House hunting has become so much more than finding four walls and a roof to live under. For some it’s become a full-fledged hobby. The surge in new homebuyers in 2020 fueled higher prices and more demand … and real estate apps reaped the benefits. A recent survey found that more than half of the respondents were spending over an hour a day on Zillow and 5.2% were spending more than five hours on the app.

With the convenience and real-time listings of today’s house buying apps, it’s hard to believe that people once had to wait until they got the Sunday paper to peruse the latest real estate listings. Websites and apps have made house hunting far from a chore when you’re looking to move. It’s become a recreational activity that you can do from anywhere.

Now, all of the information you need is right at your fingertips, so you can filter for your perfect home, find agents, research property values, and look up neighborhood details. We checked out tons of house buying apps and found the best ones to use, whether you’re sipping wine on the couch, standing in line at the grocery store, or your kids are miraculously silent for a few minutes. Finding the right property is easier than ever with these top 10 house buying apps — plus a bonus — for 2021.

So grab your coffee or your wine (or water, if you’re into that sort of thing), settle in, and start hunting!

An image of a woman on a phone used to demonstrate the best house buying apps.
Source: (Corinne Kutz / Unsplash)

Best for browsing: Zillow

Zillowing has become the new Googling. And it’s quickly becoming a legit hobby as well as a way to take on serious house hunting. It can also be used for self-care, as a love language, or as motivation to do your taxes or study harder. Zillow is the most downloaded real estate app and offers millions of homes for your browsing pleasure.

Before you start down the Zillow rabbit hole — Zabbit hole? — we’re serving up nine more apps (plus a bonus) to explore!

Pros

Zillow has become synonymous with real estate in recent years, mostly due to its wide scope of inventory. With Zillow, you have access to over 110 million homes that you can filter through detailed search criteria. Most changes or updates show up within 24 hours, so you’re getting up-to-date information … and it gives you an excuse to check it every day.

On this app, you can add shopping partners so you can save and share your favorite home with friends and family and even your over-involved mother-in-law. Comparing notes on homes and features can streamline the process. For the ultimate in technology and convenience, you can tour Zillow-owned homes when it works for you. You don’t need an appointment because you can unlock the door with the app!

Cons

Zillow’s estimate of a home’s market value, the Zestimate, isn’t always accurate. Because it pulls from public, MLS, and user-submitted data, the Zestimate depends on the amount of data available. Where there is less available data, the numbers may be off.

Users report a few bugs, but their ratings on The App Store and Google Play are high with 4.8 stars/5.5 million ratings and 4.4 stars/500,000 ratings respectively.

Includes rentals: Yes

Available at: The App Store and Google Play

Best for the auction junkie: Xome

Xome allows you to easily view and bid on nationwide auction listings. If you’re an auction lover, this is definitely an app to check out. This app will walk you through every step, from searching for and discovering the perfect place to information on titles and closing.

Pros

Xome’s large database of auction properties is refreshed every 15 minutes, so you’re always in the know. You can use their overlays to discover rich local data like neighborhoods, restaurants, shopping, schools, and more. You can also see the Xome Value for any home in the United States. The app will also send you alerts when new listings come on the market, there’s a price drop, an open house, or the home status changes.

Cons

While Xome has over 100 million homes, the user base isn’t very large with just over 100,000 downloads on Google Play. The app has just over 1,200 reviews on Google Play and a 3.9 star rating (it has 1,800 reviews and a 4.8 star rating on The App Store), and it mostly serves the niche market of those looking to buy at auction.

Includes rentals: No

Available at The App Store and Google Play

Best to get to know the neighborhood: Trulia

There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect home only to find out you hate the neighborhood. Trulia boasts 34 neighborhood map overlays that include crime statistics, schools, amenities, commutes, and more. With this house buying app, you can find a home you love that’s in the perfect neighborhood.

Pros

Trulia offers robust property and neighborhood searches with neighborhood details that include photos and drone footage. The “What Locals Say” feature will give you inside info like whether it’s safe to leave packages outside. You can even research schools and read trustworthy reviews from parents. Customized email and push notifications allow you to stay updated on your ideal homes and neighborhoods.

This app is great for those who are in an active home search and really want to dig into prospective neighborhoods.

Cons

“For sale by owner” listings appear on the “Other” tab and are kept separate from Agent Listings, so you have to make sure you’re on the right tab if you’re looking for a FSBO. While the reviews are mostly positive, there are some users who want more filters, like for a pool or HOA, and the most recent reviews as of June 2021 complain that users have to fill out the CAPTCHA over and over again. And with over 1 million listings, it has less inventory than other house buying apps.

Includes rentals: Yes

Available at The App Store and Google Play

The Realtor.com house buying app is the official search portal for the National Association of Realtors. As a result, this easy-to-use app boasts more homes for sale nationwide than any other house buying apps.

Pros

With this app, you can get open house times, locations, and driving directions all with one tap. Possibly the coolest feature is Sign Snap — if you see a “for sale” sign in front of a house you love, all you have to do is snap a picture to get home details instantly.

Customer support seems active in the reviews, replying to people with issues and addressing them where they can.

Cons

The “Contact Agent” feature connects the user to local agents who pay for the leads rather than the listing agent. If you’re applying filters to find an agent, you may have trouble if they didn’t use the keywords that pertain to your search.

