These 5 Apps Help or Seriously Threaten Real Estate Agents

Armen Hareyan's picture
Real Estate Apps

There are already real estate related smartphone applications or websites that are intended to facilitated the home buying and selling process without the help of an intermediary. How can realtors use them for their businesses?

These applications already operate in number of states and in major cities of the United states. Some of them help while others threaten the business of real estate agents. It's better to know them so you know how to make them work in your favor. Home buyers and sellers now can buy and sell homes without leaving the comfort of their homes. Here are the things they can do with these new applications and 5 apps that help them to do it.

1. House Searching Has Become a Very Personal Matter

Find the home of your dreams is much like finding the love of your life.
Nowadays finding the home of your dream is much like finding the love of your life. I remember this was the case when my wife and I were looking for our house. It was a very personal matter. We found it first, online, saw it ourselves from the street, then contacted our Buyer's Agent to help us to purchase it.

Casamatic, an app helping to do this, adopts a similar dating approach to search for a house.

The Cincinnati-based company matches house hunters with offers in the market through a series of questions such as desired location, size of the house and budget. But also Casamatic makes it more personal by asking questions about your favorite foods and activities as well as if you want to live close to family and friends. Then it uses information from sites like Yelp and Foursquare, along with real estate sites to find properties specifically adapted to your lifestyle.

Casamatic has agreements with involved real estate agents when a user is interested in a home. The service is currently available in Cincinnati and Chicago, but plans to expand to other markets in 2016.

2. Real Estate Services on Demand

Solopro allows users to hire a professional real estate agent only when they need it, and pay for the service.

You can only hire an agent if you need it for a negotiation or closing. At closing, buyers receive a commission of 35 refund. Real estate agents determine the range of their services and prices. The most requested service is to show homes. The prices of this service range from $5 to $50 per household.

Solopro is headquartered in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and plans to have a presence in 40 states that allows residential refunds.

3. Dispensing Agents

You can be your own seller through SQFT. This App, which debuted in June 2015, guides homeowners through the sales process. Marketers create an ad or registration on SQFT, which is then sent to 900 real estate websites. Buyers and agents then contact you through the application to schedule visits. If you like doing things for yourself or want to be in control and do not like to delegate, you'll love this application.

SQFT, which is headquartered in Colorado, is associated with local agents to guide users in the contract and the closing process if needed.

Buyers can also use the application to search, find and bid on a house without going through an agent. At present, the majority of sales in SQFT are still made with a broker, but observers say the broker presence is diminishing. Not hiring an agent means the seller keeps the 3% fee, while SQFT keeps 1% to $500 at closing.

4. Sell your hours without buyers

Marketers no longer have to advertise or show your home. Opendoor buys your home without you even hit the market. Here is how it works: Home sellers fill out a form about your property and in an hour Opendoor respond with an offer. You get an offer before you even want to sell your home.

After accepting the offer, an inspection (results of which can alter the bid price) is scheduled. Then the the moving date is negotiated. Opendoor says it can close a deal in just three days.

Once the new owner moves in the company suggests some home improvements and places the property back on the market. Opendoor currently operates in Phoenix and is looking to expand to other cities, including Dallas and Portland, Oregon.

5. Mortgage Refinancing Hassle is Solved

Now you can refinance your mortgage entirely online.

Lenda, a firm out of San Francisco, has automated the process of application that allows users to compare mortgage refinancing quotes, fill out an application, upload verification documents and closing a mortgage loan without even leaving home.

The elimination of paperwork reduces the cost and time it takes to get a mortgage loan. Lenda says the process can be as expeditious as two weeks. Paperwork, usually is the main cause the slow mortgage or refinancing process.

The company currently operates in California, Washington and Oregon, but intends to expand to the entire United States by the end of 2016. Home buyers can use the service to get a mortgage loan later this year.

Adapted from Kathryn Vasel's coverage on CNNExpansion.com.

Now what do you think. Do these real estate apps help or threaten the future of a real estate agent's business?

Comments

Submitted by Buzz Mackintosh (not verified) on
Finding the info online is the easy part, if a Buyer wants a less stressful transaction , a REALTOR can provide an analysis of how the information impacts them & their family and guide them through the hard part of the process. I've heard the world is coming to an end since Al Gore founded the Internet!

Submitted by Georges (not verified) on
Good to see such a summary of technology and business model disruptions/innovations in real-estate. Fintech technology, alternative debt financing and equity crowdfunding will add another layer of disruption in commercial real-estate.

Hi Georges, I have written this article only to share information and let Realtors know what may be coming up next year or in 5 years. So we prepare. May be new apps will be made by realtors, not techies, which will show the benefit of working with a real estate agent.

Submitted by Georges (not verified) on
Absolutely Armen, you are right. Real-estate agents and the entire real-estate ecosystem will benefit by leveraging and creating a real-estate digital world. This must be driven by the business side not the techies. This way it will be positive for everyone.

Submitted by Elizabeth Vince... (not verified) on
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