Social Skills: Is Rila Real Estate's Version of Instagram?

By Liz Dominguez

It's being promoted as the Instagram of real estate. But will it prove as successful?
 
A recently announced mobile app, Rila, is the latest in technology that is looking to shift the way agents market listings and consumers shop for homes. While the app is primarily used for lead-generating, making it more valuable for real estate agents, it is also targeted toward buyers, sellers, renters and property managers who are looking to either sell, rent or buy homes.
 
According to the company, the app can help agents promote their listings, generate leads and connect with buyers, sellers and renters.
 
Signing Up
The app went live in June and is currently free. When signing up, users can tailor their feed according to the types of listings they want to see. They can either choose "For Sale," which is recommended for agents, buyers and sellers, or they can choose "For Rent," which is meant for property reps and renters.
 
In the initial setup, users must state whether they are a real estate professional or a consumer. In order to verify their status, agents must submit information such as their real estate license number, state, brokerage name and website, work email and phone number.
 
Users can then choose to see content from specific markets by zoning in on locations within the app menu.
 
Interface
The app is, in fact, very similar to Instagram in that it is image-heavy, featuring a feed with single photos stacked on top of each other with a brief description directly beneath each one. Once users click on a photo, they have the ability to swipe sideways (similar to the Instagram Stories interface) to see more pictures and view a brief description of the property, which can include information such as square footage, property location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and more.
 
Users can then select the "See Details" button, which leads to a page that includes thumbnails of all included property photos and a map showing the location of the property. From here, users can share content, either on social or through their phone contacts and email.
 
Here's where the value-add for agents comes through. Within this page, users will see an "Ask Me About This Listing" button. It gives them options for contacting the listing agent via phone call, text message or email.
 
Worth It?
Even though it's free, is the effort worth it? Because the app is so new and hasn't built enough of a consumer base, the marketing is essentially ineffective for the time being. With only 18 reviewers listed on the Apple App Store, and the platform not yet available to Android users, Rila is offering a very small market in a field where maximum exposure is key.
 
However, with time, the app could gain traction. Rila is taking steps toward increasing its agent base to start. Last month and through the beginning of August, agents could enter a giveaway which was targeted toward newly licensed salespersons. Agents who entered had a chance to win $10,000 and 12 free hours of mentorship from Rila Founder Ben Bacal, who is reportedly a top agent in Los Angeles and has earned over $2 billion in sales. In order to improve their chances of winning, agents could share a referral link with their network, which would also help the app in its efforts to widen its reach.
 
Additionally, while listings don't have to be on the MLS to be posted, it drastically reduces exposure if they're not. Consumers can also post their own listings, although they will not be shown as listed by a verified licensed salesperson, giving more credence to agents.
 
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia's associate content editor.

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