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Case study: How We Developed a Real Estate App for House Residents


Maryna Cherednychenko - November 3, 2020 - 0 comments

Building relations between the management company and homeowners is a hard way. Residents are often dissatisfied with the current level of service. Even though they regularly pay for utilities, the houses’ maintenance does not meet their expectations.

Realizing this, construction firms look for new ways to raise tenants’ experience. Today, they increasingly go mobile with handy apps for their clients. Such apps automate dialogue between managers and apartment owners. They allow you to order services, view news, vote for initiatives, and do other house related things.

In this post, we will share our experience in building a real estate app. We’ll list the features and show how the UI looks like. So, if you are interested in a similar project, take a seat.

About the project

Our client is a construction company Saga Development. It provides premium quality apartment buildings and office space in Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine. At some point, the client realized dealing with residents offline is no longer relevant. So, they approached us to build a system that would transfer client relations to a digital format. As part of this project, we have created a web CRM for managers and a mobile app for residents and potential clients. This post is about the second part, i.e., the mobile app SPHERA.

We started working on the project by studying the client’s business. Soon, we understood the residents’ main problem was the inability to fast track their daily issues. To agree on simple things like garbage disposal and snow removal, they needed to contact other tenants personally. The mobile app was supposed to automate all the interactions. Besides, we agreed to add full information on the residential complex and gather all the related services in one place. Let’s trace our path and the end result.

Development flow

For mobile app development, we chose native technologies. The backend was written in Java, iOS app – in Swift, Android – in Kotlin. To organize video calls over the intercom, we used SIP protocol. We have also designed special APIs to integrate with various third-party services for ordering food, taxi, flowers, and other goods and services via the app. Besides, we have connected the iPay service to pay bills directly from the app.

 

How we implemented payment mechanism in the SPHERA app

Payment mechanism in the SPHERA app

A team of six was working on the project of a real estate app. They are:

  • Business analyst
  • Backend Java developer
  • iOS developer
  • Android developer
  • Ui/UX designer
  • QA engineer

Together with the client, we set a deadline of six months. The app was delivered on time.

Features

In this section, we will go directly to the app functionality. We will name the features and see how they help tenants interact with the management company and each other.

Login / registration 

The user can log into the app either under some role or as a guest. The first option is possible if the CRM managers have made appropriate changes to the user profile. In this case, the user enters the app as a tenant, family member, or trustee, and the specified role defines the app functionality. If the user is new, they are recognized by the app as a guest. Authorization takes place by phone number with the code sent in SMS. When the app is first launched, the user receives a link to view the video instructions. The link comes in a push notification.

 

Authorization in the SPHERA app

Authorization in the SPHERA app

Documents 

There are public and personal documents in the app. The first ones are added by the CRM manager or the user, and the second – only by the user. Public documents are available to all users while personal – to the owner only. It is very convenient to upload some scans, PDF, or Word files to the app and have them at hand.

The list of available actions on the documents include:

  • view documents
  • add documents
  • delete documents
  • share documents
  • create folder
  • delete folder

 

Managing docs in the SPHERA app

Managing docs in the SPHERA app

Cams

In the Cams section, there are construction, public, favorite, and personal cameras. 

Construction cams are installed at the construction site. They are available to all app users and allow them to monitor construction progress in real-time mode.

Public cams are placed inside the residential complex. They are available to tenants, family members, or trustees of a particular building. Through public cams, users can watch what’s happening at the building entrance, landing, near the elevator, etc.

Favorite cams contain particular construction and public cams. Users add them here for quick access.

Personal cams are usually set inside the apartment. They are added by users. No one except the owner and those who live with them in the same apartment can view these cams.

 

Managing cams in the SPHERA app

Managing cams in the SPHERA app

Calendar

The calendar displays events held in the residential complex. Events are created through initiatives by users or by CRM managers. At the end of the event, you can leave a comment about it.

