fulfills its promise with new iPhone app

There are literally dozens of real estate iPhone apps out there right now. Our own list attests to that fact.

And when I heard that was launching a native iPhone application, I have to say I was initially a little skeptical. Over the last few years, the 800lb gorilla in online real estate has seemed slow to respond to the challenges placed by the many venture-backed startups that have launched on the Web. So could it do any better on the iPhone?

But I’ve had this app on my phone for the last week or so now and I can honestly say I’m pleasantly surprised.

You might even say I’m blown away.

The app is hands down the best real estate search tool on the market right now. It’s available in the iPhone store immediately.

I’m usually not this effervescent in my praise. In fact, many have called me a downright cynic at times. But this app is a true joy to use and fulfills the original promise of It’s all the listings in one place.

In the palm of your hand.

A thoughtful UI makes searching for real estate fun, fast and intuitive. And, best of all, it offers the full inventory of homes and is uncluttered by advertising (for the time being, anyway).

A quick rundown of its feature set:

  • The app is location aware and by default pulls up all the listings around you. You can also search to find open houses in your proximity.
  • Listings pages are rich with content and show up to 25 photos of a single property. Best of all, when you flip the phone on its side, the photos go full screen and you can flip through them carousel-style.
  • Searches can be quickly refined using a series of spinning wheels, which makes the entire operation an easy one-handed operation. This rocks.
  • Favorite properties can be instantly shared with your friends, family or Agent by email, even Twitter or Facebook.
  • Notes and ratings can be added to individual listings and synced to a profile.

There’s plenty more to discover in the app, including a couple of Easter Eggs, so I’ve been told.

There’s lots for agents and brokers to love here too. Every property has an Ask a Question button that takes consumers directly to the listing agent. Listing pages also include click-to-call functionality and direct links in-app to agents’ and brokers’ sites.

If there was ever a reason to start looking into optimizing your website for the mobile web, the app may just be it.

Building a great app means having to go back to basics and rethink your core value proposition for consumers. The app has done just that.