July 31, 2012
High-end brokerage company William Raveis is upping its mobile efforts through interactive iPhone and iPad applications.
The apps serve as a foray into the William Raveis brand where consumers can not only search for properties and use the GPS locator to find listings, but also glean information on insurance quotes and mortgages. Both apps are available for free in Apple’s App Store.
“Our business model is built around the concept of always putting the consumer first,” said Wayne Edmonds, vice president of information technology at William Raveis, New York. “Since mobile is so important to the consumer as a chosen method of communication and information gathering, we want to make sure buyers and sellers can access all we have to offer via smartphones.
“It only made sense for us to offer enhanced mobile tools for our clients and agents,” she said. “To cater to a population making decisions increasingly while on the go, these apps have been powered with as much real estate information accessible via mobile as possible.
“Mobile is and will continue to be an essential part of how we do business.”
Consumers can search for over 300,000 homes for sale or rent in the northeast, according to William Raveis. There are approximately 5 million high-resolution images on the app.
Users can check out a map of homes for sale in the area using GPS-based search. Results can also be filtered through open house, price-reduced, single-family, multi-family, condo, land, bedrooms, bathrooms, price range and square footage.
Consumers can also save their favorite searches homes. If consumers want to see a particular location, they can access directions or contact a broker.
There is also a feature called Nearby Places that allows consumers to see restaurants, transportation, grocery shopping and entertainment near properties.
Consumers can also see neighborhood demographics including average household size, income levels and cost of living.
Buyers can also apply for a mortgage pre-approval and receive an insurance quote.
The differences between the iPad and iPhone apps are not major. In fact the only major differentiation is that in the next edition, the iPad app will have a more comprehensive mapping ability adjacent to listings, which the iPhone app does not have, per Mr. Edmonds.
On the map
Approximately 30 percent of William Raveis customers are accessing the brand’s Web site via mobile, so an app was a natural next step. This is true not only for the customers, but for the company’s agents, as well.
“We view our agents as our customers,” said Supriya Anand, public relations and social media manager at William Raveis. “A core initiative over the past several years has been to help transition agents to mobile to conduct daily business.”
The company released the William Raveis Agent Dashboard, the first free mobile lead to close CRM, marketing and business development tool for agents, per Ms. Ananad.
The brand has close to a 90 percent adoption rate of the tool amongst its agents. In addition, there is a wide array of testimonials on how the platform has taken their business to new levels, she said.
Mobile seems to be a popular option for high-end real estate companies since it serves as a portable way for potential homebuyers to access a company.
For example, Corcoran is increasing visibility and focusing on affluent consumers through a banner advertisement in The New York Times iPhone app that points to the high-end real estate brokerage’s application (see story).
Also, Sotheby’s International Realty is looking to encourage affluent consumers to browse through its housing listings with a new location-based iPad app (see story).
“One of the biggest differences between us and competitors is the local housing data service and community information we provide within the app, as well as the local housing newsletter, which will be in the upcoming iteration,” Ms. Anand said. “Each listing is enhanced with community data information, which includes such details as closest airport, closest colleges, demographics, average household income and closest major sports team.
“Mobile is also a key recruiting tool and business driver for our management team, which showcases major company offerings and divisions via a video showcase on an iPad,” she said. “Mobile has helped us to not only bolster brand awareness, but to contribute to our bottom line.”
Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York