Smartphone ownership is now the norm, with almost two-thirds of all American adults owning one. These mobile devices are changing the way we live and how we consume information, including how we search for new homes.
Google reports that 27 percent of all mobile searches in June 2014 were related to buying a home. With the residential real estate market on the rise, house hunters are turning to their phones more than ever for consistent monitoring of news, information and listings popping up in their local markets. Cannon Christian of Renovation Realty recommends these websites and mobile applications for home buyers shopping via smartphone for a new home:
StreetAdvisor – This site is like the Yelp of neighborhoods, allowing you to search by neighborhood characteristics such as ‘beach lovers’ or ‘clean and green.’ Other options include people, price, things to do, personality and various amenities that may be found nearby. If you are looking to move to a larger city, StreetAdvisor lists communities within the city by rank.
ColorSmart – You may love the layout of a prospective home, but the décor prevents you from imagining yourself living there. ColorSmart by BEHR Mobile allows you to browse through 2500 paint colors, and can preview and match your preferred colors through a mobile app. No more uneasiness about what a room would look like in a different color, paint away! Free for download.
Homesnap – The app you need when you see the perfect house on a casual afternoon stroll. Use the app to take a photo of any house to receive details, specs and price estimates on that exact home. The results derive from real-time MLS listing data, property tax data, mortgage rates and other government filings. Free for download.
GreatSchools.org – A must use online platform for families considering a move. GreatSchools scores school districts; preschools; elementary, middle and high schools; and even private schools on a scale of one to ten. The score is developed by comparing and integrating test scores, parent reviews and quality ratings of teachers and faculty. Looking for the highest-ranked school in an area or district? Simple – GreatSchools lists from highest to lowest.
Zillow Digs – One in five new homeowners take on a DIY project within the first year of ownership. Zillow Digs allows users to browse project ideas and provides cost and time estimates on favorite projects based on your location. Not all homes are perfect, but this app can help you plan for any project that comes your way. Free for download.
fypio – Have specific criteria your next home must meet? Fypio allows you to set-up searches based on room size, school districts, nearby shops, parks and crime reports. Store your favorite homes in various lists for easier access. The app can also compare multiple homes at a time to give you a broader view of what is available in the market. Free for download.
Keep these handy apps and sites in your back pocket and put your smartphone to work during your next house search. Happy hunting!