The A to Z of property apps: Part four

Alistair WalshMarch 13, 20140 min read

Uprooting with ease

There are few people that can genuinely say they feel no stress when moving house. It’s a big deal. These websites and apps take some of the ordeal out of packing up your whole home and shifting. Maybe after trying these you too can be one of those people who feel no stress.

This moving company runs a very handy checklist for things to do when moving house. Ultimately it’s an ad for their services but it’s useful and well layed out.

Moving List is an app that has prepopulated moving lists. Allows you to check things off as you go and keep track of things.

Moving Van helps you keep track of what’s in each box. Take photos of everything in the box and it stores and categorises it for you.

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Vacations

Sometimes you need a break from looking at the property market. Everybody does – unless you’re Property Observer. These two sites will help you during holiday periods.

Airbnb allows users to rent their own home out to holidaying people. You can use the site to find reasonably priced accommodation while you go on holiday, or make a bit of money by renting out your spare room. The American site started off in California but has since spread internationally with a strong presence in Australia. Prices in Australia range from more than $1,500 a night down to just $11 a night. Take your pick.

Home Away the holiday site tied to realestate.com.au has a similar offering. There are 18,944 properties in Australia to choose from and similarly you can list your own property for rental. It’s more geared towards properties run by hotels and resorts but it’s a solid part of any search for holiday accommodation.

Stayz is Fairfax’s contribution to holiday rentals. The choice is quite varied in Australia. A search of Phillip Island and surrounds returns more than 200 results ranging from $46 to $900 a night. Listing your own holiday property costs $164 a year + commission for each booking.

House Swap Holidays is a website that allows users to swap houses for easy holidays. You can browse the listings for free and there are some good offerings up there. Melbourne alone has many options – some better than others.

Home Link is a website that’s been around for some time now. They have a huge database of people who are willing to house swap although it seems somewhat marketed towards retirees. A remarkable number of the users specifically preclude children from their homes.

Joining the ranks of house-swap websites is Home Exchange. They claim the most international listings of any house swap website – 41,000 around the world. At publication the site had 1913 listings for Australia.

Adioso is hands down the best flight search engine we’ve encountered. Run by a bunch of Melbournians this upstart is set to explode. It trawls the websites of every budget airline to find the absolute cheapest flights imaginable and present it in a simple form. It’s a natural language search engine which means you can type in “Sydney to Perth in late March” and it will bring up a list of the cheapest flights to Perth in late March. 

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Websites

If you need to buy property you look online. There are countless listing websites in Australia but here are the main ones.

Realestate.com.au is the largest property website in Australia. It’s where most searches for property begin and end. It’s hard to remember what buying property was like without this website. The choice of properties available here is genuinely astonishing.

One just needs to click the Inspections tab and put in a postcode to be inundated with open homes in your area. At the time of writing Property Observer put our postcode in and found four pages of open homes a walk from our house.

The site lists more than x properties for sale but it’s not just for buying houses. The site facilitates finding an agent to sell or rent your house, it provides access to expert musings on the property related matters, it provides search engines for travel and insurance and provides an easy place to buy off the plan. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The company is growing and plans are afoot to expand their international operations.

Their search refine tools are fantastic and allow you to really narrow down to the property you want. Property Observer particularly likes the eco friendly search refines which allow you to find properties with certain ‘green’ features. Use this alongside the keyword search and you can really find the exact house you’re looking for.

The site lets you shortlist your favourites and mark a property as ‘visited’ to keep track of which homes you have visited. You can organise your property inspection and auction times so you don’t miss anything

Their iPhone app offers the functionality of their website tied in the with smart-phone tools. It makes finding property a breeze. You can contact an agent directly from listing in the app.

When looking at rental properties the website allows you to apply for properties online, using the application website 1form.com.au. Gone are the days of printing 16 forms to apply for every house. It’s a real time saver and a great partnership by realesate.com.au.

Fairfax-owned Domain is the second largest real estate website in Australia. There is an overlap for many properties with realestate.com.au but Domain does carry a significant number of unique properties and it should be part of every property search. As discussed in the Alerts section of this guide the website is great at filtering out properties. The website is quite clear with its layout and you can do very specific property searches.  The quickest way to apply the many search criteria is through their radar search, accessible from the front page. The many filters can applied and then viewed as overlays on Google Maps.

