May 10, 2018

by Sean Hess, Owner, Broker, Author


Following is an excerpt from my new book, “How To Buy A House: Pre-Owned and Foreclosures”.

Real Estate Apps

The bigger real estate websites all have apps. Some companies have apps. Even agents have apps. It seems like new ones come out every week, and while some are updated daily (with varying results in quality), some are never updated at all.

As such, it’s beyond the scope of this book to rate the apps, because they change all the time. The ones on my phone probably updated as I wrote this paragraph.

But just so you know: You aren’t going crazy when you get tons of conflicting information when you use real estate apps. You will get a lot of conflicting information when you use them.

Here’s what you can expect:

Apps WILL show homes that ARE NOT FOR SALE. In other words, homes that have already sold, homes that have already accepted offers (and are not accepting new offers), and/or homes that have never been for sale. Yet it will appear that they are indeed for sale.

Apps will NOT show everything THAT IS FOR SALE; that is the truly odd part. You will see those pending homes that aren’t for sale, but you will not see the three homes that actually are for sale. Possible explanation: In my market there are two active MLS systems, so if an app is only pulling from one of these systems, it will only pull a partial list of what is for sale.

Example? My customer Dennis sent me a list of 20 homes that he cobbled together from various internet sites (from Zillow, as well as from Trulia, Hot Pads and some others). Only two were actually available for sale. Two! Most were either pending or had sold some time ago.

Apps will also often show new construction vacant lots as if the home has already been built. This would be confusing if you came into a neighborhood and were looking for this wonderful house pictured and couldn’t find it (because it hadn’t been built yet). Also, the price listed for this new home may be the base price of the model without any lot premium or upgrades tacked on—you have no idea from just looking at the app.

The two biggest real estate apps are and We’ll take a look at those in my next post…

About the Author

Sean Hess is the owner and broker of SA Realty in St. Augustine, Florida, and the author of the Virtual Real Estate Agent series of e-books. Currently an MBA candidate at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, he delivers opinions here on business and real estate.

As one of his past customers wrote, “Sean Hess is a true professional. His client’s needs are primary.”

Contact Sean:

904-386-8327 (cell)