A 2013 National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Google survey found that 68% of people looking to buy a home found themselves using one or another of today’s popular mobile apps at some time during their odyssey. 2013 was ancient history in terms of the ascendance of mobile devices, so you’d have to guess that today’s percentage must be well north of that. It’s not surprising, since Google Maps (or one of the navigation programs built into many new autos) is becoming so indispensable for locating unfamiliar addresses
Most of the time, realtors accompany clients on tours of the listed homes in town they’re interested in checking out; but there are other occasions when they do some investigating on their own. With the sheer number of apps designed to aid in such endeavors, it’s good to know which apps actually help (those that won’t just take up space on your smart phone).
Need to know more specifics about the local neighborhoods you’re considering? Although it’s primarily thought of as a traveler’s aid, the AroundMe app can be a handy house hunter’s timesaver. You can canvass the immediate area to see how close you are to banks, gas stations, restaurants, hospitals, movie theaters, bistros, and much more. This is a great app to use when you’re trying to narrow down your choices between multiple locations. AroundMe is free and available for iPad, iPhone, Android, and Windows devices.
You want to comprehensively check out the local listed homes that fall within your search parameters—but as the number of possibilities expands, that can become a mind-numbing exercise. Unless you have encyclopedic recall, after visiting many listed homes it becomes more and more likely that you will forget what it was that you liked or disliked about each one, or even to mix up the details of one with another’s. Enter House Hunter, an app that lets you keep score of each home as you view it. The app comes with a standard list of features that you can customize. As you view each home, check off and rate each feature—you’ll wind up with an overall score for comparison. House Hunter costs $3.99 for iOS devices.
Even before any serious house hunting begins, it’s a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Lending sites such as the one WebFactorE created for eLucid Lending can help. Once you know the loan amount you will qualify for, the mortgage calculator on the eLucidLending.com website helps you approximate monthly payments for listed homes. Simply enter the selling price of the home, down payment, and the amortization period along with the interest rate to get an approximation of the monthly amount different homes will cost. The website also enables users to apply for a loan online. The eLucid website is mobile-Responsive and all of its features work on Apple iOS and Android devices.
Between your real estate agent and your smartphone, today’s house hunters can capture and digest more information about the listed homes in town than was common just a few short years ago. More apps seem to be appearing almost every week, so watch this space for new developments.