The website includes a directory section which lists local businesses in an area. It’s like a stripped down Yellow Pages aimed at current and future property owners. It even includes a section for relocatable homes for the indecisive amongst you.

Being owned by Fairfax the website does have a strong news section including video news.

And of course Domain have their own app. It’s a handy app with all the functionality of the website built in, but not a lot extra. You can quite easily plan your inspection times with their Inspection Planner tool. If you’ve got a Domain.com.au account you can also sync your short listed properties so you never lose track of a property.

Realestateview.com.au is the third biggest property website, though it falls far behind the other two in terms of properties listed. However, it makes up for its lack of numbers with its slick interface. Where the other two main players sometimes seem to place property information wherever it may fall in an mid-2000s MySpace style hodgepodge, Real Estate View lays things in a pleasant and intelligible way. The search criteria aren’t quite as discerning as Domain but they do the job.

There is a great selection of market data available on the site, some of it free, some it costs. The website also runs a competitor to Gumtree’s online classified ads section which is worth a quick look.

Real Estate View also run Rural View which is the rural counterpart to the website with a great selection of hobby farms but a little lacking in the larger stations.

Ultimately Real Estate View a much more pleasant site to use than either realestate.com.au or domain.com.au but it just doesn’t have quite the selection of properties as the other two main players.

They have also recently released a new mobile app. The app comes with the expected features for finding properties for sale but in a predictably smoother way. Where the app excels though is in its presentation of suburb information. There’s a section of the app devoted to market information about areas that is incredibly intuitive and easy to understand. It comes with additional iPad functionality that really make use of the extra screen real estate.

Top 10

Here are the top 10 Australian real estate websites as ranked by Google Ad Planner. Google Ad Planner is a web analytics tool that allows potential advertisers to research what are the biggest sites. These sites are ranked by unique users.

  1. https://realestate.com.au

  2. https://domain.com.au

  3. https://realestateview.com.au

  4. https://homehound.com.au

  5. https://onthehouse.com.au

  6. https://realcommercial.com.au

  7. https://thehomepage.com.au

  8. https://reiwa.com.au

  9. https://homesales.com.au
  10.  https://rent.com.au

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Xero

Personal finances can be hard to manage. All those excel spreadsheets and the multitude of bank statements can be an absolute dog if you’re not an accountant. And let’s face it, who wants to be an accountant?

Xero is a personal finance app. While there are plenty of offerings around this really is an interesting contender. It imports all your bank transactions, financial data and online accounting and consolidates it into one very visual interface. It automatically keeps track of invoices and upcoming bills to help you stay on top of things. The software lets you photograph receipts and automatically upload them. It even lets you send invoices on the go. There is a guide on the website for configuring it for property professionals.This really is a great way to manage your money. 

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Yelp – divide with neighbourhood

Yelp isn’t the prettiest website around but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great resource. Yelp provides listings for every sort of business imaginable. It’s like the Yellow Pages supercharged. It’s fully of user reviews for every sort of listing. It’s only recently expanded to Australia but it’s gathering momentum quickly. There app is well worth a look as well. If you’re in a new part of Australia and need to find the local hardware shop, technical bookshop or record store this is the go.

True Local is a similar tool that’s been around for a while. Use this site to find a hairdresser before you enter sale negotiations. Again they have an app which is well made. The reviews can be really helpful.

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Zillow

The USA was the start of the online real estate revolution and is the basis for a lot of property trends covered in this ebook.

Zillow is the ultimate app if you wish to buy property in the USA. It aggregates all the houses for sale and allows the user to search them in an intuitive display. Filtering results is exceptionally quick and simple. They provide quite an accurate estimate of properties if no data is available in what’s called a Zestimate. The site is the inspiration for many real estate apps available today and continues to drive technological developments in real estate listings. If you want to see what local listing sites will look like in the future, check Zillow. There are no announced plans to move to Australia yet

Costargo is the American website CoStar’s foray into the world of apps. It’s an amazing front-end interface that takes a lot of data and makes it easily readable.

RELATED ARTICLES:

The A to Z of property apps: Part one

The A to Z of property apps: Part two

The A to Z of property apps: Part three                        

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter
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