Find real estate values, rental prices and full-screen color photos of homes, condos and townhomes on your smartphone
By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.
For many lawyers, particularly those who practice in the areas of real estate, condemnation and often family law, the cost of housing and the value of real estate are important pieces of information. A property’s value and the cost of a rental can have far-reaching consequences: Lawsuit settlements, damage calculations and even spousal support payments may hinge on such information.
Although an opinion from an experienced appraiser is the standard method of valuation for lawyers, U.S. attorneys also turn to Zillow, a website that provides sales and rental listings in the United States, to get an idea of a property’s estimated market value (depending on whether a sale is willing or forced), as well as rental prices.
Zillow offers free mobile apps for the iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and Windows mobile devices. In this week’s Lawyer Tech Review, we take a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of the Zillow real estate data app for the iPhone. (Clickable affiliate link)
Extract Real Estate Data from Your Current Location
Based on GPS technology, the Zillow app allows you to extract real estate data from your current location. Simply touch or click the Current Location button in the top left corner of the screen and an aerial map appears with estimated values, as well as color-coded arrows that indicate whether a home is for sale or a seller has listed it as a “make me move” offering, recently sold homes and houses for rent. As you move, the app tracks your location.
In addition to the current location, you can also search for a different location by typing a neighborhood, city or specific address into the search bar.
Maps Feature and List Feature Provide Different Ways to View Real Estate Data
Zillow’s mobile app offers an aerial or street map view of the data. Another alternative is to use the list feature to view the offerings. With this feature it is easy to see how many days a house has been listed on Zillow.
View Full Color Photos, Data and Price History on Zillow Listed Properties
The Zillow app allows the user to drill down further and extract information about a specific property. If a home is listed on Zillow, the site will have a full-color photo of the house, as well as any interior photos that have been submitted. It’s easy to scroll through the photos to view the property.
The Zillow app also provides a “Zestimate” of the property, calculated with the use of a Zillow algorithm and the price history of the property.
Rental Data Isn’t Comprehensive
The only significant drawback I noticed during my trial of the Zillow app is that the rental data are only as robust as the rental data on the website. If a landlord has not listed a property for rent on Zillow, it doesn’t show up on the mobile app.
But that minor glitch doesn’t outweigh the usefulness of the free app’s on-the-go research.
Do you use the Zillow app? Are there other benefits or drawbacks you’ve noted? We invite you to post a comment and share your experience with Lawyer Tech Review’s readers.