Real Estate Goes Mobile

Last Updated Apr 26, 2011 5:11 PM EDT

With iPhone apps numbering in the hundreds of thousands and Droid and Blackberry apps quickly catching up, it was only a matter of time before the real estate industry staked its claim.

Currently, major Internet listing companies and real estate agents themselves are creating apps that allow customers to instantly look at listings, maps prospective homes for sale, and find home values for a property listing all from their phones.

Best of all, many of these applications are free, because brokers are trying to bring eyeballs to their properties. Here are a few of the notable new apps:

Real Estate Goes Mobile: Rent.com


Rent.com has long been the #1 Internet listing site for people looking to rent a home. The company recently decided to launch a free app, which allows eager house hunters to search for the perfect place on the go. The app automatically syncs with a user's Rent.com account and members can even post pictures and take notes on properties while they are standing in front of it, making it perfect for comparing your choices later.

As a mobile marketing move, Rent.com is offering $100 Visa Debit Reward cards for users who report their lease through the app.

Compatibility: Rent.com has covered all of the bases, and has apps for the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry.

Real Estate Goes Mobile: Zillow


Zillow is most well-known for real estate data and information, but the company recently launched apps for phones and tablets. The apps gives potential home buyers information about home values and even allows users to share homes they love on Facebook and Twitter.

One thing that makes Zillow stand out against other apps is its compatibility with the iPad and the Windows Mobile. This means real estate agents using tablets can access information on a listing and present it to their customers immediately.

Compatibility: Zillow is the best bet for actual agents. They have an app for the iPhone, Droid, iPad, and Windows Mobile. Zillow is, however, missing an app for Blackberry phones.

Real Estate Goes Mobile: Smarter Agent


Developed in 2006 as a real estate information website, Smarter Agent has quickly turned into a predominantly mobile business. With tweaks on the main application, Smarter Agent customizes functions for real estate professionals and consumers.

The app relies on GPS functions, like leading home buyers to open houses and listings. This makes it the perfect app for someone who needs help not only finding a house to buy, but also needs help literally finding the potential houses.

Compatibility: While there are no apps for tablets yet, Smarter Agent offers apps for iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Palm, LG, Motorola, and HTC.

More than 90 percent of all buyers start their search for a home online, and renters are no exception, but would you want to conduct your apartment search on your phone?

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Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate atThinkGlink.com and The Equifax Personal Finance Blog, and is Chief Content Strategist atRealtyJoin.com, a community for real estate investors.
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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns ThinkGlink.com, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.