Today your website has to be more than just an online brochure to compete for your piece of digital space on the Internet. It needs to consider the user experience. In other words, it should be as easy-to-use, informative, and value-added as possible.
Your real estate listing platform is part of your marketing engine. As such, it has to support the process of developing relationships with potential buyers and sellers. With that in mind, we want to share must-have functionalities you can’t go without, and nice to have features that may help you compete against the big real estate tech companies.
Which problems should a real estate app solve?
A real estate website is a multi-purpose digital product where homebuyers, sellers, and realtors can promote the property and contact homeowners to rent or purchase apartments.
As a digital solution, a real estate application should quickly and efficiently solve users’ problems – troublesome search for a new home process. Hence your web app should help to:
- Enable customers to find their perfect house
- Have extensive property listings to better cater to renters and buyers’ needs
- Provide the possibility to contact agents
- Offer as much information and photos about the property as possible
Vital features your real estate website cannot exist without
- Search websites
- Listing system
- Property listing’s page
- Property posting
- Property visualization
- Property value optimization
- Search engine optimization
The market is thronged with various PropTech sites of different complexity and functionalities. Yet, there is an app feature list you must include to address the key customers’ pain points. Let’s dive into each of them.
Listings and database
The property listing is a fundamental function of most real estate platforms. The customers should be able to see house listings with detailed descriptions and photos that will help them judge a particular option. In turn, homeowners and agents should be able to add their listings hassle-free.
Given that the property listing will keep growing in the future, ensure the database and servers you use are flexible enough to scale up.
No real estate platform can do without this feature. There are two common types of making registration as fast and straightforward as possible:
- Social media login (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter)
- Standard email and password
Combining two options will provide ease and convenience to the users.
While simple demarcation between buy/rent, condo/house may suffice for a simple search, potential buyers want to find homes that suit their needs quickly. An advanced search system lets them make a manageable shortlist of the most relevant properties.
House location is the number one consideration for prospective buyers. That’s why integrating maps in your web app will provide loads of valuable information to end-users. Additionally, you can offer the local area data and statistics to the selected properties.
Descent contact forms serve two purposes. First, it’s a convenient way for people to communicate their interest in a property without calling or emailing. Second, contact forms can tell you what a potential buyer is looking for, even if you don’t have a current listing.
How to prioritize features for a real estate project?
It would help if you didn’t choose the functionalities for your product spontaneously. This process requires deep analysis and research to determine the vital functions as well as the thrilling ones. We listed several approaches you can apply to prioritize the features of your PropTech product.
- Kano model. It’s an excellent tool to determine the core functions and how potential or current users perceive the usefulness of your product’s functionalities. Following this method, you will be able to categorize all your features into three groups:
- Threshold features – those users expect by default, like being able to register.
- Performance features – the ones that make users go to your website instead of your competitors. For example, the complete home-listings data.
- Excitement features – which clients don’t expect but which will create customer delight.
According to this user-focused approach, you should incorporate high-performance and exciting functions to attract and please your customers since having only basic ones may make your clients indifferent about the product.
- User story mapping. This method intends the creation of a comprehensive outline of user activities and interactions with the product. It helps envisage users’ actions and learn what features will be most valuable.
First, consider the goals that customers want to achieve using your app and divide them into activities customers have to perform to reach them. Then, break down each activity into user stories or smaller tasks. Finally, prioritize stories, ranking them vertically, and map them under related activities. With the user stories prioritized from the top-down, group them into development sprints and product releases.
- MoSCoW matrix. This prioritization technique is similar to the Kano model and offers you to divide features into four groups:
- The must-have group encompasses mandatory functionalities.
- Should have group involves not so vital but still significant features
- Could have group comprises nice-to-have functionalities
- Won’t have a group that includes features that aren’t a priority at the moment or has no real impact on user experience.
When developing a real estate listing platform, avoid relying on what you think might delight your future consumers. Conduct a thorough analysis and take a proper technique to prioritize features instead.
Real estate platform features you might miss
One of your website’s major goals is to encourage leads. To get there, you must incorporate the right feature set to grab users’ attention amid the tons of apps on the internet.
While the must-have functions form the platform’s backbone, nice-to-have features make it unique and customizable for a user. Based on our expertise in real estate product development, we made a list of extra functionalities that will make your application more valuable to your potential clients.
Your real estate platforms might be customized to three main roles: homebuyers, sellers, and realtors. Each user type will have different tools and functionality.
We made a list of functions each user type will be delighted to find on your platform.
This custom feature allows visitors to add some house options to their favorite list. This section helps prospective buyers compare their most preferable options without rushing and facilitates the decision-making process. Let your users have an opportunity to access their favorite houses along with all the records in their profiles.
In addition, you can use data gathered from the favorites list for analyses and generating more relevant property suggestions.
Providing home seekers with in-depth real estate listings is just one part. You have to push users to the next sales funnel stage by implementing the direct messaging feature.
Convenient messenger within the application will make a property purchase several times faster and easier. Customers should be able to contact an agent to arrange a meeting and clarify the property’s details. Plus, you can add the Book a consultation option to allow users to schedule a business appointment with a realtor.
You can build a custom messaging system for your app or integrate the existing messaging solutions. We would recommend Twilio as one of the most effective options.
Learn more about useful third-party services integrations that can save you money while making your product feature-rich in our guide How to Build a Real Estate Listing Platform
It’s a very helpful feature for both real estate agents and buyers. If customers want to schedule a meeting with the seller, they can check the available dates and do it right in the application. The calendar will send reminders to both seller and buyer at the arranged time. This nice-to-have feature you might miss can essentially simplify searching and reduce useless arrangements.
