Buying a house is a big deal.
Whether you’ve done it several times or are embarking on your first foray into homeownership, finding the perfect neighbourhood and getting ready to make one of the most significant purchases of your life is time-consuming. Fortunately, you can make shopping for a home less frustrating and more fun with a few simple tools on your smartphone.
When it comes to buying a house, it turns out there’s an app for that. Here are the ones you may want to download before you begin your journey.
1. QR code scanner
Real estate agents are getting tech-savvy. Many realtors are including Quick Response (QR) codes on listings and other handouts so you can get instant facts and figures about a property you love. There are lots of QR code scanners you can download that work with your phone’s camera; Gamma Play has one that works for both Androids and iPhones. But before you open your app manager, check to see if you already have one built-in. Some of the newest smartphones have the function built into the camera. However, you will require data to use the feature.
Want notifications about new listings? Need a way to search for information about that “For Sale” sign you just drove by? Zolo is available for Android and iPhone, and it’s a great way to browse for Canadian properties while filtering for your favourite features. It is perfect for pre-shopping research or on-the-go info.
3. RateSupermarket.ca Mortgage Calculator
So you’ve just walked through a tour of your dream house, and you want to make an offer. Can you afford it? The RateSupermarket.ca mortgage calculator helps you calculate payments based on the home price and interest rate, so you’ll know what your monthly payment would look like exactly.
4. ColorSnap Visualizer
Not sure if that fixer-upper is right for you? Snap some photos and see what new paint will do. Sherwin Williams’ ColorSnap Visualizer app lets you virtually paint the walls of a room to try out new colours. You can also calculate the amount of paint you’ll need and save your favourites. That way, you can get a custom match at the store for DIY bliss.
In addition to colour, you’ll also need to move your furniture into a new home. Will it fit? Homestyler makes it easy to find out. Snap photos of the house as you tour and add measurements to create a virtual room. Then place furniture where you want it to get a sense of what it would be like to live there.
6. PRO Landscape Home
Not sure about the curb appeal of a place and wondering if it can be improved before you make an offer? PRO Landscape Home does for home exteriors what the ColorSnap Visualizer does for interiors. Snap a photo and start adding some landscaping to help you see a property’s full potential.
7. Best Decision
If all of these apps still haven’t helped you decide which house to buy, don’t worry. Best Decision is an app designed to help you zero in on all the pros and cons involved in any type of choice — including whether or not to buy a particular property. In a few steps, you can add criteria and assign weights indicating their importance, then run the algorithm to see which choice is objectively the best.
A technology tool kit
Once you’ve loaded your phone up with these useful apps, it’s time to call your real estate agent and start looking at homes! When you see something you like, you’ll have a handy tool kit in your pocket to help you decide whether to buy or keep looking.