry outsiders that real estate agents aren’t keen on going digital. However he disagreed and took the view that agents have been watching the growth of digital technology and were looking forward to it reaching the real estate industry.
“It was established agents who were the biggest backers and the early adopters,” says Daniel, who has had strong positive feedback from agents who appreciate not having to dash back to the office to process paperwork after an open home.
“No agent will go back to pen and paper after using Homepass”. Daniel Oertli
Sam Outch says he and almost all his colleagues use open home apps. “They are user friendly and it usually only takes one weekend of home inspections to get the hang of using the app.”
Solutions like Daniel’s Homepass app are being adopted as quickly as they are being launched. The exciting part is they are just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot to look forward to, including artificial intelligence and intuitive machine learning technologies that will make nurturing leads a far more scientific and successful process.
“Using a check in app shows you're an agent that’s up with the times and able to provide clients with a better level of service.”
Keep an eye out for what is on the horizon – each innovation will be designed to benefit agents, streamlining day-to-day activities and allowing agents to provider ever-better customer service.