Have you been watching those house hunting shows and browsing listings online? Are you ready to take the next step toward purchasing a new home? There is much more to learn when it comes to real estate and you may want to add these apps to your home buying tool box before signing any paperwork. Check out these helpful apps that can help you navigate common home-buying stumbling blocks below.
Stumbling Block #1: Figuring Out How Much House You Can Actually Afford
A surprisingly common problem, says Markowitz, is that “many people will hire a real estate broker or agent before they really have any idea of their finances.”
It may seem obvious, but a broker or agent can’t help you find a great home within your budget if you aren’t able to tell them just how much house you can afford.
So before doing anything else, Markowitz says, you should get a handle on what you can offer for a down payment and how much mortgage you can safely swing each month, among other financial details.
As the saying goes, knowledge is power—and this app doles out valuable home-buying knowledge in spades.
Key features include budget, down-payment and mortgage calculators; a step-by-step checklist to help manage the home-buying process; and even listings of local housing-counseling agencies approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Stumbling Block #2: Scoping Out the Right Digs Based on Your Budget
To figure out what the funds you have to work with can realistically buy, start by researching the values of homes you like in a few favorite neighborhoods—even if they aren’t for sale, says Markowitz.
This way, you’ll understand the bottom-line difference between a two-story home one block from that trendy dining district and a one-bedroom condo that’s just a short bike ride away.
If you’ve ever used apps like Shazam or SoundHound to ID the name of a catchy song on the radio, you’ll love Homesnap.
Simply take a photo of the front of any home to access local multiple listing service (MLS) data—the same info that’s used by real estate agents—including high-resolution photos, lot boundaries and details about the home’s value.
The app works by combining the house image with GPS data from your phone to snag the MLS and tax data for you.
Stumbling Block #3: Finding the Right Real Estate Professional
“Consumers are becoming incredibly savvy,” Markowitz says, adding that since people can find most properties online, they think they don’t need an agent or broker.
But working with a knowledgeable agent, says Markowitz, can give you a competitive edge, especially if it’s your first time shopping.
If you’re relying solely on websites for your search, you may be missing out on the hottest new leads agents know about that aren’t on the market yet. They may also have valuable intelligence, like the scoop on previous sale attempts, that can help you decide what kind of offer to make.
And even better, Markowitz explains, you normally don’t have to pay your agent or broker’s fees—the seller covers the commission.
The app’s robust “Find An Agent” feature enables you to search for agents by location, budget, property expertise (single-family homes, multifamily homes, rentals), languages and such specialties as short sales and luxury homes.
You can even browse reviews, and call or message the agent straight from the app.
zInspector helps you create a room-by-room photo inspection report, with drop-down menus that offer customizable action requests like “maintenance required.”
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SRC: Learn about two more Apps That Can Help You Navigate Common Home-Buying Stumbling Blocks at: www.learnvest.com/2015/09/best-home-buying-apps/