Guy Wolcott noticed that many of the power users of his popular consumer app, HomeSnap, were actually real estate agents. So he decided to soup-up HomeSnap just for them — and HomeSnap Pro was born. Here’s the inside story on the app, and why it just might change mobile apps for agents everywhere.
When Guy Wolcott, CEO of HomeSnap, introduced his new consumer app, HomeSnap in 2012, he had high hopes that it would be embraced by millions of consumers.
The app allows anyone to snap a picture of a home, and learn all about it. It was a sexy mashup of big data and geo location, and consumers loved it, to the tune of thousands of downloads.
HomeSnap Pro • $29.99/month • via MRIS
It was a media darling too. TechCrunch, a leading tech blog, fawned over it by saying that it wasn’t just another “boring” real estate app. But Wolcott noticed something interesting. Many of the app’s power users were real estate agents.
Even though the app pulled data from publicly available sources, syndicated feeds and smartphone sensors, and didn’t include private MLS data, it was valuable to agents who wanted an instant read on a property they could share with their clients. Agents used the pro flavor of the consumer app, with agent-branded search and lead generation. But Wolcott says it did only 70 percent of what agents really needed.
Direct Feed from MRIS
Wolcott realized that if HomeSnap could incorporate a direct feed from an MLS , he’d have tool with the fit and finish of a consumer app, but with the deep and valuable knowledge agents share with each other on the MLS. And that would be a pretty powerful app.
When he showed his concept to MRIS, the MLS that serves about 45,000 agents in the Washington, DC area, they saw the potential — and HomeSnap Pro was born. The app enables MRIS subscribers to access all of the data they’re used to getting through the MLS (things like showing instructions, lockbox information, property and tax records, etc.) in a simple to navigate consumer-style application.
MRIS is the first of what Wolcott hopes will be many MLSs to replace outdated mobile MLS apps as a member benefit. MRIS will offer HomeSnap Pro to its members as a part of their service package (a deal worth about $15 million to HomeSnap over the next three years).
Though HomeSnap Pro is only available through MRIS for the moment, Wolcott says that he’s had lots of interest from other MLSs and hopes to roll out more integrations shortly. If the MLS chooses not to offer HomeSnap Pro as a member benefit, it will cost $29.99 a month for an agent. Either way, Wolcott wants to make HomeSnap Pro an indispensable tool for agents.
Fit and Finish of a Consumer App
What’s particularly nice about the app is that Wolcott and his team put a lot of thought into what a real estate professional might actually do with the app. Sure, that sounds obvious, but making it easy for agents to collaborate with their colleagues or clients is great when it works naturally as part of an obvious workflow. But that’s not easy to create from a user experience perspective.
Yet Wolcott’s team clearly put a lot of thought into how agents would actually use the app to review comps, or create CMAs on the fly. In a couple of gestures, you can create a 40-50 page CMA that is as professional and comprehensive as any other CMA on the market.
You can also easily see what other agents have sold, where they’ve sold it and drill down into virtually any aspect of any transaction. It’s easy to share your observations and notes with your clients.
Any time you pull up a property, you can instantly send it to a client in a redacted view that makes it easy for them to see what they want to see about a property within the consumer application.
Doesn’t Think Like a Real Estate App
Wolcott says that the app delivers a superior experience because it doesn’t think like a real estate app — it was built for consumers, and delivers on consumer expectations for ease of use and aesthetics.
“Most agents just won’t use the apps offered to them by MLSs, because they have a terrible interface,” explains Wolcott. “But since we built HomeSnap first for consumers, and agents loved that, they’re excited that HomeSnap Pro has the fit and finish of a consumer app. It’s easy. It’s beautiful. And it’s smart.”