It's not too late to set your mobile strategy straight

Getting to the meeting rooms was like trying to enter Fort Knox. Layers upon layers of security guards, turnstiles and ID checkpoints.

The security seems superfluous, until you realize that the building’s biggest tenant is Lucasfilm. We walked down hallways lined with matte paintings of galaxies far, far away and past the watchful eyes of Imperial Storm Troopers to get to our boardroom.

Inside, the room was packed with smart people. But we weren’t there to discuss whether the fourth Indiana Jones movie should have ever been made (aliens? really?). We were there to discuss mobile and real estate.

Mobile is transforming real estate

You’ve likely heard me before banging my drum that the shift to mobile is a real phenomenon. Folks, it’s big. And the beats today are only getting louder and more syncopated.

Just look at this chorus of headlines from the last couple of days:

So I find it startling that most brokers’ mobile strategies have meant nothing more than white-labelling crappy apps and dumping them, unloved and un-updated into the app stores.

The refrain is usually the same: Mobile is hard. It’s expensive. It’s complex. We’ve only just started to figure out what we should be doing with our website…

But guess what? All the fretting, hand-wringing and a general lack of any forward movement, has given the portals the opportunity to walk away with the prize. Once again.

This screenshot should send a shiver down your spine:

Here’s the bottom line:

As real estate search continues its inevitable march towards mobile, the portals have already doubled-down and won. So where do brokers go from here?

It’s not too late to pursue mobile

Taking a mobile-first view of your business doesn’t mean you have to take on the portals and challenge them in search. In fact, as the screenshot clearly indicates, you probably shouldn’t.

But there are still opportunities for brokers to stake their claim in mobile. Just think about how many of your core business processes could be improved by redesigning them outside of their increasingly antiquated desktop paradigms?

Take an app like Yardsale, which tackles a common problem – how to get the old junk in your basement listed on craigslist – and made it a simple three-step process from your phone.

Imagine if getting a listing into the MLS were that easy? Three steps. One smartphone.

I sometimes scratch my head wondering why more real estate brands and brokerages aren’t tackling the mobile challenge more seriously. Why don’t they see this as the opportunity to completely re-imagine the business? Why aren’t they paying attention to the wave of change that is fundamentally redefining how we interact with the web?

The good news is, there’s at least one company that’s serious about this. And it’s not too late for you either.