Point, Click and Drag - Top Real Estate Applications for your Mobile Device Make Searching Easy!
by Dan Wolf
on Thursday, November 29th, 2012 at 2:46pm.
Consumer real estate search habits are changing and so are the tools used to search for property - and a lot more tools for researching various things like neighborhoods, schools and financing options.
A decade ago, real estate agents controlled the listings via the Multiple Listing Service. For a long time, Realtors felt their value was in the information. That has changed over time as the information has become public and easily accessed by everyone. For a long period of time, data was dispersed to agents much like a catalog, delivered several times per month. The Internet has has rapidly changed everything. The information is broadcast immediately and everyone can have lots of photo's and a "virtual walk-through" from the privacy of their own home.
In the past few years, more and more information is viewed via smart phones and other mobile devices such as iPads. A recent market study showed nearly 10 percent of iPhone users used real estate property search apps last year to help them find the real estate they ended up purchasing.
Many people want to do their own homework, but still plan on using their real estate professional once they find a property they deem worthy of taking a look at. It's more about not looking spending so much time physically looking at 50 houses in your car and narrowing the time spent driving to and from a bunch of crummy houses to get to the good ones.
Software developers have been scrambling to keep up consumers. There are several apps rising to the top as the most popular real estate search tools. Following are the most widely used and available as free apps on your smart phone.
Zillow Real Estate - This program has built-in GPS technology so you can search "around me" for active listings close to where you are, no matter what town you happen to be in. This is pretty cool when you are on vacation and wonder what things cost where you are, but don't really want to talk to a real estate person. The app is set up to look at sales in your home neighborhood and give you a "Zestimate" on your property, but in Anchorage Alaska, it's more of a "guesstimate" because sales prices in Anchorage are not public information like sales price are most cities. However, in many cities, the zestimate is pretty accurate for getting close on the value of a property based on recent sales around you.
Realtor.com - This site refreshes with local Multiple Listing Services every day. It features a map search, the ability to save your search so you can come back to re-visit it and the abltity to share listing with your friends, your agent and other social media like Facebook. It is a broadly used search tool for real estate.
Trulia.com - This is an award winning application for all Apple devices and perfect for house hunters and real estate enthusiast. It will show you houses for nearby that are for sale or for rent, open houses, find a realtor as well as checking out local listing prices while on the go.
Once you locate a property strikes your interest, you can email the property listing and photo's to friends and to your own agent to let him know you want to view the house "in person." You can prequalify for a loan from your mobile device and check out the neighborhood demographics and schools.
Once you decide you want to make an offer on the property, you can even sign the documents digitally from your iPhone or mobile device from anywhere! All documents can be produced digitally and be manipulated and signed online. Once your offer is accepted by the seller, who might have signed your offer digitally, you can schedule the home inspection via an online calendar!
Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore! It's a brave new world now!