Chalk up another huge time-and-hassle-saver to the modern computer (AKA smartphone) you carry around in your pocket. As little as 15 years ago, if you wanted to buy a house, it involved weekend after weekend of driving, walking, talking, hand-shaking, brochure-taking, and lots and lots of phone calls. From a landline! And that’s not even including all of the work to find the best home loan. Today, a lot of this drudgery can be eliminated by downloading a few apps and, as they used to say, letting your fingers do the walking. Apps can help you figure out what you can afford, review the listings of dozens of possible homes, and even take a virtual tour without ever leaving your couch. So let’s take a look at seven of the best ones—free and available for Apple- and Android-based phones—to simplify your house hunt.
All of the apps below will let you:
- Search by specific areas such as city or zip code
- Get information on local amenities and statistics such as parks, crime rates, schools, area walkability, etc.
- Filter your house search by the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, home type (house, condo, townhouse, etc.), keywords (pool, island kitchen, etc.) and a variety of other factors
- Set a price range
- Review photos and other information on houses
- Save your searches to help you narrow down your list
- Schedule in-person home tours or even virtual tours of some properties
This app is associated with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and carries the listings local Realtors will handle. A big advantage if you want to utilize the experience of a licensed real estate agent.
Redfin’s 1.5% commission is considerably lower than the industry standard of 3-6%. That can be significant savings even for homes that sell for just a $100,000.
Redfin also claims their listings are updated every 15-30 minutes and that the app can tell you which home is likely to sell the fastest.
Arguably, the company that started the revolution in Internet-based house hunting. Zillow’s custom search filters include pre-foreclosure listings and extensive information on local schools. You can even search by school ranking and district.
Offers all of the same great features as Zillow, which makes sense since the two companies merged in 2015. However, you’ll still want to check each app separately since it’s up to individual sellers and/or real estate agents to do the listing.
Another low-to-no commission app like Redfin. Owners.com can send you alerts you set up to notify you of new homes based on your search preferences.
Even better, if live in California, Massachusetts, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, or Texas you can qualify for a rebate of 50% on their already low commission.
Offers a useful twist on home shopping: if you’re out and about and see a home you’re interested in, you can take a photo of it using the app and learn more about it before scheduling a tour or visiting during an open house.
Who says the government doesn’t make nice things?
Dwellr, from the U.S. Census Bureau, has you answer a series of questions and then utilizes their wealth of data to help you narrow your list of ideal cities to no more than 25.
It provides statistics on cities and neighborhoods including education levels, commute options and average times, home values and a lot more.
Before you buy so much as a roll of packing tape, you could already be thoroughly versed in all that your new hometown has to offer.
Finding and buying a new home has never been easy, but with the plethora of apps available today, you can reduce the headache to something much more manageable, and maybe even fun.
Want to know more about apps to simplify your house hunt? Answer a few questions here, and a home lending expert will contact you.