At Last! Redfin Releases Its iPhone App!

At long last, Redfin has an iPhone application. And it is gorgeous and fast and free and freakishly powerful. Apple took ten days to approve it for the app store:

Download it now for free!

Why is a Redfin app such a big deal when there are already three or four real estate apps for iPhone on the market? Well, because this one has all the data from the MLS, as well as for-sale-by-owner and bank-owned homes not yet listed in the MLS. It shows all the photos, and all the amenities too, as well as how long the property has been on market and what it last sold for. And the whole search experience is driven by Google Maps.

But that isn’t the really sweet part. The sweet part is the photo upload, which allows customers on tour to take pictures and notes that automatically upload to their account on Redfin.com, so all that stuff is waiting on their computer when they get back to their desk. We automatically associate each note or pic with the right house on the site.

And data goes both ways, with the website sending to the  iPhone app a list of homes you’ve bookmarked as favorites, and which ones you want to tour via Redfin too — so you can easily get directions from place to place.

Here’s a quick tour of some of the main features…

Quickly zoom high above the city then drill down into a cluster of listings:

Redfin Search Result on iPhone

Click the List button to flash to the listing photos:

List of Homes on iPhone App

When you’re touring a house you like, take your own photos:

Taking a Real Estate Photo

Take the photo and add a nice little caption:

iPhone Photo Upload of Real Estate Listing

The iPhone app lets you see all the homes you’ve annotated or photographed:

Viewing Summary Notes Photos on iPhone

When you get done with your tour and return to the website, Redfin alerts you that your photos and notes are online:

Redfin Map Uploaded Photos Alert on Redfin Website

On the website, you can click on My Redfin to see all your photos and notes:

Viewing Summary of Notes and Photos on Redfin

The photos and notes also show up alongside the listing on our website.

Viewing Extra Photos Listing Details Redfin Website

We focused on tours for a reason. The Redfin iPhone app isn’t just a search application, it’s one component of a larger home-buying service, where the other components are the website and —  most important by far — the team of agents serving clients.  And they all have to work together. If you’re touring with Redfin and don’t have your own iPhone, your Redfin agent will often be able to take pictures for you using her own iPhone.

We want to take the same coordinated approach to improve the process of pricing an offer, finding a lender and getting through escrow. We call this strategy Freakish Depth, because our goal is to take users beyond the initial home search to fundamentally improve every step of the home-buying process.

You may well ask what took you so long? Well, we re-built almost the whole search experience to work on the iPhone, so it would run fast and look good on that little thing. We clustered search results, to make it easier to move around the map and zoom in for more detail. We let you run sophisticated searches. The standard for any Redfin experience is that it can’t just be a nice little distraction, it has to be a full-blown addiction, one you can count on and come back to again and again. We hope we cleared that bar.

All told, three person years of R&D went into the app, so hats off to Sasha, Navtej, Jim (who just got married Saturday!), Jen, Jane, Brent, Llewellyn, Thomas, Jamie, Jason, Dan, Chris and the many others who built Redfin for iPhone. And a big thanks to the Urbanspoon guys and Tyler Stone at Apple for giving us encouragement and advice along the way.

We hope you check it out, that you leave a comment or review letting the world know what you think. Any feature suggestions — or thoughts on whether the uploaded photos should remain private, even after the sale — just leave a comment below.

Discussion

  • http://honeysun.wordpress.com Shahaf Abileah

    Yeah! Nice job guys!
    Sasha – you must be thrilled!! :-)

  • Eric

    Excellent!!

    Having to use a different iPhone app when we were out looking at houses was painful.

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  • Cynthia

    Sasha talking on a panel about iPhone real estate apps makes sense now ;)

    Congrats!

  • Carmelite

    Hi Glenn,

    I just checked out the app (which I have been looking forward to for a long time) and it has more than exceeded my hopes and expectations! Congratulations on having created such an amazing app!

    I have one small concern, though; am I understanding it correctly that if I take a pic of a house that I’m touring, Redfin will add the photo for all to see? While I see the Web 2.0 awesomeness of this, I’m not sure I would want other potential buyers seeing additional photos of the house of my dreams (although I’d be happy sharing photos of homes I decide I’m not going to put an offer on). Would it be possible to add a an option for each photo set as to whether or not the user would like to share the set publicly?

