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Best apps for buying a home

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By Jean Folger


If you are in the market for a new home, technology can help make your search a little easier. There are mobile apps that allow you to search listings, calculate mortgage costs, find out which businesses and attractions are nearby, and decipher real estate terms you'll hear throughout the home-buying process. Below are some of the best real estate apps for homebuyers:

MLS Apps: Realtor.com, Redfin.com, Trulia.com, Zillow.com, etc. 

Platform: iOS, Android

Cost: Free

These apps are grouped together because they essentially do the same thing: help you search the local MLS (multiple listing service) to find properties for sale. Homebuyers can search by city/state or zip code to see current listings, and filter by price, number of beds/baths, property type, square feet, lot size, features, age of home, and listing activity (i.e., open houses, new listings, price reduced). Realtor.com is often recommended by real estate agents because it tends to have the most accurate and up-to-date information, sourced from more than 800 MLSs, with 90% of its listings refreshed every 15 minutes.

Homesnap 

Platform: iOS, Android

Cost: Free

Homesnap is another MLS app with an added feature: Snap a photo of any home across the nation to get instant property details, including home values, when it last sold, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, taxes, lot boundaries, local school ratings, similar listings, and nearby sales. If a home is currently on the market, you may be able to see interior photos. When you are ready to buy a home (or put yours on the market), you can use the app to contact a real estate agent to schedule a showing or to add your home to the MLS. This app draws on the same listing information used by realtors to provide timely, accurate real estate information.

Mortgage Apps: Trulia Mortgage Calculator, Trulia Home Loan Rates, Zillow Mortgages, etc.

Platform: iOS, Android

Cost: Free

If you are like most homebuyers, you will need a mortgage to purchase your new property. Mortgage apps, such as Trulia's Mortgage CalculatorHome Loan Rates and Zillow Mortgages, help you determine how much house you can afford, calculate your monthly payment and shop for real-time rates. You can also see side-by-side customized loan quotes from a number of lenders, compare lender ratings and reviews, and directly contact a lender from your mobile device to learn more about a specific quote. These apps also include refinancing calculators so you can see if/how much you'll save monthly and in total by refinancing.

AroundMe 

Platform: iOS, Android

Cost: Free

The AroundMe app quickly identifies where you are to show you a complete list of nearby businesses and attractions, including the distance from your current location. This can be helpful when looking for a house in an area that is unfamiliar to you. You can search for the nearest bank/ATM, bar, coffee shop, gas station, hospital, hotel, movie theater, restaurant, supermarket, theater and taxi company. You can view every listing on a map, view GPS directions to your chosen destination, add the information to your contact list and email the details to a friend.

Dictionary of Real Estate Terms

Platform: iOS

Cost: $3.99

The home-buying process is complex, and it can be difficult to keep up with all of the real estate terms that you hear while you are looking for, making offers on, financing and closing on a house. The Dictionary of Real Estate Terms app puts more than 3,000 real estate terms at your fingertips so you can quickly find out what your agent means when he/she talks about easements and encumbrances, or what your lender is talking about when he/she brings up the acceleration or joint and several liability clause in your mortgage. Similar apps are available for free, including Glossary Real Estate Terms for Android and the The Real Estate Dictionary for iOS.

The Bottom Line

Buying a house can be a lengthy and complicated process. Fortunately, there are tools – like these mobile apps – that can make the home-buying process a little bit easier. These are only a few of the dozens of real estate apps that are available free or for a small price in the mobile-app marketplace. Search "real estate app" or "mortgage calculator" on Google Play (for Android devices) or iTunes Store (iOS) to find and read about more real estate apps for homebuyers. 
  
Originally posted on Investopedia.com


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