It’s been some time since the last great leap forward in consumer-facing property portal features and with the global pandemic accelerating how consumers interact with portals and perhaps even a sea change in how people see their homes ‘what will user experience look like in two years’ is not necessarily an easy question to answer.
Which UX feature or tool will be the next ‘draw your own search area’ and become all but ubiquitous across property portals? It may not be the keyword search tool, but it might be one of the following features we’ve seen recently that we’ve liked.
Zillow’s property management tool is great for landlords as it allows them to have their property listing, tenant screening and payments all in one place. It’s also great for prospective tenants who can research, contact and apply for the property all in one place as well. The fact that the whole renting process is consolidated under one big trusted brand means that there is less margin for cowboy landlords as well (although we’re sure there are some on there). Zillow clearly wants to be a one-stop-shop for property and have every part of a property transaction flow through their brand in some way whether this be via its much vaunted ibuyer program or via the Zillow Rental Manager.
OnTheMarket Virtual Tour Filter
Virtual tours and 3d visualizations are pretty much expected as standard in most countries now and it seems that OnTheMarket has taken the logical step of allowing users to filter out listings that do not include them. Although adding another filter on a property portal is hardly reinventing the wheel, we’re pretty sure that this one is a feature that will catch on.
Having a guide to the area that a listing you’re viewing is located in is nothing new, but having this level of granularity and depth of data makes the offering from Australia’s market leader stand out. Realestate.com.au’s neighbourhoods data gives users information around median prices for different property types, average demand compared to other areas and demographic data as well as some good old fashioned local journalism to really help give the pages a boost in google’s results.
Idealista / Energy
This is an idea we really like. The tool uses data from specialist flights over Span to let homeowners see the potential their roof has for generating solar electricity with photovoltaic plaques. Anything that encourages green energy and makes the most of available resources is generally a good idea in our books.
Idealista Virtual Home Staging
Another idea we like from the Spanish #1 portal is this virtual staging tool that lets the less imaginative user see what potential a property has. Particularly useful for agents trying to sell a property that may have seen better days. The reason we like it is that it is very simple for the user but can’t have been especially simple to develop. A real value adder and something that doesn’t interfere with or radically change a property portal listing.
Spotahome Home Checker
We might have had to report some sad news about Spotahome yesterday, but that doesn’t mean that the Madrid based rental specialist portal isn’t ahead of the game with their remote viewing solutions and digitised transaction model. We particularly like the detail of being able to select the size of the bed that a listing has as well as having a real person guide you through the property and explain a bit about the area. Very useful for people moving countries.
Okay so this one technically isn’t on any property portal we could find at the moment, but it certainly could be. Beagel Bid lets a user sign up to bid for a property via an app once they have attended an in-person viewing. The alerts on the app when someone has outbid you for the property means that gazumping is much less likely to happen and that, because buyers are more engaged in the process, sellers often end up with a better-than-expected sale price. This technology brings home buying to a space where modern users feel comfortable (as opposed to over the phone or in an agent’s office) and adds an element of gamification and is something we can see catching on.