Smart phones have taken over as the top way for people to access the internet. For home buyers, this makes sense, since searching for and viewing homes is by nature a mobile experience. As a home buyer, you are in complete control so choosing the right tools and doing the right research can transform your journey from a difficult one to one that is exciting and fun and efficient. Mobile real estate apps get better each year. The following 5 top real estate apps for home buyers will help you stay informed and simplify the task of finding a new home.
The first mobile real estate app on our list is Realtor.ca. It offers comprehensive real estate listings across Canada, as well as help in finding a REALTOR to work with. A property tour feature provides a map to help you find your way to listed properties. This alone could make the app worthwhile when planning to visit several open houses on the same day. Their website says "There is a wealth of listing information at your fingertips to help you understand and explore properties of interest." It took me about 5 minutes to learn to use the app. Given the number of features it offers, I think that's pretty good. It's only rated 3 stars on the Apple app store but I found it easy to use and very helpful.
Zoocasa aims to make searching for and viewing listings by location as simple as possible. They boast that their listings are updated 9 times as often as Realtor.ca. Zoocasa provides a dynamic map that updates as you zoom in and out and move around. Tapping a listing takes you to the details, and you're able to request a showing right away. It's hard for me to say whether I prefer Zoocasa over Realtor.ca. If Zoocasa always updates 9 times faster, I guess that's an advantage. Otherwise I think it comes down to personal preference.
Where the first two apps help you find real estate listings, Walk Score will help you learn about the neighborhood. If you allow the app to know your current location, you'll be shown a map with your location and the walk score. Clicking on the location marker opens up a page that gives a quick summary of walk, transit and bike scores. Tapping the list icon at the bottom of the home screen shows nearby amenities and tapping the menu icon will let you view scores, read about the neighborhood and find apartments. I think this is an ideal companion app to Realtor.ca or Zoocasa. It's nice to find an app that doesn't try to do too much, but does a few related things really well. I think it qualifies as one of the best real estate apps.
Magic Plan is a real estate app that let's you make your own floor plans when touring a home. It takes a bit of practice to get it right, but once you've figured it out you can use it in combination with Floorplanner.com to create a 3D floor plan and try out different interior designs and furniture arrangements. The app is aimed at Realtors, so I wasn't sure if I should include it in a list of real estate apps for home buyers, but if it can help one buyer decide for or against a prospective purchase, then it's worth it. You get a free account on Floorplanner.com that will let you try it on one property. Take a look at the website and decide for yourself if it's going to help you. I like it a lot.
Canadian Mortgage App
Last on our list is an app that will make your inner accountant smile. Billed as "A simple to use app to help you calculate all your home ownership costs and maximize your buying power", Canadian Mortgage App gives you confidence by calculating all the details that go into your total monthly cost of ownership. From their website: "Use the home screen to calculate your home ownership costs with confidence, or check out Closing Costs, Maximum Loan, and Land Transfer tax screen to see the first time buyer and newly built rebates available in your city." I like the focus of this app and I think it can be a real help, especially for first time buyers.