9 Technology Tools to Help You Buy a House

by James SheaJuly 6, 2018

Technology has totally transformed the house buying experience. You no longer get in your agent’s car, and the agent drives you around to different properties. Now, you can sit on your couch and view hundreds of homes with the click of a mouse.

In addition to home listings, there are a bunch of other technology tools to help you find the perfect home. These tools are easy to use, at your disposal and can help you make a better decision when purchasing a home.

Google Maps

Many of us are familiar with Google Maps because we often use it for directions anytime we go somewhere. It’s also a valuable tool when buying a home. You can use the tool in several different ways. Most importantly, you need to know where the house is located and once you have the location of the home, you can easily calculate the distance to the airport, local schools and the closest grocery store.

Google Maps also gives you an overall view of the region when you pull back the view. You can locate the nearest park and get a sense of the community’s population density. You can use the street view feature in Google Maps to virtually drive around the neighborhood. This helps you better understand if the community fits with the type of neighborhood that you are seeking.

Local Property Search Tools

Most counties and cities have made property records easily accessible online. It’s not like the old days of going to the country courthouse and entering a room with hundreds of books with local property records. Now, you enter the address into a database, and the program pulls the property record. The listing contains recent sales of the property and the assessed value. These are valuable pieces of information when making an offer on a house. You want to better understand the owner’s selling position in the market.

School District Rating Sites

If you have or plan to have children, schools are an important part of the decision-making process when you buy a home. You want your children to attend well-rated schools. There are several school rating sites online — greatschools.org and a niche.com are two examples. Here, on Homes.com we have a school section where you can search private and public schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade, including elementary schools, middle schools, junior high schools and senior high schools throughout the United States. All of these sites usually feature a grade and give parents the opportunity to comment on their experiences at the school. Most states also make the yearly report cards from standardized testing available online.

Digital Camera

If you are actively looking for a house, you are going to open houses and your real estate agent is setting up viewings. You can easily confuse different houses that interest you. You should take picturesoft the houses that you visit. You want to focus on the features that most interest you and areas that concern you. You can review these pictures when you are serious about a house.

Mortgage Calculator Website

When buying a house, you are most likely going to need a mortgage. That means you need to know what it’s going to cost. A mortgage calculator can quickly calculate your monthly payment. You just enter the price of the house, the down payment, interest rate, and whether you are seeking a 30- or 15-year loan. The website will kick out the monthly payment, and that will let you determine if the payment fits within your budget.

Sex Offender Registry

You want to get a sense of your neighbors when you buy a house. You also need to know if the neighborhood contains anyone on a sex offender registry. Most states make the sex offender registry public information online. You can search by the address of a house you are considering buying and the website you let you know if anyone in the area is on the registry.

Community Billboard Apps

NextDoor and several other community billboard sites have become popular over the last few years. These are sites where people post concerns and observations about the neighborhood. They also post questions. You get a sense of the important issues in the neighborhood and whether there are things that should concern you. The app. is easy to download. Once installed, you search for the particular neighborhood and find the bulletin board. You can scroll through the different posts.

Note-Taking App

When you visit a house, you might want to write down notes and document your thoughts on a house. Evernote and other note-taking applications allow you to easily organize your notes. You can add photos and other information to the note, and the information can be tagged for particular keywords. That makes it easier to sort in the future.

Drones

Drones are becoming common in the real estate industry. Real estate agents use them to fly around a house, and the camera footage is placed with the listing. But you can also use a drone to gather more information about the house. You can fly a drone around the neighborhood to get a bird’s eye view of the neighborhood. You can record the flight and watch the video later. It’s just another piece of information to help you in your real estate purchase.

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About The Author
James Shea
James Shea is an award-winning writer and author. He worked for over 10 years as a reporter where he covered development and land-use issues. For the last few years, he had written exclusively about construction and real estate.