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RE/MAX mobile app takes on Trulia, Zillow with cutting-edge features

The RE/MAX Northern Illinois real estate network has a new app that uses real-time data provided by the multiple-listings system to present what it claims is the most accurate and current information available.

Dedicated to the public searching for active, pending and sold real estate, plus rentals, in Northern Illinois, the RE/MAX app is unique because its simple functionalities house a variety of state-of-the-art technology features that include augmented reality and the implementation of commute-time search. The app is designed to stand apart from apps for competitors such as Trulia and Zillow, which rely on third-party tips and often have incomplete or inaccurate results, according to RE/MAX.

?The objective of the RE/MAX Northern Illinois Real Estate App is to meet the growing demands of consumers to move away from web-based searches and to provide a trustworthy mobile experience,? said Casey Reagan, chief technology officer for the RE/MAX Northern Illinois network.

?This app does that while providing the user with the most friendly, fun, informative, accurate and complete experience for his or her real estate search. The potential of such a real estate search is limitless.?

Navigating the market
Third-party portals receive some of their listings from MLSs, but brokers withhold properties they represent from the likes of Trulia and Zillow, which means in many markets these aggregated search hubs rely on individual brokerages, agents and third-party syndicators for data. Difficulty in managing feeds from multiple sources results in incomplete or inaccurate listing information.

A study of 11 major U.S. cities revealed that broker sites tend to list houses seven to nine days before they appear on Zillow and Trulia resulting in 37 percent of listing on Trulia to be sold already and 36 percent on Zillow. Finding the perfect home only to discover it has been sold already presents a frustrating scenario for prospective buyers.

The RE/MAX app offers other best-in-class features in addition to the up-to-date listings.

MAXview Technology allows consumers to use the camera on their mobile device to view homes for sale in their immediate area in real-time and see full listing details and photos.

Not Illinois, but here's how it works

Commute Time Search provides homebuyers the ability to search for properties that are most convenient to them by entering desired drive times, transit times, cycling or walk times. Each variable displays homes for sale based on the criteria entered. For example, a user can enter a desired drive time to work for himself and spouse, as well as a desired walking or bicycling distance to a child's school, in order to get a map of homes for sale meeting those criteria.

I have a long drive!

Users also have the ability to draw their own customized search areas.

Circling an area hones in on target locations

Consumers who sign up for a free "My RE/MAX" account can save their favorite properties and get a full market perspective by having access to detailed data about pending or recently sold properties. RE/MAX Northern Illinois brokers will be able to personalize the app and share it with clients as their own in a variety of ways.

Keeping it simple
Four sites, Redfin, Zillow, Trulia and, attract 61 million of the 67 million visitors to real estate Web sites each month in the U.S., according to ComScore. They also generate hundreds of millions in revenue. Ninety percent of consumers now start their real estate journeys on the Web, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Checking in with similar apps reveals that industry players are taking different paths in terms of their dabblings, but the common objective is to keep it simple for consumers. The challenge is adding features that are appreciated and not merely a distraction.

On Zillow, two out of five listings on its site are already sold according to a report by Redfin, however its simplification efforts can be commended, as it developed separate apps for for-sale and rental properties, mortgages and, most recently, home design and remodeling.

It has a bright future in making smartphones smarter about their users as well by offering personalized information. Last year Zillow partnered with Google on its Google Now product which pushes real estate listings to a homebuyer?s phone from Zillow if they approach upon a nearby property. Similarly Trulia has released the first real estate app for Android Wear, which will extend the convenience of search and allow for an even faster transmittal of communication between buyers, agents and lenders (see story).

Real estate technology-powered brokerages such as Redfin and are upping the ante for reaching these on-the-go house hunters via mobile with new initiatives to pull in relevant data from sources such as Facebook and Porch, which has resulted in Redfin?s success of maintaining 20 percent more listings than Zillow and Trulia (see story).

In this type of environment, people rely on their smartphones to know when new homes hit the market, or when the status changes on one of their favorite homes. In the past, consumers could wait until they got home to check real estate Web sites, but now they want to be able to shop for homes and schedule tours on demand with the expectation that all information is current and accurate.

?The RE/MAX Northern Illinois Real Estate app delivers all the features the public comes to expect with a real estate app,? Mr. Reagan said.

 Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York