by Broderick Perkins
02/28/2010 - Hundreds of real estate and mortgage applications are cropping up in the growing catalogue of housing related apps for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch and they put housing information at your finger tips.
While the apps come with the convenience of having your home, mortgage and real estate market information in your pocket, be aware that some of the apps connect you to the Internet and/or require you to input personal private information, including name, phone numbers and email.
Begin your search for housing related apps in the iTunes store using keywords like "real estate," "housing," "mortgage," "home loans,"and others -- with and without quotation marks.
Apps mentioned in this article were selected randomly without review, comparison or examination beyond each app's own description and are included only to provide a flavor for what is available.(Also see: Mortgage comparison apps for iPhone, iPod reviewed)
The largest crop of real estate apps are listing engines designed largely to help you buy, sell or rent a home.
Depending upon the app, in addition to offering listings of homes for sale or rent -- searched with myriad criteria -- some also offer images of the homes inside and out, open house schedules, mapping and location information and general information about home vales, prices, neighborhoods and a host of related and peripheral information on everything from appraisals to zoning.
Realtor.com Real Estate Search is the 800-pound gorilla of the bunch from the National Association of Realtors. It boasts a whopping 4 million listings you can search for photos, property details, open house info, pricing and a connection with your real estate agent. It also includes a rental search.
With some of them plugging into Realtor.com's vast data base, virtually every real estate company and online real estate operation offers a listings app with varying levels of features and usefulness, including Redfin, Trulia, Zillow and ZipRealty as well as national and/or local offices of Better Homes and Gardens, Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Keller Williams, RE/MAX, Prudential, ERA and others.
NewHomeSource.com offers New Home Search for newly-built homes.
Also look for apps direct from your friendly neighborhood real estate agent including the likes of Valarie "The Real Estate Physician" Jacobs, Washington, D.C. area; Whitney Pannell, Lexington, KY; Beth Lutgen, Minneapolis, MN; and Susan "iSusan" Ullery, Mishawaka, MI.
Some specialty apps include Home on the Tube, which lets you use your iPhone to upload videos of your home for sale. Condo Rants and Raves offers comments -- good, bad and ugly -- from residents of 20,000 condo complexes nationwide. WhereULive uses numerology to determine the "energetic nature" of a property. The Walk Score iPhone app determines "Walkability" (reduced dependence on a car) based on the proximity of nearby amenities, such as grocery stores, restaurants, schools, and parks. Local Vibe is a messaging application to keep you connected to what's happening in your local area.
For rental housing, along with Realtor.com's rental listings, try Complete Rentals, CribQ (Craig's List), Find An Apartment, Rentals.com, and Apartment Search - Near Buy.
Mortgage shopping apps
Mortgage shopping applications run the gamut from simple mortgage calculators and average rate monitors to those offering interest rate and loan comparisons.
The ERATE Current Mortgage Rates iPhone App (Home Equity Rates added), with its unique extended menu item sorting feature and horizontal mode and Mortgage Marvel, both let you compare rates without requiring personal information. Others apps in this category include Lending Tree, the nearly identical LoanXEngine, and TheMorty.
To find mortgage calculators search "mortgage calculator" on iTunes and you'll find more than 130 mortgage calculator type apps that will let you know how much you can expect to pay per month based on the home loan, interest rate and other factors.
Utilities run the gamut from checklists and comparisons to special listings.
Checklists - Selling Your Home Checklist tracks your selling chores. Rentals allows rental home searchers to collect details and pictures of rentals visited and later make comparisons. iHouse does the same for home buyers.
Comparisons - Mortgage or Rent helps you make the buy-vs-rent decision. Home Value Pro - RealQuest Mobile let's you examine home values. iCrimeAware puts crime stats at your fingertips. Climate Wise Pro Weather offers weather trends by location.
Education - First Time Home Buyer schools newbies. Real Estate Investor tutors investors. Flip Houses teaches you how to flip. Property Flipper Lite allows investors to analyze flipping schemes. Floorplan shows you how to sketch one.
Reference - Realty glossaries include The Real Estate Handbook; Kaplan Real Estate Terms Flashcards and Reference; and iStudy: Real Estate Terms.
Special listings - Auction.com Real Estate Auction Search points you to auctions. Get Foreclosures Now finds foreclosures. Moofuslist finds bank owned properties.
You might as well have some fun while you're at it.
Build-a-lot lets you build, buy and sell homes on your way to Donald Trump mogul status. Trump Tycoon makes you an apprentice in the employ of The Donald. Tower Bloxx lets you build modular housing to the sky, provided it remains in plumb all the way up.