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Mobile Apps & Real Estate


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Blog by Krista Marion | April 4th, 2011


Mobile apps can be used for just about anything these days. From remotely starting a car to filming and editing entire feature-length films using a smartphone, there are even apps out there to help buy, sell or renovate a home.

With spring officially arriving on Monday, the busiest time of year for the real estate industry is now here. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the majority of deals to buy or sell a home will occur in the next few months. To help buyers and sellers stay on top of their own efforts without having to stay on top of their home computer, Financial Post technology reporter Jameson Berkow found some of the more useful real estate apps for Canadian househunters.


REAL ESTATE DICTIONARY

Hypothecate is when someone offers their property as collateral when taking on a debt, such as a mortgage, but the average person would never know that. Particularly useful for those looking to buy or sell a home without using a real estate agent, there are a number of dictionary apps available on every smartphone platform to help users make sense of all the industry jargon. The Glossary of Real Estate Terms, complete with 700 key definitions, is available for the Google Android platform at a cost of $2 and the Dictionary of Real Estate Terms is available on the Apple iOS platform also for about $2. Anyone who has ever been confounded by the term "estoppel" will find one of these apps to be well worth the price.


REALTOR.CA

The official mobile app of the Canadian Real Estate Association, this free app gives users access to an average of 350,000 Canadian properties for sale on the Realtor.ca website. Using a smartphone's built-in GPS feature, the app lets users search for houses available near their current location or a specific address, providing them with photos, listing details and contact information to get in touch with the agent. It launched on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Phone 7 platform last November and a version compatible with Apple Inc.'s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices was released in late December; with other versions for Research in Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry OS and Google Inc.'s Android expected in the next few months. More than 100,000 people have already downloaded this well-designed app.


ZOOCASA

This free app, currently available only on the iPhone platform, is similar to Realtor.ca but even more intuitive. For those Apple device users who don't mind using something other than the "official" industry app, Zoocasa will also let users search for properties based on their current location, even displaying full descriptions of properties that would appear on the Zoocasa website. There is also a unique social function built in, allowing users to email listings from directly within the app.