Offering an online payment option has added another layer of convenience to the real estate sector. Integrating the most popular payment gateways in a region you focus on will create a smooth online experience. PayPal or Stripe integration will streamline the payments for real estate transactions. Depending on the payment integration method, you may require incorporating credit card data security on your application.
While you may choose to include this in your blog, having neighborhood guides as a standalone feature is an excellent tool for your site visitors. If someone is moving from a different state or city, it lets them see what the neighborhoods you serve have to offer. Buyers want to know everything they can about where they’re planning to move. Comprehensive local area information gives them a good picture and helps in their decision-making.
Furthermore, neighborhood guides help establish you as the local expert by featuring:
- Local colleges and schools
- Parks, golf courses, and other recreational facilities
- Gyms, football stadiums, and sports facilities
- Nearby malls and stores
- Restaurants and entertainment venues
- Public transportation hubs
Sell the lifestyle, not just the property.
The price calculator is a valuable addition to your real estate digital product. You can build a custom cost estimation function or integrate third-party services that give potential buyers an idea of the total property price. It’s a crucial feature since it fluctuates regularly. The calculator must include various factors such as loan interest amount, taxes, initial payment range, etc.
Auction and bidding
Real estate auction functionality helps homebuyers and investors fast, painlessly, and transparently find attractive properties and bid on them. This feature enables both parties to meet and ensures smooth interactions, resulting in faster-closed property deals. Implementing auction functionality requires providing high platform security and a seamless bidding experience.
You should have this powerful marketing function in your application to succeed. Push notifications are crucial to retaining users and creating customer engagement. It’s an effective tool for notifying clients about new offers on the real estate market, messages from the agent, changed details of the transaction, and other events.
To make push notifications bring even more benefits, make the messages personalized to deliver more value to end-users.
You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of such things as promotional emails. Marketers claim that emails are a highly effective way to gain user’s awareness about their company’s news and campaigns. Sendgrid is one of the fantastic marketing services that help send bulk emails with extremely high email deliverability rates that we would recommend you to integrate.
A personal profile allows both agents and buyers to perform different activities on the platform. For realtors, it’s an opportunity to attract potential customers by describing their experience and specialties. They can also add their listings and availability, view schedules, and advertisement options. The profiles for buyers should allow them to access the home listings, see their saved houses and searches, and make an inquiry.
Analytics provides valuable insights into how the end-users interact with your real estate platform, how it performs, and what can be done to improve the product’s user experience. You can get useful data about the customers and their in-app behavior, such as the time spent on a particular page or listing. This gathered information will help you refine the application to better address customer needs and adjust your marketing campaigns accordingly.
Dashboard for property and listings management
A comprehensive dashboard is vital for homeowners and agents that simplifies numerous processes such as updating property listings, controlling all the entities, and generating reports.
If you want your real estate platform to catch realtors’ interest, you should implement some advertising products. For instance, such tools as lead generation service will help agents attract highly qualified leads. You can build an ad system to enable brokers and realtors to promote themselves directly to the customers.
What to pay attention to when developing a real estate website
Whether you’re going to build the PropTech product from scratch or want to enrich the functionality of your existing platform, there are some aspects you should take into account to ensure the success of your digital real estate business. We’ll reveal the importance of adhering to the following best practices.
In 2021, your website’s page speed has never been more critical. It affects everything, from how your website ranks to your conversion rate, so having fast loading web pages is essential. The site speed is becoming an even more vital factor with the Google Page Experience Update.
Though the maximum load time of a page is three seconds, it’s better to pursue 1-2 seconds load time. Otherwise, you’re in danger of losing potential customers.
Web applications without clear designs look chaotic, puzzling, and unprofessional. Instead of encouraging customers to explore more on your site, they’ll simply find another platform that’s easier to use. For that reason, you need to have an intuitive user interface that smoothly guides visitors towards where they want to go.
Responsive design means that a platform works perfectly on all types of devices, from huge computer and laptops screens to small smartphones. Such design helps deliver an enjoyable and intuitive user experience that will make potential customers stick around. Plus, the Google algorithm is more likely to rank your website higher if it recognizes your platform responsiveness.
Users should be able to take a brief look at your website home page and intuitively understand how to get in touch with realtors, how to search for properties, and where to find resources for buying and selling. Too many elements, flashing graphics, trendy animation, and numerous links will confuse visitors and obstruct finding the needed information.
How ORIL can help with real estate listing platform development
ORIL has broad expertise in creating mobile and web-based real estate products of different types and complexity. With profound knowledge and commitment, our team has provided product design and development services for the clients.
Smarta is an online off-campus renting platform for US college students. Smarta wanted to transform a traditionally burdensome offline renting experience into one that is fast, online, and seamless. The platform has a listing database and an advanced search system to find amenities for rent. Nice-to-have features we implemented:
- Live chat
- Document e-signing
- Property management dashboard
ORIL provided UI/UX design, a complete web app development cycle, helped to build an MVP, and launch the first version.
Real estate listing and bidding platform
We designed an auction-based web platform for a real estate company that transforms the home buying and selling experience.
Our task was to design and develop a mobile-friendly website with a transparent and secure offer management process that makes the property selling effortless. The platform allows homebuyers to interact directly with sellers, thus speeding up the traditional sale process with real-time capabilities. Here are some of the exciting features we implemented to make the platform appealing for users:
- Real-time bidding
- Documents storage
- Counter offer process
- Offer management processhttps://oril.co/portfolio/
You can find more info on how ORIL helped real estate agencies implement robust features, build PropTech products and property listing websites on our Portfolio page.
A great listings feed is only a part of a successful website. While there are some core features you need to implement anyway; unique functionalities will optimize the user experience and add value to your product. You need to add killer functions to build a high-quality app where users can find everything they need.