The commercial real estate listing service LoopNet (NASDAQ: LOOP), based in San Francisco, has taken its online marketplace to a new technology level by making a deal with computer giant Apple to offer an iPhone application for property searches.
Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., approved the iPhone application little more than a week ago, and the online marketplace wasted no time in making it available to users of its service, says LoopNet vice president Mike Manning.
“The new LoopNet iPhone application benefits both property searchers, including investors and tenants, and real estate professionals marketing property,” says Manning. “Business gets done in real time on the fly from wherever the broker and the prospective investor or tenant happens to be.”
For the commercial real estate industry, the innovation is potentially a game-changer because it ratchets up the speed and ease with which investors, brokers, sellers and other professionals can find information on property that is for sale or lease.
The application provides fast access to the 745,000 commercial listings on LoopNet’s Web site without requiring users to sit at a computer terminal, haul a laptop or use other time-consuming mobile technology.
For example, if a business owner is looking for a new company site and spots an attractive commercial neighborhood while on the go, he or she can use the application to find every available LoopNet listing within a radius of five or 10 blocks.
In another scenario, if an investor wants to buy an office building on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles and decides to check available properties on Wilshire from downtown to Santa Monica, that’s not a problem, says Manning. “Using the LoopNet iPhone application, the investor can start downtown, and standing on a street corner, use the iPhone's GPS capabilities combined with the LoopNet application to identify available properties nearby.”
The investor could then drive up Wilshire to Beverly Hills and eye more properties using the application before continuing west, without needing to refer to a laptop.
If a broker is showing a client office properties for lease in the Buckhead submarket of Atlanta and the tenant suddenly decides to look at space in the Perimeter area of North Atlanta instead, the broker can respond immediately, Manning explains. “The broker is well prepared to hop in the car and take the tenant to the other submarket.”
The broker can immediately take her clients to the new location without having to go back to the office to check the computer or run a report, says Manning. Using iPhone applications, the broker can pull up properties in the new area, review them with her client, and use Google’s mapping feature to get directions to the listings.
Property search results can be filtered by price, building size, lot size and property type, such as office, industrial, retail or multifamily. Directions provided through a Google map search can be emailed to a client or business associate.
Although the basic application is free, for full access to all available properties on the LoopNet system a user needs to be a premium member of LoopNet, says Manning. LoopNet has 3 million members and approximately 1 million visitors per month.
Apple offers more than 100,000 applications for its iPhone and iPod, and its users perform 10,000 downloads daily, according to the company. On January 5, Apple announced that more than 3 billion applications have been downloaded from its App Store by product users worldwide.