debuted its new iPhone app yesterday, a search-for-homes app for the consumer.

Though it has its good functions, there are others out there which serve the public very well in their home search capabilities. I wanted to research and review the top ones for buyers and sellers to use when out looking at neighborhoods.

I decided to write a series reviewing each of the five apps chosen in depth with photos and how-tos to best use them. All of the apps I will be reviewing are free downloads to your iPhone.

008First is the new one, ‘s Real Estate Search.

Rather user friendly, upon first blush. You get the houses in the surrounding 1 mile area of where your GPS locates you.

009You can hit refine and add in price ranges, bedrooms, baths, etc. You can click on “Street” and view where these houses are in relation to where you are currently. You can also see in Satellite view, which is neat but not really useful. Finally, you can create an account save your searches, including your agent’s email address and a friend’s email address. These are all very user friendly, and great functions.

010In viewing some of the properties, it can be very detailed, and of great use. If the listing agent pays for premium service (I will get more into that shortly), then there are multiple easy ways for a consumer to contact the listing agent — clicking a button, a phone number, or an email address.

The bad: The houses are listed in order of whether the listing agent pays for the premium service, rather than relevance to your search. It also does not link directly to the Multiple Listing Service, so the number of photos is based on what type of premium plan an agent may have signed up for, (of which there are many choices), rather than the number of pictures the agent has posted for most web based home search engines. was originally designed to be a website for its dues paying National Association of Realtors® members to have a place to show their listings at a national level. The site is now a place with very little information disseminated to the consumer unless the Realtor® pays a very large sum of money in addition to their dues to the company.

With so many sites out there with much more information, many Realtor®s do not subscribe to the premium services, finding other sites to be much more effective for their clients.

This makes this app, though good, not the most effective one for a home search tool.

Look for my upcoming reviews on the other real estate apps — Trulia app, the Zillow app, Better Homes & Gardens app, and the Blue Atlas app.