    Also, while the icon definitely gets the message across that the app is real estate related, I think it would be more attractive and uniform with the website if you used the logo (with the tree) from your website. But that’s just my opinion ;)

    Thanks again for creating the app–I’ll be using it everyday (and deleting all my other real estate apps)!

  • http://www.redfin.com Sasha Aickin

    @Carmelite: Sasha from the iPhone dev team here. Thanks so much for the kudos!

    The photos are actually completely private right now (just like notes), and although that may change in the future, we will always continue to allow you to upload private photos. We should be more clear in the interface that the photos are private by default.

    And re: the icon, we had a big, knock-down, drag-out fight over tree logo-based icons and house sign-based icons. Time and again iPhone devs told us that the icon was critical in users’ choice to download or not, so we ended up going with the house sign because we thought it conveyed what the app did more clearly to users who had never heard of Redfin. We’re still not sure if we made the right call, although I personally love the look of the icon.

    Thanks for the feedback, and if you get a chance, it would be awesome if you could leave a review on the App Store. Those reviews really help promote the app and would be a great boost for us. Thanks!

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  • Carmelite

    Hi Sasha,

    Thanks for your quick response! I will definitely leave a raving review on the app store and will have my husband do so as well.

    I totally understand the need to get the message across to non-redfin users of what the app is all about. If in the future you guys would like to post your top few icon choices on the website for Redfin and app users to vote on, I would love to participate.

    I just noticed that “Saved Searches” aren’t yet on the iphone app; is that something you guys are looking to integrate in the future? It would be over the top if there were badge notifications of new/reduced price listings in your saved searches.

    Thanks for all of your hard work–it is infinitely appreciated by your loyal redfin users.

  • http://www.redfin.com Sasha Aickin

    Carmelite,

    Saved Searches are definitely on the list (and pretty high on the list, at that) for the next major version. There is, however, a lot more on the list than we can put in, so no guarantees. Consider your vote for Saved Searches added.

    Thanks for the feedback, and keep it coming!

    Cheers,
    Sasha.

  • matt

    I have a few suggestions. When you do a search, my favoties are noted on the map view, but not the list view.

    Also, i’d like to be able to sort my favorites like i can on the website.

    Also, i had to login again when i tried it the 2nd time, does it not save my redfin login info?

    It should.

  • dafox

    so is there any chance for an android version? pretty please?

  • Dobromir

    Wow, it looks so awesome. Wish we had this when we were shopping for a house with you guys!

    Can you please make an Android version too?

  • http://www.redfin.com Sasha Aickin

    Matt,

    Good suggestions all. The app should remember your login info; that sounds like a bug. I have an idea why it didn’t save it for you the first time (there’s another bug we’re working on that might be related), but it should work most of the time.

    dafox and Dobromir,

    Unfortunately, we don’t have any plans right now for an Android version, but several customers have asked for one, and we’ll add your votes to the list.

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  • Nathan

    Fantastic to see this hit the market at long last! I’m thrilled I won’t have to suffer through any of the other poor iPhone real estate apps any longer.

  • Peter

    Nice job on the app. When using the map to look for homes, is there a way to have the map update with search results when I pan the map to a new area. I searched in one area and got results and then panned the map to an adjacent area, but I can’t get new search results in that area. The “nearby homes” only seems to work in the area I am located, so that didn’t work either. Am I doing something wrong?

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  • http://www.redfin.com Sasha Aickin

    @Nathan: thanks for the kudos!

    @Peter: Unfortunately, we don’t support search by panning the map in the iPhone app yet. It’s actually kind of a difficult feature to get just right when you account for the limitations of the phone (and especially the limitations of the network). We have a design, but we cut it from v1 rather than implement something we weren’t proud of. Know that it’s high on the list of features for the next version. Thanks for the feedback!

  • http://boomi.in boomi.in

    Looks Pretty neat.. I liked the capture onsite and analyze offsite part. Good stuff!!

  • http://www.drivebuytech.com/ Ian Greenleigh

    Hi, I left this on 1000watt blog, but thought it’d be more appropriate on redfin’s, obviously. Apologies if this has already been covered in other comments.

    Great app! One suggestion: Under search options, why no “search within x distance” functionality? I may be missing something, but with an area like Marin County (my home “town”), if I search for homes in Fairfax, CA, I should probably see homes in San Anselmo as well. I’m assuming the red lines are the boundaries of the city or zip one is searching within? I like that idea, but it should show homes outside of the boundary as well. This would be especially useful in a place like Marin, where the boundaries are pretty soft, and the towns are tiny, if they’re even incorporated. But overall, exciting stuff!

