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 has more than 135 million homes in its database, and homeowners can update property information directly into the database from the app.
Best feature: The app allows you to simultaneously search in more than one specific location, making it easier to compare homes and prices between neighborhoods or even between two cities across the country.
Pro: Zillow’s next-generation 3D Home tours allow you to tour the home with panoramic images, easy navigation and floor-plan views.
Con: It may give you hope for a high sale price, but Zillow Zestimate isn’t a guarantee of what your home will sell for.
Realtor.com Real Estate
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: Property profiles include details that matter to you, from the neighborhood noise level to whether it’s in a FEMA flood zone.
Pro: Connect your account with a spouse or roommate to make shopping for your next home together easier.
Con: The “key facts” you may be used to looking at first for a listing after the photos are visible after clicking “show more details” below the property description. This extra step may not be a problem for you, but don’t miss it if you’re looking for details like whether there’s a washer and dryer, house style or whether there are HOA fees.
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. The map indicates which properties are listed by Redfin or another broker and also notes homes that have video tours available.
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. Contactless meeting options help keep everyone safe and comfortable during the pandemic as well.
Pro: Climate risk data from First Street Foundation and ClimateCheck give you insight on a specific property’s risk of major natural disasters, from flood to wildfire to regional drought.
Con: If you don’t live in one of the 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. This is less likely, however, as Redfin is now in more than 100 markets in the U.S. and Canada.
Trulia’s app gives users a desktop-like experience in a mobile platform, with plenty of neighborhood-focused features to help you geographically narrow your search to meet your needs and wants.
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 89% say it’s dog friendly.
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 beyond federal law.
Cons: If the real estate agent or homeowner hasn’t checked off specific features in the list, like a fireplace or pool, the profile of the home notes “no fireplace” or “no pool,” but that’s not always correct. This may not be an issue for amenities that can be easily spotted in the photos, but if the real estate agent considers air conditioning to be a guaranteed feature and forgets to check it off, a homebuyer may see “no cooling” and consider it an immediate deal breaker.
Homesnap Rental & House Finder
Homesnap gives house hunters the reins with this app, making it easy to start your search through the app or in person, taking a snap of a property you see for sale on the street.
Best feature: 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.
Pro: A property profile includes a lot of information and a lot of scrolling, so it’s helpful that the exact address of the property and the ability to favorite it or share it stays with you while you scroll.
Con: The property details are in-depth, but a long list noting that the living area square footage, below-grade finished area and other stats came from the assessor feel cumbersome when they show up before the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Previously known as Movoto Real Estate by Ojo, Ojo’s app provides detailed property searches and listing details. While buying and selling are a key part of the app, it also encourages existing homeowners to keep track of maintenance, monitor home equity and get realtime neighborhood insights on the app.
Best feature: Property profiles include one-year and five-year market statistics for the neighborhood, ZIP code and city. The property’s asking price is also marked to show where it falls in comparison.
Pro: Information about the neighborhood is in-depth, from the closest coffee shop to whether people in the area consider it kid-friendly or a good spot for foodies.
Con: It’s a small detail, but linked information appears as a dark red color. It helps to distinguish that you can learn more about the county or call the agent directly compared to the regular text, but it also makes the home value estimate look like it’s on the decline, when the color is irrelevant to the value.
From mortgage lender Rocket Mortgage, the Rocket Homes app allows you to search for homes on the market while also preparing for the mortgage application and home purchase process. Using the Rocket Homes app is especially helpful if you’re planning to use Rocket Mortgage as your lender, but it’s certainly not required.
Best feature: Helping you to prepare for the financing process, the Rocket Homes app includes a free credit-tracking feature that won’t impact your score.
Pro: As you search for homes on the map, new listings are marked in purple to help you navigate a hot market.
Con: While there is plenty of property information and information on local schools, compared to other apps the neighborhood data is limited.
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.
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: 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.
Pro: When zooming in on a street or neighborhood, you can filter to also see properties not currently on the market with Xome-estimated home values and public record information.
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.
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: If you’re most interested in properties that allow you to take a careful look at the home before coming for an in-person visit, listings with virtual tours included are noted in the map search feature with a light blue play button icon.
Con: The app resolves the long list of property details and stats that other apps still have by condensing the list into a menu, allowing you to jump to the specific information you’re looking for. However, the menu is a bit repetitive, with descriptions that simply echo the menu item: The “Key Details” tab is described as “key details” right below, and “Taxes and Assessment” information is described as “taxes and assessment”.
The best apps for house hunting include:
— Realtor.com Real Estate.
— Redfin Real Estate.
— Homesnap Real Estate & Rentals.
— Rocket Homes.
— Century 21 Local.
— Xome Real Estate.
— Compass Real Estate — Homes.
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Update 12/15/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.