Home Buying, There is Probably an App for That

by Erin Mantz

Redfin App

When Bill Thornton was house hunting in Columbia Heights, trying to figure out which open houses to hit and which to skip proved to be a little daunting. So the Web Product Developer – no stranger to high-tech tactics – downloaded the Redfin home buyer app to weed out the homes that didn’t seem visit-worthy by his style standards. In one case, he even eliminated a house because the aerial view showed that the properties surrounded it looked less than desirable.

The “Nearby You” feature on Redfin’s app proved helpful for a Potomac home buyer who was always on the move during her nine-month search. The feature found listings that fit her criteria based on her geographical location at any given moment.

Welcome to the world of virtually walking down the block.

Across the DC area, home and condo buyers are using smart phone applications to save time when shopping for real estate.

“Real estate apps are here to stay,” Lindsay Dreyer of Lindsay Reishman Real Estate told UrbanTurf. “Traffic is up at open houses because people can use their phones to see if a house is open when they are walking by. Also, the apps have really facilitated information sharing, which is absolutely essential when buying and selling properties.”

Home Tracker App

The new technology is not just about the home search either. One of Dreyer’s clients recently used an app called Home Tracker to input notes about places he visited and take pictures alongside them, creating a virtual mini- folder for each property. Many of the properties he saw didn’t have pictures online since they were foreclosures, so this app made it possible to keep track of almost 15 places he’d seen in one day.

Another buyer took a photograph of her bedding on her phone before she went home shopping, and then used Sherwin William’ ColorSnap app at a home visit to suggest a wall color match.

A number of UrbanTurf readers have indicated that they have gotten in the habit of using a variety of home buying apps over the course of a regular day and not just when they are out on the hunt.

When Redfin released their app in September 2009, CEO Glenn Kelman had a fairly prescient quote as he talked about the home information provided to the buyer.

“Our goal in providing all this data on the iPhone was to be an addiction, not just a distraction.”

As more buyers try phone apps to help them house hunt and more realtors reach out to help people use them, a new kind of home-buying experience is emerging. While the current apps are certainly saving DC-area buyers time, whether they are also saving them money or giving them a leg up in bidding wars and borderline negotiations is not clear. However, we imagine that it won’t be long until there is an app for that.

See other articles related to: home values, home buying, editors choice

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/home_buying_there_is_probably_an_app_for_that/2070

1 Comment

  1. James Andrew Sands said at 11:09 am on Monday May 17, 2010:

    Love this!  Some tech savvy agents have even taken this concept a step further, and enlisted their very own personal Real Estate apps.  I have had mine for almost a year now, and my clients love it!  My app allows my clients to log on directly to my website, and conduct their own property searches all right from their phones.  Its recently been upgraded so that using GPS technology, it will identify their location, and they can send me a message requesting information about a property they are in front of instantly! It is free, and can be downloaded right from my websites homepage at; JAMESANDREWSANDS.com

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