Best Apps for House And Apartment Hunting
Trying to find the perfect place to live can make stress run high and your life miserable. You have to navigate through phony listings, endless showings, fees, applications, and contracts. The internet has revolutionized the real estate environment with powerful search engines that can filter housing options in dozens of ways and help you figure out what the neighborhood is like. Stay on top of your hunt with your iOS device and get the perfect abode.
REALTOR.com® Real Estate Search
Bad news first: this app focuses on listings from agents, so you won't find many (if at all) listings by owners. Heaps of good news: this app is very accurate. It has listings for for-rent and for-sale homes and all of the standard filters you would want to refine your search. Three features put this app over the top: the "draw" option where you can draw your desired search area, its constantly refreshed listings, and its labeling houses by price on the map.
PadMapper Apartment Search
I love filters. Apartment hunting is hard, so the faster and more easily I can narrow down my search at the start, the happier I am. Padmapper is one of the best apartment search engines online, with more filters than you can shake a stick at. The app has most of PadMapper's basic filters, but lacks the cross-searches of other sites that their online version offers. However, the ability to have filters for things like full-term leases, rooms/shares, no fee/by owner only, and pets, this app already makes itself stand out from the herd. The downside of this app is its wide-net approach to listings. So, be prepared to contact many locations as the site does not always update listings quickly.
Trulia Real Estate - Homes for Sale & Apartments for Rent
This app is great. Like many other apps, it lacks the filters that PadMapper gives you, but Trulia's smooth, streamlined interface and useful "Layers" feature make it essential. Pick whether you want to rent or buy a place and the app will instantly pull up a solid amount of listings. Then, go to the lower left hand corner and select "Layers." With this feature, you can look at heatmaps, local boundaries, amenities, and schools. This way, you can get a feel of an area without having to schlep blindly from county to county.
Redfin Real Estate - Homes for Sale
Redfin, an app made especially for house hunting, was brought to my attention by Jonathan, one of our readers. He found Redfin to have the most accurately updated listings and noted the app has a great "Favorites" option if you are a (free) member of Redfin. By marking a house as a favorite, you get alerts on the status and any changes that happen to the listing. Another unique feature I have found on this app is its "Open House Times" sort feature. Get your house tours organized and never miss an open house again. In addition, when you save a search, Redfin will keep track of new listings that pop up for that search and email you about new homes. The downside of this app is its availability. As of now, it is only available in certain major U.S. cities.
HotPads is a very popular online housing search engine, but their app falls short and lacks most of the website's features. The best parts of this app are the number of listings that show up when you search for places and the symbols they use on the map to delineate the type of housing. The worst part is there are a very limited number of filters; there isn't even one for square footage. Still, this is an app worth glancing at or using if you have a HotPads account (you can save your searches and favorite listings).
MyApartmentMap Apartments Search
This app is only for apartment hunting, but its innovative approach makes it worth noting. The UI is split into four tabs: List, Map, Data, and Deals. The list and map views are found in most the apps listed, but the latter two tabs make this app great. The data tab shows you the average rent for your area, the rent nearby, and rental trends. The deals tab (supposedly) lists special promotions and deals from complexes, but in my experience, the deals are nothing to write home about. Nonetheless, these unique twists make this app worth keeping an eye on.
Real Estate by Smarter Agent
This app has some awesome features. It doesn't have many rental listings (using other apps, I got dozens of rentals in my area, but only one with this app), but its for-sale listings are much better. So, I'd definitely check out this app if you're on the market to buy a house. Now, on to the features. This app draws lifestyle, entertainment, transportation (!), services, education, community, and government locations from the internet and maps it on to the location of your choosing. So, let's say you're a young family who wants to be green and use public transportation as much as possible. Pan the map to your desired area, select "Schools," "Libraries," and "Public Transportation," from the bottom menu and presto! You can plan out your house hunting according to these locations.
Homes.com Real Estate Search
There are a lot of great things about this app, but its listings aren't always up to date and it's littered with ads. The points that make this a decent app instead of a ho-hum one are their "Save Search," monthly payment calculator, and agent search features. If they didn't just rely on agency listings and added a "Recent Listing" sort option, this app would be a real contender.
Real Estate by Zillow – Homes & Apartments, For Sale or Rent
You would think that such a hugely popular name in real estate would have its programmers develop a better app, but Zillow falls behind in a couple of crucial ways. While it has the cool "Draw" feature that lets you draw where you'd like to live on the map, it lacks filters. As a result, you have to sift through hundreds of listings to see fees and pet allowances. However, it does have a nice interface and lets you differentiate between homes for sale and for rent. The best thing about this app is its ""Listing Type" option where you can filter whether the listing is from an owner or agent and whether it's a new home or foreclosure.