Handle things properly when working in property

Move with us provide an expert conveyancing service to estate agents across the country, from large chains to single offices. The services and tools they provide help their customers and businesses to value, manage and sell their properties. Through their partner network of over 1,200 independent UK estate agent offices, Move with Us manage over 6,000 moves and their nationwide panel of 200+ legal firms manage over 60,000 conveyancing transactions per year.

Despite these figures, the Move with us service is tailored to each individual client. But with so much data and so many staff involved in every move, streamlining data is desirable to ensure consistency and efficiency. In this post, we outline Tier 2 Consulting’s scoping and delivery stages of this mobile application development project.

Business innovation through ios app development

The objective of this app development project was to ‘externalise’ data to create iOS tablet-based sales support applications for each Move with Us primary sales channel: their network of independent estate agents and their house building partners running on-site marketing offices. Although the smart use of property data is the common denominator between these, the need for two separate applications was clear from the outset.

Application #1 – Property sales via iOS tablet-based app

The Move with Us MarketApp was created as a means of providing localised housing market insights for network agents, and to help them secure more listings during initial consultations with vendors in their homes. The follow-on benefit is additional conveyancing business for the Move with Us panel providers. This was viewed as a demonstrable way of adding value to the network support package, whilst creating a clear point of difference and securing local market advantage.

The objective was to find a way of delivering personalised market data into a mobile application that engaged the vendor with transparent, geo-targeted value comparisons and market dynamics, whilst capturing the necessary vendor details to make the listing process a seamless, efficient and productive experience for all concerned. The secured listing triggers a number of actions, including the conveyancing referral to the panel member with a date and time allocated for the appointment.

Project delivery: MarketApp

Mobile App for the property market

Using overnight syncing with Move with Us data feeds, the agent can use property details from homes already on the market, to allow the vendor to rate and compare their home with others and review similar property valuations. Agents can show the percentage of those similar properties sold and time on the market – along with a review of how well other estate agents in the area have performed with similar properties. In addition, the agent can show the vendor how their property would look on the various property sale platforms by using the camera on the tablet. MarketApp is also not dependent on internet connectivity and can run localised property searches and deliver market data as a result of the overnight syncing.

“Tier 2 Consulting have created mobile applications that deliver operational efficiencies, build trust and leverage our data intelligence to the benefit of all parties.™….”

Ben Greco, Managing Director

Move with us

Application #2 – the exclusive iPX app

Converting more local area opportunities into listings and conveyancing deals is a different sales scenario to supporting house builders dealing with homeowners visiting site offices, looking to part-exchange their property, often moving from outside the area. As a result, the need for a second application – Move with Us iPX – was identified. In this mobile application, whilst property data is used to support likely sales prices, the emphasis is on data-capture and automating the process of booking and scheduling valuation appointments.

The needs of the many house builders who partner with Move with Us sit firmly at the centre of the functionality of iPX. The objective is converting as many part-exchange opportunities as possible using value-adding technology. Sales consultants use iPX on tablets to first showcase their company and their schemes, before moving through the process of collecting vital data about the client and the property they are looking to part exchange. Guided menus and drop down menu selections are used where possible. Online property searches can be done from iPX to review property already on the market. This forms part of a comprehensive property comparison and valuation exercise, supported by a unique Market Appraisal Report.

iPX makes the sales process more engaging, less time consuming and automates the process of scheduling valuation appointments. This is how the objective of the project – to provide excellent customer service from site visit through to part-exchanged completion – is achieved. From the house builders’ perspective, the free to use iPX demonstrates a tangible commitment from Move with Us to be their partner of choice. In terms of equitable valuations, the need for transparency and independent observation is paramount. iPX uses data integrity to build trust between house builder and house buyer.

Project delivery: iPX app

This exclusive iPX App was designed to improve the customer journey, engaging them from the outset in the valuation process. The objective was to create a rich-media iOS tablet-based mobile application with a personalised front-end presentation to introduce the agency office and key personnel. Move with Us now we supply iPads to every site, for free to encourage use of iPX.

The web services were developed using standards-based Java based technologies and deployed using Azure Cloud services with Azure SQL and App services for Tomcat & IIS. A core component of the services (triggered via overnight updates), is to capture the latest property data from the Home.co.uk data services. This data contains the current properties on the market, as well as historical information of properties sold, and is persisted in the Azure SQL database with any associated images uploaded into the Azure Blobstore.

The Apache Cordova platform provides the ability to build & package an HTML5 application as a native application that can be deployed on to a device, whilst supporting multiple device platforms. An initial requirement was to be able to provide both a browser-based and device application. Apache Cordova was the perfect fit, allowing the development of a single codebase for both, with separate build/deploy strategies.

The architecture followed the core principles of a single-page application, based on the AngularJS framework, and was developed with standards-based web, mobile development technologies and best practices. The native device functionality, such as camera/database/ geo-location/network state, is also provided by importing the individual Cordova plugins into the project.

WIth these iOS apps, agents are able to sync their device with all the latest property data and images for their respective area via the Azure cloud services (which persists into the local device database and file store for offline access). They can guide a client through the valuation process, accessing data/images for properties in their immediate vicinity, capture the client’s information, take photographs of their property locally on the device and then immediately search/view this data on-demand.

The valuation sync functionality pushes their local valuations to the Azure cloud services and retrieves other valuations associated with that team. The agent valuation interaction on the device is fully audited and persists during this sync process, allowing external systems to create comprehensive reporting across regions, offices and agents.

“Using iterative development techniques and agile methodologies, their project management skills have helped us and our third party data providers keep on track – running a detailed program of work with calmness and professionalism.”

Ben Greco, Managing Director

Move with us

Tier 2 consultants help businesses to develop mobile applications which solve complex IT challenges, often around enterprise integration. If you are interested to learn more about this project