Listing portal and data aggregator RealtyTrac has unveiled its first mobile apps, making it easier to tap into RealtyTrac’s comprehensive database of U.S. properties on the go.

In addition to maintaining its own database of homes the company is tracking through the foreclosure process, RealtyTrac also displays for-sale listings in many markets through partnerships with brokerages, and can tap into a vast trove of property tax and mortgage records as a licensed provider of data aggregated by CoreLogic and DataQuick.

Much of that information is available through the app for free, but some “premium content” is reserved for RealtyTrac’s paid subscribers. Users may search listings in map or list format, and view information on “virtually any residential property” in the U.S., pulling up details including estimated market value, property characteristics, property taxes, sales history, open loans and the homeowners’ equity.

“Our goal was to create a more engaging and empowering way for the mobile house hunter to find the perfect home or investment property,” RealtyTrac CEO Jamie Moyle said in a statement.

The iPhone and iPad apps offer a range of functionality, including the ability to pull up details on a home, such as listing status, market value or foreclosure status, by simply snapping a picture of it — a capability that leading listing portals like Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com and Homes.com have yet to offer.

realtytrac photo

RealtyTrac’s mobile app can serve up details about a home by snapping a picture of it.

“The property-identifying photo feature makes it easy for consumers and real estate investors to evaluate a property they are standing in front of without even typing in or knowing the address,” Moyle said.

Developer Homesnap has popularized that technology, and MobileRealtyApps offers something similar — augmented-reality “HomeSpotter” technology that lets users pull up property information and see nearby listings by pointing their cameras at a property.

A number of brokerages and multiple listing services offer mobile apps powered by Homesnap and MobileRealtyApps. Major listing portals like Trulia, Zillow, realtor.com and Homes.com have yet to introduce such functionality, however. (Homes.com spokeswoman Patty McNease said it tested the feature, but did not implement it because it did not “improve the consumer search experience.”)

RealtyTrac said it actually built the photo technology itself before Homesnap. It just hasn’t deployed it until now. The site’s adoption of the technology raises the possibility that other listing sites may follow suit, along with questions about how Homesnap will continue to differentiate itself in the marketplace.

“A lot of people are doing exciting things with this technology, including some who had developed products leveraging this technology — which ultimately is embedded native technology for smartphones — as far back as 2007,” Moyle told Inman News. “Some of those include Wikitude, Solocator, Last Minute Labs and others. In fact, RealtyTrac had developed an application using this technology prior to Homesnap doing so.”

Homesnap did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Homesnap filed a patent application in June, 2013, which is pending. A RealtyTrac spokesman says the company is aware of the application, which describes a process for “identifying real property based on real time sensor collected geospatial data regarding the location, orientation and field of view of a camera-enabled mobile computing device … and collecting and returning information related to the identified real property.”

Among other things, RealtyTrac’s new app also lets users:

  • Set up alerts when a saved home changes status or new properties in a specified area hit the market.
  • Share homes via Facebook and Twitter.
  • Connect with local real estate agents regarding specific properties.
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