New iPad Tools Ease the House Hunter's Search

real estate searchLooking to buy a home this spring? There are plenty of new real estate search tools designed to make your home search a whole lot easier. In the old days, house hunters relied on newspaper classified listings and brokers to hone in on properties that fit their criteria. These days, smartphones, tablets and PCs do all the heavy lifting for you. AOL Real Estate test-drove a few of the latest real estate apps, and here's what we found.

Realtor.com, the listings site of the National Association of Realtors, just introduced its new iPad app. Among the cool features included in the free download is a function that lets you select an area to target in your search just by drawing a line around it on a map. The app also allows you to highlight properties of interest, as well as rate them and post your comments in real time as you're looking at them.


Keeping tabs on all the properties you're considering is probably one of the most difficult aspects of house hunting. Buyfolio.com, which came out last year, attempts to gather all that data in an organized fashion on its iPhone app (which also works on iPads). The agent or buyer simply drags the property listing into one of the following categories: "To See," "Saw and Liked," or "Didn't Like." The program allows you to post your own comments next to each listing. Brokers are using the site to share listings and comments with house hunters. The site even remembers if you've considered a house before, with a "you already rejected this" message.




Nestio.com, while currently only available to apartment shoppers in New York City, uses comparison tools to streamline apartment rentals in a similar fashion. Particularly impressive is the site's ability to seamlessly integrate a search of apartment listings from Craigslist and automatically organize them for you to better contemplate your options. An iPad app is expected to be released shortly.




ZipRealty.com has a handy free app for iPhones, iPads and Android devices that finds your location and magically populates a map with all of the recent sales in the immediate area. It also automatically links to home valuation sites Zillow.com and HomeGain, giving you an instant dossier on what you should realistically pay for the house of your dreams.




For those who have already purchased a home or are considering a fixer-upper, Houzz.com is an interior-design aggregator that allows you to flip through countless idea books on its user-friendly iPad app. Each portfolio of photos, which can be accessed through room categories or geographical areas, is linked to detailed contact information for the firm responsible for the space. You can even upload your own idea book.




























Of course, even with these real estate search tools, you still have to make the decision on which home to buy or rent on your own. For help with that, check out our AOL Real Estate guides:
More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
Find homes for sale in your area.
Find foreclosures in your area.
Get property tax help from our experts.

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Gary Neal

That's so cool that you can use technology to easily find a home now! It's crazy how the internet has totally changed the world. Does the iPad allow you to see home construction, and what will be available in coming months? http://husepierolaconst-va.com/lp/

June 30 2011 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
garyneal

I love this app on the iPad. It can give you specifics you didn't even know you wanted. I was looking for glass doors on my house and it found all of the houses that fit under that criteria. http://www.mrdoormanmia.com/Tips

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April 29 2011 at 9:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jill Kipnis

Alec, thanks so much for including the Realtor.com app! You mention the Area Highlighter tool above, which is one of my favorite features. What’s also great about it is the ability to draw down just one street and get a very hyper-local search: http://youtu.be/4UlIWz9NS_U

This app is the most accurate real estate search experience available on the iPad because all of the country’s MLSs contribute listings to Realtor.com. And, it has the most up-to-date listings info—80% of the properties are updated every 15 minutes and the rest are updated every 1 to 24 hours.

I hope everyone’s spring house hunting is that much more fun using this app!

April 28 2011 at 5:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jennie

What happen to the prices of homes that people don't have much money an want a home they can call their own. I can remember when U could but a home for 20,000. an it was a nice home an just maybe U had to do little work or no work at all. I'm a low to mid class person but I would like to be putting my money I pay in rent on a home I can do what ever I want to it. IF THEY WOULD BRING PRICES DOWN MORE PEOPLE WOULD BUY AN WOULD PAY THEIR BILLS AN STILL Live !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God Bless Us All Pray for our country

April 28 2011 at 3:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
buyfolio

Thanks for including Buyfolio in the story! We've heard from a number of real estate brokers that they take their iPad around with home buyers to record what they do and don't like about a property. Those comments are then saved for all users of the folio, so it helps buyers remember what they liked, and helps brokers find properties that better match the home buyer's needs. Great stuff!

April 28 2011 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lweyuk

what about trulia.com as a tool for real estate?

April 28 2011 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply