When its comes time to sell the family home and move on, people have a ton of options. And the good news with technology is most of those options can be narrowed down by the help of an app. For example, there’s an app that helps buyers figure out almost instantaneously what it will cost to make any improvements to the house they are considering before even making an offer. And another helps determine if the place you are looking at is in a high-risk area for floods, tornadoes or other natural disasters.
Still, housing is very much a people-to-people experience, and agents remain at the center of the transaction, no matter how much they leverage technology, says Mike Delprete, a real estate technology strategist. “Technology is an enabler, not a disruptor,” he says. “Companies which try to replace agents with technology always fail. They just don’t get the traction.” So while using these apps can be great at helping you narrow down these ‘options’ you’ll face, having an agent on your real estate team will be the most helpful tool. Here’s a quick look at some of the programs, apps, and software you should consider as a potential homebuyer:
Know Your Remodeling Estimate Before Making an Offer
In today’s market, buyers have to move fast. Otherwise, they could very well be beat out by someone else who’s ready to pull the trigger right away. But it’s tough to bid on a house that you want to remodel, perhaps upgrade the kitchen or redo the main bath, without knowing what the renovation might cost. To make matters worse, it could take days or even weeks to find a quality contractor to look over the job, and days after that to receive a bid. But you don’t have that kind of time. You have to know now, if not down to the penny, at least a ballpark idea of what the work will cost.
Enter Remodel It. The New York City-based start-up removes the time and guesswork out of the equation by using advanced computer vision technology to provide instant free remodeling estimates before you ever talk to a contractor. The program’s AI allows for such factors as quality, materials room size and more based on property photos.
“Renovation and material cost information is gathered from across the country, compiled, and connected to our AI models to estimate the cost of renovation projects and help you make the most informed home purchasing decision, so you can move quickly and confidently through the home buying and renovation process,” says founder Vin Vomero.
More Quotes for Flood Protection
Speaking of floods, if you are buying a house located in a flood plain, your lender will require that you purchase flood insurance. That’s probably an added expense you hadn’t expected. But with CartoFront, which is offered only through brokers, agents and multiple listing services, you can instantly obtain flood quotes from private and public insurers.
Long Distance Move? Know the Climate Before You Go
If you’re worried about the climate where you’re looking for a new primary residence or vacation property, plug in the address of the place you are considering and ClimateCheck.com will produce an extensive report telling you, among other things, the risk for storms, higher temperatures, drought, flood and fire. It will also give you an overall risk score.
Short-term Residences for When Your New Home Isn’t Move-in Ready
You’ve sold your current house but the new one isn’t ready. Where do you go? If an apartment or hotel isn’t appealing, and moving in with a relative just doesn’t work, call on Tweener Homes, a property technology company that connects people who need a temporary residence with furnished single-family homes, for a short as a month to as long as a year.
Tweener’s platform is intuitive, seamless and as convenient as booking a hotel room online. It offers a certified inventory of houses that have been personally inspected. Photos and videos on the site have been are taken by the company, ownership is verified and a full background check is completed on those wishing to rent, providing a stress-free option for both tenants and owners.
Offer Self-guided Home Tours with UTour
Because of the pandemic, self-guided tours – aka unattended access – have changed the way buyers are visiting houses for sale, especially in the new home market. That way, you can view a house alone, on your time, without worrying about who else will be in the place and whether they will be wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.
Several programs are available that allow agents to schedule and grant access from a remote location. But UTour stands out. It works with a variety of smart locks. It works with voice technology so visitors don’t have to download anything to their phones or tablets. And it uses various data integration techniques to connect with other software applications.
Once you schedule a tour on the builder’s website, UTour sends you a digital code that allows access to the house. When your visit is complete, the software triggers a chatbot program that connects with a remote sales agent who you can tell what you liked about the house, what you didn’t and your interest in proceeding to the next step.