Mobile Realty Apps is now HomeSpotter™; Company announces new brand, funding and product strategy

Logo_HomeSpotter_TM_GMPHomeSpotter™ is now more than a great feature in your favorite home search app. It’s the new name of real estate tech company, Mobile Realty Apps. The company was named Inman News’ Most Innovative Real Estate Startup in 2012, due in part to their augmented reality search feature, called HomeSpotter.

 

“We knew the HomeSpotter name had consumer appeal, plus it’s easier to say than Mobile Realty Apps!” said Aaron Kardell, founder and CEO of HomeSpotter. “As we began to shift our communications strategy away from technical specs and features, towards solutions for agents and their clients, we knew the HomeSpotter name was right for the company overall.”

 

Tailored to each customer’s brand and multiple listing service (MLS) data, HomeSpotter mobile search apps are available to more than 200,000 real estate agents throughout the United States and Canada. Customers include some of the largest MLSs, franchisors and brokers, including California Regional MLS.

 

The new name and communications strategy has resonated with HomeSpotter’s customers, as well as investors. HomeSpotter just closed a $1.8 million round of funding, led by Brightstone Venture Capital, Confluence Capital Partners, Mike Bollinger and other angel investors. The funds will be used to enhance infrastructure and hire more developers.

 

Also included in the rebrand was a refreshed product strategy. “We’ve adjusted our product offerings to match the way in which our customers are buying our apps,” said Kardell. For example, HomeSpotter’s Business and Enterprise solutions were combined into HomeSpotter Signature, offering a powerful base app that’s branded to each customer, with the ability to add feature packages. And MLSs can choose from Core and Premium versions of HomeSpotter for MLS.

 

“2015 will be an exciting year for our staff, customers and investors. In addition to the rebrand, we’ll have some major platform enhancements, new features and even a new product,” said Kardell.

 

Visit the new homespotter.com for updates, and for more information on products and careers.

 

# # #

 

About HomeSpotter—We’re obsessed with making home search apps that are beautiful and easy to use—connecting agents with their clients, in the field and on their phones. Tailored to each customer’s brand and MLS data, we provide apps to more than 200,000 agents throughout the United States and Canada, through brokers, agents and MLSs. Founded in 2009 as Mobile Realty Apps, HomeSpotter is headquartered in Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Read More

New NAR Rules Allow for Better User Experience for Broker and MLS Partners

Recent rule changes from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Board of Directors could further improve timeliness and breadth of property information on agents’ IDX websites and mobile apps.

In an article by NAR, they state that: “The board approved changes to help ensure MLS data is as accurate and timely as possible and that MLS participants can continue to compete with other online sources of property information. Among other things, the changes:

  • Increase the frequency of MLS data updates to no less than every 12 hours, down from every three days;
  • Enable MLS participants to display IDX information from all MLS IDX feeds where they hold participatory rights, allowing consumers to execute a single property search;
  •  Permit the display of MLS sold data for IDX display where ‘sold’ information is otherwise publicly accessible.”

At HomeSpotter, we’ve always updated our feeds multiple times an hour. But according to CEO and founder, Aaron Kardell, the other rule changes will improve the experience for many clients. 

“Being able to show sold information and co-mingle data from multiple MLS feeds will be a huge improvement for our clients in markets where these restrictions were in effect,” said Kardell. “The user experience for clients where we’ve been showing sold and multiple MLS data is optimal, and we’re excited to do this for every client that wants it.”

For more information on these rule changes and others, read the full article from NAR here: http://www.realtor.org/articles/board-directs-nar-to-draft-member-code-of-excellence.

Read More

Mobile Isn’t Just Strategic, It’s Expected

Brokerages that were early adopters of mobile search tools and websites may have enjoyed a strategic advantage in their respective markets. But now, mobile access to real estate listings and information is everywhere — both for agents and consumers. In real estate, apps have transitioned from a unique tool in your overall marketing plan, to an expected service that you must offer to consumers (because if you don’t, another brokerage will.)

Mobile Realty Apps knows that consumers want the best home search experience, accurate information and real time notifications – especially when they’re driving around a neighborhood they love.

But your mobile strategy isn’t just having an app, it’s about what you do with the app once you have it. Brokerages can regain some strategic advantage by:

  • Actively promoting the app to your agents, clients and prospects

  • Ensuring the design is consistent with your overall branding

  • Providing tips on using the app to drive adoption and reliance over other consumer real estate and search apps

Our brokerage clients that manage their apps in this way receive more leads, experience higher agent adoption and increase their customer satisfaction. Which in the end, is what any great tool in your overall marketing and business strategy should do for you.  Just having a mobile search app won’t drive results, how you incorporate it into your consumer experience will.

