Posted by: The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

17 responses to “Local Real Estate Search iPhone App Smackdown”

  1. Mike2

    I’ve been using the RedFin app since it came out. So far it does what I need it to, and makes finding the “next” open house to visit based on proximity very easy. The design goal appears to focus on those features you’ll most need when out in the field, rather than the features you rely on to compile your initial search list.

    I still prefer the web version due to the enhanced search and filtering criteria, but the iPhone app is a great addition. Especially when you consider that the main RedFin site with its overlays is completely unusable on a touch screen mobile device. Tried that, gave up in 5 minutes.

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  2. Seattle real estate apps for the iPhone – SMACKDOWN : findwell blog - Real estate trends

    [...] did a guest post today on Seattle Bubble which gives a rundown of the real estate search apps available for the iPhone in Seattle. We’ve [...]

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  3. Kary L. Krismer

    Thanks for pointing out that the John L. Scott site works with other mobile phones. Because it won’t work with the Supra keyboxes, I don’t have an iPhone.

    The John L Scott site is actually very similar to the mobile version of the NWMLS site. Works in a stretch, but not that fantastic.

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  4. DrShort

    RE: Redfin and user photos comment: “For the moment, uploaded photos remain private, but Redfin has openly suggested that these could be made publicly viewable”


    In theory users sharing photos and comments seems great, but I can see how this could quickly be mis used.

    + Hey! Look at this picture of the water damage!!
    + Here’s a picture of a crack in the foundation!
    + Here’s some rodent droppings in the basement!

    Especially in a hot market, I could see buyers trying to scare away competition from a house they’re interested in.

    With that said, it would be really helpful to have listing pictures available 3 – 6 months after a sale for the purpose of having comps for currently active homes. I’ve noticed Trulia often has pictures long after the home has gone off market.

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  5. Roger

    I don’t know if its true in Seattle proper, but out here in the sticks the real estate sites that use bing maps are far more accurate in mapping houses for sale than those that use google maps. Redfin and JLS use google, and Windermere uses bing…I’ve found houses on redfin mapped almost a mile away from where they actually are, whereas Windermere usually has them on the button. Still, I prefer using redfin, I just recognize the mapping isn’t going to be all that accurate.

    Does the redfin iphone app show parcel outlines like the web site does? I find those incredibly helpful.

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  6. Plastic Bags

    I’m loving the new redfin app. The clusters work well on a small screen. I wish you could use their forums on it, though. That’s the only thing it’s missing for me.

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  7. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Roger @ 5 – That could be because the NWMLS uses Bing. Also, the agent should check placement when entering the listing, and adjust it if necessary. That might not show up on sites that don’t rely on Bing.

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  8. softwarengineer

    Why Tim and SWE Don’t Have IPhones

    The article in part:

    “….AT&T’s service plans for the Apple iPhone will cost $59.99 to $99.99 a month, the companies said Tuesday.

    The monthly fee is on top of the phone’s price — $499 for a model with 4 gigabytes of storage and $599 for one with 8 gigabytes. The phone is slated to go on sale at 6 p.m. local time Friday at Apple and AT&T stores as well as Apple’s Web site.

    Apple claims the iPhone — which combines the functions of a cell phone, iPod media player and Web-surfing device — will be easier to use than other smart phones because of its unique touch-screen display and intuitive software that allows for easy access to voice mail messages, the Internet, and video and music libraries. AT&T is the gadget’s exclusive carrier.

    The $59.99 monthly plan includes 450 minutes of voice time; a $79.99 plan includes 900 minutes; and a $99.99 plan includes 1,350 minutes. All three offer 200 text messages, unlimited data services, minutes that roll over month-to-month and mobile-to-mobile calls. There also is a $36 activation fee….”

    The rest of the URL:

    And the $59.95/mo plan is only for 450 min [2007 rates too, I imagine they went way up today]….LOL….when you go over the minutes [I imagine its a lot easier using an iPhone, minutes are calculated even playing around on internet?] granny bar the door on your monthly bill. No, I’m with Tim, I’ll use regular internet without iPhone [or Blackberry, 1G, 2G, 3G, etc, etc] for that matter and use my cheap $25/mo 300 min cell….and use the savings to watch Premium Channel movies on cable on my big screen…LOL

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  9. Anon.

    My gosh the zillow app sucks and the redfin one rocks!

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  10. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: softwarengineer @ 8 – Data plans on AT&T are expensive. I think it adds about $30 a phone for other devices, so that would mean the $59.00 plan is about a $29.00 voice only plan.

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  11. Matsayswhat

    RE: softwarengineer @ 8

    Remember too you can “jailbreak” the iphone and use it with tmobile and save a pretty nice chunk of money.

    That’s what I did, and while I still don’t care about having the data plan (still too expensive imo), you do get the benefit of apps, wifi, phone, music, etc, etc

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  12. Lake Hills Renter

    By softwarengineer @ 8:

    Why Tim and SWE Don’t Have IPhones

    Same reason here. I really just need a phone that makes phone calls, nothing else. So I have absolutely no reason to spend that much on things I don’t use, like applications and web browsing. I guess they’ll be standard some day, like cameras are now. Don’t use that either.

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  13. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 12 – I have a smart phone only for the Supra keybox function. It was simply too easy to forget to bring the normal keybox device. My prior phone cost $12, and I upgraded only because the wife had a Centro and they were going out of production. It’s nice to have the same phone as your wife for car accessories.

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  14. Lake Hills Renter

    You don’t have to justify anything to me. =) I have no problem with people buying all kinds of fancy gadgets. I just don’t have any need for them myself. I’m a bit of a technological luddite, which is a bit odd considering I work in tech.

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  15. Mike2

    The prices listed above are way too high. iPhones cost anywhere from $50 to $300. The most popular current model (3GS 16GB) is $200 +$36 activation. 450 minute phone plan is $40 plus data @ $30/month.

    The early ones were just fancy gadgets and I wasn’t interested in owning one. The latest generation is actually quite useful.

    Google Voice along with the android phones may end up taking over the iPhone/smartphone market, but they’re too new to have much following yet.

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  16. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 14 – I guess it sounded like justification, but I was actually just trying to agree with you. But for my very specific need, I don’t really have any use for a smart phone. My connected GPS is actually better (and faster) at doing the types of searches I need to do when on the road. I do get an additional source of traffic information, but that’s really about the only bonus I’m using.

    My main complaint about smart phones is their physical form. They’re horrible as phones unless you’re using bluetooth.

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  17. Ken W.

    iPhone apps, Android Apps, other smart-phone apps. Blagh! How about this… a nice $300 10-inch netbook. That with a 3G-modem, you will be able to search good real estate web tools like RedFin, FindWell’s new map (nice), and all the others.

    Don’t want to pay the $59 per month for 3G-use-anywhere service? The netbooks all have built in WIFI. Stop by your favorite coffee shop for free access to the Internet while you search for your next over-priced home.

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