New App Zenlist Is Helping Agents, Consumers Find Homes

Zenlist is a mobile app to help agents collaborate with clients and each other. It offers property search through MLS connections and off-market resources as well as some aspects of CRM.

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ZenList is an app for agents to collaborate with colleagues and clients in home search.

Platforms: Mobile app for iOS, Android, browser

Ideal for: Home buyers, agents and brokers

Top selling points:

  • Collaboration features
  • Consumer-facing search functions
  • Agent-to-agent interactions
  • Map search of pre-market homes
  • Client interaction timeline

Top concern:

Zenlist will rely heavily on consumer interest, which is never an easy sell given the market presence of portal search apps, even when invited by agents.

What you should know

Zenlist is a mobile app to help agents collaborate with clients and each other. It offers property search through MLS connections and off-market resources, as well as some aspects of CRM. Buyers need to be invited by agents, can search by features or with a map, save properties and chat with agents.

One thing I find unique about Zenlist is that it’s open about wanting to replace agents’ use of their multiple listing service when it comes to finding homes for clients. I admire their transparency. And the tactic could work.

Zenlist is unique in that within certain markets it combines local public property feeds with pre-market with private listings and when available, in-office exclusives.

Of course, most office exclusive listings are part of a brokerage’s internal networking tools. However, a little redundancy never hurt a listing’s ability to get sold and plus, Zenlist could serve as a brokerage’s internal listing solution. I think that’s one of its advantages, actually.

The dashboard gives agents access to a timeline of client activity, such as what properties they’ve perused, shared, saved and when.

Every listing is thoroughly detailed and sharply presented in a modern user interface that’s not burdened with superfluous features or visuals. This is a very search-centric app.

Map searches employ a cool color-coded hierarchy that displays active listings in white, premarket homes in pink and open houses in green. Users can also draw lines around neighborhoods to further pinpoint areas of interest.

There’s a per-listing notes tool for home shoppers, which I like, as well as the ability to share a home for friends and family to see. Collaborative search is the future, in my opinion, and every agent should expect to soon be showing homes to buyers’ spheres of social influence, too. Anyway, Zenlist allows that.

Live chats are great, giving buyers a vehicle for instant Q&As and agents the chance to standout with a quick reply. (Speed to lead, remember.) Tours can be scheduled, too and arranged into named folders.

The savvy Zenlist user will be smart about tour categorization, which can later help both parties recognize property similarities and preference histories. Buyers almost always end up going back to a listing they previously dismissed.

Conceptually, Zenlist isn’t anything overly innovative, but its execution is commendable. The app is designed to engage and foster communication at multiple stages of the search, which can deepen relationships and keep more data in one place. Search information and preferences and tour data won’t be spread across inboxes and disparate CRMs.

Now, can Zenlist usurp its users reliance on their own MLS search functionality? Maybe. It’s going to take a lot of marketing and collaborative goodwill. Zenlist has a partnership in place with @properties, and I was told it has listing data for Texas, Florida and California ready to go.

In truth, I don’t think there will ever be a single source agents use to find homes for their clients. It will likely be a host of options used according to preference. Which is what it should be.

And Zenlist is no doubt a very worthy option.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

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