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Like fighter pilots tracking bogeys on their heads-up displays, commuters can now use the Rocket Homes app to see nearby homes for sale on their vehicle’s infotainment screen through Apple CarPlay.
Rocket Homes, the real estate brokerage division of mortgage lending giant Rocket Companies, announced Tuesday that its iOS app is now available through Apple CarPlay, “turning the everyday commute into an exciting and natural part of the homebuying journey.”
Integration with Apple CarPlay “merges the house hunt with the open road,” allowing drivers to see homes listed for sale in the “Nearby” tab of the Rocket Homes app on their car’s display screen.
“With a tap of the vehicle’s screen, drivers can easily get directions to the home, call an agent or save the listing to their favorites,” Rocket Homes said in a press release. “Once they reach their destination, users can easily take a deeper dive into the detailed photos and specifications of each home from the app on their iPhone.”
According to Rocket Companies’ most recent quarterly report to investors, Rockethomes.com attracted an average of 1.5 million unique visitors a month during the first nine months of 2023, down 37 percent from the same period a year ago.
Introduced in 2014, Apple says CarPlay is now supported by more than 800 models of cars, trucks and SUVs. Some glaring exceptions include Tesla — which according to Car and Driver, produces two of the 25 best selling cars of 2023 — and electric vehicles (EVs) built by General Motors in the future.
In March, Reuters reported that GM plans to phase out Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity in its EVs in favor of built-in infotainment systems the automaker is developing with Google.
GM executive Tim Babbit told Motor Trend in an interview published Tuesday that the decision was driven at least in part by safety concerns. Stability issues can prompt drivers using CarPlay to pick up their phones and take their eyes off the road, Babbit told Motor Trend.
Last month, Volvo CEO Jim Rowan told The Verge that he thinks GM is making a mistake dropping Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
“Unless all of a sudden they’re going to get into making smartphones that are as competitive as Android and iOS, then I don’t personally think that’s the best strategy,” Rowan said.
Rocket Homes generates revenue for its parent company by collecting referral fees from a network of vetted agents that it sends buyers and sellers to. Sister company Rocket Mortgage also generates leads for agents when unrepresented homebuyers qualify for loans.
During the 2023 spring homebuying season, Rocket Homes and Rocket Mortgage launched a new “BUY+” program, which provides closing credit of up to $10,000 to homebuyers who agree to work with one of more than 20,000 Rocket Homes Partner Agents.
In reporting third-quarter earnings last month, Rocket Companies said the BUY+ program had doubled its attachment rate since launching in April.
But with the slowdown in the market as a whole, Rocket Homes Partner Real Estate Agents were involved in 19,400 transactions during the nine months ending Sept. 30, down 27 percent from a year ago.
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