House Hunting On The Go

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I took the plunge into 3G recently with the purchase of a Samsung Blackjack. I love it. Having near broadband Internet speeds on my phone means I can check email, catch up on the latest CNN video news, get the latest traffic and weather streamed to me – even catch up on my Google Reader subscriptions if I’ve got some downtime. In a pinch I can even use it as a modem for my Macbook (so no more eyeing sellsius° Rudy’s EVDO setup).

Enough with the geek speak though. Today’s Boston Globe writes about a number of companies that are trying to push banner advertising onto mobile screens and reading this immediately got me thinking once again about mobile technology and the real estate space (see my previous post mRealty: House Shopping by Phone).

Companies like Property4Cell and text-ed.com are already enabling real estate agents to market properties to consumers via SMS. But there doesn’t seem to be an easy way for consumers to search for new homes while out on the road.

House hunting seems to me to be an inherently mobile activity but as yet all of the house hunting options we have require you to root yourself in front of the computer. This strikes me as a pretty large disconnect, especially as the mapping/mashup technology already exists. Google Maps and Microsoft’s Live Search for mobile already make good use of it.

What I’d love to see is a mobile versions of Yahoo! Real Estate or Trulia‘s search engine. Something that would allow me to punch in my current location, search criteria and then have it return driving directions to each of the results to me. Maybe even a one-touch ‘click-to-call’ link to instantly connect me to the listing agent. Brad Inman’s call for an open house guide makes even more sense when you throw it into this environment.

Some folks are already trying. Smarter Agent can already show you apartments for rent and recently sold homes and they promise to have homes for sale available this Spring. But I’m not clear where they’re going to be pulling their listings from.

It would also make sense for the local MLS’ to provide this. It may even be a way to allow them to reclaim some of the ground they’ve lost to the Realty.bots (h/t to Greg for the term).

So is mobile house hunting even viable? Anyone else want to see this happen?