Includes rentals: Yes

Available at The App Store and Google Play

An image of a person holding a phone used to demonstrate the best house buying apps.
Source: (Gilles Lambert / Unsplash)

Best for saving money: Redfin

Redfin leverages modern technology to keep their costs low. This allows them to offer lower agent commission rates than a standard real estate agency, making it a great choice when you want to make the most of your money. They pull their listings from local MLS listings but Redfin listings come up first in relevant searches.

Pros

The app lets you instantly schedule home tours with local Redfin Agents. When you buy with a Redfin Agent, you’ll get part of their commission — on average $1,750 — applied to your closing costs. If your refund exceeds your closing costs, you’ll get a check for the difference. That means there’s more money in your pocket … or at Target. Plus, new listing updates every five minutes means there’s always something new to check out.

Cons

The Redfin app has fewer search options than on their website. There is also less info about neighborhoods than on other apps. Redfin doesn’t have agents in every U.S. market, so while you can use the app, you might not be able to use an agent.

Includes rentals: No

Available at The App Store and Google Play

Best for learning about real estate: BiggerPockets

While BiggerPockets isn’t technically a house buying app, it has its benefits when it comes to real estate. BiggerPockets is a real estate investing information hub, social media network, and marketplace whose goal is to enhance the public’s real estate knowledge, ability to network and make deals, and tackle other day-to-day real estate activities.

Pros

The BiggerPockets app pulls together all BiggerPockets content, allowing access to blog posts, e-books, guides, podcasts, and forums that tackle real estate topics — like how to trade debt for cash flow and understanding real estate commissions — with the goal of educating the curious real estate investor.

Cons

Overall, the app has a low rating and not many downloads (2.6 stars out of 612 reviews on Google Play) even though it was released over five years ago. While people seem to love the site and the info, they have trouble with the app crashing.

Available at The App Store and Google Play

Best for commercial real estate: LoopNet

Most of the apps on this list deal with residential properties, but LoopNet is the place to go if you’re looking for commercial real estate.

Pros

LoopNet includes a variety of multi-unit commercial properties, including office, multifamily, retail, industrial, and land. If you’re in the market for commercial real estate, LoopNet’s advanced search features let you search by price, building type, space size, and even use. You can also search for submarket, cap rate percentage, tenancy, and keywords.

Cons

Based on user reviews, the app has a few bugs like not being able to find the same listing on the app as on the website. There are also a few issues with filtering search results or filters that don’t save. But overall, LoopNet has high ratings.

Includes rentals: No

Available at The App Store and Google Play

Best for house hunting on the go: Homesnap

Homesnap lets you take a picture of any home to get details about home value estimates, number of beds and baths, property lines, taxes, photos, and more. This app is great if you’re scoping out properties in person and want to get the deets quickly.

Pros

Used by over a million real estate agents, you have access to the same information that they do. When you take a picture of a home, the Homesnap house buying app will pull info about the property from the MLS or public records. It also features filtering and map layers that include open house listings, school zones, property boundaries, and satellite imagery. Plus, there’s an in-app messaging feature to keep all of your house buying-related messages in one convenient location.

Cons

Coverage for this app is better in some areas than others. Property details can be extensive, which initially sounds like a good thing, but it can make it difficult to sift through it and find exactly what you’re looking for.

Includes rentals: Yes

Available at The App Store and Google Play

Best for versatility: Homes.com

The Homes.com app offers a simply smarter home search with useful homebuying tools, interactive maps, live mortgage rates, and more. Because of their partnerships with MLS boards and local data providers, you can find homes on this app that aren’t listed elsewhere.

Pros

You can search over 400,000 foreclosed homes for sale with the Homes.com house buying app. These include bank owned real estate listings, REO, HUD, and more. They seem to be very responsive to ratings, addressing issues and offering help where necessary.

Cons

The neighborhood info on the Homes.com app isn’t as robust as some of the other house buying apps, and some listings are out of date.

Includes rentals: Yes

Available at The App Store and Google Play

Best for connecting with an agent: Estately

The primary goal of the Estately app is to connect consumers to the perfect real estate agent.

Pros

Estately provides you with multiple ways to contact and connect with agents. It also includes detailed information about the properties, such as various scores for noise pollution and internet speed. Using the app, you can get quick info on taxes, utilities, schools, and more.

Cons

Some users complain that they can’t save listings on the app. In some states, like Montana and Nebraska, there are few listings.

Includes rentals: No

Available at The App Store and Google Play

An image of a house to demonstrate the best house buying apps.
Source: (Anton Mishin / Unsplash)

BONUS! Best for creative searching: Torii

Torii lets you search in the usual way by typing in a town, ZIP code, price range, and the like. But you can also get creative with the Tinder of real estate apps and search by swiping left to get rid of a property or right to save it. It’s like finding your perfect match — but in house form.

Pros

Torii offers to pay your closing costs, potentially saving you thousands of dollars when you buy a home with one of their agents — $6,300 on average (in 2019 the U.S. average was $5,749). This app offers 10 tools (with more on the way) to help you find exactly what you need. You can find fixer-uppers with Fixer Finder and the Comps Chomper will find the most accurate comparable homes so you can get a good idea of sale prices. Possibly the coolest tool is Random Home, which simply shows you a random home listing in Massachusetts.

Cons

Currently, Torii only supports the Greater Boston Area, San Francisco Bay Area, and Los Angeles.

Includes rentals: No

Available at The App Store and Google Play

With all of these house buying apps, the house hunting process has never been easier or more fun. So whether you’re looking for your next home, your dream home, or you’re just browsing, you’ll find an app that’s perfect for you!

Header Image Source: (Rohit Tandon / Unsplash)