You may have heard it said recently, “There’s an app for everything.” Actually, that’s true! Having access to apps and technology can benefit you nowhere more, than during the home buying process.
Whether you are PCSing and searching from afar or have simply decided to move off base and into your own home, below are the top five apps every potential homebuyer should consider utilizing throughout the entire process.
Mortgage Calculator Apps
You may have heard the ancient literature that asks, “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost?” The same is true before beginning your house hunt. You must first determine how much house you can afford.
Knowing these numbers is a first step to beginning the process of home buying. Apps like Quicken and Rocket Mortgage have taken the analytical math work out of your hands and offer simple calculators to determine mortgage and all-in payment amounts based on loan terms, purchase price, private mortgage insurance, and interest rates.
Apps like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor tend to be known as the Big Three of apps that give users inside information to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Apps like these allow you to search and shop from the comfort of your smartphone or computer.
These apps generally have user-friendly interfaces and allow potential homebuyers to set many parameters and filters to search out key neighborhoods, school zones, zip codes, square footage and lot sizes, as well as exact numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms. Many of these apps offer generalized “estimates” of a home’s value. While this data can be helpful, it’s always best to leave the exact, up-to-date numbers of price and value up to a licensed Real Estate professional.
Dictionary of Real Estate Terms App
While most home buying apps are free and have unlimited access, according to Investopedia, it might be well worth your $3.99 to have access to the Real Estate Dictionary app which boasts of over 3,000 real estate terms and definitions.
Whether you are looking only to buy a personal residence, or have plans after a PCS to rent out your home as an investment property, knowing the lingo is important. While most Real Estate agents and mortgage companies are happy to help, ultimately having a complete understanding of terms surrounding liability and legality for yourself is crucial.
Location Data Apps
Two hugely popular apps for gathering city and neighborhood data are the Dwellr app and the Around Me app. Dwellr uses American Community Survey Data from the US Census Bureau, the only source of detailed statistics on over 40 topics for every community in the nation. It also allows users to match preferences with locations.
Around Me uses GPS location technology and helps you to quickly understand what’s available immediately surrounding you. Looking for the nearest urgent care or supermarket? Around Me identifies your position and gives you data on the service or business you are searching as well as directions to get there.
Home Design Apps
Apps like Sketch Up and Houzz can be incredibly helpful if you are looking to buy a home that may require architectural or design work before it’s functional. Sketch Up offers a free version of design software to help you plan and organize design projects from the simple to the complex.
Houzz has a wonderful interactive feature where users can upload a photo of a problem area and have the community of professional and hobby designers weigh in on helpful solutions. Once you’re ready to break ground on your project, Houzz can also connect you with service professionals in your area.