6 Top Real Estate Apps for Finding a New Home

That cool new smartphone you got this holiday season can help you find a cool new place to live if you’re planning on going house-hunting in 2013.

That’s because real estate firms, listing services, mortgage companies and more have thousands of free smartphone apps available to help you find your piece of the American Dream.

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“These apps are definitely a good thing to have when we’re out and about looking at houses,” says Daniel Terdiman, a senior writer at electronics-review site CNET.com. “It’s like filling in the gaps of things you can’t know about a listing because you’re not near a computer.”

Here’s a look at six free smartphone apps that anyone who’s looking for a new pad should definitely check out:

1. Redfin

The Redfin app uses you choice of a touchscreen map or a search engine to look up current listings, recent sales or upcoming open houses anywhere in America.

Simply enter a ZIP code or the name of a city or neighborhood, or type in “Current Location” to see listings near your present position.

Get the Redfin App

2. Zillow

This app is best known for providing mobile access to website Zillow.com’s popular “Zestimates” – a projected current market values for virtually every home in America.

Using your smartphone’s GPS, the Zillow app will automatically give you Zestimates for all residences near your current location or any other area you select.

In addition to providing Zestimates for nearby homes, the Zillow app will also show you details about all area properties for sale or rent.  You’ll also get data on houses that have recently sold, as well as estimated values of homes in the foreclosure process but not yet on the market.

This app also includes affordability calculators and whether refinancing your existing mortgage makes sense.  You can even get rates form Zillow’s mortgage advertisers and initiate contact with a lender if you wish.

Get the Zillow App

3. HomeSnap

A relative newcomer among house-hunting apps, HomeSnap is getting great reviews for its ability to let you take a snapshot of a home using your smartphone’s camera and instantly get information about the property.

You can find out about the home’s estimated value, along with whether it’s for sale and other features and amenities.

Something to note, however, is that the picture you take is someone of a gimmick.  The app isn’t using photo-recognition software, rather your phone’s GPS to determine where you are and what property you’ve just photographed.

Get the HomeSnap App

4. Realtor.com

This app from the National Association of Realtors’ official property-listing site lets you easily find homes for sale or rent near your current location.  You can also find nearby upcoming open houses as well as pricing data.

As with Zillow’s app you can view properties as a list or on a map.  You can also draw a circle on the map with your finger to define what area you want to check out.

Another useful tool is Realtor.com’s “Area Scout.” This feature shows you a neighborhood’s current average asking price, average available square footage and average price per square footage.

Get the Realtor.com App

5. Trulia

Trulia is another major property-listing website that provides a free app to help house-hunters.

As with Zillow and Realtor.com, Trulia’s app shows you nearby properties for sale, for rent, upcoming open houses, and just sold listings.

But unlike these apps, Trulia’s app includes a single button that automatically shows you just those properties that have had recent price reductions.

Get the Trulia App

6. Bankrate.com

Figuring out which home to buy is great, but you still have to pay for it.  That’s where Bankrate.com’s smartphone app comes in.

This app includes an easy-to-use mortgage calculator and a list of updated daily average U.S. rates for 15-year and 30-year fixed mortgages and five-year adjustable-rate mortgages.

You can also plug in specifics about your situation; approximate mortgage size, down payment, credit score and more – then instantly get rate quotes from several lenders.

Get the Bankrate.com App