At the beginning of 2018, many sources simultaneously announced an increase in property prices in the US. In particular, this applies to such regions as Tacoma, Everett, and Bellevue, San Jose, California and Raleigh, North Carolina. It is assumed that, on the average, the purchase price of real estate will increase by 5.4 percent, while rent will rise in price by 3.5 percent. Rapid growth in the value of real estate was observed already in 2017 and the trend persisted in 2018.
The fact that real estate is one of the most promising areas of business development, is evidenced by other data. For example, the growth of the average sales price of new homes sold in the U.S:
So what are the main reasons for the popularity of this application?
Huge MLS Database.
According to reports for August 2018, the Zillow’s database contains 110 million homes located in the US. This is the most complete real estate database in the whole country.
Advanced property search.
The convenience of use has a great importance in promoting the application on the market.
Thanks to the search and filters, the home buyers can find a real estate object that perfectly matches their needs.
Detailed information about the property.
In addition to the listings, Zillow provides its users with a huge range of information about properties (crimes statistics, nearest schools, neighborhood, weather, etc).
A map showing the location of the listings is a great way to give the user an exhaustive information about the property of interest.
A better connection with potential buyers.
Zillow provides users with an excellent opportunity to contact the agent at any time to schedule showing. And also to leave feedback about cooperation with the agent, after the buying process is completed.
Large number of Real Estate professionals.
According to the open statistics, in 2016 2 million real estate agents and brokers were listed on Zillow.
Zillow includes web and mobile applications. 75% of Zillow’s visits come from mobile. During the month 420 million homes are viewed through mobile devices.
In order to answer this question, we have prepared a table with a list of functions that will allow your product to become a top tier. We collected this list of functions from the most popular real estate applications on the market.
|For home buyers:||For brokers/listing agents:|
Home listing options
Sorting (by latest, featured, etc)
Authorization via Social media
Detailed property info
Rich Push Notifications
|Profile with the working experience
Agent contact info
Adding property and editing data
Agent’s Service Areas
Uploading an agent’s license
|For leader pretender||Neighborhood info
An option to find an agent in a certain location.
|Open house calendar
Agent’s Sale Prices statistics
List of agent’s sold Properties
|Killer features||3D or virtual reality tours
Property’s Price Trends
Sold Homes statistics
|Internal advertising panel
Signing documents online
We analyzed the list of functions of market leaders and divided them according to different user roles (home buyers or real estate professionals), for whom these functions will be useful. In addition, we have grouped these functions according to the degree of necessity.
According to polls:
After you have chosen the functionality, it’s time to start developing your future application. But do not forget about the pitfalls that may occur along your path.
According to US law, all public information about real estate must comply with certain canons. They are approved by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This information is stored in the multiple listing service. MLS is a system in which brokers enter information about a real estate object and make a professional assessment of it to determine the actual value. A multiple listing service database does not have a public API, this information can not be accessed by an ordinary user or a person who wants to sell his house. Only brokers and listing agents have access.
But nevertheless, NAR allows brokers to display limited information about real estate objects on their websites thanks to the system known as IDX or Internet Data Exchange.
As you understand, in order to create a competitive position in the real estate market, you need to take care of where you will get the actual information about the listings. For today in the US there is no single national MLS, instead of it there are about 600 local systems.
You will ask: where do the big market players take the listings from? Some of them conclude an agreement with each MLS directly. Based on our experience, we advise startups to get access to the most extensive databases. For example, the California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS), the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS), and the North Texas Information (NTREIS). This will give you access to more than 100K listings and allow you to quickly enter the market.
Creating a new real estate application is in a highly competitive environment, so we strongly recommend you make it as convenient and useful to the user as possible. If you have already completed the first step of our guide and determined what MLS you are going to cooperate with, then the list of properties in your database is huge. To help the user not to get lost in such a variety of houses, your application needs to contain a convenient and detailed search for real estate objects.
By property type
By home features
In addition to a detailed filter, it is important to give users the ability to sort information by novelty (for example, from old listings to new ones), price (from low to high and vice versa), by the number of rooms, lot size and so on.
Detailed information about the property will be no less important for the user’s convenience. As we said earlier, certain information that has public access is uploaded from MLS.
But apart from this information, additional details are also important to users. For this, you can allow the listing agents to edit information about the property. It is also worth noting that the list of houses is not the only database that is used by traffic leaders in the real estate market. For example, Trulia provides information about the level of crime in the neighborhood. Crime Data can be obtained by API from a number of sources, for example from Data.gov.
A common standard for real estate applications is the availability of an interactive map on which the user can get acquainted with the location of the listings. Objects on the map are marked with an icon. Clicking on it the visitor can see detailed information and a photo of the house. Such functionality is not only convenient but also allows to increase the user’s involvement.
We started this article with the fact that real estate in the US is a promising business nowadays. But in order to make the fastest possible profit from your application, we recommend you to think about the ways you are going to earn money in advance.
Because it will influence the functional and technical characteristics of your future application.
There are several common models for monetizing a real estate application:
Special plans for listing agents and brokers
For this, your application must contain different user roles with different functionality. Brokers and listing agents will be interested in an extended profile with contact information, rating, and feedback from their customers.
The presence of an internal advertising cabinet is a challenge that requires a detailed approach in the development. Nevertheless, this is one of the most effective methods of promotion in the real estate market. Mortgage brokers will be interested in promoting their services, and listing agents will be happy to advertise a house that has been on the market for a long time.
Fee for additional features
A spread practice is to provide advanced functionality to users for a fee. Perhaps the broker will be interested to have a page with a unique template and description of services.
Detailed business analysis and quality development will help you determine the most effective monetization model, which will suit your business needs.
Having thought all the functionality and having determined the sources of databases, you come to the most interesting and the most difficult stage in the process of developing a real estate application: what technology stack to choose?
Speaking about the technologies used in the development of Zillow and Trulia, we can distinguish the following:
The whole technology profile you can find on BuiltWith.
We would like to draw your attention to the fact that the target audience in the sphere of real estate is quite extensive. And in order to cover all its segments, we strongly recommend to conduct multi-platform development.
We do not recommend using multiple database paradigms. The most effective way to store and manage property data and MLS data is to apply MongoDB. But MySQL / Postgres is also suitable for these purposes.
Any entrepreneur at the product development stage is interested in the cost issue. We tried to give a rough time estimate according to the mentioned before ultimate list of most popular functions for this kind of products. Please note that the time cost may vary greatly depending on your business needs, the set of required features, the number of MLS, etc.
In addition, you will have to decide what type of application you are going to develop: a web app or a mobile app. For your convenience, we prepared the information about how long does it take to create both web application and iOS app like Zillow or Trulia.
Also, our estimation includes all stages of product launching, including Business Analysis, Quality Assurance, Project Management, Bug fixing.
|Development||2800 – 4200|
|Testing||1000 – 1500|
|Bug fixing||300- 400|
|Project Management||400 – 600|
|BA, Knowledge transfer||400 – 600|
|Total||4900 – 7300|
For the higher-precision estimation, you can send us information about your future or existing project: email@example.com
To summarize all the information above, we will highlight a few key points:
Do not forget that the qualitative process of developing a real estate application includes the work of a team of specialists: developers, DB expert, UI designer, UX expert and QA specialists. We hope that this guide will be useful to you in realizing your new business. If you have any questions regarding the development of a mobile application or a web-based real estate platform, please contact us. We will be glad to answer any of your questions.
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