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Monday, 25th June 2007

The Mobile Researcher: Get Real Estate Info (Pricing, Ownership and Other Info) via HouseFront.com

OK, so you are driving, walking, riding around (the U.S.) and you see a home/property of interest? You wonder, how much did it cost when it was sold? How many rooms? Who is the owner? What's the estimated value* today? There are numerous sources and databases you can turn to, some free like Trulia and Zillow*. Some direct from government agencies and others fee-based. This type of searching requires knowledge of what is and is not available. No tool is 100% ideal for all searches.

One service that's now online (beta) and is mobile friendly (via SMS, text messaging) is HouseFront.com.

Of course, you can enter in an address and get the data that is available via HouseFront on your regular web browser. We were able to get to the data without having to register for the service. However, if you are registered you are offered a few more services.

Remember, this info (the amount of it and how current it is) varies from state to state, county to county, and city to city. In other words, results can vary a lot. Here's an example of a results page as listed on the HouseFront web site. Note that it also provides aerial imagery and "comps" of other homes that recently sold in the neighborhood.

OK, that's cool but hardly unique.

Now, comes the mobile service. A complete guide to the service is available here.

First, send your text message request to 46873 (HOUSE) and enter the address of the home/property you're interested in.

Example Format:
123 AnyRoad Blvd, Anytown, WA
123 Main St, 80202

Next, in a few seconds you should expect to receive a text message back containing some or all of the following data:

+ Estimated Value
+ Number of Bedrooms
+ Number of Baths
+ Total Square Footage
+ Year Built
+ Property Owner
+ And more!*

Again, what info is provided is determined by the specific area where the property is located.

Happy Searching!

* It's worth mentioning that Zillow also offers a SMS/Text mobile service. It contains a large chunk of the same info. In some cases more, in other cases less. That's why, like we always say, no tool is perfect. Use the right resource at the right time. To access Zillow Mobile, send a text message to: z@labs.zillow.com.


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