It is a well-known fact that most home buyers today will start their search online (about 70% according to the National Association of Realtors). After all, why wouldn’t you take advantage of the valuable resources available for you today as a modern day house hunter. Whether you are on your desktop or your phone, you can do a quick search on Google and get a long list of possible websites to search for your dream home. What about when you are driving around town just looking at the neighborhoods? Wouldn’t it be great to have some apps that will allow you quickly access information in unique and fun ways? You bet!
As many of you know, GET REALty has an emerging tech column where we highlight possible technology futures for the near future. One of the insights we have had while researching these Emergining Tech posts is how in tune the tech sector is with the real estate industry. It only makes sense if you think about it. Most software developers have bought and sold homes in their lifetimes. They realize the challenges of the task and want to make a impact by designing an app that will help others to house hunt in a fun, yet efficient way. As we are all tied to our phones 24/7, apps seem the perfect vehicle to make this happen for buyers. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just pull out your phone, point it at a house and get back all the raw data? Well, now you can.
A word of warning before we get into the top phone apps for house hunters. All information is fluid in nature and will change very quickly. Some apps will be better at keeping the data fresh than others. Before you get too excited by what you find out from an app, be sure to reach out to your buyer’s agent to see if they can verify what you are being provided by the app. Nothing hurts worse to think you found the house of your dreams, only to find out it is no longer available, or it doesn’t have that fourth bedroom like you were told. Verify all facts!
Without further ado, lets get to the list of top apps. We have tried all these apps ourselves to make sure they deliver at least on the surface what they promise. We tried to find apps that were on both the apple and google store as we don’t want to discriminate against any type of phone user. Just do a search on the phone’s app store to find any the ones recommended below.
NextHome Mobile Connect – This app is actually a representation of the many apps available from brokerages today that are really top-notch, even helping you while you are driving around. Even though the author works for NextHome, he is not necessarily promoting it over any of the other brokerage apps available today. However, it is the one he knows the best so he is using it as an example. With this app, you can connect directly with your agent and send them messages about homes you see you like while driving around your target areas. It is best to go to the NextHome website and sign up with an account to make using the app much easier as you will be able to access favorites in both the app and on your web portal. This app makes searching for information about a specific home very easy, because you can either browse to find it on the map, or do a search for the exact address. You can schedule a time with your agent to see a property through the app. Finally, one of the greatest features is the property scan, where you can point your phone’s camera at a house and it will pop up with information about the house. It is easy to do and a huge time saver!
Estatly Real Estate – Approaching the more broad real estate apps available (not ones connected to a brokerage), there are several to select including the big names like Zillow, Truila, Realtor.com, etc. These apps are done by companies using Partner agents (most charging a fee to the agent) to actually see the homes. Since they are not tied to a specific brokerage, the apps present the data in a slightly different way, sometimes giving you more general information about a property than you might see with a local brokerage app. This author decided to highlight a lesser known app in this category called Estately Real Estate. In a lot of ways, it looks like a brokerage app. However, you do get some additional information from the app, you might not see elsewhere like the walk store for the neighborhood and commute time. You can even look at school ratings. The claim to fame of this app, however, is how quickly it updates the data, every 15 minutes so it might be reliable than other big name apps. You can even set up your own tour of homes using the app, which connects you up with a local agent to show you the properties. All the apps from the big companies work on your behalf when driving around looking at homes because (like with the brokerage apps), you can easily find out additional information about any one property. You just have to find the app that works best for you.
DealMachine – If you are in the business of real estate investing, you have probably been hit with a lot of ads for tools to help you with your bottom line. When it comes to “driving for dollars”, you might be interested in this app called DealMachine for Real Estate. This app makes it easy to grab information about a property that might be distressed. All you have to do is “point and click.” You get information about the property including the property owner, their current address and other pertinent information. It stores all this data for you and even sends out a postcard to the current owner of the property, expressing your interest in purchasing the house. Of course, this all costs money, a monthly subscription fee and the cost of the marketing material being sent to the owners. However, it adds an interesting component to your REI business by making it easy to market to potential sellers.
Real Estate Dictionary – This final app might seem to come from the dusty old bookshelf of your parents. However, real estate is a complex process and the industry jargon is in widespread use in both signs and marketing material. I am sure your agent has even said a few things that made little sense to you since you are not a real estate insider. Without knowing the meanings of certain terms, it can be quite frustrating as you use some of these other apps while driving around looking at real estate signs and the flyers that come with the signs. With the Real Estate Dictionary app (brought to you by thefreedictionary.com), you can now get an in-depth description of real estate terms. Sure, you could use Google, but this is a post about apps so we wanted to include it since it is really a cool app for the author, a certified real estate geek!