This post was a lot of fun for me because I love real estate, technology and my HTC EVO phone. My research for this involved discovering and testing a large and growing number of real estate apps for Android. Through my research, I came to the conclusion that there are three classes of real estate apps for smart phones;
- Large national real estate consolidators like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com
- Large national real estate brokers like Century 21, Coldwell Banker and RE/MAX
- Large regional real estate brokers like John L. Scott, Edina Realty and Long and Foster
For the purpose of this post I chose to focus on the large national consolidators and so I compared Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia on my EVO to see which one works the best. (I’ll cover the other two classes in future posts.)
All of the big 3 apps include property listings all over the country and all three have a huge number of listings available to browse. Realtor.com claims to have over 4 million listings which I have to believe is quite a bit more than their competition. Read on to learn more about the 3 biggest real estate apps for Android:
Zillow is one of the more well know names in online real estate and as you probably know they got there start by providing home value estimates, or zestimates, for just about any house in the US. From there they morphed into a real estate marketing machine and so I figured, with all the hoopla, their app should be a real winner.
The first thing I noticed when I fired up this app was it’s opening/home screen is a satellite style map of the area around my location with little home icons indicating listings. If you touch a little red house icon, you get a mini window that opens with a photo and basic info like price, # of bedrooms and bathrooms, square ft and type of property i.e. single family, condo, etc. See below.
It also lists Recent Comparable Sales, which is good to know especially if I’m planning to sell my home. In many cases Zillow provides a list of 3-4 buyers agents and their contact info, Realtor marketing at it’s best I might add, and finally it provides the listing agents name, (not in all cases) and basic contact info.
- Save as favorite
- View on Map
- Email this home
- Street view (which brought up an empty screen the first time I tried it but it worked on the second home and it was pretty cool) and,
- Get directions
Pretty much the stuff we would expect. I was also pleasantly surprised by the speed of this app as all the info and photos loaded with little or no delay. I wanted to keep this post fairly short so I’m not going in to all the back side features like saving favorites and setting up email alerts.
In the Android Market the Zillow app has a 4.5 star rating out of 5 stars and 11,527 ratings making it the most highly rated real estate app of the big three.
Incidentally I was only using 3G because while my friends at Sprint having been charging me for 4G service since I got my phone last June, it’s still not available at my home
The first thing I noticed was Trulia’s home screen was also a map but they are using a Google map instead of the satellite style map that Zillow uses. Personally I like the look of the Google map better as it is cleaner and brighter.
Clicking on a Google map stick pin brings up a feature box for the home which in many cases included one feature I really like. It indicates if there was a recent price reduction and how much the price of the home was reduced.
The full screen home details page was clean and easy to use and very similar to the Zillow layout or most other real estate apps for that matter. One difference I noticed between the Zillow and Trulia details page is that they both showed price history for the home but only Zillow offered comparable sales as well.
- My Trulia
- Scan QR Code ( a little ahead of it’s time but nice touch)
The Trulia app is also easy to use and the speed was great, no sluggishness or stalls.
In the Android Market the Trulia app has a 4 star rating out of 5 stars and a paltry 485 ratings. ( like I said, third fiddle)
Finally, the Realtor.com app for Android. The first thing I noticed about this app is it’s home screen, at least on my phone, isn’t a map. In fact it is a menu which at first glance I was surprised that the leader of the real estate free world, Realtor.com, would open their app to a list versus a map like everyone else.
Then I realized that because of the small screen size of smart phones, even the 4.3 inch screen on many of the new androids, list view was a better way to review homes. Fact of the matter is that if I’m going to do any serious home shopping, I’ll be doing it on my laptop or and iPad. So I came to the conclusion that I liked the home screen of the Realtor.com app best of the three.
As you can see from above, the menu options on the Realtor.com app are well thought out and I was instantly drawn to the “nearby homes for sale” option which delivered exactly what I expected, a short list of homes near my current location which looks like this;
As you see, I can now easily click on the map or satellite view and at the bottom of this list was a “show 15 more listings” and “save this Search” button. I never thought I’d say it as I am a big map based real estate search guy, but leading with the property list option was a big seller for me with this app.
To my surprise, of all three apps, Realtor.com gave me the least amount of details about each home. They didn’t include any of the comparable sales or price reduction that Zillow and Trulia provided, a big disappointment from the market leader.
In the Android Market the Realtor.com app has a 4 star rating out of 5 stars and 1,621 ratings.
In the end all three apps provided much of the same functionality, they all have map and satellite viewing options, search saver, easy ways to refine your search parameters and a number of other now standard features. That said, here is my humble opinion of each app;
Realtor.com – Love the menu home page and list view first, then map if I want it. I’m also confident that Realtor.com has the biggest most accurate inventory.
Zillow – While I hate the satellite view on the home/entry screen, this is probably the best app if your a Realtor looking for marketing options as they show 3-4 buyers agents at the bottom of every listing.
I also love the comparable sales data, especially if I’m using the app to prepare to sell my home, and the 1, 5 and 10 year home value estimates or zestimates.
Trulia – I like Trulia’s home page second best because they use Google maps versus the satellite view of Zillow. They also have a nice icon based menu bar at the top of the screen which is intuitive.
The other thing I really like about the Trulia app for Android is the attention to price reduction and price history by date.
Feel free to chime in with a comment about your favorite real estate app for Android.
If you’re thinking about selling your home, read “How To Choose The Best Realtor to Sell Your Home”
For more information about the real estate industry, read “5 Cool Real Estate Infographics”
If you are looking for a home visit www.mlsmaps.com