5 Best Real Estate Apps

Tickers in this article: AAPL TRLA Z

NEW YORK TheStreet-- When looking for a home, it turns out a real find is subject to interpretation. Fortunately, with all the real estate photos available online these days, it's pretty easy to rule out homes before you visit. Some realtors are even using drones to give you a better glimpse of that beachfront home. That isn't creepy at all.

With mobile real estate apps, you can look for a home while you're filling your gas tank or waiting in line at the mall. (The way gas prices are looking, you better save money on housing). Whether you're looking to rent or buy, the Apple App Store has a lot to choose from.

If you're planning out your search, these apps will help you narrow choices down. If you're already on the hunt, using these apps can help you find what openings are nearby. Once you've found the perfect place, use the apps to calculate whether or not you can afford it. Sorry, the numbers don't lie.

Here are the best real estate apps the Apple store has to offer right now.

Real Estate by Trulia

Online real estate company Trulia went public last fall. Shares are doing well, and Trulia also has a handful of apps available in the Apple app store.

Trulia recently updated its Real Estate by Trulia App with a sleek design. It has separate sections for rentals and homes to own. Users can use the location-based app to find listings nearby. Searches can be narrowed down by lot size, year built, and square footage. Or you can use the "open house" tab to find out what's available to view today. Still need help? The app helps you find an agent. Real Estate by Trulia makes looking for a home almost fun...almost.

The app comes with a heatmap feature that shows crime-ridden neighborhoods or areas that are prone to floods.

The amenities tab shows nearby restaurants. The app syncs with Yelp to show whether it gets 5-star reviews. Users can also find a map of nearby gas stations and grocery stores, all of which makes it easier if you're looking for a place that's convenient for running errands.

If you have kids, you can use the map to find local elementary, middle and high schools.

This free app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, but requires iOS 5.0 or later. It is also available for Android.

Lovely

Lovely is another good real estate app with a modern design. The location-based app makes it easy to find places nearby. Store your preferences and set alerts so you know the minute something new hits the market.

Once you've identified some places to live, users can save them to their "favorites," for future reference. Lovely is also available via the web, so you can set up an account and you can access them from your computer. View those kitchen photos on a larger screen.

Lovely is also good for pet lovers, by giving the option to see if your pet would be welcome in your new digs, by selecting "dogs ok" or "cats ok." Don't forget about Fluffy!

This free app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, but requires iOS 5.0 or later.

Homesnap

Homesnap goes a more creative route than some of the other apps, allowing users to find out more about places they already like. Snap a photo with Homesnap and it will give you the 4-1-1 on your Malibu dream home. You mean it costs, HOW MUCH!?

Now that the housing market is rebounding, the app helps you identify which homes have good "investment potential." "Appreciation potential" shows you homes that Homesnap thinks you'll be able to flip.

The app also has a social component. Store your favorites and see what your friends are looking at. Let's just hope you're not bidding for the same one.

This free app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, but requires iOS 5.0 or later. It is also available for Android.

Zillow Mortgages

Now that you've found an awesome home, Zillow has an app that helps you figure out whether you can pay for it. Take a look at the "affordability calculator." Ouch.

Zillow Mortgages tells you that you better make $225,000 a year if you want that million dollar home. Those mortgage payments will cost you $6,200 per month. That's assuming your rate is at 3.75% The app also lets you "shop rates," to fit your financial needs.

When you're ready to refinance, Zillow Mortgages also offers that feature. The "refinance calculator" will help you figure out how much you need to save. Hopefully, you're not underwater. If you are, the app lets you review your options.

This free app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, but requires iOS 5.0 or later.

Trulia Mortgages

There's another great app from Trulia in the Apple store. Trulia Mortgages will help you figure out how much you're going to owe on your new home. Input the property price, down payment, your credit score, and your zip code, and see personalized rates. Find out everything you need to know from loan term to lender fees, before you make the call. Talk about a time saver.

The app will also help you figure out what you can afford. Use the bar tabs to show your income, monthly debts, down payment and interest rate. It will tell you what your price range is and how much it's going to cost you each month. You were warned.

Like the Zillow Mortgages app, Trulia Mortgages also helps with refinancing. Users can type in the property value and your current mortgage balance, and the app will help you sort things out in just a snap. Bar charts show you how much you'll save each month and how much you'll save overall.

This free app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, but requires iOS 5.0 or later. --Written by Katie Roof in New York--

Tickers in this article: AAPL TRLA Z