HomeSnap, an exciting new app
In 1970, there was a best selling book called “Future Shock,” which discussed our quickly changing technical world. Basically "Future Shock" described too much change in too short a period of time and the effect on our culture. Now it’s 2012 and we think we’ve seen everything, but I’m going to tell you about a real estate app for your iPhone that qualifies as future shock.
HomeSnap is a new app for iPhone users that allows you to take a picture of any home on any street in most parts of the country and then will provide you with practically anything you want to know about it. If the home is for sale, the app will interface with the local multiple listing service providing pictures, asking price, comparable homes in the area, a trend line of sales, schools and more.
If the property is not for sale, HomeSnap will tell you what it’s worth, showcase similar homes in the area that are for sale, when it last sold and for how much, how many beds and baths it has, lot size and which schools are in the area. The information is drawn from public tax records, school boundaries and census data.
The creator of this “little bit of magic” as one of its creators Guy Wilcott calls it, is from a Washington, D.C., based on-line real estate broker called Sawbuck. Sawbuck acts as a real estate consultant for buyers and sellers by both phone and e-mail during the early stages of the home buying and selling process.
Once you’re ready to actually buy or sell your home, Sawbuck refers you to a local real estate agent, but still remains involved. Sawbuck views the HomeSnap app as an extension of its service and naturally hopes to generate business from it. It claims that using the app does not send any data to a realtor unless you ask for a follow up.
The app, which right now is only for iPhones, although according to Sawbuck’s website an Android version is coming soon, is available in the app store or on www.sawbuck.com. The app is free but you will need the ios5.1 version on your iPhone before it can be downloaded, which I painfully discovered.
We all thought that Zillow, Realtor.com and other real estate search engines were fabulous when they came out, but they all require you to type in some information on the tiny keyboards of smart phones. HomeSnap only requires you to snap a picture. The app uses the iPhone’s GPS capability and its sensors to identify the house and then searches for the details in cyberspace – future shock at its ultimate.
Even if you take a picture that is not exactly in front of the house, HomeSnap will give you an aerial view of the surrounding area so you can choose the exact property. The same thing occurs if HomeSnap isn’t exactly sure which property you’re asking for or in the case of a condominium complex or townhouses.
If this app doesn’t make you go out and buy an iPhone I don’t know what will. Apple should design an advertising ad campaign around this little bit of magic.
I always remember a lady who stopped into the Sun’s office some years ago with a photo she wanted to submit to the paper. After I explained the process to her she simply said, “It seems I have to learn something new every day.” Boy was that lady right, and most days it's more than one thing just to stay in the present, forget the future.