5 Free Apps That Can Help You Find (and Buy) Your Dream Home

published May 30, 2021
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Credit: Amy Rogers

The real estate market is on fire right now, which has many people looking for a way to get a leg up on the competition. For some, gaining an advantage is as easy as having the right tools at your fingertips. These are the five best real estate apps that can help you on your journey to homeownership, and unlike your dream house, these won’t cost you a thing.  

Once fierce competitors, these two apps are now owned by The Zillow Group, which means they don’t differ too much from one another when it comes to the info they provide — just in the way it’s delivered. Like most real estate apps, they draw all of their information from the Multiple Listing Service (or MLS), and allow you to fine tune your search metrics to filter out homes that won’t meet your needs.

The main difference between the two is that Trulia will also give you an estimated breakdown of monthly costs for each listing you click on (including taxes, homeowners insurance, principal, interest, and more), and provide crime map data. Zillow, on the other hand, offers a wider search area (you can see listings in the US and Canada using a Zillow app) and is now offering 3D tours of some properties, which can be a boon for those looking to make an offer on a home they’ve never been inside of. 

In this market, timing is everything, which is why the fact that Redfin updates its listings every five minutes is key. Like the other apps on this list, you can set filters and choose the exact specifications that you want to see in your future home. You can also keep these listings organized by marking your favorites for easy reference, and removing those homes you’ve already ruled out from popping back up in future searches. 

Credit: Guille Faingold/Stocksy

If you’re tired of losing out in the face-paced bidding wars that have taken over the market and want to try shopping for your next home at auction, the Xome Real Estate auctions app can help you. The app helps users browse for properties that are being auctioned off using their desired search criteria, while also allowing you to filter for the type of sale you’re looking for (bank owned, short sale, foreclosure, and more). 

Like other “snap” based apps (think Plantsnap and Snapchat), Homesnap uses the snapshots you take to gather information. This app is ideal for shoppers who are looking for a home with another person, because of how easy it is to share details on your favorite listings between different users. Additionally, Homesnap receives updates from the MLS in real time, which means you’ll have access to listings the moment they go up, and offers virtual open houses for certain listings. In a market where every second counts, using an app that allows you to do everything quickly can make a huge difference.  

If you’re looking for an app that will help you find both a realtor and a home, Realtor.com is a great option. Unlike other apps on this list, Realtor.com is the official portal used by the National Association of Realtors (so finding a pro to walk you through the homebuying steps will be a cinch). Just like the other apps on this list, you can fine tune your search to include everything you’re looking for in your next home. Also, if you like the snapshot features on Homesnap, you’ll love the photo capture feature on this app as well which allows you to take a picture of any “For Sale” sign and instantly access the listing info.