Real Estate

Inman Review: Agent On Duty Simplifies Local Home Search

Agent on Duty is an app for finding homes and agents, and it has some big-name competitors. It could carve out a niche for mid-market and bilingual agents with its support for eight languages.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

Agent on Duty is an app for connecting buyers and sellers with local agents.

Platforms: iOS app, Android app, browser
Ideal for: All agents, buyers and sellers

Top selling points:

  • Geographically restricted
  • Consumers must connect to view full listing
  • Easily toggle between on/off duty
  • Listing view prioritizes user’s listings
  • Referral potential

Top concern:

The success of this app will come down to the agent and Agent on Duty — the company — promoting consumer installs of the app.

What you should know

This is a simple, clear-cut app that helps buyers and sellers find a local agent. I really like its interface and overall experience, as it’s designed to make quick connections and capture buyer leads that are actively looking.

At no point does the Toronto-based Agent on Duty overwhelm the consumer with pages and pages of listings or push superfluous calls to action.

In fact, agents are limited to input of only three personal listings that are only presented to geographically relevant buyers, in conjunction with local MLS-fed properties. The agent-on-duty’s homes are given search priority.

In use cases where the agent doesn’t have relevant listings, only local MLS-fed properties will show.

In the end though, the closest agent to the listing inquired about gets the lead. If that agent is also the listing agent, they’ll have to refer to their local dual agency rules, or refer the lead.

Consumers can only see the location and list price. They need to complete a short form asking if they’re a buyer, seller, renter or landlord. Once that’s done, they can call or text freely with the agent.

Buyers don’t see the listing agent’s contact information, a feature that tends to lean the app in former’s favor. Once engaged by the consumer, buyer agents can one-tap dial the listing agent.

There’s an option to request mortgage information, too. Agents will likely use that as a sign they’re not yet prequalified. Handle that as you will.

Upon login (the app integrates with Google and social media account pass-throughs for account creation), the app asks to choose between signing up as a Client or Agent, and to select one of eight languages the app can support. Impressive.

The listing setup process is pretty fast, as the app isn’t designed to promote every detail of the listing. Enter a listing’s address, its price, a few details and images, and you’re good to go.

The app also tracks recent interactions according to lead, sourced from your phone’s call and text record, and making yourself “Available” is as easy as tapping a fat button at the top of the dashboard. (Why that button isn’t labeled “On Duty” is kind of a mystery. Seems a better branding move, no?)

But know that when you mark yourself as “not on duty,” the next physically proximal agent who is gets the lead.

Buyers and sellers can view an agent’s local MLS listings in their profile, as well as gather brokerage data and contact information.

The app allows sellers to enter FSBO listings, too. This can give agents the chance to pitch them on listing services (agents get notified of new FSBOs) and for their buyers to have a look at homes not on the MLS. This is a pretty good idea, as it will help show the difference in how each home is marketed and fulfills the promise of showing buyers everything that’s out there.

Overall, there are some things to like about Agent on Duty, like its simple interface and localization. It’s obvious there’s money behind it and development skills; It’s a worthy app in terms of functionality and fulfilling its business purpose.

It’s going to need some aggressive marketing to consumers and the understanding that agents will have to manually get these leads into their CRM. Plus, it has the major portal apps to contend with, and that’s no easy feat, especially with CoStar now in the mix.

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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