Real Estate App Development: All the Answers to Your How To’s

Do you remember those times when we had to search for a house or apartment in the newspaper? The real estate market has changed drastically since then. Now real estate agents go online to list ads for houses and apartments, while their potential clients can reach a huge database in several minutes.

99% of Millenials and 90% of Old Boomers would rather use an online website to find a new home, which makes real estate app development a reasonable business idea. The question is, what should you include in your app to make it stand out?

We have gathered all you need to know on how to develop a real estate app based on our expertise and following the greatest market examples.

How do real estate apps work?

The Zillow app is a huge hit that caused lots of changes on the market – it demonstrated that real estate online can be successful. Strictly speaking, there were two similar platforms – Zillow and Trulia. 

General overview

You have probably used one of these apps to find your dream house – they are, in substance, massive real estate databases. As lots of information for buyers and sellers started appearing online, it made the offer more transparent and caused massive shifts on the rental market.

In 2015, Zillow officially announced its acquisition of Trulia, so now the two companies are under the same roof. Why do we look up to them and what makes their applications so special?


There are two main types of customers that use Zillow:

  • Individual consumers: people who look for the property or already have one and want to sell or lease it.
  • Real estate agents: experts who know the market well and help individual consumers find what they are looking for.



The app’s key product is a highly comprehensive database: when an individual consumer appears on the website (or in the app), a huge variety of listings can be reviewed. Any listing can be added to “Favorites” by the user. 

Next, users can sign up for regular updates on the listings from their “Favorites”. They will get notifications about the listing’s changes in the price and status.

Another option for email updates is to choose listings from a certain neighborhood and get updates on all objects from that district. 

And finally, the platform connects agents with consumers if they want to look a little closer at a certain house or apartment. Agents, in their turn, can broaden the lists of their clients significantly and become well-known on the market.

What are the benefits of the real estate apps?

Before creating a real estate app, you should realize all the advantages you will get in the end. Apart from the impressive statistics data, there are some other facts for you to know.

  • High customers’ loyalty. Only one app – and people do not have to use anything else to get a home of their dreams. This is a delicate matter for many of us. As lots of real estate searchers prefer going online, the odds are, you will get a broad loyal audience rather quickly.
  • The long list of clients. If the customers’ loyalty grows rapidly, it is not surprising that any startup will get a high number of closed deals and, subsequently, increase revenues.
  • Direct communication with customers. Consumers love real estate applications because they can get an answer almost any time they need it. Agents benefit because they have all their clients gathered in one place, and they are aware of their requests and questions.
  • Easier marketing access to the target audience. Thanks to the present day technologies, you can get a full portrait of your clients (i.e., web or mobile users). Their geographical location, search preferences, demographic factors – all this data is priceless for marketing campaigns of any size.
  • Higher efficiency for your brand’s promotion. This point is useful for those who already have an offline real estate business. There might be lots of competitors in your city or area, but it will change as soon as you launch your own Zillow-like app. You will stand out on the market and potentially will be able to go beyond your area’s boundaries and build up your business.
  • Reduced ads expenses. The app or website itself is a great way to promote your business. Providing a smooth search and several unique features, apps for real estate themselves are great advertising tools.

Read also: Where to Find Investors for a Startup: 5 Ideas to Kick-start Your Search



How to build a real estate app? 14 Must-have features

Real estate apps like Zillow provide more than useful data – they take care of the user experience. Anyone appearing on your website or in the app should clearly understand what step they have to take next and what benefits they eventually get.

