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The Best Apps for House Shopping
In 2022, physically visiting a property is becoming an optional step in the home buying process. More than 90% of home buyers look at listings online, primarily on their phones. Want to check out the hottest listing the minute it hits the market? Want to find a local real estate agent or a trustworthy contractor? Want to calculate the ideal mortgage payment for your budget? There’s an app for that.
Here are the eight best apps for home buyers.
Zillow is arguably the most popular real estate website on the internet. Its app is one of the best, with more than 36 million monthly users looking at 135 million property listings.
Zillow’s listing database is constantly updated, so you always have an up-to-the-minute market snapshot. You can set up notifications to inform you when a new property that meets your specifications hits the market.
You can also check out 3D tours of properties and schedule showings right in the app. Zillow has one of the most customizable search tools of any real estate app, allowing users to filter listings by size, price, ZIP code, number of bedrooms, and a long list of other features. For more independent-minded sellers, it even offers free for-sale-by-owner listing services.
Redfin offers a comprehensive look at the evolving real estate market, with listings updated every five minutes. They’re also a brokerage, so if you’re looking for an all-inclusive, one-stop-shop experience, you can look at listings through the Redfin app and then click right on through to a Redfin agent who will guide you through the entire home-buying process.
Redfin doesn’t have agents everywhere, so this might not be an option if you live outside a major market. If you’re also selling with Redfin, the platform will charge a listing fee of 1.5% of the final sale price.
Redfin has two unique features going for it. The first is its “Hot Homes” category, which highlights properties likely to sell fast, so you can make a move before they disappear. The second is a commission rebate if you buy through a Redfin agent.
Using Redfin can net you some solid savings, but make sure to read the reviews first and choose the company that’s right for you.
Realtor.com is the official platform of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The listings you see on the Realtor.com app are pulled directly from the multiple listing service (MLS), a private database created and maintained by real estate brokers to facilitate home buying and selling. Other leading real estate websites pull from the MLS, but because the NAR essentially owns and runs the service, it has an extra stamp of legitimacy.
The app has a customizable search tool, allowing users to look for listings based on factors such as crime rates, flood zones, school quality, and property tax assessments. It also has an innovative feature that allows you to take a photo of any “For Sale” sign you see and immediately retrieves the property’s details. This is especially handy if you’re walking or driving and suddenly spot the property of your dreams.
If you’ve ever used an app to identify a song playing in the car, Homesnap is essentially the same for real estate.
Homesnap allows you to take a photo of any property, even if it’s not for sale. The app will populate its estimated value, photos, tax information, and other important details. The value of this app is that it allows you to view homes on the market and survey entire blocks or neighborhoods. That’s an incredibly useful tool for finding a neighborhood that matches your budget, especially if you’re a new investor or buyer.
Another cool Homesnap feature is that it allows you to search for open houses in your area and lets you view live virtual open houses from the comfort of your home. This is an appealing feature for buyers who may not be able to attend an open house or are tired of touring homes in person.
A lot is riding on your home inspection. A poor inspection can be incredibly disheartening or even derail the entire deal.
Home inspectors are licensed professionals, but buyers will occasionally receive a sloppy inspection or one that’s flawed or incorrect. To avoid that, the zInspector app allows you to examine a property and compile your own inspection records with photos and condition reports.
You can then export your completed inspection report and compare it to the inspectors. You’ll have a concrete reason to ask for revisions if there are differences or omissions.
Zillow owns Trulia, but the apps offer slightly different services. Trulia really shines in two areas: agent searches and insider information about neighborhoods.
Trulia’s agent search tool lets you search for an agent by filtering for language, property type expertise, location, budget, and many other attributes. For added convenience, you can contact agents right through the app. This is a valuable tool to have in your arsenal because finding the right agent for your home search can be the difference between a fast, satisfying experience and a frustrating, unsuccessful one.
Trulia’s second standout feature, its neighborhood intelligence, is equally valuable. It’s easy to use virtually any app to find listings according to value and location, but it’s much tougher to get an idea of an area’s culture. Trulia’s “What Locals Say” report will give you the lowdown on everything from commute times to school quality and properties near rowdy Airbnbs that you’ll want to avoid.
HOME by Fannie Mae
Fannie Mae’s app for home buyers offers valuable, expert insight into mortgage rates and payments. This is a great app for buyers who don’t yet know how much house they can afford or even if they can afford one. For users who are considering buying a home, HOME offers great checklists for prospective buyers, who can also connect with local housing counselors through the app.
Whether you’re a seller getting your home ready for the market or a landlord fixing up an investment property yourself, finding contractors to perform quality repairs can be a daunting task. The HomeAdvisor app makes it much easier to get repairs done fast because it maintains listings of pre-vetted, customer-reviewed local contractors and the average price of common repairs. You can even contact contractors and get bids through the app.
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This article was produced by Clever Real Estate and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.