The “Tinder-ification” of Real Estate Mobile Apps

Tinder is a widely popular “dating” application (I use the term dating loosely, because as most would argue, the app is intended for people to “hook up” with strangers). It’s gotten plenty of buzz online for its introduction into the dating scene, but it has also garnered attention from software and tech enthusiasts for its interesting and unique feature set, as well as user experience. The “swipe right to like, swipe left to dislike” gestures that are the foundation of the app’s UI, is finding its way into all sorts of different applications, including real estate.

One of the arguments to support the use of such a gesture format for real estate applications (those optimized for web and mobile that allow users to easily search home listings), is that they target the perfect age demographic. Tinder’s primary audience, according to some, is the 24+ crowd, with the average age of first-time homebuyers, being early 30s.

by Leigh Kamping-Carder of Brick Underground, reported back in mid-2014, about two apps named Skylight and Doorsteps Swipe, that were attempting to apply the Tinder formula to the search for apartments in New York City. This is arguably the first application of Tinder’s unique gesture interface to some aspect of the real estate industry. Both these apps were free to use, but Doorsteps made money from subscriptions to brokers and lenders, while Skylight charged agents.

In the opinion of Kamping-Carder, the Tinder approach is “not just a marketing gimmick,” arguing that:

“…the swiping accomplishes two actions with one movement (saving or discarding what’s on your screen while simultaneously flipping to the next screen) and presents a lot of information in an easy-to-digest format.”

Such a format is said to be optimal for mobile-searching in particular, being able to take advantage of small screen spaces and touchscreen controls.

Since the introduction of these two apps, a competitor has emerged called HomeSwipe that is poised to eat up a lot of that market.

The latest offering, Estately, attempts to solve what they claim is a frequent annoyance that occurs while searching for homes online: often, the exact same houses appear in your daily searches, which gets in the way of you finding your dream home through all the clutter of all the homes you’ve decided against.

According to Frederic Lardinois of TechCrunch, by using the same, now infamous, Tinder-style swipe gestures, users can quickly filter and categorize homes that they are interested in, disregarding the rest.

This, in itself, is not a new feature as well, with large listings websites like Zillow and Redfin that also give you the option hide homes from your searches. But Estately has given the feature a clever name, Flip, and hopes it will entice users towards using their platform.

And it’s already been announced that Estately has an international rival. Austrian real estate startup Zoomsquare is offering essentially the same app experience, but for properties in Europe. The app will also incorporate neighbourhood information including public transport, the most important facts about properties, and real-time push notifications for new matches from more than 80 Austrian property websites.

Jason Quintal | May 5, 2015

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