Brokerage Adds Video Calls to Online Searches

A man touring the inside of a home video chats with two friends on his phone.

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With the quick pace of home sales, buyers need to be able to act fast. That’s the idea behind a new iPhone app that the brokerage Redfin recently launched to connect home buyers with their friends, family, or real estate professional.

“The ability to house hunt with family members or your agent at any given moment, no matter where any of you are physically, is a game-changer,” says Bridget Frey, Redfin’s chief technology officer. “In a market where one-third of homes accept an offer within a week of listing, buyers need to make decisions quickly about what homes they want to tour. Until now, there hasn’t been an elegant way to have this kind of shared virtual home search experience on the go.”

Home buyers who use iPhones or iPads can start a FaceTime call and then open the Redfin app to use the new SharePlay feature, which will allow them to then search for homes and browse listings together. They’ll be able to share their search with others on the call, who will be able to see the map, homes, and photos the caller sees. Their house hunt information is synced in real time to all the devices on the call.

“When a home hits the market, being one of the first people to discover and tour it gives you a competitive advantage,” says Shoshana Godwin, a real estate professional with Redfin in Seattle. “There aren’t enough homes for sale, and the good ones fly off the shelves. If I can make a quick decision on a FaceTime call with my client about whether it’s worth their time to tour a home, we can book a tour and make an offer before other buyers beat us to it.”

The Redfin app is available on iPhone and iPad devices running iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1 or later.