Buying a home is likely the most expensive purchase you will ever make in your life. If you plan to spend six figures or more on a single transaction, it is best to go into it with the best knowledge and information to get the best deal possible. Real estate apps can help you do this and can give you greater insight into the market where you're looking to make a purchase, so you can nab the house of your dreams. But before you go download any old real estate app, it's good to know that there are a few different types to consider: Some have a larger volume of house listings, while others are more geared toward commercial real estate and even auction properties. There's even one that can score you some discounted home-buying fees. So whether you're on an active house hunt, looking for an investment property or want to put your abode on the market, take a look below to learn more about (and download) the best real estate apps available today.
The 8 Best Real Estate Apps of 2020
Best Overall: Zillow
Zillow is arguably the best known real estate app, and for good reason. Zillow was a pioneer in online home value estimates and tells users estimated home values, past sale prices and more for virtually every home in the United States. If you are a homeowner, you can create an account to track your estimated home value over time and insights into a potential sale price if you decide it’s time to move.
If you are looking to buy a home, you should definitely bookmark the Zillow website and download the app to your smartphone. The Zillow app lets you view home prices by location on the go and offers filters and search options to zero in on your next home.
Best For Discounted Home Buying Fees: RedFin
RedFin is both an app and a brokerage firm. The app is excellent, offering estimated home values that are sometimes more accurate than Zillow’s algorithm. One of the best features of the mobile app for anyone in an active home search is the ability to filter on upcoming open houses. While it may not lead to your next home, it does give you an idea of what homes are like in the area and what you can expect to get for your money.
The standard real estate fees for RedFin are lower than traditional agents. When selling, most homes list for 1.5 percent (and in some markets for 1%, according to RedFin, and when buying, the average buyer gets a $1,500 refund back on the agent fees.
Best for Learning About Real Estate: BiggerPockets
BiggerPockets offers a huge range of free resources to learn about real estate, including blog posts, podcasts, ebooks, guides, and forums. The app is a gateway into the BiggerPockets world, which is also available through the website
You can learn a ton about buying a home that will increase in value, as well as how to do work on a property to get the best return on your investment. If you want to take your real estate game to the next level and get into real estate investing, this is the top resource on the Web.
Best for Commercial Real Estate: LoopNet
Speaking of real estate investing, the best app for real estate investors may be LoopNet. This real estate app is like Zillow for bigger properties. If you want a multi-unit or commercial property, you won’t find many details on the other sites on this list. LoopNet is exclusively for commercial property investors.
Plugging in your local area often yields a range of results for multi-unit residential and commercial office spaces. But remember that with real estate investments you don’t have to buy in your local market. You may do much better buying out of town or even out of state.
Best for Most Houses: Realtor.com
Realtor.com is, not surprisingly, the official search portal for the National Association of Realtors. One benefit of using its site is the close relationship realtors have with the Multiple Listing System (MLS) that provides data feeds used by most sites on this list. Because of the special relationship, however, Realtor.com is often updated a little faster and has a wider range of listed properties.
If you don’t yet have a real estate agent, Realtor.com makes it easy to connect with a local agent as well. Though be sure to thoroughly vet any new agent before hiring them or signing an exclusive agreement. You should shop around for both agents and homes before buying.
Best for An Active Home Search: Trulia
Trulia started as an independent company but is now owned by Zillow. This brought some of the behind the scenes data from Trulia to Zillow and vice versa. Zillow is best for the general home ownership lifecycle, including tracking your current home’s value. Trulia is better for those in an active home search.
Trulia offers very focused tools for one purpose, finding a new home to buy, and does it quite well. Some great features include abilities to filter your search by specific home features, such as hardwood floors, so you know you will only see and review homes that could meet your needs.
Best for a Team Real Estate Search: Homesnap
Homesnap has features useful for home buyers and real estate agents alike. While it has the regular MLS-powered search features that most real estate apps have, Homesnap adds messaging and sharing features that make home buying with a spouse or partner or even getting your parents to chime in, much simpler.
HomeSnap also claims real-time MLS updates, which gives you access to new and updated listings as quickly as possible. In competitive home buying markets such as Denver and Portland, that added speed could be the difference in a winning bid and missing out on a home completely.
Best for Auctions: Xome
If you love the action of an auction, you’ll love Xome. Xome offers real estate search similar to many others. But it also brings you access to real estate auctions. Some auctions come through the MLS while others are exclusive to the Xome platform.
The Homes Only on Xome section of the site offers options to nab a deal on bank-owned, foreclosed, short-sale, and standard home listings. For real estate investing, this feature is a great addition as you may be able to pick up a property before it hits the general market at a lower rate. The lower price paid means higher profit when you sell. That, after all, is what real estate investing is all about.
What Is a Real Estate App?
A real estate app is an app that brings you a variety of real estate services on the go. You can search for homes, look for a commercial property to house your business, find a realtor, or look up your current home’s value. Real estate apps combine real estate knowledge and technology in a convenient format that is easy to use. Each real estate app has different features and tools that cater to specializations. Some features are better suited for those seeking commercial properties, others will help you determine home valuations, and other tools can make you a better landlord.
How Much Does a Real Estate App Cost?
Real estate apps are typically free. Most apps allow you to freely browse properties, lenders, and agents. You can also use these apps to read about news and major events in the industry for free. However, if you want to list your house for sale on the app, then there may be fees. There may be listing fees between 1% and 3% of the home’s selling price. If you’re a broker who wants to put a commercial listing in the app’s database, that will cost you, too.
What To Expect From a Real Estate App
Real estate apps vary greatly from one another, so you can expect different things from different apps. For example, you may expect to see businesses for sale on an app that specializes in commercial properties. Other apps focus on auctions, so you can expect to find live auctions with bank-owned homes and foreclosures on an app like that. Some typical features you could expect to find on most real estate apps include active listings that are currently on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), agent and lender referrals, and blogs about the latest real estate news.
How We Chose the Best Real Estate Apps
There are a plethora of real estate apps out there. We combed through many of them and decided on the best 8 to recommend to you. We chose these top 8 real estate apps by weighing major factors including unique features, the type of real estate they’re best suited for, tools and perks they offer, and their search functions.