While this might not be the best housing market for buyers or sellers in the U.S., Zillow just made it easier to shop around. The company today launched a free mobile client for Android devices, which joins the existing app for iPhone (s aapl) handsets. I used the app while driving around neighborhoods in my area yesterday and the experience was outstanding. Like most apps that leverage GPS, the Zillow software quickly zoomed into my location and then offered all the data I could handle on the homes in that actual location. I almost felt like a “peeping-house-Tom” — I was literally parked on a street and saw the home value estimates, detailed tax info, square footage and more of nearly every home around me. All of the information normally found on Zillow’s website appears to be in the Android app — even the interior pictures of homes for sale. And the data is updated in real-time, so you’re not looking at information that weeks or months old.
For the less voyeuristic Android phone owner, there’s no need to repeat my experiment and drive around neighborhoods with the app. Zillow clearly built the software heavily on Google Map (s goog) technology, so even Street View is available in mapped areas that support it. That means you can be anywhere and see homes virtually, as if you were there. Since I got some dirty looks with my testing, that may be the way to go. Other native Android and Google Maps features are tied in as well: voice search, map view, satellite view, phone call links to real estate agents and more. The software feels more like Google — and I mean that in a good way because the Android integration is outstanding. If Google were ever to make a map layer for home data, this is exactly what I’d picture it to look like.
Can you accomplish the same goals with Zillow’s web client and notebook? Sure you can, if you have connectivity. Since Android phones have a built in data connection, you’re always ready to go house hunting with a handheld. I’d probably opt for the larger display of a netbook or notebook when I could, but the new Zillow app for Android is extremely handy for use anytime. It’s the convenience factor and the ability to see all of the same data as the full web client that make this software a must-have for buyers, sellers, renters and even real estate agents.
Images courtesy of Zillow
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