Whether an individual is a first-time homebuyer, a real estate agent, or a broker, scoping out homes and putting together all the necessary paperwork to complete the purchase is a daunting task that requires a significant investment of time and effort. Thanks to modern apps available on desktops, tablets and smartphones, the amount of time it takes to locate, valuate, determine the best mortgage for, and get all the needed paperwork to close on the home can be substantially reduced. Melanie Haselmayr writing for Forbes suggests taking advantage of some of the best apps available to help with different aspects of real estate investing. Four of these apps stand out as absolute must-haves for anyone hoping to invest in real estate.
With the purchase of its largest competitor, Trulia, in 2014, Zillow is now the most comprehensive source of real estate information on the Internet, including maps, details and statistics on properties as well as values over time, MLS numbers, and more. While homeowners can list their homes for free on Zillow, most homeowners work with agents who can maximize Zillow’s benefits, according to Joe Levy of Business2Community. With apps available for desktop and mobile, Zillow is now an indispensable resource for real estate brokers and agents, as well as potential homebuyers interested in professional tools to locate prospects and gather information about properties. The app also includes mortgage calculators and other tools to help estimate closing fees and other costs.
Having grown from a traffic-tracking app to a social phenomenon, Waze is near-essential for a real estate investor on the go. The app, available for Android and iOS devices, is designed so that traffic stops and other problems can be quickly reported, which then alerts other nearby users so that they can avoid those same traffic errors. For time-strapped real estate professionals moving from location to location or potential homebuyers unfamiliar with the area a property is in, this app is not only a time-saver but an invaluable stress reducer. Rachel Metz of Technology Review noted that Google’s purchase of Waze was likely due not only to its usefulness, but its massive community of over 50 million users (though the fact that Google’s purchase kept the app—and its community of users—out of rival Apple’s hands was probably also a bonus incentive behind the purchase).
One of the most bothersome parts of dealing with home purchases has to do with the mortgage. More properly, it has to do with interest rates. Whereas previously, this was mostly handled with a calculator and a phone call to determine what interest rates were against the rates of specific companies, apps that function as mortgage calculators have changed the way that professionals and even first-time investors deal with the math of investment. GuaranteedRate.com has a page for investors and real estate professionals which contains not only mortgage calculators, but comparative interest rate charts.
Whether a professional on the go or a first-time buyer, paperwork is one of the more tedious parts of real estate investment. Using a program like Cam Scanner, which converts photos of documents into usable scans, documents can be signed and sent by email from any location, without the need to go to the office or run home. With a scanner app program, listed at #6 on Forbes’ top ten apps, paperwork can be handled up-to-the-minute when required, reducing the chance of missing or lost documentation later.