Looking to Buy or Sell a Home? These Top 10 Apps Can Help
If you’re a savvy consumer, chances are you have a smartphone. We use our smartphones every day to check e-mail, surf the web, and even to buy coffee. Now you can download great apps that can help you with the home buying or selling process, as well as get great creative ideas for what to do with your new home. As a National Speaker for Homes.com, my most popular presentations are always the “Top 10 Apps for Real Estate Professionals.” I change the Top Ten every three months or so to keep them new and fresh, and they continue to be a hit. This time, however, we wanted to do something different. We wanted to list the best apps for real estate consumers. So here are the Top Ten Real Estate Apps for Consumers:
1. Homes.com Real Estate Search
This app is free and is available for iPhone, Android and iPad. Use it to search more than 4 million properties nationwide, complete with up to 100 photos (per house), video and virtual tours, descriptions, and maps. Have a question about a property? There is a contact information form next to each listing, making it easy to get your questions answered by a real estate professional.
2. A QR Code Reader
QR codes are everywhere today. They are on listing brochures, real estate signs, agent business cards, and many other places as well. For a consumer who wants information about a property immediately, you need to have a QR code reader app on your phone. QR stands for “Quick Response,” because when you scan it, it takes you to where it wants you to go immediately. A QR code on a listing brochure might take you to the property’s website, for example. There are many QR code reader apps on the market today. Which one is best? Whichever one is free. As long as it can do it’s job and read the code properly, that’s all you need.
3. Around Me
This app is free and is great for buyers who are not very familiar with a town or neighborhood. Many potential buyers see the home and that’s it. But buyers are buying more than the home. They are also buying into the community. Buyers want to know where the restaurants, movie theaters, and shopping districts are, and this app will give them this information. It will literally tell you everything that is “around you,” hence the name. I use this app all the time when I travel.
Have you ever looked at a bunch of houses for sale in one day with your Realtor and couldn’t remember the details from half of them? This happens all the time, because it’s hard to keep track of all the details of all the homes. Evernote can help. This free app is available for almost all smartphones (as well as iPad) and is truly revolutionary. Not only does it allow you to create and take notes via text, but you can also record voice memos or even take pictures. What’s really cool is that this app can sync to all of your devices (smartphone, iPad, PC, Mac), so that you can record a voice memo on your phone and then listen to it on your home computer at night when you get home. This app will help your property search become more organized. It’s great for sellers as well, as agents can share showing feedback with them using this app.
Have you ever walked by a house and wondered what it might be worth? We all have. This app can help give you an answer. Here’s how it works: Just walk in front of a house with your Android or iPhone and snap a picture of the property. Then wait a few seconds to see the estimated current value of the property as well as what it last sold for. It also tells you property details such as estimated property taxes and nearby schools. The app isn’t perfect, but it does a pretty good job of keeping information in the ballpark. This app is currently free to download.
This free iPhone app is taking the mobile world by storm, just like Pinterest’s interactive website. This app enables users to create their own pinboards for interior design ideas, crafts, gardening, and more. You can browse the app and “pin” things you like to your pinboard. You can also follow others and re-pin their ideas to your board as well. This app gives its users the opportunity to see “what’s out there” and the latest trends in home decor and design.
7. Ikea Catalog
Ikea has become a worldwide institution, and it’s synonymous with affordable, sleek furniture. Are you on a design budget? This free app is for you, because you now have the entire Ikea catalog on your smartphone. You can also make purchases right from your phone and find the nearest store for pick-up.
SocialCam is the hottest video app today. It currently is the number one Facebook app and is also a free mobile app for consumers. A picture may tell a thousand words, but a video can tell much more. Use this social video app to share home video tours with friends and family to get their opinions on the inside of a home. This is great to get design ideas, as well spot potential home inspection issues. SocialCam is better than other video social apps because most of them limit video time to about 15 seconds. With SocialCam, you can record much longer videos to share on the popular social networks.
9. DecorPad – Interior Design
This modern app wants you to design, share and inspire. You can browse photos from top designers to inspire your own home decorating. The search makes it easy for users to search by room, such as kitchens, baths, bedrooms, basements, and more. It also has a section called “steals and deals,” where users can find great deals on products. This is a free app to download.
10. Homes.com Mortgage Calculator
Every buyer needs a mortgage calculator, and this great app from Homes.com is free. Calculate mortgage interest rates, debt to income ratios, monthly payments, and more from the convenience of your smartphone. You can even get connected to a mortgage broker to get pre-qualified for a loan.
So there it is, the Top Ten Real Estate Apps for consumers. What’s great is that all of these apps are free, so they can be downloaded and used with no cost to you. They also run the entire gamut of the real estate buying and selling process, from mortgage calculations, to real estate search, to interior design ideas. Feel free to comment or tell us about your favorite real estate apps. We can’t wait to hear from you!