Browse for homes — and maybe even close a deal.
Luckily for homebuyers, house hunting apps are growing in number and sophistication. As the online real estate marketing industry becomes more competitive, mobile apps are getting better at helping consumers find accurate housing information while offering features to help users narrow down their search. Read on for some of the most popular and helpful apps to use when searching for your next house. All apps are available on both iOS and Android.
This is the most downloaded real estate app for both Apple and Android phones, and it includes Zillow’s signature map and home value estimate tools. Zillow reported an average of more than 201 million unique monthly visitors for the fourth quarter of 2020, and its app is a popular method for users to explore the platform, which has more than 135 million homes in its database.
Best feature: Zillow’s new next-generation 3D Home tours allow you to tour the home with panoramic images, while simultaneously following along on a floor plan of the space. As a brand-new feature, it’s currently available in 25 markets and will roll out to others.
Pro: The app’s dashboard includes a Your Home tab that allows you to store your property’s information and see how its value estimate changes over time.
Con: As much as you may want it to be, the Zillow Zestimate isn’t a guarantee of what your home will sell for.
Realtor.com Real Estate Search
As the consumer-facing company connected to the National Association of Realtors, users can easily get in touch with Realtors located nearby. Filters on this app’s search function allow you to include specific details on your must-have list, such as multiple floors, a fireplace, central air and even community swimming pools or security features.
Best feature: With the Sign Snap feature, you can take a photo of a real estate sign you see in a neighborhood and get details about the property right away.
Pro: Property profiles include details that matter to you, from the neighborhood noise level to whether it’s in a FEMA flood zone.
Con: The more specific filters rely on listing agents using the right keywords, so if you’re struggling to find everything you want in a house, you may have to widen your search and keep an eye out for details in listing photos.
Trulia’s app gives users a desktop-like experience in a mobile platform, with a focus on design that makes it easy to use.
Best feature: Trulia polls its online users who live in specific neighborhoods and includes the results on the app. For example, you might find that 93% of one neighborhood’s respondents feel comfortable walking alone at night or that 76% say kids play outside regularly.
Pros: On each property profile, Trulia lists local legal protections, noting whether there is legislation in the area to protect against discrimination for gender identity or sexual orientation in employment, housing or public accommodations.
Cons: On any property profile, you’re prompted to call or email an agent about the property. While this is convenient if you’re serious about buying but don’t have an agent, it can get in the way if you’re just browsing.
Redfin Real Estate
Since Redfin utilizes an out-of-the-box business model with agents and professionals specializing in different steps of the homebuying and selling process, the company’s app serves as a way for users and Redfin agents to communicate. A map indicates which properties are listed by Redfin or another broker and also notes homes that are likely to sell fast through its Hot Homes feature.
Best feature: You can schedule a tour, virtual or in-person, with a Redfin agent directly through the app. The app even lists the next available tour time.
Pro: You can click the heart symbol to keep a property you like on your radar, and you can also nix properties so they don’t keep popping up in searches.
Con: If you don’t live in one of the 90 markets in the U.S. and Canada where Redfin has agents, the app offers local listing information pulled from the multiple listing service, but you won’t be able to utilize the features that connect you with Redfin agents.
Homesnap Real Estate & Rentals
Homesnap gives house hunters the reins with this app. While Homesnap is the classic consumer-facing app, the company also has Homesnap Pro and Homesnap Pro+, apps for agents to streamline much of their work with clients.
Best feature: Added in April 2020 while in-person home tours were first proving difficult during the coronavirus pandemic, Homesnap launched its Virtual Open House feature, which makes it easy to tune in to a live broadcast of a property’s open house, hosted by the listing agent.
Pro: A signature feature allows users to take a photo of a home, and the app will identify the property and provide details about it from the local multiple listing service or public records.
Con: The property details are in list form, which you can expand to see everything from the home’s architectural style to number of bathrooms and homeowners association fees. The depth of information is helpful, but long lists can make it easy to lose focus and miss key criteria.
On this app, you can search based on your needs and desires, including buying versus renting, home value information for properties on the market and what neighborhoods are ideal based on your preferred commute time.
Best feature: An exclamation point in the corner of a property profile lets you know that it’s a new listing, which can help you move quickly to avoid competition with other buyers.
Pro: Homes.com spent much of 2020 improving the speed and user-friendliness of its app to provide as seamless an experience as possible for homebuyers. While scheduling showings or getting information about open houses were previously available, virtual open houses and Zoom showings can be scheduled through the app as well.
Con: While Homes.com has much of the same property information as other house hunting platforms, the app doesn’t offer as robust neighborhood information as some other apps. The company notes, however, that it is working to improve its neighborhood and demographic data to be helpful for consumers and to keep it from being used for discrimination.
Estately Real Estate
Estately aims to connect consumers with the right local real estate agent, and its app offers multiple ways to get in touch with agents. Estately’s reach in the U.S. is extensive, including information for active listings in nearly every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Best feature: Users can click on icons on property profiles for quick information on taxes, utilities, appliances, schools and more. Profiles also include scores on things like area noise pollution and internet speed — details that aren’t always considered but could be deal-breakers.
Pro: The app encourages you to see houses in person, with multiple opportunities on a property profile to schedule a day and time to visit.
Con: Estately has grown in the last few years, but if you’re looking for a home in Alaska, you’re out of luck. Estately currently doesn’t cover the Last Frontier.
Century 21 Local
A longstanding national brokerage, Century 21 provides consumers with access to home listing information pulled from the local multiple listing services. The app can particularly come in handy if you plan to use a Century 21 agent, as that’s who you’ll be in touch with if you would like to inquire more about a property.
Best feature: The app provides a notes section for every property, so you can keep track of your impressions as you compare homes.
Pro: If you start searching for homes in a different city, information about the local Century 21 brokerage you should contact changes accordingly, although you can still see listings from brokerages outside Century 21.
Con: This app pulls from Zillow to provide home value estimates, but occasionally lists “unavailable” even if the property has a Zestimate available on Zillow.
Compass Real Estate — Homes
This app from national real estate brokerage Compass provides information on any properties listed in the area where you’re looking. It’s easy to get in touch with a Compass agent near you through the app as well.
Best feature: If you allow the app to have Bluetooth access on your phone, it will connect to Compass signs for information about properties nearby for sale by Compass agents.
Pro: You can easily see when a property is listed by Compass on the house’s profile. Scroll through recommended properties for you, and you may even find properties that aren’t on the market yet but will be soon if they’re being listed with a Compass agent.
Con: While browsing properties on the Compass app can show you properties listed with non-Compass real estate agents, you are not able to browse markets on the app where Compass does not currently have agents.
Xome Real Estate
While best known for its information and search feature for homes being sold through auction, Xome’s app provides detailed information for plenty of homes on the market through traditional sale.
Best feature: In Xome’s map browsing function, you can layer in ZIP code information, school zone boundaries, neighborhood boundaries, city limits and more.
Pro: The Xome Zoom feature allows you to point the camera on your phone at a property, and information will pop up on the app to tell you about the home.
Con: While Xome’s database of auction properties is easy to browse on a desktop computer, you cannot filter to view auction properties on the main app. If you’re interested in auction properties, you have to download the separate Xome Real Estate Auctions app.
The best apps for house hunting include:
— Realtor.com Real Estate Search.
— Redfin Real Estate.
— Homesnap Real Estate & Rentals.
— Estately Real Estate.
— Century 21 Local.
— Compass Real Estate — Homes.
— Xome Real Estate.
More from U.S. News
Update 02/23/21: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.