As the U.S. economy continues to recover, it pushes the financial woes of the recent recession into the rearview mirror. This is perhaps no more evident than in the housing market. Financially capable Americans are once again looking to invest in real estate and accrue equity.
Thanks to low mortgage rates and a surplus of available properties in dozens of different markets, thousands of millennials are preparing to purchase their first home. And as we all know, if there’s one thing millennials like, it’s improving efficiency and productivity with the assistance of savvy, functional apps. If you’re preparing to purchase a new home and want to streamline the process as much as possible, check out the following apps. They’ll completely change the way you search for a home.
While Zillow isn’t necessarily a secret, it’s hard to put the app anywhere but number one on the list. Not only does it have the largest inventory of properties, but it’s also superior in its ability to sort listings by any number of criteria. However, where it really shines bright is with its proprietary “Zestimates,” which are becoming increasingly accurate. Zillow also offers transaction histories for properties and access to state-specific mortgage rates. All of these factors combined make Zillow the best place to start the home buying search.
One of the most underrated apps is Dwellr. This app is backed by the Census Bureau and uses information from the American Community Survey to produce data-rich neighborhood guides. In fact, each neighborhood in the system contains as many as 40 different topics. These include things like median age of residents, racial makeup, median home values, educational background, and more. This allows you to truly see what a neighborhood is like before making an offer.
GreatSchools is another fantastic resource for studying a geographical neighborhood. As the name suggests, this app lets you learn more about different school zones and the individual schools that make it up. It will tell you exactly what school a property is zoned for and how that school stacks up compared to others in the state.
For urban homebuyers, one of the more critical factors is walkability. WalkScore allows you to see how close a given property is to different amenities like schools, stores, and entertainment. New updates also give you BikeScores and TransitScores so that you can find the easiest way to get around.
One of the more unusual apps is RealtyTrac. This resource allows users to find complete property information on thousands of properties – even on properties that aren’t for-sale. It lets buyers see how much an owner owes on their mortgage and what the current value of the home is. Interested buyers can then discover new opportunities and contact owners to see if they’re willing to sell. It essentially gives you the chance to see inventory that other buyers don’t even know exists. The app currently boasts more than 125 million homes in the United States.
If you’re among the thousands of people who plan on becoming first-time homebuyers this year, you don’t want to miss out on these wonderful resources. Using these five apps, you can streamline the home buying process and make it quick, easy, and painless.