Sat, May 25, 2024

Real Talk Real Estate: Discovering the best home-buying app for you!

When you consider making a change, you’ll go straight to the internet to begin researching options. Real estate search apps have taken first place in every aspect of the home buying, renting, and selling process. In an effort to help you make an informed decision, I’ve decided to share my realtor’s perspective on a few of the most popular options.

I am going to start by emphasizing the importance of using a local realtor when you get serious. The main reason is because you need to get on your local MLS (Multiple Listing Service) App, which can only be initiated by your local Real Estate Agent. This will ensure you have the most accurate information hands down, and that your personal details are protected.

I want to explain why. All of the other apps available are pulling their information from this source. They will only have some of the basic details and never everything that your agent can share. Due to the Internet Data Exchange (IDX), every listing is shared publicly with EVERY real estate website. IDX is an umbrella term used to cover policies, standards, and software pertaining to the display of real estate listing information on websites. So your local MLS is the starting point, feeding all the real estate sites you come across, which are only pulling the information they want to get your business. Leaving out some potentially major details you would need, like room measurements!

Moving on, I’ll talk about Zillow, which stands out as a pioneer in the realm of real estate apps, offering the most user-friendly platform, and having a multitude of features. The app provides access to an extensive database for all things real estate. Detailing more than what’s for sale. They include information on rentals, distressed sales, school information, and even estimated home values.

A feature most neglect to use is the customization filters. These robust options enable users to tailor their search based on specific criteria such as price range, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, location, legal ownership, and more. Make sure you toggle your search to help you avoid getting overwhelmed.

The app’s proprietary Zestimate feature provides estimated home values, helping users gauge the market value of a property. But use caution, these are estimated based on pre-set algorithms and are not always accurate.

A quick disclaimer, if you are looking for a rental, please don’t use the Zillow platform to submit an application OR request a showing appointment at the property. The property manager will likely not accept that application, so you are wasting money, AND we cannot email you properly through the Zillow-protected email conversation. It makes things unnecessarily complicated.

Realtor.com is another powerhouse in the real estate app landscape, known for its up-to-the-minute property listings and comprehensive neighborhood information. The app’s clean interface and intuitive design make it easy for users to navigate and stay informed throughout the home-buying process.

Something you may not know is that all real estate agents are not necessarily REALTORS. A real estate agent is anyone who is licensed by their local state to help people buy and sell commercial or residential property. REALTORS are real estate agents who have a membership with the National Association of REALTORS, also known as the NAR. The NAR provides agents with tools and resources to stay up to date with laws and practices to improve the consumers’ experience. So all REALTORS are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are REALTORS.

You will not find advertisements for properties that are for sale by owner on this site, as it is geared towards helping you locate broker-listed properties and better support REALTORS. This site used to be owned by the NAR, but due to the overcrowded web presence for this market, they sold to allow for better information and protection for our profession.

Realtor.com’s map view lets users explore available properties visually, providing a clear overview of the real estate landscape in their desired location. The app provides valuable market insights, including trends and forecasts. Realtor.com also offers a library of guides and articles that cover various aspects of the home-buying process, offering educational resources for first-time buyers and seasoned homeowners alike.

In all honesty, there are a ton of apps out there, and they all offer about the same information. It’s all being collected from the same original sources, the MLS for the listing details, and the Freedom of Information Act allows them to get the rest.

Which home-buying app you like will ultimately depend on your preferences, needs, and the features that align with your home search.

One last piece of information to remember on all the apps out there, EXCEPT the one you get directly from your realtor, they are all financially supporting a company that is trying to get your money. When you message an agent, it is not usually the actual listing agent. These apps are all in the business to make money, and they get it from you using their referral partners, which includes the professionals you may be connected with.

Somehow, someway, most are making money off the free services you receive. If you don’t want to feel like a payday, go to a real estate company site. Remax.com, KW.com, Century21.com, or any company that has a broker or your local realtor’s page will have a way for you to connect to an IDX MLS search, and they are not making money from any lender or referral agent company.

After all, is it really for sale if you can’t find it on 10 thousand websites at once?

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