Best App for House-Hunting
Free Version: 3.0.9 | Zillow.com
One silver lining to the housing crisis: there’s never been a better time to go home shopping. Zillow.com has been around for a few years now, rolling up publicly available data on 90 million-plus U.S. homes, and serving it up to real estate gawkers everywhere. (A common first search: how much is my childhood home worth?) With this app, snooping’s never been easier. Serious shoppers will love the trove of cold, hard data (historical sales prices, taxes, neighborhood trends). Tire kickers and coveters can graze on speculative goodies (guesstimated market value). Everyone will like the app’s bevy of visual search and browse tools.
FIGURES & FACTS: The Details tab rounds up key info on each listing. Most fun (or depressing) are the 1-, 5-, and 10-year charts showing the firm’s “Zestimates”: algorithmically generated market value guesses based on publicly available data. Zillow admits these are only software-powered conjectures, but you will find real-world stats above and below most charts on data points like last sale, tax info, and sales of comparable properties.
COLOR CODED: Map markers come in different colors: red (for sale), yellow (recently sold), purple (for rent), and “Make Me Move” blue, whereby you declare (on Zillow.com) what you’d sell your house for…without actually putting it ...