Phone apps are changing the game in many industries – including the housing segments.

Just in time for the spring house-hunting season, smart-phone applications that provide information to home buyers are proliferating. Real-estate firms have long vied to have the most engaging Web site to attract people searching for homes. Now they also feel compelled to have an “app” for Apple Inc.’s iPhone and other smart phones. Rather than being moneymakers—brokers tend to offer their apps for free—the apps are seen as a tool to make the home-buying process easier. “I don’t think it’s driving revenue for us, but it’s making customers happier,” says Glenn Kelman, chief executive of Redfin Corp., a Seattle-based broker that operates in nine states. – From WSJ