Read More

Mobile Realty Apps launches a free edition of HomeSpotter for the MLS

September 18, 2014 (Minneapolis, MN) – Mobile Realty Apps announces the availability of a free edition of its HomeSpotter for MLS service to all multiple listing services (MLS). This allows all MLSs to provide their members with a free tool, with single sign-on (SSO) password protection, to access all listings securely and privately.

“In the absence of an MLS-hosted app, real estate agents rely on the same public real estate apps consumers use, to get property information in the field. With this solution, MLSs help their members stay one step ahead of today’s tech savvy consumers, with accurate and timely listing information,” said Aaron Kardell, CEO of Mobile Realty Apps. “Having access to all statuses and fields gives professionals the tools they need to be productive when on the go.”

Once an MLS adopts the free edition of HomeSpotter for MLS, its members can locate listings by a map, GPS, MLS number or Mobile Realty Apps’ exclusive augmented reality tool. Members can also access agent remarks, listing contact information, compensation information, showing instructions and the agent roster.

There will never be a charge to the multiple listing service for the free edition of HomeSpotter for MLS. Kardell explains: “This isn’t free with strings attached, such as a ‘free for the first year’ or ‘free when you sign a five year agreement to renew a different product’ kind of offer. It’s just free.” To top it off, members will experience the same high quality, immersive interface that users of Mobile Realty Apps’ enterprise (read: paid) products receive.

“We saw a need among some MLSs that wanted to provide members with full access to listings and information through an app, but couldn’t pay for a site-licensed mobile app,” said Kardell. “For those organizations, the free edition of HomeSpotter for MLS is a perfect solution to something we know their members have been asking for.”

Registration and product demos are being managed by Danielle Parent, Mobile Realty Apps’ Director of MLS Relations. Danielle can be reached at 612-284-2828 x373 ordanielle@mobilerealtyapps.com. You can also find more information atwww.HomeSpotter.com/mls.

Read More

CRMLS and Mobile Realty Apps partner to provide first native mobile app to members; Pushes Mobile Realty Apps user base over 200,000 agents

Originally posted on the Mobile Realty Apps blog…

 

MINNEAPOLIS, July 8, 2014 – Mobile Realty Apps and California Regional MLS (CRMLS), the nation’s largest multiple listing service, are pleased to announce an exciting new partnership that will provide CRMLS members with an industry leading mobile app. The app allows members to instantly search all CRMLS property types, edit listings and upload photos from their mobile devices.

 

This partnership is significant for both organizations.

 

“Today’s consumers, and the REALTORS® who serve them, expect tools and information to be readily available on mobile platforms. Mobile Realty Apps is the perfect partner to develop a mobile solution to meet the needs of our members, which ultimately empowers them to exceed the expectations of their clients,” said Art Carter, CEO of CRMLS.

 

This is the first native mobile app for CRMLS to feature deep Matrix integration, allowing members to more fully interact with their clients in the field by enabling two-way access to client contacts, property carts, and saved searches. The app also features Mobile Realty Apps’ award-winning HomeSpotter augmented reality feature.

 

Aaron Kardell, founder and CEO of Mobile Realty Apps, said, “We are excited to partner with CRMLS and look forward to providing their members with a mobile solution that improves their efficiency and productivity, while enhancing the service they can provide to their clients.”

 

According to Kardell, the partnership has benefits for Mobile Realty Apps, too. “CRMLS is known for its thought leadership. We are excited, not only to provide a solution to CRMLS members, but to get feedback from CRMLS on ways to further improve the solutions we offer to all clients.”

 

The addition of CRMLS to Mobile Realty Apps’ client roster puts the company’s user base at more than 200,000 real estate professionals throughout North America.

 

# # #

 

About CRMLS – California Regional MLS is the nation’s largest multiple listing service (MLS), providing products and services to over 73,000 subscribers from 39 REALTOR® associations. CRMLS provides access to listings throughout California. CRMLS has been a regional MLS for over 30 years and is dedicated to making a REAL Difference in the day-to-day business of real estate professionals.

 

About Mobile Realty Apps – Founded in 2009, Mobile Realty Apps creates branded home search apps for MLSs, brokers and franchisors, offering unparalleled home search experiences and augmented reality. These apps engage more buyers, generate more sales leads and truly empower on-the-go agents. Mobile Realty Apps serves more than 200,000 real estate agents throughout North America.

Read More

Agent Portal Redesigned

It’s been roughly 6 months since I decided I was going to redesign the agent portal for our individual agent app service. It’s an awesome feeling to have all of that hard work now launched and available for agents to use. The changes were quite drastic, take a look at the screenshots and try not to laugh. Haha.

