That cool new smartphone can help you find a cool new place to live if you’re planning on going house-hunting. That’s because real estate firms, listing services, mortgage companies and more have thousands of free smartphone apps that allow you to search listings, calculate mortgage costs, find out which businesses and attractions are nearby, and make sense of real estate terms you’ll hear throughout the home-buying process.
These apps are definitely a good thing to have when we’re out and about looking at houses. Below are some of the best real estate apps for homebuyers:
MLS Apps: Realtor.com, Redfin.com, Trulia.com, Zillow.com, etc.
These apps are grouped together because they essentially do the same thing: help you search the local MLS (multiple listing service) to find properties for sale. Homebuyers can search by city/state or zip code to see current listings, and filter by price, number of beds/baths, property type, square feet, lot size, features, age of home, and listing activity (i.e., open houses, new listings, price reduced). Realtor.com is often recommended by real estate agents because it tends to have the most accurate and up-to-date information, sourced from more than 800 MLSs, with 90% of its listings refreshed every 15 minutes.
Platform: iOS, Android
Homesnap is another MLS app with an added feature: Snap a photo of any home across the nation to get instant property details, including home values, when it last sold, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, taxes, lot boundaries, local school ratings, similar listings, and nearby sales. If a home is currently on the market, you may be able to see interior photos. When you are ready to buy a home (or put yours on the market), you can use the app to contact a real estate agent to schedule a showing or to add your home to the MLS. This app draws on the same listing information used by realtors to provide timely, accurate real estate information.
Mortgage Apps: Trulia Mortgage Calculator, Trulia Home Loan Rates, Zillow Mortgages, etc.
Platform: iOS, Android
If you are like most homebuyers, you will need a mortgage to purchase your new property. Mortgage apps, such as Trulia’s Mortgage Calculator, Home Loan Rates and Zillow Mortgages, help you determine how much house you can afford, calculate your monthly payment and shop for real-time rates. You can also see side-by-side customized loan quotes from a number of lenders, compare lender ratings and reviews, and directly contact a lender from your mobile device to learn more about a specific quote. These apps also include refinancing calculators so you can see if/how much you’ll save monthly and in total by refinancing.
Buying a house can be a lengthy and complicated process. Fortunately, there are tools – like these mobile apps – that can make the home-buying process a little bit easier. These are only a few of the dozens of real estate apps that are available free or for a small price in the mobile-app marketplace.
October 8, 2014