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10 Tech Tools to Use When Buying a House


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ZipRealty.com
ZipRealty.com pulls in Google Map data and displays homes recently sold and homes for sale on the map.
ZipRealty.com pulls in Google Map data and displays homes recently sold and homes for sale on the map.
Ziprealty.com

Real estate search site ZipRealty had more than 1 million homes for sale archived as of November 2010. Unlike Zillow, which lets you view any property page without any hassle, ZipRealty requires you register a free account to get beyond the initial search results. This makes home shopping on ZipRealty less convenient, but ZipRealty's real standout isn't the Web site -- it's the free mobile app.

Like the Zillow app, ZipRealty pulls in Google Map data and displays recently sold and for sale homes on the map. Each home icon brings you to an individual property page with details and photos, and a convenient link to Google Street View. While the app is available for the iPad and Android, the iPhone version stands out with an extra augmented reality feature called HomeScan.

HomeScan uses the iPhone's video camera and connects to the Internet to pull in information about homes for sale in your vicinity. The app provides information like how far you are from the properties, prices and even photos. This form of augmented reality marries the visual experience of the real world with detailed information from the Web. Because this feature requires a video camera, it will only work on an iPhone 3GS or 4 [source: ZipRealty]. Since most Android devices now come with video cameras, ZipRealty could update its Android app with the same feature.


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