How Anywhere Real Estate is modernizing property search, marketing, and transaction experiences with AWS
For real estate brokerages and agents, establishing credibility and producing standout listings requires dynamic marketing. Anywhere Real Estate’s Listing Concierge app fills this niche, providing an intuitive toolset for promoting listings. It’s one of many technologies developed by the leading residential real estate services provider, whose offering also includes national title, settlement, relocation companies, and nationally scaled mortgage origination and underwriting joint ventures. When designing apps like Listing Concierge, Anywhere prioritizes the user experience and scalability, which is why it leverages Amazon Web Services (AWS).
“We’re in the midst of a major transformation, as we work to make every aspect of the real estate experience seamless – from creating and marketing a listing and relocation assistance to financing, title, and closing – AWS is helping us accelerate our path forward,” shared Brian Hanks, VP of Technology, Anywhere. “Moving away from a distributed business logic toward a single platform that encapsulates that logic using serverless technology from AWS is allowing us to build new tools from scratch faster. We can also lift and shift legacy applications, which just wasn’t possible using virtualized instances in a data center.”
The Anywhere infrastructure comprises serverless solutions like AWS Lambda and AWS Fargate, in addition to Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS), Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Route 53, Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS), Amazon ElastiCache, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), the Okta identity and access management platform, and third-party integrations.
Planning for a cloud pivot
As Anywhere began exploring cloud migration, its team developed proof-of-concept workflows based on available cloud services. Performance, scalability, and accessibility to talent with a strong cloud knowledge base were key considerations. The team also needed to be able to accelerate the time to market for new apps and updates. AWS emerged as the clear winner.
“With AWS, everything is scripted, which we knew would help eliminate wait times that typically occur with handoffs before an app or update is built and deployed,” said Hanks. “We also work with more agents than most other real estate organizations, which makes scalability essential. AWS technologies give us the flexibility to scale and evolve our platform to accommodate new users, take advantage of emerging technologies like AI, and rapidly launch apps like Listing Concierge.”
Envisioning the ultimate real-estate marketing tool in the cloud
Built fully cloud-native and largely serverless with a host of AWS technologies, the company’s Listing Concierge app is a versatile property marketing tool that accelerates the creation and distribution of digital and printed property marketing materials such as websites, online videos, brochures, and more. Users visit the app, select the services they need (i.e., photography, print ads, websites, etc.), and submit payment and listing information. Coordinators then process the package and create the materials for agent approval; once approved, the materials are sent for fulfillment.
In the past, Anywhere might have addressed each of these needs by integrating multiple third-party solutions, but by using a serverless architecture and microservices on AWS, it’s been able to integrate all this functionality into a single app and with third-party vendor solutions for payments, notifications, and fulfillment of marketing collateral like brochures. This has helped it save on costs while reducing the coordination time from weeks to hours.
Crediting AWS and the team’s serverless approach, Hanks shared, “We initially built the app with cloud containers, or virtual environments, half of which we’ve now replaced with serverless functions using AWS Lambda, which has paid dividends. We’ve been able to automate more, pivot to adjust app functionality based on user needs, and address performance concerns as our user base scales. It’s a huge win; the agent has a much better experience ordering marketing materials, and buyers and sellers get better materials faster. It’s helping to accelerate transactions.”
As Anywhere continues to move away from containers toward a serverless infrastructure, it’s found it easier to scale to accommodate complex image processing and manipulation needs. Listing Concierge is leveraged by hundreds of thousands of users, which can lead to hundreds of high-resolution listing photos being uploaded in parallel. Often submitted in 8K, those photos must then be manipulated via cropping, structuring, and other modifications and recreated in a range of different sizes. With AWS, the app now scales to support the need, spinning up an individual AWS Lambda for every photo.
“Lambda provides the performance Listing Concierge needs, alleviating upload challenges,” said Hanks. “So far, we’ve seen it process 1,500 image uploads concurrently, whereas before, an agent might have to wait for each individual photo upload. Now, all photos can be uploaded simultaneously and sent directly to an Amazon S3 repository and onto Lambda for processing. It’s beautiful.”
Commitment to continued innovation
Anywhere may be midway through its modernization to a fully cloud-based real estate technology platform, but it’s not planning to stop innovating anytime soon. Damian Ng,Senior Vice President of Technology of Anywhere, shared, “One of the greatest things about AWS is that it’s continuously evolving, and we can take advantage of new capabilities to enhance our offering to agents, brokers and consumers.”
“The AWS team continues to show its commitment to helping our team learn, evolve, and improve as the technology continues to advance, which is amazing,” added Ng. “Partnering with AWS accelerates our journey to transform into a world class real estate technology organization.”
For more information about Anywhere Real Estate, visit https://www.anywhere.re.