Top 7 Real Estate Apps – 2019 Update
Ten years ago, the best your phone could do to help you with home buying or selling was to allow you to check your email for updates from your real estate agent.
Today, representing you in a real estate transaction is just about the only thing your smartphone can’t do. This summer, as the Portland real estate market heats up, buyers and sellers need to have the best tools at hand to beat out the competition. From shopping for homes to planning remodels, here’s our guide to the best real estate apps on the market this year.
1. Biggerpockets App
Want to enter the world of real estate investments? BiggerPockets has emerged in the last few years as the #1 resource for learning about how to buy and sell real estate as an investment. The website is divided into four areas: a social network for home investors and industry professionals; an education zone with podcast, blogs and forums; tools like the “Fix and Flip” calculator to help you determine whether a home is a good investment; and a marketplace where members can place real estate listings. In the app, users can access the forums to discuss financial strategy, remodels, becoming a landlord, and more. If you’re more of a podcast type of person, check out the BiggerPockets podcast – it’s very good!
2. Zillow App
This app does pretty much everything that Zillow.com can do: Search for homes using keywords or maps, show listing details, and help you find a real estate agent. We definitely recommend Zillow for checking agent reviews — they verified that reviews on their site are written by actual clients (read more about how to find real estate agent reviews here on our blog). Beyond that, Zillow’s main attraction is the Zestimates it generates by algorithm for any given home. The company claims that these home value estimates are accurate to within 4.6% of the actual sales price. Although home sellers should always get a Comprehensive Market Analysis by a real estate agent with knowledge of their specific neighborhood, browsing the Zestimates can provide a nice overview of the market and help both sellers and buyers make an informed decision. With all this information conveniently available on a smartphone or tablet, why not?
3. Realtor.com App
The app from the National Association of Realtors (whose website is Realtor.com) beats out Zillow in one key category: Data accuracy. Also Realtor.com is one of the few places online you can find accurate sold data. Because the NAR works direct with hundreds of Multiple Listing Services, or MLS, where properties are placed, they can access data in real time, updating 90% of real estate listings every 15 minutes. If a home sells, it won’t linger on the site for hours, and if a price changes, you’ll know about it pretty much right away. For years, the Realtor.com website and app lagged behind Zillow in user-friendliness and convenience, but it is now on par with, if not better than Zillow’s user experience. Our favorite Realtor.com app feature is the Sign Snap, where users can see home listing details and photos instantly by snapping a photo of a for sale sign. The app also makes it easy to search for homes by keyword or map area, contact an agent (though their find a real estate agent feature is still not nearly as good as Zillow’s), and see home value estimates for homes that are off the market.
4. Homesnap App
This app expands on the “Sign Snap” concept by allowing users to pull up listing information by simply taking a picture of a home. If you’re a fan of Snapchat, you’ll love this app because you can use it to message friends and family members about homes, share pictures, and track the homes you like. All of the data is pulled directly from the MLS for accuracy. And, for the truly real estate addicted, this app runs on smart watches (Android or Google OS), which means you can shop for nearby homes while out on a run, walking the dog, or just checking the time.
5. Measurements App
That’s right — your phone now eliminates the need to bring a tape measure with you to home showings. With a basic free app (IOS 12 has a built in Measure app), you can point the camera on your phone toward the object or area you want to measure, and it will tell you exactly how tall, wide and deep it is. More advanced users can download apps that function as a laser level, make vertical and horizontal alignments, measure angles, virtually add furniture to a room, make a floor plan and more. For Android users, we recommend Google’s Measurement app for basic functions, and Plumb-bob by Assysto for nitty gritty functionality.
6. Houzz App
Want to truly harness the power of the smartphone to reimagine a space? The Houzz app is a great option. This free app has over 16 million high resolution photos of homes and rooms showcasing the best in interior design. Identify products from those photos and purchase them through the app, or use the camera feature to take a picture of your home and see how the product would look in your living room, kitchen, etc. (this feature on Android only). The app also gives you access to Houzz’s library of articles and videos on home design, organizing, and renovation. Or, go to the community to discuss home design and remodeling in the Advice section.
7. Nextdoor App
This up-and-coming neighborhood social network is a great resource for Portland home sellers. Home buyers won’t be able to access the Nextdoor network for their neighborhood until they’ve moved in (the site’s strict user-verification policy is part of what makes it work), but it can be very useful for home sellers. Let your neighbors know your home is for sale (you never know who has been drooling over it for years), and post items for sale or free as you begin the moving process. It’s also a great place to ask for recommendations for service professionals, from movers and housecleaners to home loan experts.June 14, 2019