If you are familiar with the real estate market then you have likely heard about Zillow.com. They are a powerful marketplace where buyers and sellers can post listings, photos and information about homes. You can search for properties by area, or even request a specific addresses.
The best part about Zillow is their fully featured mobile app experience. Their native app supports both iPhone and iPad devices, both with all of the same featured functionality. You can look up addresses and see previous listings/sale prices over the years. Anybody with an interest in the housing market will love to check this out.
The application home screen features eight specific sections you can delve into. The two most prominent features are searching homes by name and location, but you also can access your Zillow account and edit mobile settings.
The smaller icons indicate tools which will be useful for buyers and sellers. You can actually save favorite houses and search queries right inside the app, but know that all this data is all synced through a Zillow account, so you’ll either need to log in or register to create a new one.
Searching the Map
If you allow Zillow access to your GPS current location data it can track and find listings in your immediate area. All houses are displayed as arrow icons with the most recent Zestimate price. If the property has been recently sold it is generally indicated with a golden arrow. Houses which are currently for sale or renting are colored with a red arrow.
This can all be a bit tricky if you are working off an iPhone or iPod Touch; the small screen in map view can make it difficult to select a home. If you tap the List button in the top right corner you’ll get a listing of all the homes with the essential data. This can include the property street address, number of beds/baths, total square feet, and photos if available.
You can also tap the Filter button in the lower left-hand corner to bring up detailed search queries. You can limit results based on price range, homes for sale/rent, lot size, year built, and a whole bunch of additional options.
I truly enjoy the simplicity of Zillow and how effortless it is to acquire housing data. Their algorithms for calculating a price estimate are also very well written. By no means are they perfect, but if you’re shopping around for a house this app can be a great starting reference.
Advanced Location Methods
If the GPS location method isn’t a smooth option then don’t worry, there are a couple other ways you can search through Zillow and still find exactly what you’re looking for.
If you go back onto the home page and select Search Homes, you’re brought back to a similar map view as before. This time, you can select the top search bar and use this as your navigator. The app will take any standard address input which should include the house number and street name, along with your state/country.
From here you can use all of the same filters as above and move around the maps just as before. With this method you can also search for houses and apartments out of your current area — a very useful feature if you are planning to move a great distance and want to look into housing costs. It can be fun just looking at homes in different parts of the world, too.
Housing Detail View
From any list or map view you can tap on the house’s popup bubble to learn more information. This opens a view with a whole lot more information about the property, along with buttons where you can save to your favorites or share via E-mail/Facebook/Twitter.
The top portion of this page holds room for photographs. If the property was ever listed for sale Zillow will scour the web to pull any pictures it can find. But even better you’ll find a whole lot of information about pricing and rental costs. Zillow will even estimate a mortgage cost based on the current markets and interest rates.
The app is very detailed about charts and crunching numbers. The initial price can be calculated and referenced into a nice pie chart for breaking down the finances. Of course, these are all estimates on Zillow’s end, but are still helpful to give you a ballpark range.
The Zillow mobile experience really opens up once you log into an account. You can do this from the home page by tapping on Settings & Feedback. You can also register for a new account which will take a bit more time, but is well worth the effort if you have an interest.
Also from the home page screen, you can access mortgage rates in a nice line chart. You can edit the display settings to range from 1 week, 1 month, 1 year or even 2 years. These are fixed numbers based on the market percentage for mortgages over time.
There’s also a neat calculator section which can help you nail down finances in a pinch. The affordability calculator is very handy which lets you setup the initial information (yearly income, total money down, monthly payments) and it will generate a reasonable price range for property you could purchase. There are also payment functions for homeowners and a refinance calculator for those looking to refinance on a mortgage.
With hundreds of thousands of apps in the App Store it can be difficult to find high quality brands. Zillow has a reputable name amongst real estate agents and has built a powerful following over the years. Their mobile app offers a whole basket of features which will delight anyone interested in the property markets for renting, selling or buying.