How do you build a successful Real Estate app? If you ask this question to most people, they will probably answer with the usual ‘it depends’ reply. It is indeed true that there are no standard business rules that can be applied universally when it comes to building an application. Every business is different and has its own unique challenges and goals. However, if you want to build a real estate app that is closer to the term ‘sustainable’ than breaking even after three years of operation, there are certain things that you need to look out for.
This article presents some ideas and concepts that can help in building a real estate app. I have tried to categorize these into high-level steps that will hopefully be useful in designing your own system architecture. For modularity purposes, each category has been assigned a number. Each step ends with a number sign (#). Thus, when reading this post, it should appear as “#1”, “#2”, “#3” etc… In case the flow of thought appears non-linear or confusing at any point, please blame my literary skills, not the way I have organized the content.
#1 – Prioritize Your Features
One of the worst things that can happen to a startup is getting caught up with too many ideas at once. Real Estate entrepreneurs are usually more excited about building some fancy features than having an idea that can actually deliver value to their customers. This often leads them down the road of adding every possible feature under one roof just because they think it might be useful at some point. Unfortunately, you will eventually realize that this almost always leads to disaster as there is no priority ranking system in place for your new ‘Real estate-in-a-box’ product. You end up confusing your users and probably lose most of them along the way. It is usually a good idea to prioritize your real estate application features and provide them in packs (or what they call ‘modules’ these days). This will make it easier for your users to select the ones that are relevant to their needs and ignore the rest without having to go through any complicated screens or processes.
#2 – Design Your System with Scalability in Mind
Modern business owners understand that their products and services need to be scalable if they want to grow faster than their competitors. The same rule applies when it comes to designing a system architecture for your real estate app as well. Scalable apps run on simple platforms that can handle an expanding user base with minimal hardware, software, and human resource investment. They also have a design that is independent of the number of users and transactions. When you visit an ATM machine, you don’t have to worry about how many other customers are using it at the same time. You will receive the same service irrespective of how busy it is.
Your real estate app should aim for this type of scalability because not every user needs all features offered by your system. There are some who might be happy with simple account management facilities while others might want advanced self-service options involving complex analytic tools or trading platforms. Therefore, designing your application in such a way that each feature can scale independently will make maintenance easier down the line. It also provides opportunities for expanding into new markets without having to invest too much money on infrastructure updates.
#3 – Plan for a Growing Data Volume
The amount of data that is going to be generated by your real estate app will increase as you add more features and a growing number of users. There are some applications where the volume might go up by multiple orders of magnitude, depending on the user base. Here, I am not just talking about transactional details but also communication activities such as emails, SMS notifications, automatic updates etc… A basic rule of thumb would be to plan for 10 times the amount of data that you currently need so you have enough breathing room if your user base suddenly grows in size over a short period of time. This usually results in wasteful storage costs during this initial phase but it can save your skin later on if you face any problems with scaling.
#4 – Keep Your Codebase as Small as Possible
The only way to make sure your application scales well is by keeping your codebase small (read simple). The more complex the system architecture, the harder it will be for developers to maintain, fix bugs or add new features at a later date. You should aim for simple lines of code that are easy to understand and modify if needed. It talks about why simplicity is so important for modern software development and how it can lead to new opportunities down the line.
#5 – Give Users Control Over Their Data Security
Security is one of those things that top-notch real estate application developers tend to take for granted. Sometimes, they might even think that their customers don’t care much about it as long as the app is user-friendly and does its job well. This attitude can be a major problem if you are dealing with highly regulated markets where data privacy is expected by all customers regardless of what type of service provider they use. Regulatory bodies are now taking steps to make sure banks, real estate companies, mobile networks etc… protect user information according to certain standards.
#6 – Pick a Suitable Database Management System (DBMS)
Since your support team will be dealing with multiple databases, it is imperative that you pick the best possible option for data storage and retrieval. SQL databases are still around but they can get expensive once you start scaling up to hundreds of users on each server instance. The new kids on the block are NoSQL DBs that offer high availability, auto-scaling capabilities, lower cost structures etc… which make them ideal for cloud applications.
You shouldn’t just focus on how these databases handle large amounts of data but also consider other factors such as query speed, document size etc… These will determine if your app can perform better than your competitors on the market.
#7 – Use a Reliable Hosting Provider
By now, you should have noticed that the first three items on this list talk about technical components of scaling up an application. The next two are more related to operational aspects such as cost-effectiveness and reliability of hosting providers. These guys will be dealing with data replication, hardware updates, software security etc… so it is important that you choose someone who has experience in these fields. Businesses can save money by signing up for dedicated servers but they might end up spending more after a few months if their hosts don’t take care of replacing faulty hard drives or patching known vulnerabilities . It’s also worth mentioning that some companies offer managed cloud hosting which means that the provider will take care of all backend issues at no extra cost.
#8 – Make Sure You Have a Scalable Architecture
There are many reasons why people use relational databases instead of NoSQL ones. Relational DBs have been around for several years now and their architecture is pretty simple to understand. They feature great support for well-known programming languages, provide ACID properties etc… NoSQL databases have much better response times when dealing with larger datasets but they don’t offer built-in support for scripting languages or transactions which means that developers have to improvise every time they want to combine multiple features together.
Scalability isn’t just about choosing the right combination of technologies but also thinking ahead about future expansions that might be needed in the next few years. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a half-finished product because you ran out of money before finishing it completely.
#9 – Use Cloud Computing for Cost Effectiveness
When it comes to cloud computing, most people will think about using public cloud services such as Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure . These platforms are very reliable and offer competitive pricing structures but their prices can sometimes be too high for startups. Thankfully, there are other options available where developers can get access to scalable computing power at lower costs without having to worry about maintaining expensive hardware setups. The best example here would be Docker containers which allow businesses to run web applications on any machine regardless of installed software or physical resources available in the data center .