Browse By

IDEA #26A – For Rent/Sale – View Info & Photos Instantly

This is focused and has a simple premise. You’re looking for an apartment to rent, an office to lease, or a home to buy. You’re either standing outside of the property, or you’re browsing your local newspaper. Standing outside the property is of course the ‘OFFICE FOR RENT’ or ‘HOME FOR SALE’ sign, which would have a 5- or 6-digit SMS number that you would send a specific property listing code to (e.g. Text ‘GH77’ to ‘OWNME’ on your cell phone).

Once the user texts the code to that number, they would be sent back a photo with property details in the text message — and/or a video that is actually just a slideshow of photos — and/or a video tour of the place (note: Verizon limits videos sent via SMS/MMS to 15-seconds and Cingular limits videos to 30-seconds). But in the photo / video / text message that is sent to the user, it could tell the user there are ‘6 photos for viewing. You are viewing photo 1 of 6, reply with NEXT to see the next photo’.

Ditto for home / apartment / office listings in your newspaper — classified listings would have a code that you could instantly view more info / photos / video on the property, or you could save it to your online account for viewing later. Ditto for those ‘apartments for rent’ magazines that are found at bus stops and grocery stores. Integrate with Zillow’s API and the consumer could also see the value of other properties that sold in that area.

How to do this? Grab your USSHORTCODE ($500/mo random number, $1000/mo for your chosen number), a SMS gateway provider (to buy inbound/outbound SMS messages for around 3-5 cents each outbound, and 2 cents per inbound; inquire about MMS, which is basically sending/receiving photos or videos by text message), a brand (fyi: ‘CRIBS’ as a shortcode is available for lease), a website built, and of course everything else that goes into making an idea into an actual business (passion; marketing plan; ramen; etc).

  • Daniel Newman

    RealSponse does this. check out

  • Graydon

    I’ll admit to liking the ability to get instant information on something I am looking at. But I have to say that I also can’t stand a service that is geared heavily towards the seller (like realsponse, and many other related co’s, looks to be).

    Real life example… I was in the market for a new house and would routinely pick up the free publications with current homes for sale. One ad listed a toll free number and home specific code to use in order to call and get information about the listing. I was disappointed in the lack of information in the automated response and even more disappointed when 5 minutes later I got a call from the listing agency wanting to “follow up”. I have made it a point to never call the numbers again because there wasn’t a benefit to it.

    Point 1 – respect the idea that some people are browsing and give them the ability to block distribution of their contact information to the vultures.

    Point 2 – as the service provider, you want buyers to see a benefit in using the service. So make a point to cater to their needs, while understanding their different phases in the purchasing process. This may mean that you have certain “fields” that are filled in by people like listing agents… in order to make sure the benefit goes to the buyer.

  • Eric Nagel

    Here’s another service that does this:
    HouseFront (via LifeHacker)

  • Steve Poland
  • Pingback: » 100+ Web Start-up Business Ideas - By Steve Poland - web startup ideas and brainstorms, straight up! (formerly Techquila Shots)()