Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.HomeRover by BrightDoor is an app for creating and sharing livestream listing tours and open houses.
Platforms: Browser; iOS, Android Ideal for: Buying and listing agents, teams and brokerages wanting to embrace virtual tour marketing
Top selling points:“Multiplayer” showings In-video screenshots Checklist of showing needs Replay sharing MLS ID search integration Top concerns
Bandwidth for live events could at times hamper tours, and it will take time for BrightDoor to build a consumer presence.What you should know
As far as livestream tour apps go, HomeRover has adjusted the standard.
This is an exceptionally well-done app that services agents, and once it gains traction, it will do the same for consumers, too.
Its highlights include the ability to invite up to three parties into the tour (NodalView and EyeSpy360, which has a review pending, do as well), empower any party to capture in-tour snapshots, a simple scheduling feature, and dynamic home feature checklist for ensuring everyone gets to see what’s important to them.
House hunters add items manually to their tour checklist upon being invited, such as the appliance brands, finishes or layout of the bonus room. Items can be marked as viewed in real time as the agent strolls through the home, chatting and interacting with her or his remote audience.
What’s more, each checklist item gets time-stamped within the tour, meaning viewers can jump directly to that moment upon viewing the video replay. This is a terrific bit of sales smarts, as more than too many agents have had to arrange additional showings for a buyer to have another look at the guest room shower, or if their sofa will match the carpet.
Listing agents can also use the checklist as a way to highlight a home’s standout features.
The app’s notification features alert all parties to tour invitations, when it’s about to start and when the replay is available.
The screenshot tool has an array of uses, and each image is saved within that listing’s replay and includes a note tool (“I think this pantry might work for us.”) Recorded tours can be shared via text, as can any screenshots taken along the way.
Participants can also use the app’s live-chat tool as tours are being conducted. Chats are also recorded for viewing later in the replay. I’d be wary of this at times because who knows what a buyer’s friend might say, even if it does offer the seller direct feedback. Privacy could be an issue as well. Perhaps the app will update with a an on/off option for “show chat in replay.”
Consumers shouldn’t be surprised to find the search experience lacking from what they’re used to with Homesnap or other portal apps. But, that’s not BrightDoor’s intent for HomeRover.
Instead, it’s designed to engage on a one-on-one level. Buyers can find a home anywhere with HomeRover’s address lookup and MLS ID and then request a tour by texting their agent. Currently, homes within the Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, Atlanta and Nashville markets can be found via MLS ID. But it can be used in any market where an agent is willing to conduct a tour.
Agents without HomeRover accounts are then prompted to create one, learn the app and arrange a tour. It’s a somewhat sly way to encourage adoption, but it’s going to require a good deal of consumer outreach on the part of BrightDoor.
Listing agents would be smart to use HomeRover for its “Public Tour” functionality. This allows tour replays to be available to anyone using the app “in your area.”
Some other nice touches include viewers being able to turn off their mics and an active countdown of the tour’s duration.
One could argue this is not much more than a Zoom or FaceTime-based tour, and they wouldn’t be completely wrong.
However, it’s the overall packaging that makes it different, the real estate-specific experience and features, such as the checklist and MLS lookup. Plus, it’s crazy easy to use and will no doubt leverage BrightDoor’s existing proptech as it advances.
HomeRover is free for agents and homebuyers to schedule and execute home tours.
Apps like HomeRover will encourage home shoppers to become more comfortable seeing homes online and agents comfortable with video tours. It’s a terrific option for agents who see where the future of their business is headed: Online.
Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe
Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.
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