NEW YORK (MainStreet) A month before Jeff Meyers launched his company's real estate app Zonda, the company that designed it was acquired by Facebook.
"It was a talent acquisition said Meyers of Hot Studio. "We had spent two years building Zonda."
A mobile device user interface company, Hot Studio reportedly divested itself of commitments to other clients before joining Facebook on a full-time basis when it was acquired a little more than a year ago.
"We were already finished designing our app by the time Facebook came along," said Meyers, CEO of Meyers Research.
Some 80% of time on a mobile is spent inside apps, according to mobile growth statistics compiled by Infographic, and searching for a home or apartment does not buck this trend.
"Real estate has been improving and the mobile explosion is similar to the dot com explosion in the late '90s, but now it's a mobile device explosion," Meyers told MainStreet.
While Zonda was designed for institutional investors as well as privately and publicly traded home builders, most real estate apps target home buyers or renters seeking an apartment.
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"The consumer facing apps are overdone," Meyers said. "For apartments alone, there's more than a thousand apps for locating an apartment for renters. Business to business real estate has been late to adapt these apps."
The national occupancy rate is 95% and new rental construction is on the rise, according to Yieldstar data. As a result, there are more properties to sift through and compare.
"Whether walking or driving, shoppers can pull up map-based search apps and find the perfect home," said Ryan Feber, senior mobile product manager with Homes.com. "This type of mobility was not possible just a few years ago. The introduction of mobile applications makes the process more turnkey and heightens connectivity."
The Homes.com Rentals app assists renters in finding homes and apartments that are closest to their favored points of interest, such as day care or a job.
"There is an increase in choices of apartments and homes for rent and renters are seeking proximity to key points of interest," Feber told MainStreet. "With the Homes.com Rentals app, potential tenants can easily find homes and apartments that are closest to these points of interest so that they can cut down on their daily commute time and fuel costs."
In the all too common era of home improvement and real estate TV shows on HGTV other networks, certain real estate apps come across as answered prayers.
For example, the realtor.com app was created partly for those targeted days of shopping around. A popular feature is that buyers can share notes or thoughts with their Realtor remotely or after hours.
"These apps are really highlighting the need in this industry for real time, accurate information," said Steve Berkowitz, CEO with Move. "The app-based consumer who is on the go expects to find perfectly accurate answers when they open up their application wherever they might be."
The Doorsteps Swipe app was named after the action of swiping left or right.
"After a couple of passes, the app will provide feedback and supply the user with a sense of what they like and dislike in a home based upon their behavior via an interactive summary screen," said Michele Serro, CEO and founder of Doorsteps.com and creator of Doorsteps Swipe. "Instead of asking a user their preferences, we infer them based on behavior."
--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet
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