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Crain's New York Business

Brokers launch apps to reach users on the run

By: Amanda Fung
Published: 5/15/2011Source: Crain's New York Business

As more people rely on their cell phones and other mobile devices to keep up with the world, residential brokerages are creating various apps in a race to follow them.


Some 18 months ago, The Corcoran Group, an early leader in the effort, launched a free iPhone app that now has roughly 30,000 users. It shows sales and rental listings and also helps users find shops, restaurants and other services near their current location.


It's difficult to measure how many calls or e-mails agents get from app users, but Corcoran interactive chief Matthew Shadbolt says the effort seems to be working. To tap more consumers, Corcoran created an Android app that has drawn 5,000 users since it debuted in October.


“Our primary goal for all our interactive platforms is to get people to take online conversations offline,” said Mr. Shadbolt, adding that users of the iPhone app spend three times longer accessing Corcoran info than those surfing the firm's website.


Two years ago, Warburg Realty Partnership launched an iPhone app dubbed AroundMe, which was named one of Time magazine's 50 best iPhone apps of 2011. AroundMe pinpoints a user's location and helps him find nearby amenities, as well as available properties that Warburg is exclusively marketing.


“It's not going to change business overnight,” said Frederick Peters, Warburg's president. “It's just a way of getting your brand out there.”