Apps making real estate more mobile

Nathan Gochenour, a real estate agent for Skyline Team Real Estate, uses a smart app on his Android phone to demonstrate how new technology is being used to access a key lockbox on a home. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – For Nathan Gochenour of Skyline Team Real Estate in Woodstock, all it takes to show a newly listed house in Shenandoah County is a smartphone and a Bluetooth connection.

Gochenour, 22, who has been with the Skyline family business for the better part of 2 1/2 years, said smartphone apps and technology make up roughly 50 percent of his job.

“The real estate market has been evolving and it’s blending in with this new technology,” Gochenour said, noting that agents and residents looking for new properties can easily make use of free applications like Zillow and Realtor.com.

“Agents who are listing properties have apps that they can use to track statistics, market analysis and even specific (data) for each property that’s listed,” he said.

The Massanutten Association of Realtors – the umbrella informational group for practices throughout the valley – uses services like Metropolitan Regional Information System, which Gochenour said is “where the marketing starts.”

“They blast these listings out to all of these different websites,” Gochenour said, referencing sites such as Realtor.com and Zillow. “That’s where all of these other apps come in.”

With all of these tools available, a real estate agent like Gochenour can theoretically do much of his job on the go – updating listings, checking on properties and talking to clients.

“It definitely makes our job easier,” he said.

Gochenour also said that real estate agents through the Massanutten Association of Realtors are using their smartphones to access properties to show clients. Massanutten has a contract with Century Lock to secure the keys to properties.

“We put a lot of (Century Lock’s) locks on a lot of our listings,” he said. “They have an app that we can actually Bluetooth-sync our (smartphone) to the electronic lock … to release the key.”

Through the Century Lock app, agents can also track which real estate agents have accessed keys to certain properties and how many listings have been shown.

In comparison, Gochenour noted that agents used to access listings with an electronic box and numbered password combination.

Now, he said, “You see a lot more agents just using their smartphone altogether.”

Gochenour said that he is seeing many more agents using phones to constantly text with other agents and clients about certain listings.

On the consumer side, Gochenour said this growth of mobile real estate has helped their clients more readily and narrowly search for available housing units, based on what they are looking for.

“If you weren’t able to do that, you would just be sifting through tons and tons of listings, hundreds of listings,” he said.

“I don’t see technology slowing down anytime soon for the consumer,” Gochenour said, adding “Faster smartphones, faster computers … it really is making it so that the consumer can get to our products much quicker.”

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com