6 Must-Have Mobile Tools and Apps for House Hunters


Apps for House HuntersWhether you're a first-time home buyer or shopping around for your retirement home, the latest real estate apps for mobile devices put the marketplace at your fingertips -- literally.

Here's a set of basic apps that are great downloads for active house hunters. While many big-name real estate companies have useful, well-organized mobile property searches, we found this set to be particularly devoted to the needs of the user and blissfully free of any built-in bias. Inexpensive (several are free) and easy to use, these apps are invaluable for discovering properties in your price range, evaluating their renovation potential and estimating payments.

Do you have a favorite mobile app? Let us know in the comments section below.

1. 'Home Buying Power'

From: NotTooShabby Software
Who it's for: Home shoppers looking for an easy way to calculate mortgage payments on different properties.
How it works: Wondering how much house you can afford? Input your desired monthly payment or a percentage of your income, the amount of down payment and the loan terms, and this app tells you to the penny how much house you can afford. It'll also let you know whether the amount you want to pay each month is consistent with the down payment you're prepared to pony up. Keep track of the affordability of various properties as you search the marketplace, so you can stay focused on the right price point. Also included: Closing cost estimator and an amortization table for your loan.
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price: $1.99

2. 'Photo Measures'

From: Big Blue Pixel
Who it's for: Purchasers of fixer-uppers and anyone who's planning home improvements.
How it works: You've found a potential dream home but -- no surprise -- it's gonna take some work. With Photo Measure, you can take pics with your iPhone or iPad, then place arrows and measurements right on the photo so you'll have an accurate record of room dimensions, how big the windows are, and whether Aunt Rose's china hutch will fit in the corner. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty right before a final decision to buy, this app can really help you size up the situation.
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price: Lite version, free; pro version, $4.99

3. 'Complete Foreclosures'

From: Visionary Apps
Who it's for: Bargain-hunters looking for that rock-bottom foreclosure deal.
How it works: The new reality of the housing market has made foreclosed properties part of the real estate landscape. This app uses GPS to show foreclosed listings in your search area and sorts results according to your criteria for number of bedrooms, baths, and other features. A touch of a button puts you in contact with a real estate agent for more information or to schedule a showing.
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price: Free


4. 'Dictionary of Real Estate Terms'

From: Intersog
Who it's for: Anyone who wants to better understand the language of real estate.
How it works: Not entirely sure what your agent means when she starts throwing around terms like CMA and MLS? This easy-to-navigate glossary removes the mystery from the language of real estate with clear definitions backed by user-friendly charts and graphs. More than 3,000 terms help you understand the nuances of buying, selling, and searching for your next home.
Compatibility: BlackBerry
Price: $2.99

5. 'CrumbTracks'

From: BigForge
Who it's for: The less-than-anal-retentive house-hunter
How it works: After a whirlwind weekend of visiting open houses, you might find yourself confused about which place had that great farmhouse sink and which one had the scary shag carpet. CrumbTracks organizes properties to help you keep track of what you've seen. Create a separate file for each property to stash photos and videos, vital stats on rooms and square footage, and notes on prices and features. A mapping function pinpoints prospective houses and shows nearby schools, parks, and churches.
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price: Free

6. 'Property Flipper'

From: Wasatch Digital Media
Who it's for: Anyone brave enough to try their hand at house-flipping in the current market
How it works: This nifty app lets you calculate a possible profit from your real estate investment. Input purchase and potential sale prices, the cost of improvements, the amount of time that you expect to hold the property and other costs, and the app completes a "flip analysis" of the venture, complete with your bottom-line profit. Drag the slider to increase or decrease the holding period, and the numbers automatically update. A built-in mortgage calculator spits back monthly payments for various down-payment scenarios.
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price: $2.99; pro version, $29.99




Also see:
Mobile Apps Put Home Listings at Your Fingertips
First-Time Homebuyer's Guide
How to Shop for Your First Home

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