  • http://blog.redfin.com/blog/author/glenn%20kelman Glenn Kelman

    Ian, love these ideas, and totally agree we should let people remove boundaries on the iPhone as on our website map… thanks for the feedback!

  • Michael

    I’d like to vote for an Android version as well!

  • http://www.lahomephotography.com Gregory

    @Carmelite – Your post scared me into not wanting the app if Redfin is going to distribute the photos I take of houses I tour to the masses. I think there would be way too many copyright and liability issues for Redfin to implement something like that. More on that below.

    @Sasha – Reading your response to Carmelite made me feel better. Since you are on the team there at Redfin here are some thoughts.

    1.) Though I think seeing more photos for listing would be great, YOU SHOULD AVOID making people’s (app users) photos public.

    First is the copyright issue. The app user taking the photos would own the copyright and you would have to in some way license them or have them transfer ownership to you to use their photos. Especially for the commercial purpose of helping sell real estate. You could of course put something in the TOS for the app but that type of language turns off a lot of people. Remember Facebook’s TOS debacle?

    Anyway, that issue is the easy one. The big one is liability. Listing photos, whether they be amazing ones shot by professionals or terrible ones shot quickly by an agent with their iPhone are still authorized and approved by the seller prior to hitting the MLS. Without that authorization, the liability Pandora’s box could possibly get you and the app user sued. Oh, and you both would loose. Big time.

    For example, say Carmelite is touring an open house and takes great photos of a kid’s bedroom. In the bedroom are clear photos of the child, personal items, and their name on the wall in block letters. You, Redfin, now make Carmelite’s photos public. Homeowner, who is very private and didn’t want photo’s of their kid’s bedroom shot (which is why it wasn’t on the MLS) now sees their child’s bedroom on Redfin for the world to see with their home address no less. Redfin just invaded that child’s and home owner’s privacy and made Carmelite an accomplice to boot.

    Another example would be Carmelite drives by a listing and takes a photo of the front of the house. There is a car parked in the driveway. Seems innocent enough, right? Redfin posts that photo to their listing for public consumption. Only problem is… one, the license plate number is clear as day, and two, the car in the driveway did not belong to the homeowner. It belongs to the ex-girlfriend of the husband who is cheating on his wife, who was out of town. Wife comes back from her business trip and checks out the Redfin listing and finds the new photos. Wife calls a divorce attorney and the husband calls an attorney to sue you and Carmelite for invading his privacy.

    Say I have a cool downtown loft and I have 10 great interior photos that total showcase the unit, which are getting me a lot of showings. Now, Carmelite (damn that Carmelite and her evil camera) takes a photo of of a homeless guys who stopped to eat his toenail in the front of my building. Redfin posts her photo to my listing and now I loose showings because people think I have homeless people camped out in front of my place even though it was a one time thing.

    One more thing. Let’s not forget app user error. What if the app user somehow mis-labels a house and Redfin attaches photos to a house that the photos don’t belong to? More problems.

    Don’t think this stuff can happen? Ask your lawyers what they think about these thoughts. I would love to know. I think Redfin posting public, unauthorized photos that are directly tied to someone’s home address is just asking for trouble.

    On a separate, personal note, I’m a professional real estate and architectural photographer and it would be a disservice to my paying clients if all of a sudden my work started enriching the MLS listings of their competition just because I added a photo to my Redfin app.

    2.) I’m not on AT&T, so no iPhone. I’m getting the Motorola Droid today and would love to have this app for that. Android will one day have a much wider user base than the iPhone and there are much fewer apps as of right now, so you guys getting one on that OS could make you the defacto source for Real Estate on Android. Do it before GoogleRealEstate matures. So another vote for Android.

    That’s all I can think of for now.

    Congrats on the iPhone commercial. That is some awesome exposure!

    Best,

    Gregory

  • Ari

    Make it another vote for Android. Your site is great, and someone pointed out earlier, with the multiple manufacturers and carriers, Android should pass Iphone one day in user base.

  • http://www.paulstone.org Paul

    Another vote for an Android app.

