When I was asked to check out the Realtor.com App for iOS, I had to put on the hat of "what does it feel like to be a home buyer?" Before I clicked on the app, I thought that what I'd want would be a way to sort houses by features, like cost, and maybe number of bedrooms, and that sort of thing. This app does that, but I can't wait to talk about the feature I liked the most.
The app is for iOS right now, and has retina support for iPhone5 and the new iPad, but I have a 4S and it looks plenty fine on that. (As it's primarily a map-type app, I'm not sure what the difference is, but I don't have a 5, so maybe I'm missing all the coolness. Looked great to me.)
So, not only do you look by price, but you can look by whether you want to see foreclosures or not, new listings only, etc. I liked how narrow I could make the search if I really wanted it to go that way.
If I were selling or buying, some of the search features I saw in there looked pretty useful, because I could parse by "recently sold," and thus, what if I saw a neighborhood where there were a lot of homes recently sold? If I were selling, I might have to think on how to work with my Realtor to ensure mine gets sold, too, or as a buyer, it might be a question I'd have.
The map feature was pretty cool. If I clicked on various pins, property would come up and then I could drill down, and drill down some more. And then I saw the big "ask question" button when I drilled down even more, and I got this screen:
What I really liked was that it gave me the option of calling this guy directly or sending an email. That was a neat feature, indeed. But not my favorite.
I went back to the map and I saw the word "draw," and I thought, "What? Like draw a smiley face on the map?" Well, no.
So I drew this rough circle around a lake, and POW, a bunch of listings came up in the circle. Thus, if I maybe didn't even know what I wanted to seach by, criteria-wise, but I knew I wanted to live somewhere around that lake, pow. I've got it.
I did not expect that feature. And it might seem simple, but think about how useful that is when house hunting.
I didn't push every single button on the app, but I liked that I could search for apartments and I could pick condos or whatever else I wanted. Oh, and as you would likely expect of an app like this, it's free.
Some of the features I didn't yet mention are that this thing lets you search by current location. Have you ever driven through a neighborhood and thought, "well, this would be a cool place to live?" Push one button and you're searching for property. Heck, I was driving through a ritzy part of Connecticut last week, and if I had had this app, I'd have just wanted to see how much all the gorgeous homes around us cost. A ton more than my budget, but fun to dream, right?
One last feature that I imagine would be really useful if you're hunting over a period of time. You can save searches, so you don't have to go back and do it over and over again.
All in all, a pretty cool app, and if you're in the market to buy or sell a place, this seems like a cool tool. It was fun to try it out on some towns and areas I like.
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