The Real Deal Miami

IPad hits Miami real estate

By Alexander Britell | October 18, 2010 05:00PM

A sample of the One Sotheby’s app

Even with the advent of electronic foreclosure auctions and online sales, most realtors still wield an ancient relic: the hard-copy paper Multiple Listing Service sheet, a vestige of real estate’s past that gives customers a small picture of a potential home and a large amount of sometimes-indecipherable sales language.  

One South Florida company is looking to use the iPad to overhaul that experience.

“Right now when you decide you want to go out and look at a property, the best information a broker can provide is a printout of the MLS sheet,” said Bradley Nelson, marketing director at One Sotheby’s. “While it’s a very accurate and complete source of information, they’re just hideous, they have this odd real estate second language that seemingly only realtors speak.”

Nelson said the firm’s new app would change the experience for buyers as they drive around with realtors and look at homes. Further, compared to the iPhone’s much smaller interface, the iPad, Nelson says, provides more space to show photos of properties.

“When the iPad was first released, we were sitting around at a staff meeting thinking about what it would look like if customers, as they were driving around, had an iPad in their lap, instead of the MLS sheet,” Nelson said. “We saw it as an opportunity to differentiate ourselves in customer service.”

The company has already distributed a number of iPads to realtors through promotional events, although Nelson said a large number of the firm’s associates — with many of its customers — had already purchased the device.

The One Sotheby’s app, which was released earlier this month, centers on a bird’s eye map view of the firm’s South Florida listings, and offers a gallery view similar to Google’s Street View feature to show the streets surrounding each listing. GPS functionality also allows users to look at properties for sale nearby wherever they are standing.

The iPad trend is not limited to real estate brokers, however. Condo projects are also looking to the device for sales help.

Icon, the three-tower complex on Brickell Avenue, recently announced it would be releasing an iPad application for the condo, the first of its kind in Miami, and, the building says, anywhere.

Edgardo DeFortuna, president of Fortune Realty, which is the in-house sales agent for Icon, said the app fits the profile of high-end buyers, who are increasingly technologically oriented.

The company’s app, downloadable on iTunes, will be available in English, Spanish and, targeting Miami’s growing Brazilian buyer profile, Portuguese.

Another downtown luxury project, Marquis Residences, has not developed an app, but is using an Apple-style angle to market itself the old fashioned way — with a giant advertisement.

Looking to take advantage of the iPad’s momentum, Marquis, developer Africa-Israel and the tallest residential building in Miami’s downtown, has put up a 70-by-50-foot ad with the slogan “myPad.”

The idea was conceived by iPad fan Lori Ordover, managing director of Africa-Israel USA, and intends to mirror Apple and the iPad’s design philosophy.

Several firms have produced applications for the iPhone, including Complete Realty Suite, which tracks foreclosures, Century 21 Real Estate and the Corcoran Group.