Building your own Real Estate App? 7 Helpful Warnings
Australian Real Estate has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, with technology playing a more prominent role than ever before.
As a result, many Agency owners & professionals in Australia are exploring ways to leverage technology to enhance their business operations and improve customer experiences.
One of the ways to achieve this is by developing their own real estate app, built to simplify existing workflows and automate large processes.
However, while building your own app may seem appealing, it is not without its challenges.
This article will discuss seven key factors Australian Real Estate professionals should consider before developing their own real estate app.
From cost and time to industry knowledge and troubleshooting, we will delve into the potential downfalls of developing your own real estate app and highlight why using an established platform may be a more viable option.
Real Estate app development, or any sub-category of app development, can be a significant investment for even the largest businesses.
When developing apps, there are generally two options; hire an internal development team or use an established digital agency.
Both of these solutions have their own pros and cons; however, they have one thing in common; a significant financial outlay.
If you’re considering using a digital agency with runs on the board, you will likely be paying at least $200 per hour.
These projects will likely be based on an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and further stages of development, with the hours required to build a functional app in the hundreds (to thousands).
Assuming you’re building a real estate app with multiple integrations and complex operations, the initial investment could be well over $100,000. This is before the app even launches.
Unless you have hired your own app developer, you’re going to need to fit into the schedule of a development company.
Most digital agencies will have several app projects on the go at any point in time, so each stage (sometimes referred to as a “sprint”) will be scheduled out over a few months from the pre-determined start date.
These timeframes are often drawn out with rounds of changes and feedback for things that have changed, such as the scope of work or additional requirements that were unexpected.
Once a project is booked, you’ll unlikely see a working real estate app for at least 6-12 months.
You will also need to be heavily involved to help keep the launch on track – which leads to the next point; the time required away from your core business operation.
Distraction from your core focus
So, you’re the owner of a functioning Real Estate Agency, with sales & property management teams working multiple core markets.
Time for external projects is already at a premium, and you’re striving to get the very best from your team on a day-to-day basis.
Client expectations are also increasing to levels never seen previously.
Can you afford to take time out of your already busy schedule to scope a sizeable real estate app project, be involved in the build process and provide lengthy rounds of feedback and revisions?
Knowledge/Experience in Property Management and/or Sales
Digital agencies are experts in providing recommendations for building apps that will work well at launch and ultimately have room for scale when success is realised.
One thing most digital agencies lack, however, is Real Estate experience.
Any agency owner, director, team leader or head of department with skin in the game will know there are years of specific knowledge and learning – with constant changes – required to stay on top of the latest in process, legislation and workflow.
This knowledge will then need to be transferred into each and every part of your real estate app, to ensure that it can be an excellent fit for companies based in different locations, all with their own set of unique requirements and feature requests.
The average Real Estate Agency in Australia has around fifteen platforms in their tech stack at any one time.
If you’ve been in the industry for any substantial amount of time, you’ll be aware that these platforms can change at the drop of a hat.
New subscriptions are regularly discovered, trialled and implemented, all of which become part of the day-to-day operation of your business.
Your real estate app will need to stay up to date with the latest and greatest in the real estate tech space to ensure it’s not creating extra steps for your already busy team.
The App you’re building may already exist
As mentioned previously, many new platforms are being discovered each and every day.
There are numerous process & workflow platforms with integrations across the industry.
Before embarking on the journey of building your real estate app, research what’s already in the market.
The cost of subscribing to an existing service may be unappealing; however, it can be much more viable and practical than hiring a team and building an app.
Troubleshooting & API knowledge
You’ll need access to their API when connecting to any external/third-party provider.
Generally, permission to use these APIs can be heavily restricted, and your app must always comply with their guidelines.
Any changes made or published by these providers can result in unexpected issues, so be sure to have your development team on standby to prevent outages or complications.
What are the alternatives?
Take the time to find out what others are using and how they’re improving their existing ecosystem.