Monday, March 16, 2015
By Jed Williams
Apps to Make Your Home Buying Experience a Little Simpler

We know that buying a home is no simple task. If it was easy and smooth sailing and wonderful all the time without any pitfalls, we would be out of a job. With that in mind, technology has made life so much simpler for both you, as the client, and us. We have access to more tools that make both our lives easier with just that little device we carry in our pockets and call a “phone.” I’ll go through a list of what I consider to be helpful either from experience or from what I hear from other professionals. The list is in no particular order.

Mortgage Calculator, Real Estate Calc: Mortgage & Home Loan Qualification Calculator, and CalcsFree: these three apps all essentially do the same thing – they calculate what a monthly payment on a given mortgage with parameters that you set. They also give the date you’ll be done paying on your loan. These are helpful for the obvious reasons. Once a bank gives you a prequalification letter, you may look at that number and be confused to what it actually translate to for your budget. These apps help you figure that out.

Realtor.com and Classifieds 2 Go: looking for the most accurate home pricing tool? The Realtor.com app is your best bet (next to your agent, of course). It doesn’t give you all of the MLS listing information, but it is the most up-to-date for price compared to Trulia, Redfin, and Zillow. Another tool that is a little outside of the box is Classifieds 2 Go. Sometimes the home you’re looking for won’t be listed on the MLS because it’s For Sale by Owner (or FSBO). Classifieds 2 Go lets you easily look through the classifieds pages.

Cam Scanner, Dropbox, PDF Escape, and Sign Easy: anyone who’s ever bought a house know how many documents there are to get ready. You need your verification of employment, mortgage documents, bank statements, and all sorts of things you never imagined anyone ever cared about, and they all need to be signed and in PDF versions. That’s great if you’re sitting at your desk at home or in your office at work, but when it’s crunch time and Underwriting needs something signed by 4:00 in the afternoon or closing will be delayed another week and you’re out of the office, what are you going to do? That’s where these apps come in. They give you a scanner to scan documents that you may already have printed out and convert them to a PDF; keep your documents in a secure, organized location in the cloud; let you add text, dates, and already saved digital signatures to PDF documents that are sent to you; and allow you to sign your signature on the go. What could be easier?

Google Maps, Sitegeist, Vert, and PictNote: these apps go in the “wow, having this is just so convenient” category. Google Maps is great for obvious reasons like navigation and street views. Sitegeist gives you immediate information about your current location: demographic information, weather information, average commute times, and places of interest. Vert is a converter of lengths, sizes, weights, volumes, and currencies. And PictNote might end up being your best friend as you go through the buying game. You can take pictures and write notes about a property and it geotags them so that you don’t get all the listings mixed up. You may see 10 listings in a day and keeping those all straight can get to be overwhelming. Let your smartphone do it for you.

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Jed WilliamsJed Williams
Principle Broker and founder of Hagan Realty