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Finland's Grafetee App: Moving to Funny & Sunny Chicago

As a home broker or a buyer, have you ever wished there was a better way to show/view homes? That is, without the often unnecessary connections, scheduling, meetups, and the awkward trek (usually in two cars) from one house to another. Agent and potential homeowner often do prefer solitude, efficiency, the soft sell. Well, a little company in Finland called Grafetee has just the tool to make the family home tour convenient and fun. And much more.

Grafetee in Chicago these pins came from Chicagos best businesses

Some time back, I covered the digital landscape for real estate brokers in Chicago. One very wired agency there, John Baird's Baird & Warner, stood out among Chicagoland agencies - in a way prompting this tech report. To bring this "digital home tour" concept home, I have been consulting with Finland tech developer Juha Huttunen for some years, so when he presented a "use case" for real estate from his Grafetee app - the concept prompted this article.

What you'll see below puts the best of Chicago real estate, the best in aggregated realty content from Trulia, and the potential for worldwide property "discovery" in the person of Grafetee's CEO - headed to sunny Chicago. (image above of final Grafetee marks)

For agents and buyers out there, it is not neccesary for you to understand the technical side of the Grafetee bookmarking app. Geo-location applications such as this are not actually uncommon now, Apple and Android, even Microsft, have made them commonplace. What Grafetee has done that is different however, is reverse engineer (a bit) what is known as Open Graph protocol, more simply that thing that allows you to sign into web services etc. using your Facebook identity, and a lot more.

All you'll really need to do is; download the app, go on your PC and drag the bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar, and start adding stuff via Grafetee on any smart phone or table using iOS or Android. Grafetee even plots a course for you to navigate while in Chicago.

Saving a hotel via Expedia wGrafetee bookmarklet

As you can see by the screen above Juha has used Grafetee to "pin" a hotel choice from Expedia, what Grafetee does, quite simply, is allows users (be they agents or buyers) to create iteneraries, guides, rich plans for visiting specific places by using their PC, smart device, and the online services they need to complete the itenerary. In the case provided, a trip to sunny Chicago to find a house to buy. This first instance starts this world traversing home buying experience with a place to stay.

The Grafetee action below grabs a home from the great people at Baird & Warner, as you can clearly denote.

Selecting a home to view via Baird Warner

Juha is, as I type this, sitting at his PC in Helsinki, visiting via the WWW - he used the :

  • Expedia - to find a hotel and book in Chicago
  • Hotels.com - finding just the right hotel
  • Trulia - to find some house choices to add to his app map
  • Zagat - to schedule lunch
  • TripAdvisor - for some entertainment
  • Zillow - for still more choices (and to illustrate Grafetee capability)
  • Baird & Warner - to use one of Chicago's premier brokerages
  • Jameson Southby's - for more diversity in luxury properties
Grafetee grabs a Jameson Southbys listing

As you can gather from the list (and the Grafetee/Jameson image above), what Grafetee's CEO is doing is showing a very simple, yet extremely useful template for how anyone traveling to Chicago for a "move discovery" can greatly simplify their trip, even enrich the whole experience. And for Zillow and the other businesses mentioned? The value of this kind of tool is extraordinary - giving potential customers the very best in mobile technology - FOR FREE!

Grafetee also allows business/website owners to place the Grafetee app onto the company website. This aspect not only puts local businesses like Jameson Southby's in the mobile matrix of "pins" on Grafetee, but ensures a much closer relationship with buyers or users who "engage" said companies too. In fact, this is one way in which Grafetee might monetize later on, but that's another story. What's important to understand for site owners is that Grafetee is a phone or Skype call, even a click away from adding their own geo-location app for business. Simple.

Grafetee grabs any Trulia listing

Huttunen's iOS and Android OS gadget is a far more powerful tool for users and business than the casual passerby might think. As you can see in the "pinning" exercise Juha has done, finding a house in Chicago does not necessarily involve driving out $500 worth of gas, listening to 2 hours of boring agent drivel, or painstakingly showing that same house off for the 50th time either. Whatever else Grafetee can do to simplify a house hunt, anyone who ever looked for homes knows - the first expedition is almost always done alone.

Time for lunch with Zagat and Henri

Now it's time for lunch with Zagat, and then on to Zillow (in gallery), more homes via virtually any website listing them in the world, and as you can see in the last frame, some entertainment to use the time you saved for Chicagoland fun.

The reader also needs to understand here. While showing the utility of such innovations can be difficult even in images, and even harder with text, using an iPhone or Android smart device loaded with your preferences, is drop dead simple. I'll provide you with a set of images that show off what Juha ended up with on his iPad (image top), then you can decide if Grafetee can make your life easier. As for me, I already know the answer.

I suggest you check out Grafetee on Facebook too, for a look at these very cool Finland developers.

Saving a hotel via Expedia w/Grafetee bookmarklet
Selecting a home to view via Baird & Warner
Grafetee grabs a Jameson Southby's listing
Grafetee grabs any Trulia listing
Time for lunch with Zagat and Henri
Grafetee in Chicago - these pins came from Chicago's best businesses

Discolsure: One of the author's companies, Pamil Visions PR, consults for Grafetee.

Phil Butler

Phil Butler is a former engineer, contractor, and telecommunications professional who is editor of several influential online media outlets including part owner of Pamil Visions with wife Mihaela. Phil began his digital ramblings via several of the world’s most noted tech blogs, at the advent of blogging as a form of journalistic license. Phil is currently top interviewer, and journalist at Realty Biz News.

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