Have you ever passed by a house and wondered what it must cost, what it looks like on the inside, or other real estate details about it? Thanks to HomeSnap, a free app from Washington, D.C. real-estate firm Sawbuck Realty, you can do just that.
Whether a home is for sale or not, you simply take a picture of it with your iPhone® (versions for Android and iPad® are coming soon) and in just a few seconds, the HomeSnap app will give you a price estimate, how many square feet and how many rooms the house has, comp houses, and other applicable facts and figures.
How Does HomeSnap Work?
The app uses your iPhone’s sensors and GPS capability to identify the home in question and uses a server cloud to collect the details.
A color-coded banner can be seen on Snaps of certain homes, with green indicating “for sale,” orange indicating “under contract,” and purple indicating a future open house.
If the home isn’t currently on the market, HomeSnap gets the information on it from public records, such as census data, previous sales, tax records, and so on. Homes that are on the market usually yield more detailed info from local listing databases, including bid history and interior pictures.
Maybe your house hunting for yourself or someone else, maybe you’re a nosy neighbor, or just the curious type; whatever your motive, HomeSnap can help you find out all kinds of details about any given home. A funny fact for those that may feel funny about snooping – according to Sawbuck Realty, there’s been about 150,000 Snaps taken so far, but only about 10% of the homes were actually on the market.
HomeSnap works anywhere in the country and despite being founded by a real estate company, the app doesn’t cause users to receive unsolicited spam. It doesn’t even automatically send your data to a real estate agency. This nifty little app allows you to the option of anonymously investigating houses you like, or if you wish, openly contact the home’s real estate agent to gain more detailed info, schedule a tour, etc.
As mentioned, you can be as invisible as you like or as open as you like while using HomeSnap. Take a look through Snaps taken by others while keeping your own Snaps invisible -or- openly share your Snaps with friends and other HomeSnap users; it’s up to you. You should know that Sawbuck Realty does retain your Snaps, whether public or not, on their servers. Read the licensing terms, which reserves the right to reuse, modify your photos, but not materially change, reproduce, or distribute any private Snaps.
Here is a video highlighting some of the features of the HomeSnap app:
Is HomeSnap Worth My Time?
I found it to be an excellent investigative tool to find out more than just the standard info I might get from other online real estate sites. The quality of nearby schools is a perfect example. The app provides third-party vendors that provide a quality rating for nearby schools. These vendors also provide investment value data, appreciation data, and past sale prices and dates.
While there are other real-estate apps and websites that you can get this type of real estate info from, you’re most always asked to provide either personal information first or type in some type of physical information on the home.
HomeSnap’s Stealth Mode enables you to take a picture from a non-direct angle, meaning you can even be inside another nearby home, pull up an aerial of area homes, and pick any particular property out.
On the down side, I found the HomeSnap data to sometimes be inaccurate or incomplete. I made a Snap of my own home and found the app to be inaccurate on the number of bedrooms. Such errors can be reported for correction. The app has difficulty exacting a specific unit within multi-unit buildings. Rental home properties lack detailed information.
Overall, given you own an iPhone, HomeSnap is an innovative idea and useful tool for curious minds and house hunters alike.
****Compatible with iPhone, iPod® touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, iPad (3rd generation) and iPad Wi-Fi + 4G.Requires iOS 5.1 or later.