 

Calendar in the SPHERA app

Calendar in the SPHERA app

News

The section displays all news created by the CRM managers. You can filter it by residential complexes or tags or search by name. To view the news in detail, click on it. The news is organized as a carousel. So, if you want to see the next one, swipe to the side.

 

Viewing news in the SPHERA app

Viewing news in the SPHERA app

Initiatives 

This section is available for users with the defined role only. Here, it is possible to vote for the active initiative or add a new one. After the initiative was created, it goes to moderation to the CRM manager, and the user can follow its status change. When it is put on a vote, the users, except the creator, can support it or not. CRM managers see the voting results and decide whether to accept or reject the initiative. 

An initiative can be a proposal for change or an offer to host an event. The change initiatives may suggest to paint benches, build a playground, fix a ramp; event initiatives may offer to hold a clean-up day, tournament, party, etc.

 

Creating initiatives and voting for initiatives in the SPHERA app

Creating initiatives and voting for initiatives in the SPHERA app

Construction progress

Here users can follow the construction progress of all residential complexes of the company. The information is added and updated by CRM managers. The users, in their turn, can do the following:

  • Swipe construction objects
  • See up-to-date information about the construction progress
  • Download a photo report
  • View the infrastructure file
  • View layouts for the selected residential complex
  • View particular layouts and contact manager
  • View construction reports

 

Viewing construction progress in SPHERA app

Viewing construction progress in SPHERA app

Intercom

With this function, users can see who is ringing the doorbell and open the door through the app. There are separate door opening buttons for guests, delivery, and service. When the door is opened, an appropriate record is made to the app. Thus, the user can review the history of openings.

If no one answers, the call is forwarded to the concierge. The concierge communicates with the one outside the door. They can let guests in or call the apartment owner if not sure.

The section stores the history of all calls. Users can filter them by residential complexes and apartments. They can also review records of calls with the concierge.

 

Handling intercom calls through the app

Handling intercom calls through the app

Services

Here, the users can view and order all services provided by the management company or by the partner firms. Here is a full list of available services:

  • Domestic services (cleaning, dry-cleaning, washing windows)
  • Technical service (plumber, electrician, handyman)
  • Food delivery
  • Flowers delivery
  • Water delivery
  • Taxi call

To choose the required service, the user needs to fill in the date and time, select the address, write a comment, and send the order. The order is further transferred to the company, after which the company representatives contact the client and agree on providing the service.

Ordering food, flowers, and a taxi is carried out on the partner site, where the user gets to without leaving the app.

 

Ordering services in the SPHERA app

Ordering services in the SPHERA app

Bills

Here, the user can pay bills and order related services, such as:

  • Installment plan
  • Utility bills
  • Service invoices
  • State fee

It is possible to pay right in the app with a credit card. The payment goes through the iPay system.

 

Paying bills through SPHERA app

Paying bills through SPHERA app

Notifications

Push notifications cover system messages and the messages created by CRM managers. The latter may contain information or poll so that users could select an appropriate option. Informational messages usually remind users about bills payment and inform about role change. To log in under the new role, the user needs to log out and log in again. Also, in push notifications, there may be a picture or a file available for download.

 

Notifications in SPHERA app

Notifications in SPHERA app

Do you want to make a real estate app?

More and more offers appear in the modern real estate market, which means buyers have plenty to choose from. The selling process is getting longer. A significant part of the apartments remains on sale when the residential complex is put in commission or even populated. Except for footage, cost, and location, potential buyers evaluate the house management service. They discuss all aspects of interaction with those tenants who have already moved.

All these things push firms to use digital solutions in the housing sector. Today, they bring benefits to both owners and tenants. If you also think about such a step, you are on the right track. The residential property app can much raise clients’ satisfaction and bring marketing advantages for a residential complex. To learn all the details about real estate app development, contact our experts. They will consult for free and provide a detailed estimation of the app that suits your business needs.

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