Old agent portal.

Version 1 was crude. Pay special attention to the awesome blue gradient buttons and obnoxious gradient background.

With the new version of the portal, we used the HomeSpotter branding, made the site responsive for mobile use, and cleaned up the pages to make them more user friendly.

New agent portal.

We hope you like the new interface! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Read More

The new HomeSpotter blog

I’d like to introduce you to the HomeSpotter blog. We will be focusing on everything mobile and real estate, but we might throw in a few wild card topics to keep things interesting.

What’s life without a little surprise right?

Our goal with this blog is to inspire agents, brokers, and MLSs to utilize mobile tools to the fullest potential.

We’ve been in the real estate industry for 5 years, working primarily on real estate apps. Over that time we have learned a lot about marketing, UX, and design of apps. Every day we get user feedback from the real estate professionals and consumers that use our apps. We want to share what we’ve learned so you can build off of our experience.

With all great relationships, there is give and take. We hope you take key points we write about and as you try them out in your business, come back and give some advice for others in the community through the comments.

Read More

Triangle MLS is the first to offer the ability to find homes based on drive times

Originally posted on the the Mobile Realty Apps blog…

 

The updated Triangle MLS iPad app enables agents to deliver superior new insight

 

RALEIGH, March 13, 2014 – At today’s Triangle MLS Technology Fair, Triangle MLS and Mobile Realty Apps are pleased to announce that the newly updated Triangle MLS iPad app is the industry’s first MLS app to empower agents with ability to identify and compare homes based on typical drive time to work and other important destinations.

 

The new search feature included in the Triangle MLS iPad app is called INRIX Drive Time™. The app provides real estate agents who are subscribers of Triangle MLS with an easy, visual means to find all homes for sale within a specific drive time between respective properties and their work address, schools or other important locations based on typical travel times at rush hour and throughout the day.

 

“One of our most important goals is to provide our subscribers with the tools to empower them to create fantastic home buyer experiences for their clients,” said Tessa Hultz, Triangle MLS, CEO and President, “By adding INRIX Drive Time to our iPad app, we enable our agents to take the guess work out of commuting times and therefore increase the value our agents can bring to their home buying clientele. It’s another example of using big data to provide a personalized experience of one. We are pleased to be working with both Mobile Realty Apps to build our app and INRIX to help shorten our sales cycles with real driving information.”

 

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 73 percent of all homebuyers consider drive time to work a key purchase criterion. Further, INRIX just released its annual rankings of 100 worst cities for traffic congestion, which shows that Raleigh is ranked 42nd 12.1 hours per year unnecessarily stuck in traffic congestion.

 

“We are excited to be leveraging two important trends for Triangle MLS: The rapid growth of tablet usage among real estate agents and American’s measuring distance in minutes, not miles” said Aaron Kardell, Founder and CEO, Mobile Realty Apps. “For the first time, members of any MLS can now instantly help home buyers first pick the right neighborhood based on drivability, and then pick the right house within that neighborhood. Gone are the days of having to drive each of the final home candidates on weekday rush hours to guesstimate drive times to work.”

 

INRIX Drive Time is powered by traffic information sourced from the INRIX Traffic Intelligence Platform, which analyzes data from a variety of public and private sources ranging from government road sensors, official accident and incident reports to real-time traffic speeds crowd-sourced from a community of approximately 100 million drivers. INRIX analyzes of traffic speeds also factors in impacts common to the day of the week, season, local holidays, current and forecasted weather, accidents and road construction giving drivers insight that helps them save time, fuel and avoid frustration every day. INRIX real-time traffic information* is refreshed every minute then archived into an historical database updated every 6 weeks ensuring Triangle MLS always has the most current drive time information .

 

“In a world where real estate professionals are having a hard time impressing and delighting their clients with accurate and timely data, we are very pleased to be working with Triangle MLS and their on the list with drivers wasting on average app developer, Mobile Realty Apps, to become the first U.S. MLS to offer search by INRIX Drive Time to its membership” said Kevin Foreman, General Manager, GeoAnalytics, INRIX. “We are taking the guess work out of commute times and helping homebuyers find homes that fit driving needs as well as their financial needs.”

 

* INRIX real-time traffic information has been found accurate within 3 mph of actual traffic speeds under all driving conditions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Source: I-95 Coalition Validation of INRIX Data Summary Report.

