The Best Apps for House Hunting

These mobile apps will have you scrolling and swiping listings to your heart’s content.

By Devon Thorsby, Editor, Real Estate |Dec. 9, 2015, at 9:27 a.m.

The Best Apps for House Hunting

Slideshow

Browse for homes, and maybe even close a deal.

A man types on a smartphone.

(Getty Images)

The days of picking up a real estate book at your local grocery store are fading fast, and mobile apps for house hunting are growing in number and their ability to cater to your needs. As the online real estate marketing industry becomes increasingly competitive, the resources for consumers are getting better for finding accurate housing information. Check out some of the most popular and useful tools to use when searching for your next house.

Real Estate by Zillow

Real Estate by Zillow

(Courtesy of Zillow)

As the most downloaded real estate-related app for both Apple and Android phones, Zillow’s mobile app provides users with the responsive capabilities of its website in mobile form, including an interactive map and home value estimate that are signature features offered by the brand. With more than 100 million homes in its database, Real Estate by Zillow is another way for users to access information – more than two-thirds of Zillow’s traffic comes from mobile devices, Zillow reports.

realtor.com Real Estate

realtor.com Real Estate

Real Estate app

(Courtesy of Move, Inc.)

With the ability to search for homes by school and district, the realtor.com app makes it easy to find neighborhoods that meet your location needs. Tapan Bhat, chief product officer for realtor.com, says the app is user-friendly and provides accurate, updated information. “Today’s apps are folding in the latest advances in technology as soon as they’re available, so it’s important to update often and see what’s new,” he says. Among the newest features Bhat notes is a "hand-off capability" for the realtor.com Express Real Estate app for iOS 9 that allows users to switch between desktop and mobile devices with ease.

Dwellr

Dwellr

Aerial view of housing development near San Marcos, Texas

(iStockPhoto)

The mobile real estate app run by the U.S. Census Bureau gives you access to information about the city or neighborhood you’re considering – from basic statistics like population, down to specific demographics that can help you get a feel for the area you move to. Though it’s meant for a wide range of purposes, including travel and simply getting to know your hometown better, for real estate purposes, it’s helpful for gauging priorities before making a major move. For instance, the app asks you to rate the importance of different factors in your life such as job type and climate.

Doorsteps Swipe

Doorsteps Swipe

Real Estate app

(Courtesy of Move, Inc.)

Also powered by realtor.com owner Move Inc., Doorsteps Swipe is the Tinder for real estate. Presented with photos of homes on the market based on your search criteria, you can swipe right if you love it and swipe left if you don’t. While it may not be the best idea to buy your new home based on a right swipe alone, it’s the fun way to get a feel for features you like and homes that suit your style. You may even have fun browsing random homes on the market throughout the country.

Real Estate by Trulia

Real Estate by Trulia

Real Estate app

(Courtesy of Trulia)

Another of the most downloaded real estate apps, Real Estate by Trulia gives users the desktop site experience in a mobile platform, with a focus on design that makes it easy to use for everyone. With its new “discovery” feature, Trulia’s app opens to packages of photos, rather than a map, that show features you may like. “You might get categories of photos of homes with things like updated kitchens, or fixer uppers of different categories that you’re not going to see with different apps,” says Jeff McConathy, vice president of engineering for consumer products at Trulia.

Real Estate by Xome

Real Estate by Xome

Real Estate app

(Courtesy of Xome)

Xome’s real estate app takes homebuying or selling a step further by not only showing you listings and connecting you with agents, but also assisting you throughout the rest of the process, says Allison Cornia, chief marketing officer for Xome. For example, you can use it to schedule tours and share thoughts on a home. “All the other pieces are integrated so that the consumer and the agent can both use the mobile app to communicate and collaborate, and complete the transaction,” she says. Not only that, but Cornia says consumers who close a deal with a Xome agent get a minimum of 1 percent back on the purchase price on their home.

Homesnap

Homesnap

Real Estate app

(Courtesy of Homesnap)

Homesnap gives house hunters the reins on its mobile app, with its signature feature where you can take a photo of a home and the app will provide details about the property from the local multiple listing service or public records. Gayle Weiswasser, vice president of marketing and social engagement for Homesnap, reports the company recently launched a new messaging feature, which allows you to communicate directly with your real estate agent and others in your house-hunting process, such as a spouse or friend. Weiswasser points out that the app allows you to refer back to conversations as needed. “[It's] very custom-designed just for home searchers and for agents,” she says.

Real Estate by Redfin

Real Estate by Redfin

Real Estate app

(Courtesy of Redfin)

Aimed at redefining the real estate industry, the Redfin app provides a way for users and Redfin agents to communicate. The app’s “hot homes” feature also highlights homes with a lot of interest and will predict how quickly they might receive offers, says Redfin spokeswoman Rachel Musiker. “If [buyers are] really interested in a home, and we’re predicting that it’s going to go under contract quickly, they might cancel their happy hour plans and instead go see that home,” she says.

Read More
AD

Learn More


Devon Thorsby is the Real Estate editor at U.S. News & World Report, where she writes consumer-focused articles about the homebuying and selling process, home improvement, tenant rights and the state of the housing market.

She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.

Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at dthorsby@usnews.com.