The Washington Post has launched a new tool for searching recent home sales that can be used on your desktop or mobile device.

Whether you are a buyer, a seller, a real estate agent or just someone who’s nosy, the application can help you search any sold property in the Washington metro area, including for-sale-by-owner and new construction. And we’re pretty generous with the term “Recent Home Sales.” Some of our historical data goes back to the 1990s.

In the past, The Post relied on data supplied by the counties. However, there was a significant lag time — sometimes months — before a sale was recorded and sent to us. Now, through MRIS, we receive the data within days.

You can search by city, neighborhood or map point. You can search single-family homes, condos or townhouses. You can search by the selling agent’s name. You won’t be able to find out the names of the buyers or sellers on the most recently sold properties. MRIS doesn’t provide us with that data. We still have to wait for the county to give us that information.

For buyers, this tool can tell them exactly what price a home sold for, which is much more relevant than what it was listed for. A buyer can search for the sales price of all the one-bedroom, one-bath condos on a particular street in order to know whether the condo they are thinking about buying is over- or under-priced. They can also look at pictures of the sold properties to see how they compare to the one they are considering.  

Another useful application of the tool for buyers is the ability to see which real estate agents are performing best in certain areas. Before picking an agent, a buyer can see which agent represented the most buyers in a particular neighborhood.

For sellers who are thinking about selling, they can check to see what homes in their neighborhood sold for recently. Or they can use it to validate their listing price. They, too, can use it to identify real estate agents who are performing the best in their neighborhood.  

It is a simpler, more user-friendly tool for agents who want to give their clients a picture of a neighborhood. With just a few taps on an iPad, they can show their clients what homes are selling for in that community.  

Dying to know how much your neighbor got for his house? Or wondering what a co-worker spent on his new condo? This tool can tell you.

It also lets you e-mail the listings to yourself or your friends. One day soon, we plan to make it Facebook friendly. 

A couple things to note: By clicking on the map, you can make it bigger and easier to search by map point. To make the map bigger, click on the “Filter Results” bar to hide the search criteria. (This will give you a better display, especially when using a mobile device.) If you are standing in front of the house, but don’t know the exact address, click on “use my current location” to enable the geo-location feature.  

We will continue to update and expand this feature based on your feedback. So feel free to leave your comments below.