 

###

 

About Triangle MLS, Inc. — Triangle MLS, Inc. (TMLS) is a regional multiple listing service with a jurisdiction covering 16 counties in the greater Triangle region of North Carolina. TMLS provides a wide variety of valuable products, programs, and services for over 7,000 REALTORS® and appraisers. TMLS equips subscribers with tools to facilitate the home buying and selling process, encourages cooperation and efficiency between REALTORS®, and provides a single repository of property information in the Triangle region. TMLS strives for accuracy and excellence by enforcing adherence to the organization’s rules, regulations, policies, and bylaws which support industry professionalism, brings order and efficiencies to the real estate market place, and enhances cooperation between participants. TMLS is a wholly owned subsidiary corporation of the Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS®. For more information, please visit us at: www.trianglemls.com

 

About Mobile Realty Apps — Mobile Realty Apps creates award winning native mobile apps for North America’s top real estate brokers and MLSs. The company is the creator of HomeSpotter, a fascinating augmented reality technology that is a feature of its white-labeled smartphone and tablet apps. Founded in 2009 and based in Minneapolis, Mobile Realty Apps now services over 125,000 agents working with various brokers and MLSs including NorthstarMLS, Edina Realty, Reece and Nichols, and NorthwestMLS. Visit www.mobilerealtyapps.com for more information.

 

About INRIX — INRIX is one of the fastest growing big data technology companies in the world. The company leverages big data analytics to reduce the individual, economic and environmental toll of traffic congestion. Through cutting-edge data intelligence and predictive traffic technologies, INRIX helps leading automakers, fleets, governments and news organizations make it easier for drivers to navigate their world. Our vision is simple – to solve traffic, empower drivers, inform planning and enhance commerce. Whether through an in-car or smartphone navigation application, a local newscast or our INRIX Traffic app, our up-to-the-minute traffic information and other driver services reach more than 150 million drivers to help them save time, fuel and frustration. INRIX delivers traffic and driving-related insight, as well as sophisticated analytical tools and services across six industries covering nearly 4 million miles of road in 37 countries. For more information, visit us at www.inrix.com.

Read More

5 Things You Should Ask Your Mobile App Provider

As you look ahead to 2014, mobile solutions should be top of mind when it comes to core MLS products. Whether you already have a mobile solution or are in the market to partner with a mobile provider, here are 5 things you should ask any mobile provider:

 

1. What does the product look like today?
While road map features are important, it’s critical to understand what technology is in use today and who is using it. When you see press releases touting a new feature, find out if it is in the marketplace today. If it is available, ask for a reference that you can speak to about promised functionality. Ideal features to ask about include: edit listings, upload photos, third party integrations (tax, appointment scheduling solutions, etc.) and commute time search capabilities, if applicable.

 

2. What features does the product provide and who does it serve?
It’s important to understand how the product will benefit your members. Get a complete breakdown of what features are provided with a specific understanding of how it will help your members be more productive in the field.

 

3. What is the size and makeup of the vendor’s mobile team?
It’s important to understand who is responsible for what and how many dedicated resources work on the mobile solution. Does the vendor do all of their development in house or do they outsource to a third party firm? Does the vendor have multiple products, and if so how many are dedicated to the product line you’re using? For the firm responsible for delivering the solution, how many employees are on staff developing the solution, performing quality assurance, and providing customer support? There are many layers that make up a complete mobile team and understanding how a mobile team is made up is key.

 

4. What is your policy on patent infringement indemnification and insurance?
A mobile company should be able to provide an indemnification clause at the very least but ideally, should be able to back up the indemnification with an insurance policy.

 

5. Do you have a process for collecting feedback from existing partners?
Does the vendor have a process for soliciting feedback to influence and shape the future of the product? This shows the level of commitment the mobile provider has towards listening to key feedback from members in the field.

 

Of course, there are many other questions to ask a potential mobile provider, but this brief list should help shape the conversation and lead to meaningful discussions to help you make the most informed decision about your mobile solution.

Read More

CSS Marks Fifth Showing Vendor Integration

In an effort to keep the MLS community aware of our growing list of third-party integrations, we are pleased to announce our recent partnership/integration with Centralized Showing Service (CSS). This marks the fifth showing solution that we’ve integrated with, including e-showings, BookAShowing, ShowingTime/ShowingAssist and Touchbase.

 

This latest partnership with CSS demonstrates the commitment we have to providing customers with a best-in-class mobile solution. But more importantly, it enables MLS subscribers the ability to schedule a showing at the click of a button without having to toggle between apps or re-enter a username and password.

 

We believe the best user experience is one in which agents can access multiple products from a single application. To that end, we are also working with other software providers including INRIX (search for properties by drive time), WalkScore, Clareity Security, Realist, Down Payment Resource and Authentisign. We will continue to monitor the real estate software landscape to bring useful and valuable tools to its growing base of customers.

Read More