Open Home Pro signals a new wave of innovation

Andrew Machado (@pelechati) is a twenty-something techie, living in the heart of Silicon Valley. After stints at eBay, he is currently a community manager for the contextual search plugin Apture.

His girlfriend is also a real estate agent.

Watching her sit in an open house one weekend, he observed her juggling reams of paper and become increasingly desperate to jot down the contact information of all the people who were walking through the home she was showing.

“There has to be a better way,” thought Machado.

There is now. Machado went home and built Open Home Pro, an iPad optimized app designed specifically for real estate agents. A free app, it just went live in the App Storethis week.

Open Home Pro is a uni-task application. It’s designed to do one thing and do it well. OHP collects and stores a walk-in’s contact information along with their search preferences (number of beds, baths etc.).

Think of it like a sign-in sheet, retooled and supercharged for the 21st century.

But it does more than that. Once a contact is saved, the app automatically emails them listing details alongside a simple “thank you for visiting” from the agent.

Future versions, promises Machado, will include even more functionality, greater customization and some pretty slick social integration.

(Andrew has promised 1000watt readers who download the app an early sneak peak at the next versions – just email joel [at] 1000wattconsulting.com if you’re interested in participating.)

Here comes the flood

Back in April, upon the launch of the iPad, I wrote “…what does this mean for real estate? Everything and anything. Whatever you can imagine. After all, it is a blank slate. Open to whatever you bring to it. And create for it.”

Unfortunately, beyond the basics, we’ve seen precious few game-changing tablet applications for real estate professionals in the last six months.

I sense that’s starting to change.

While I’m impatient, I’m also still bullish on the iPad as a platform for real estate. The numbers don’t lie – IDC expects 7.6 million tablets to be shipped in 2010. And by 2014, that number is projected to grow to a whopping 46 million.

The market is growing. So is the need. It’s just going to take a few more Andrews out there inventing, innovating and building.

Finding a better way.