House Hunting Apps for Your Smartphone

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If house hunting is on your to-do list for 2013, you might want to consider one or more of these smartphone apps.

CNET's Daniel Terdiman said that the best thing about these apps is the fact that they use your smartphone's global-positioning system to figure out where you are, and then provide a wealth of information about nearby homes.

All, except HomeSnapare available in both Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) iOS and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) Android versions. The Android version of HomeSnap is "coming soon" according to the developer.

Redfin

Redfin is a property-listing app from the web-based real estate firm of the same name. Simply enter a ZIP code or the name of a city or neighborhood you want to check out, or type in your location to see listings near your present position.

Terdiman says Redfin does an excellent job of indicating whether a home for sale is already under agreement. This is important because homes under agreement, while technically still for sale, are nor worth spending time on unless the deal falls through.

Zillow

Zillow (NASDAQ: Z ) is an app that provides mobile access to the Zillow website, one of the most popular listing sites on the Internet. One unique feature of Zillow is the "Zestimate" feature, which uses special algorithms to come up with a suggested value for the home.

"Zestimates" are more useful for comparison than as bargaining data, since the listings are not always up to date and the values are not based on a professional real estate appraisal.

As with the website, the app includes calculators to help estimate whether you can afford a given house or whether refinancing your existing mortgage makes sense.

HomeSnap (iPhone/iPad only)

HomeSnap is unique due to its ability to let users take a snapshot of a home using their smartphone's camera and instantly get information about the property.

The app uses the phone's GPS to match up coordinates with available properties. The photo is more for the benefit of the user.

That said, GPS recognition is reasonably accurate and provides access to the home's estimated value, along with whether it's for sale and other details.

Realtor.com

This app, designed by the National Association of Realtors, offers the normal search features, allows you to find nearby upcoming open houses, and pricing data on properties that have recently changed hands.

Another unique tool is Realtor.com's "Area Scout." It provides a neighborhood's current average asking price, average available square footage, and average price per square foot.

Trulia

Trulia (NYSE: TRLA ) is similar to other apps in many ways. It shows nearby properties that are for sale, for rent, have upcoming open houses, or have recently sold.

However, only Trulia includes a button that filters out all properties except those that have had recent price reductions - a useful feature for bargain hunters.

(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , GOOG , TRLA , Z

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