Like everyone else adhering to social distancing mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic, house hunters and their agents are having to find creative ways to connect and to navigate the traditional real estate sales process. That process promises to get a bit easier with the release today of HomeRover™, a new mobile app from BrightDoor, a leader in sales and marketing technology for real estate.
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HomeRover lets the real estate agent perform the live video home tour while remote buyers watch and interact. (Photo: Business Wire)
Starting today, the app is available as a free download in the Apple App Store. An Android version of HomeRover is coming soon to Google Play.
“We started developing HomeRover in the summer of 2019, because we saw the trends leaning toward agents and buyers trying to use technology to winnow down options faster,” said BrightDoor CEO Michael Worthington. “So, with HomeRover, we connect agents and prospective buyers or renters through a remote, real-time video home tour experience. We really felt there was an opportunity to create a consumer-friendly app that mirrors as closely as possible what it’s like to participate in an in-person tour. And it doesn’t matter if the two parties are 10,000 miles apart or just 10 blocks apart.”
Through a few intuitive steps, HomeRover makes it easy for agents and sellers to identify a home, schedule a tour, collaborate on a pre-tour checklist, and then perform the live video tour — all from their smartphone. The app will allow agents and house hunters to tag any U.S. property to request or host a live video home tour.
“Truth is, creating video tours for residential real estate isn’t especially new,” Worthington said. “Agents have long since been using built-in or off-the-shelf tools to do video walkthroughs. But none of those apps are built for agents’ natural workflow and they lack practical, powerful features that benefit both the agent and buyer. HomeRover is a custom, ‘purpose-built’ app that’s designed to make specific tasks a breeze.”
Research conducted in a 2018 Redfin survey found that at least one in five home purchases are made sight-unseen. By using HomeRover, those buyers can go “beyond the listings” and get a true sense of a home while interacting with an agent who’s addressing their questions in real time.
“Today’s house hunters demand ‘reality,’ ‘reach’ and ‘convenience,’” Worthington added. “They want to be able to schedule remote video home tours at their convenience and they want to see as many homes as possible in as little time as possible. And most important, they want authenticity. They basically want to come as close to experiencing the home as they can before committing to buying or renting it.”
Scheduling a HomeRover tour begins with a buyer or agent entering an address for the property to be toured. Enhanced home listing details from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) will be available at the app’s launch for the Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Nashville markets, with additional markets coming online soon.
“We recognize the current global health crisis is having an enormous impact on residential real estate. In some jurisdictions, for example, real estate is considered an ‘essential business,’ while in others, it isn’t,” Worthington said. “Ultimately, though, whether they’re able to use HomeRover for the first time today or months from now, we hope agents find it a timely and uber-affordable tool to keep real estate sales moving forward.
“It’s free for both agents and buyers to download, and agents only have to pay $4.99 per month for an introductory subscription that allows them to host unlimited tours. So, for less than a single cup of gourmet coffee, they can offer their clients a convenient way to keep honing in on just the right property.”
HomeRover is a product of BrightDoor™. Established in 2005 and based in Raleigh, N.C., BrightDoor was founded on a singular premise: With superior technology tools in their hands that were tailored for their unique needs, real estate sales and marketing professionals could reach untold (and yet-untapped) potential. The company serves a broad array of real estate clients in the U.S. and throughout North America. Its clients include single and multifamily developers, home builders, and national brokerages, and its client roster includes brands such as American Campus Communities, Tavistock Development Company, Kitson & Partners, Newland Communities and Coldwell Banker.