What app is the best for home searches?

This is a question buyers often ask. In today’s connected world, there’s an app (application) for everything. In fact, there are often multiple apps for any given topic. For home buyers this is no less true. We’ll explain what makes one app the best app for home search in our opinion and where others fall flat.

What features should an good app have?

To be useful, an app needs to have good information that can help you as a buyer decide if a house is worth further evaluation or a showing. Consider the following:

  • Complete information such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, size, etc.
  • Availability status – is it for sale?
  • Photographs of the property and structure

None of this, however is as important as one absolute. The information has to be CURRENT and ACCURATE, and this is where many applications fall flat. Many well known options in your favorite app store just don’t have information that is reliably up-to-date, and sometimes, the information can be even inaccurate.

Where does the information come from?

In general, houses sold in the Twin Cities and much of Minnesota or Wisconsin are listed on what’s called the MLS or Multiple Listing Service. A real estate agency belongs to this MLS and agrees to share this information with other member agencies. This information is also syndicated, and shared with other national MLS providers in some cases. The benefit is a clear inventory of what is available on the market at a given time. You can find these listings through our home search tool on our site, but that works best on a desktop/laptop/tablet computer.

While mobile apps can leverage some of the same information, because of how that information is dispersed, it can be out of date, and it can sometimes be inaccurate. I’ve had clients send me listings they found using Zillow that they want to see, only to find when we looked it up on the MLS that was sold or off the market. Apps can even list the incorrect amount of bedrooms, bathrooms or square footage, so unless we’ve personally used it, we do’t put faith in any of the information.

A good option for Minnesota homebuyers, however, is Homesnap. Available for iPhones or Android Devices, this app is unique to our market because it is actually connected to the MLS and has live information.  That up-to-date information is critical, but it’s the usability of this app that makes it a good choice for you as a home buyer. Other features of the app include:

  • Snap a photo of a house to find the information of it. If you’re driving through a neighborhood and see a home you like that is for sale, Homesnap can pull up the information just by using your camera.
  • Send the photo and info to your agent, a friend, or a family member (Others don’t need to download the app).
  • Record notes or mark properties as favorites.
  • Browse nearby listings via a map (images below)
  • Get tax information on properties that are not currently for sale.
  • Show lot boundaries of a property
  • Get school information


The Whole Package

Using apps like this along with the search tools our agents can provide you helps you find the home you want as soon as it is available.  Your time is important and because you likely have other things to do besides house hunting, every tool available to buyers and agents that makes the most of that available time is a good thing. Given the current market, we feel Homesnap is the best app for home search for Minnesota buyers. Let us know we can help you find your first home or your dream home!