Some of the best tools for property search and valuation can easily fit into your pocket: on the Apple iPhone or iPad.
The Zillow app is hands-down the most intuitive app in this category. It is fun to use if not outright addictive.
The Zillow app on the iPhone is surprisingly efficient in the use of what little screen real estate you have, showing properties on an interactive map with very appealing and yet not distracting visuals. On the iPad, the app takes advantage of the tablet’s full native resolution. It not only looks gorgeous and incredibly entertaining, it can also be very informative. But it’s only as good as the underlying database. You may run across a few outdated or incomplete listings (and learn new neighborhoods in the process) and will have to return to your computer for features such as street view.
Tip: Should you experience some downtime with all your favorites disappearing, don’t panic. Get a latte and relax. Most likely they will be back in a few moments.
Zillow is perfect for discovering a neighborhood. If you want to get a feel for the price level and the kind of properties you might see, this is an app you can’t miss.
Download on iTunes
The Realtor.com app delivers a bounty of information. It delivers a whopping 4 million listings in three categories: nearby homes sale, nearby open houses and nearby rentals. The database is updated every 15 minutes.
In order to zero in on your location, you can select it on a map, browse a list of cities and neighborhoods or use GPS positioning.
The app keeps track of your recently viewed listings all by itself. You can also save favorites and sync them with your Realtor.com account.
Navigating the map does not feel anywhere near as good as on Zillow on the iPhone (let alone in Zillow on the iPad).
Unfortunately, Realtor.com cannot take advantage of the additional screen real estate on the iPad. It also does not initiate a search when you change the focus on the map. While this is a minor inconvenience you can never be sure you see all there is to be seen until you hit the search button.
Tip: When you see your first results on the map, hit “Show More Listings” as many times as it takes for the button to disappear. Otherwise you might be missing out on some of the best. Then with the Refine button, you can filter results to your liking.
Download on iTunes