Looking for a place to live — either to buy or rent — can be a lot of fun, but no one ever said it was easy. You always have at least a (sometimes rather substantial) mental checklist of the qualities you need from a place that you can truly call “home,” another list of amenities that you can take or leave, and probably a list of deal breakers that simply can’t be tolerated. Do you need to be close to a good school? Within walking distance to a supermarket? Is the comforting, cozy glow of a warm fireplace essential for decompressing after a long day at the office? Is there a nice, big yard for your rampaging herd of canine companions to roam? Is there a regular flight path to the nearby airport directly overhead? Is there room for expansion? Is the property a historically registered fixer-upper? Do you need enough bedrooms to accommodate your Brady Bunch-sized brood, or can you get by with one? Is there a garage? Is there public transportation nearby? Is the master bedroom’s window situated four inches from the commuter train that runs every 15 minutes, seven days a week?
While I’m very happy with the house we have now, it’s always fun to look around at the could bes and could have beens. When I searched for our current residence a few years back, smartphones hadn’t really hit their stride and the now ubiquitous “there’s an app for that” phrase had yet to be coined. Now, it’s hard to imagine organizing my life without a smartphone, and I rely on it for everything from personal finances to keeping on top of my email to charting a course for the nearest coffee house.
Were I seeking a new dwelling today, a fine little free app (Realtor.com App for iOS) would be an indispensable tool in my mobile arsenal. On the face of it, it allows you to make a simple search of a desired location to get an idea of what you can expect to pay for a house in that area — ranging from lowest to highest — on a map featuring available properties. Selecting one will summon more detailed information about that particular place. In most cases, multiple photographs are included to show you what it looks like so you can see if you’re interested in visiting the next open house or skip it altogether in favor of the house for sale on the next block, instead. This feature is even more impressive with the app’s recent Retina display support making images as crisp and true to life as possible.
Too many results in your target location and you’re overwhelmed with a need to separate the wheat from the chaff? No problem. The Realtor.com App for iOS allows you to filter out properties that don’t meet your high-falutin’ standards so that you’re served with a more feasible list of possible future homesteads. Not looking to buy right now? The app will display rental properties for you, too.
In addition to showing available properties for sale or rent, this will also pinpoint recently sold properties (for the sake of comparison or for regret junkies who coulda woulda shoulda acted faster, I guess?) and tell you when open houses will be held for places you’d like to visit. You can save searches, complete with your own personal notes, to your Realtors account so that your hard work is preserved for later access.
Did I say hard work? Actually, thanks to the this thing, looking for a home couldn’t be any easier!