  1. User account. This is where it all starts. Both consumers and real estate brokers need their “personal space” to simplify their activities within the app. This part is also a magic wand for your marketing efforts – here you will find some personal data for user portraits. Also, the signup process is an important step. Along with a standard signup with a social network, it is better to add an offline registration for agents (for example, the ID information).
  2. Analytics. The information about users, their interactions, devices they use, and the number of visits is stored in the admin panel – this is the place to find valuable insights about your target audience and your business model’s success.
  3. Search box and filters. There should be several parameters according to which users can conduct their search. Examples of search criteria: type of property, neighborhood, price, date added, number of rooms, etc. Users should have an opportunity to save their search parameters and get back to them later or subscribe to the updates of this search.
  4. Property listings. This is why all users appear in your app – they are coming for information. Cards with the sale or rental proposals should contain high-quality photos, descriptions as well as info on additional facilities and furnishings.
  5. Real estate agents listings. Buying or renting a home is a matter of trust, so users should be able to check some info about the agent. It may include a name and a picture, short expertise description, the list of properties, rating, and so on.
  6. Favorites. Users mark that they like a house, and the list of favorites is stored in one of the personal account’s sections. Updates on favorites should be delivered via a newsletter or notifications.
  7. Push notifications. Such messages work similarly to email newsletters: It can be a notification about a new object matching the users’ criteria or updates on the properties they added to their Favorites.
  8. Virtual tours. They give consumers the most detailed overview of the property that you can provide online. For some searchers, it can be enough to compare a house or apartment with their criteria.
  9. Geolocation. A virtual map is a great way to present the neighborhood where the property is located. Schools, universities, shops, malls – this information has enormous value for consumers. The opportunity to pave the route from point A to point B (where a home is located) is a great addition to the geolocation feature.


  10. Offline tour bookings. The user can book a certain time and date to visit the property offline to make the final decision. Consider integrating a calendar and link it to each property, so both consumers and agents could see available times for showings.
  11. Showings on demand. In case the client does not want to wait to see a house or an apartment, the feature of on-demand real estate showings can be used. The user sees what agents are currently near them and if they are ready to set up a meeting.
  12. Ratings and reviews. Users can leave their feedback, not only for the property but also for agents they met with. First and foremost, word of mouth has a huge impact on decision making, plus, it improves the clients’ loyalty to the app.
  13. Messenger. It is a feature of major importance for real estate app startups.  Instant messaging provides potential buyers with all information they need. Also, consider adding a chatbot feature – users will instantly get answers to the most frequently asked questions, while real estate agents provide more details for property listings.
  14. Price calculator. The price mentioned in the property card is not the final figure for homebuyers. The initial payment, bank’s loan interest, loan repayment period – these are important indicators that help potential buyers to take the full cost into account.

Read also: How to Create a Great User Experience: Fresh App Personalization Ideas for any Industry


How to build a database for a Zillow-like app?

The most crucial question for any real estate app is where to take data from. People would turn to your platform to find information, so here is what you can do.

  • Allow individual agents or consumers to add all the property data by themselves. This is the most obvious but still one of the most important points. The app’s flow should be clear for users so they could add and update listings on any device.
  • Add unique opportunities. Make Me Move is Zillow’s feature that allows homeowners to create a listing with their property and put “a dream price” for it. The potential buyers contact homeowners via email – no need for any personal information like names or phone numbers. Creating such a proposal does not mean that you are actually going to move – maybe, you are only gathering interest or checking market demand. This listing can be deleted at any time.
  • Get information from the biggest real estate databases. Every agent is probably a member of the Association of Realtors. It can be local or nation-wide. In the ES, the data from local associations is gathered in MLS (Multiple Listing Service), and Zillow takes information there. National organizations could be of help if you build an app targeted to many localities in your country.


How to Monetize a Real Estate App?

So, we talked a little about how to create a real estate app – now it is time to make money from it. These are the strategies you should consider:

  1. Monthly payments from agents. Real estate brokers can obtain higher visibility and get more clients if they pay for featuring in the app. Their profile and listings appear among the first in the search, so it serves as an advertisement for their services.
  2. Access to the premium features. Advanced features are another option for agents to make their lives easier. Think like a real estate expert – what do you need for work? Let’s say, you want the client base to be well-categorized and gathered in one place. From the app’s side, the answer to this request could be regular reports. Zillow went even further and created a CRM for brokers.
  3. Ads space. There could be some space within the real estate app to advertise third-party services: interior design, repair work, home construction, etc.

Putting perfect homes on the mobile screen

No matter what, people need a place to live in, so the real estate market will continue growing and changing. It is not surprising that now we can find a home having only a smartphone in our hands.

The two crucial factors that will impact a real estate business online are a property database and the agents’ interest to use the app. Beyond that, there are over a dozen features that can make consumers and agents stay with your app, so high-end development services impact your company’s future.

Be it a simple app for a local real estate market or a complex platform for a nation-wide territory, Eastern Peak developers have ideas, skills, and experience to help you out. Drop us a line now – and we will turn your ideas into reality.

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