Although I love gadgets and techie stuff, I'm not often the first one to run out and buy the latest super-duper gee-whiz toy.
I'm not the road warrior that many of these devices are geared to, and I'm not (yet) interested in watching movies on a tiny handheld screen.
I gotta be convinced it's useful - which is why I've only just recently picked up my first Android-powered smartphone.
It's a very useful tool for me, keeping my contacts synced with Outlook (thru Gmail Contacts), letting me know when someone's left a message on my office phone, and updating me with the latest Cleveland Indians frustration.
There are hundreds of "apps" available for Android phones, but there's one that really makes my smartphone a "must-have" gadget for me - the Zillow mobile app. Zillow.com is a website that covers real estate from just about every imaginable angle - it's an essential tool for anyone buying, selling, building, remodeling, or designing homes.
Zillow's mobile app puts an incredible amount of real estate information in my hand. And linked with my smartphone's location services, it tailors that info to wherever I happen to be.
When I call up the Zillow app, it loads a map of my location, then populates that map with all of the homes for sale in the immediate area (they show as a red house icon); all of the recently sold homes (a yellow icon); and all of the rentals (purple icon). Each icon has the current price just beneath it.
Tapping on a "for sale" icon brings up a photo of the house and a brief summary of the home's features. Tapping the summary takes you to the agent's web page for that home.
Zoom in further on the map view, and you'll see the approximate value of every house in the area - whether it's for sale or not, and a list of comparable recent home sales in the area.
But wait - there's more. If you have Google Maps on your smartphone, you can see directions - from your location - to the home. Even better, load Google's free Navigation service and you'll get live turn-by-turn directions to the house.
Triple...ok, enough of that.
The Zillow app helps me answer my clients' questions about the appropriate amount of money to put into a remodel (so they don't price themselves out of the neighborhood), and it helps me and my new home clients decide if their budget makes sense.
It's a great business tool that I use almost everyday. And since it works everywhere, you'll always have an answer to the question, "I wonder how much houses cost around here?"
Get the Zillow mobile app here.
What's your favorite smartphone app?
Need expert Residential Architectural advice for your new home or remodeling project? Contact Richard Taylor, AIA at RTA Studio.