8 Unexpected Apps That Make Buying a Home Easier
When you’re going through the sometimes stressful process of buying a new home, you might feel like the only apps you need are PostMates, Candy Crush, and Instagram. However, right there in the palm of your hand sits a trove of truly useful applications that can help make the homebuying process more seamless.
While aspects of buying a new home can feel pretty old school (such as a formal closing at an attorney’s office), modern technology has helped empower and support buyers every step of the way. Download these essential apps, and let them do the legwork.
1. Neighborhoods.com app
Did you know our site has an accompanying app? Just like our website, the Neighborhoods.com app is all about putting the neighborhood at the center of your home search.
You can search and compare neighborhoods and homes for sale on an interactive map and view real-time MLS listings in more than 100,000 neighborhoods across metropolitan areas all over the country. Detailed neighborhood profiles with photo galleries, neighborhood boundary lines, school reviews, and market trends round out the utility of this easy-to-use app. It’s free and currently has 4.9/5 stars in the Apple app store.
2. Mortgage Calculator App
While mortgage calculators aren’t always completely accurate, they can help you get a good idea of how much you’ll be paying each month. There are several available in the App Store and Google Play, many of them free, but I’d suggest the Mortgage Calculator +, which costs $1.99. For a small amount of money, you’ll be spared annoying pop-up ads that are a regular occurrence on free mortgage calculator apps.
Mortgage Calculator + also requires only easy-to-find inputs (you’ll simply enter your loan amount, duration, interest rate, and extra payments like private mortgage insurance). For less than the price of an iced coffee, you’ll get great app support in a handy, straightforward interface. The app also allows you to download and export results to email.
3. Mail app
Believe it or not, some people don’t have mail connected to their smartphone. Case in point? My own husband. He hates the idea of being available all the time. But he made an exception while we were searching for our home. We received all sorts of documents via email, whether information from our lender regarding our loan status or basic communication from our real estate agent.
Having a mail app on your phone allows you to get back to important players quickly and from anywhere. I’m all for a little separation between your real life and your work life, but when it comes to the homebuying process, being available and responsive at all times is important to keeping things moving.
4. Scanner app
Honestly, who even has a scanner these days? Even if your office has one, you might find you don’t want to scan sensitive financial information onto a workplace device. I hear you. That’s why a scanner app is such a useful tool during the homebuying process; you might need to get financial documents such as W2s or pay stubs over to a loan officer at a moment’s notice.
Yes, there are often digital copies of these, but if you’re in a pinch, I’d recommend downloading an easy scanner app so you can provide scans of hard copies with ease. There are several scanner apps available, but I’d recommend Scanner Pro for $3.99. Similar to a mortgage calculator app, paying a little extra means you won’t get constant pop-up ads.
5. Signature app
Save yourself the trouble of printing, signing, and scanning documents altogether by downloading a signature app. While certain documents will need to be signed in person, a signature app allows you to sign other documents on the go. SignEasy is widely used, and it has great reviews in the app store.
If you know you’ll only be signing PDF documents, Adobe Fill & Sign is formatted specifically for PDFs. You can also skip scanning by downloading DocuSign, a free app that allows you to fill out and e-sign documents, then send them via email, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, and more. DocuSign also has offline access so you can truly sign from anywhere, even when there isn’t an internet connection—this is a great feature for business travelers and frequent flyers.
6. Map app
Whether you choose the one pre-downloaded on your device or opt for a separate map app like Google Maps, having some sort of directions app is great for zooming in on specific neighborhoods and getting a feel for nearby landmarks like restaurants, parks, shopping, and more. Of course, if you decide to tour a house in person, a map app can give you real-time directions.
7. Houzz app
One of the most fun aspects of buying a home is making it your own. The free Houzz app brings out the interior designer in all of us, providing an array of styles and design inspiration whether you’re remodeling or simply redecorating.
8. Color Capture app
You already know by now to look past paint color when touring a home. But if it’s the home of your dreams but it has neon purple walls, well, you know paint is probably in your future.
Maybe you’re in a restaurant or at a shop and you see your perfect paint color. You could ask the owner the shade and manufacturer, but odds are, they won’t exactly know or remember. Enter the free Color Capture app from Benjamin Moore. Simply snap a photo of the paint color, and the app will color match while providing design tips on how to replicate the look in your own home.