    Motorola has sold 600,000 Droid phones in a couple of weeks, and they are expected to sell 9 million in 2010 (that’s only one of the many android phones launching this holiday season). I’m a Droid owner, I’m planning on buying a home sometime in the next year, and I’m planning on working with a Redfin agent.

  • Sanjay

    Android application, please. The comments are right–one day, iPhone will have much smaller share. Release an app soon and you’re the standard.

  • mark

    need an android app, don’t be the last to have one.

  • scott

    Android version please

  • Mike

    Please, app for the Droid

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  • Katie

    Another vote for the Android! Trust me, you don’t want to assume that the only smart phone worth developing for is the iPhone.

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  • Jeff

    I also would like to see an android app!

  • Ryan

    I need to add another request for a Redfin ANDROID app for those of us who didn’t want to handcuff ourselves to AT&Ts substandard cell coverage just to have an iPhone. Thanks!!

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  • Stephanie

    I have a question. If this application not only feeds from the MLS but also includes non-MLS listings, FSBO’s and REO’s that aren’t on MLS where does that information come from? For example if I’m selling my own home without the use of an agent how do I make sure that my information gets picked up by this application, or if I’m an agent with a listing that isn’t on MLS how do I get that information to be picked up?

  • CATHERINE WRIGHT

    I would love this app for Android! Please create one. I have the Google Nexus One and wish I had this app!

  • Mark

    One more vote for Android.

  • Ian

    I too would love an app for Android !

  • Nick

    Android please!!

  • http://liana.org Liana

    Srsly….Androind, plz!

  • Mark

    do they even read this post anymore, for 7 months people have been asking for an android app. It’s not like I am going to stop coming to the website to look for houses, but we all really want it. and you could be the only quality real estate app on android as the others are crap.

  • http://blog.redfin.com/blog/author/glenn%20kelman Glenn Kelman

    Yes, yes, we read every comment. It generates an email to me, the author, and I often forward it to others. We aren’t talking about our Android plans, but we definitely know it’s important for our customers.
    Best, Glenn (CEO, Redfin)

  • john

    Where’s the android app??

    • http://blog.redfin.com/blog/author/glenn%20kelman Glenn Kelman

      We’ll get to it later this year… sorry to take so long! We’ve got plenty to do…

  • Timothy

    Can’t wait for the Android app. Please start a notification list if you’d like to keep us updated on progress / release?

    Need Beta Testers? It’s what I do as part of my job at Motorola…

  • John

    Another request for an Adroid app.

  • mario

    Yes android application please. I’ll donate a dollar to the cause.

  • Gerrit

    I might as well jump on the Android App voting bandwagon too.

    Redfin on Android!!

  • charles

    I too vote for an Android version of the Redfin app

  • ed

    +1 for android app!

  • Mark

    One more for Android!!! Zillow is not cutting it!

  • la guerita

    Android app!

  • Marco

    Please release an android app – you’d be the bomb for doing this.

  • Wes

    Android please!

  • yury

    android … zillow has it

  • Kurt

    Android App! Zillow beat you guys to the punch, but I’d still love to see Redfin enter the lineup soon!

  • Mcsyltes

    It's CRAZY not to have a footing in the Android market segment!

  • Ben Nicolas

    With recent release of the HTC Evo, the first 4G phone on the market you gotta make this app for android, out of curiosity what types of things is Redfin working on that would put it front of more customers than making an app for the #1 selling smart phone OS in the world?

  • David

    Any word on an android version. Someone know of a tool like this this for Android?

  • Pranava Swarupa

    Another vote for the android version please. Any news as to when it might be available

  • Jeffrey Yee

    ANDROID! ANDROID! ANDROID!

  • Frank

    Android please

  • tony

    android app PLEASE!

  • Hi

    Android here.

  • Bkucharski

    Please create an Android Application. Love you!

  • andy

    I vote for an Android app too :)

  • Sadowskilistings

    Android App Please?

  • SS

    Android version – ANY UPDATE?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alexander-Meave/752961689 Alexander Meave

    Android please

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  • me

    Yes, Android app please!

  • Mkis99

    Android…Android…Android!!!

  • Guest

    I've been using both zillow and redfin for a while now, but I guess since zillow seems to be only one that cares about my mobile needs (Android), I guess I'll quit redfin.

  • Huali

    I am using redfin now. Please add andriod app since I see andriod open platform will kill iphone.

  • http://www.newhomesteps.com New home building guide

    Android please.

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