Technology

It’s a trifecta: Top 3 online real estate sites are all-in on the tablet

Author
Joel Burslem
No.
584
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Realtor.com released its iPad app today. We’ve had our hands on it for a little while now and it’s a solid first release. It introduces many of the elements found in the Realtor.com iPhone app to the bigger screen of the iPad, where they really shine. The app’s drawing feature alone is worth the price of admission.

And it’s nice to see Realtor.com’s most powerful differentiator – listings quality and timeliness – in this form factor.

Inman News has a good rundown of the app.

We’ll have to see where this all goes – but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that today marks a significant milestone.

We now have all three major real estate US search portals on the iPad.

A “post-PC” era

I have had this feeling for a while… that the tablet will be a truly transformational piece of technology.

And this seems to be being borne out. Market research firm Gartner reported recently that in the first quarter of 2011, PC shipments dropped 1.1 percent compared to the same period last year. Much of that drop is attributed to iPad sales.

In its recent S-1 filing, Zillow reports over 30% of its traffic now goes to its mobile platforms. They also state that mobile is one of the main areas they’ve targeted for growth.

Anecdotally, a trip I took to Central Oregon earlier this month reinforced my thinking. There, as we unpacked in our friends’ house, in the corner of their playroom, sat their 24″ iMac that I had spent so long setting up for them on our last visit. Adored when it had arrived on the Fedex truck 10 months ago, it now sat solitary – dusty, unused and consigned to a lonely end.

The reason? A brand new iPad 2 had shown up in the household.

The iPad is the most successful tablet to date, but there are many more on the way. The shift we’re seeing towards these mobile devices is not only technological but also social. It’s a fundamental change in the way we interact with the Web.

The long view

Realtor.com gets it. Zillow gets it. Trulia gets it. Having a presence on these devices in their infant stages is critical.

Brokers, what are you doing in 2011 to address this trend?

This change is going to affect the ways you communicate with your customers. It is going to change the way you market your brand digitally. It’s probably going to change the vendors you work with. And it’s also probably going to change the technology you deploy in your organizations.

So:

  • Are you re-thinking your web site to work better under multi-touch conditions?
  • Are you thinking about a native app? In a world where apps seem to be beating bookmarks – how are you going to carve out space for yourself on the homescreen?
  • Have you looked at in-app advertising? Sotheby’s did – and delivered marvelous results.
  • Are you thinking about how you could integrate these devices as a touch point with your customers? Like these clever restaurants did?

The end of times?

I think this is a significant juncture. Realtor.com just completed the trifecta. The consumer now has ample choice when it comes to starting and completing a real estate search on a tablet.

I’ll hazard a guess that most will choose to do just that.

But, as an industry, one that is replete with challenges on a organizational and management level, sometimes it’s hard to pull our heads up for a moment and look around.

But the game has just changed. The big real estate sites are all-in.

Where are you?

[Disclosure: Move, Inc. is a 1000watt Consulting client]