Above: A much more expensive house than the one I bought; click for larger view

My wife and I thought that once we bought a house, our love of looking at homes for sale would be over. Turns out it’s just plain fun to look inside, at the backyards, around the neighborhoods and at the prices of houses available for purchase. I enjoy it, at least, and if you do too – you should check out the free iPad app released by Realtor.com this week. (iTunes link) I think it’s my favorite in the field. I wish we’d had it when we bought our house in Portland, Oregon.

Tricia Duryee at AllThingsD wrote about the app first last night and focused on the way it fits into the overall Realtor.com business and realty industry. I think it’s most interesting from a user experience perspective.

The app is really solid. It’s intuitive, not too complicated, a joy to use. It’s less feature rich than competitor Trulia on the iPad, and has less neighborhood historical data than Zillow – but Realtor.com’s app feels more responsive and feels like it has the right features for ongoing use. Unlike the other two apps, this one never leads me down a navigation path that ends in frustration. Nor does it introduce abstractions that require much thought to figure out. Not that I mind thinking, but pictures of homes you can’t afford are for perusing, right?

All three apps offer something different, though, and if you’re really hunting for a house with an iPad in hand then you’re probably going to want all three installed so you can switch between them to see the different information each offers.

You should install Qwiki on your iPad, too, so you can be entertained learning about the neighborhood you’re considering as you shop for your future home.