An article this week in Newsweek talks about consumer’s new fascination with self-directing their own new home search (the article starts off with a quaint recant of how the author — some decade or so ago — thought he was on the cutting edge, reviewing new listings his realtor faxed (!) over, then sat in the back of the realtor’s car as he was driven from home to home).
While many consumers still rely on the services of a realtor or broker, still more are doing the initial search themselves online, using popular listing sites like Craigslist, Trulia and Oodle, then gettign directions via Google Maps or MapQuest.
iPhone owners — ever the technosavvy and often envied — join their BlackBerry brethren this week with a new iPhone App from Trulia. According to reviews and information from the Newsweek article, homebuyers using the App can now:
- Search for homes by current location (we hope it uses the iPhone G3’s GPS abilities to determine what’s close).
- Ability to map your trip to a home from your current location (again, GPS is the key here).
- Ability to view current open houses.
- It’s easy to call or e-mail the listing agent.
Initial reviews on the Apple iTunes’ App Store were a bit lukewarm (it always seems these days that there’s a bit of a learning curve associated with this new type of software development — future versions always seem to behave much better and the better developers are quick to address user’s feedback). In short, critics panned the App:
- There’s no MLS record referenced or provided.
- If you have an account on the online version (where you can save searches), you can’t log onto your account with your iPhone. We’d anticipate this being fixed soon.
- Maps can’t be moved or zoomed (we iPhone users love the “pinch”) — they seem like static images.
- Searching could be improved with search criteria like keywords and zip codes.
- You can’t view multiple photos for a particular listing.
As noted, it’s a fun tool to use when you’re out and about with your trusty iPhone. As with most new iPhone Apps, keep your expectations low for the first couple or few weeks and hope that little update button on your iTunes lights up soon!