Monday, April 26, 2010

Can you actually see a house on that thing?

I'm often asked by clients for information on what tools are best for searching for a home. Depending on where you are, the local MLS is probably a good start and there are merits to using major sites like Trulia,, and Zillow. However, I keep seeing articles about applications for smartphones and I have to wonder; can you really see a house on those things?

I've got a smartphone and I have used it to look up listings. I usually do it because someone asks me for details I don't have on a home. Unfortunately for the phone and the broadband network it runs on, downloading lots of high resolution pictures seems, well, impractical.

Sure, it seems cool that you can house hunt on your phone but can you actually see the home in any real detail? You can't see most of the virtual tours and the underlying listing details contain so much data you have to scroll through volumes of text to get what you want. Perhaps we should offer magnifying glasses to our clients who view homes on their tiny smartphone screens.

I just don't see the value in these applications and I have yet to hear from a client who finds them valuable. Most people I talk to use the tools for finding and mapping open houses.

Does anyone out there use these mobile apps to actually preview homes or are the application developers just pumping these things out for our amusement?

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