An iPhone App for Homebuyers

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The iPhone is off the hook, with 40 million users at the end of 2009, according to Apple.

A big reason why is the number of useful applications that iPhone users can download at the touch of a finger.

For users in the market for a home, one new iPhone app promises to make the process of looking for a new house much easier.

It’s called the Realtor.com “Home Search” iPhone App, and it leverages GPS technology to give users direct access to 4 million homes nationwide, with new listings updated every 15 minutes. According to the Realtors.com Web site, the new real estate allows iPhone customers to:

  • Find an actual property for sale via the apps GPS technology;
  • Snap pictures of the home;
  • Take specific notes about the property and store those notes in the application’s database;
  • Send a link to friends and family (or to a real estate agent) via e-mail, Twitter or Facebook.

Users who want more specific information or, what the heck, want to make an offer on the home can also reach the listing agent via the application’s “ask a question” button.

That’s pretty cool, but there’s one better. If an iPhone user wants to get over to the property and conduct an on-site inspection, the application has an “Open Houses Nearby” tab (limited to a 20-mile radius) that maps out the area and guides the buyer to the home through an embedded GPS tracking tool.

You can limit your home searches by geography, price, house size or other key metrics. The application’s scope is fairly impressive – Realtor.com pulls U.S. house listings off a network of more than 900 multiple-listing services, with up-to-the-minute price changes included.

The real estate app is compatible with the iPhone 3.0 or higher, and the iPod Touch.

The takeaway? According to real estate industry figures, it takes an average of 12 weeks and a visit to 16 houses before home shoppers find the house they want.

At the very least, the new iPhone app should cut some time, and some frustration, out of the home-buying process.

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