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Royal LePage app personalizes house-hunting with Draw-and-Search feature

Royal LePage?s new mobile application simplifies house hunting by enabling users to easily zero in on a specific geographic area on a map by drawing the area of interest with their finger.

Once users have drawn their area of interest, property listings within the selected region will pop up on the screen. Royal LePage claims to be the first real estate company in Canada with the draw feature, helping it make house hunting on-the-go easier and more personalized. 

?Royal LePage's mobile site was designed to offer a solution with universal access for all devices so that we could get to market with the largest coverage straight away,? said Carolyn Cheng, senior vice president of strategic business services of Royal LePage, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada. ?At the time, it was hoped that HTML5 would be able to mimic native app functionality and while it has come a long way, we still feel that native app functionality is superior, with studies showing that time on app and consumer engagement are both higher with an app versus a site. 

?Given that 77 percent of consumers are accessing our sites via iPhone, we wanted to come out with an iPhone app that would reset the bar in real estate, providing an even better consumer experience,? she said. ?Royal LePage's new app is easy to use, minimizing consumer clicks. It's intuitive as it leverages all of the latest iOS7 features so that it's immediately familiar to Apple users.

?And it's fun, personalized and hyperlocal as it allows the user to draw their areas of interest on a map and see results in a way that they just can't do with a mobile website.  We're hoping that consumers love it, and that they'll connect with our agents when they find the homes they want to live in.?

Royal LePage has a network of over 15,000 real estate professionals in more than 600 locations across Canada.

Intuitive search functionality
The real estate search app from Royal LePage enables users to search for homes across Canada and find a local Canadian real estate agent who can answer their home buying and selling questions.

The Draw-and-Search feature makes it easy for on-the-go house hunters to see search results without the need to log in or fill in forms. Additionally, the intuitive user experience means users do not have to browse through numerous listings from areas they are not interested in.

With one tap, users can also save their search to get updates on new homes, open houses, and current listings within the geographic area they selected.

Users can also view a map or list view of nearby properties for sale and refine their search by price, location, property type, number of beds and bath and more.

The app was developed in partnership with mobile agency Plastic Mobile.

?It was really important for Royal LePage?s app to include an intuitive search function since that?s the first touch point for homebuyers,? said Melody Adhami, president and chief operating officer of Plastic Mobile, Toronto, Canada.
?The Draw-and-Search feature does just that, letting users refine their search by location without having to fill out fields and forms,? she said. ?The customized push notifications for saved listings and ability to view nearby properties for sale were also important to include since Royal LePage?s mobile users are always on-the-go.?

The app is available to download for free from the Apple App Store.

Mobile leads take off
Last year, Royal LePage launched a new mobile Web site featuring Google?s map-based technologies.
Additionally, the company introduced cloud-based services, enabling users to search for homes using not only standard criteria, but also local landmarks.

These efforts have helped the company increase mobile engagement and it expects the new app to further drive the number of leads coming from mobile.

?Overall, our initial analytics are showing that we'll be easily doubling our total leads from mobile devices with this additional mobile property but we believe the increases will be far greater than that as consumers become aware of our new mobile app,? Royal LePage?s Ms Cheng said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York