Reali: Innovation in home buying & selling
Reali, a groundbreaking real estate brokerage, transformed the real estate landscape with an app that provides greater savings for home buyers. In addition, the Reali technology includes an AI-based PricePredictor™, 360° home views, virtual staging rooms, and videos of home listings.
The nuances of home buying & selling
Our team began by learning about the process of home buying and selling, and helped highlight design and business opportunities for Reali. As the project timeline was limited, we conducted competitive research and interviewed real estate experts from the Reali team. This helped us familiarize ourselves with best practices in real estate transactions.
When we role-played each interaction between a Reali agent and the home buyer/seller, we realized that there was a need to consolidate the multiple touchpoints of emails, texts, and calls from different Reali experts into a cohesive customer experience. To offer a clear overview of the current state, we created journey maps for the seller and buyer, and brainstormed ways to streamline Reali as a service. Armed with our recommendations and insights, the Reali team set off to improve their customer-facing interactions.
Relieving anxiety in a high-stakes life-event
Most real estate apps at the time focussed only on the home buying experience. Our goal was to highlight Reali’s capabilities to provide an equally seamless experience for selling homes too. We sought to guide prospective home buyers and sellers through the complexities and anxieties associated with their life’s most important transaction without overwhelming them.
We began by defining an onboarding experience that highlights the key differentiators of Reali. It wasn’t easy to simplify the time-consuming, multi-step legal process of selling a home—from preparing a home for sale to promoting it and then completing all the paperwork. Our primary question was: how might we avoid a sense of overwhelm in prospective home sellers?
We achieved this by offering information only as needed—be it home-related tasks or legal documents. We introduced the right expert (from the home staging designer to the loan manager) at the right time while also giving customers easy access to chat with a Reali agent at any time. Additionally, a seller could invite their co-seller to the app, making it easy for all parties to review progress, divide responsibilities, schedule meetings, and sign documents together.
We worked hard to find the right balance between high-touch human engagement with Reali experts and the customer’s wish for independent decision-making that technology makes possible. Our core intent was to promote harmony between all digital, physical, and human elements of the service. This required us to look beyond the tunnel vision of designing an app and to rethink how all parts of the ecosystem work together. We collaborated closely with Reali experts and leaned on their experience in real estate. Our designs are a reflection of that process.
Illustrating the brand
We were asked to create an extensible visual design system based on the existing Reali brand. The logo and the Reali red were the markers that our clients had established, along which we based our designs.
We ran an internal design challenge with Idean creatives worldwide. This was a fantastic way to invoke creative concepts on what the new aesthetics of the interface could be, and how we could reinforce the brand.
Based on these visual concepts, we created and finalized a flexible illustration system that reinvigorates the way the brand tells visual stories. We designed a component-based system that could be easily reassembled, and thus provided the tools for Reali designers to create additional high-quality illustrations and stay on brand. These illustrations were styled with diversity, which is something that Idean deeply believes in. All-encompassing, this was the beginning of their new visual design system.
With the finalized designs, the Reali team took the app to production and finished the product to go live. In July 2019,* the Reali team was able to have a successful launch of their new app and their unique offering—and continues its growth journey to become a disruptor and leader in the real estate market.
*Designs shown in this article have been modified since.
Sunita leads hybrid design teams in fast-paced projects across industries like healthcare, education, e-commerce, transportation, and technology. She also develops and runs initiatives like Design Jams and Culture Workshops for Idean, San Francisco. Sunita holds a Bachelors degree in Architecture and a Masters in Interactive Telecommunications from ITP, New York University.
HousingWire, 7/2019: Reali redesign allows end-to-end support for Realtors and homebuyers
VentureBeat, 5/2019: Reali raises $29 million to replace realtor commissions with flat fees