Over three-quarters of Americans own smartphones. We check them on average 46 times per day whether it’s a Facebook notification or a Snap, a work email or a text. But with apps, there’s so much more those smartphones can do. Here are 17 top apps for homeowners and renters. Whether you’re looking to remodel, buy, sell, or rent, these apps will help you get inspired, informed, organized, and back on budget.
Get Renovation Inspiration
These apps not only offer ideas for your next remodel or home décor project, some of them even give you a preview of what your home may look like once it’s finished.
The Houzz app is the number one app for home design and it’s no wonder. It gives you access to all the inspiration, blogs and design ideas from the Houzz site on your phone or tablet. The app features View in My Room 3D, which allows you to view products in your home before you buy. Just take a photo of the space and a 3D version of the product will appear. Browse products, save photos of designs you’d like to view later and connect with local professionals in your area. Whether you’re gathering ideas for your next renovation and décor project or you’re just browsing, the Houzz app will satisfy all your design needs.
iHandy Carpenter ($1.99)
Make sure the photos, shelves, mirrors and other artwork you hang are even and aligned with this helpful app. It’s an all-in-one tool kit that features a plumb bob, surface level, bubble level bar, ruler and protractor. No need to purchase these tools separately; just hold your smartphone up to the wall and the app will take care of the rest.
If you’re thinking of changing the color scheme of your home or want to find the right shades for lamp shades, rugs or throw pillows to match your vintage sofa, the Color911 app provides pre-selected color palettes to match any color scheme. Take a photo of the room or the furniture and the app will create a custom palette full of complementary colors. Write notes about your palette and organize it all into folders to share with family, friends or your design professional.
From keeping things clean to making them colorful, Brightnest, developed by Angie’s List, is loaded with suggestions on how to make your home a better place to live. In addition to design and renovation tips, there are categories of customized tips (money-saving, cleaning, eco-friendly, healthy, cooking, handy, and creative). BrightNest will help you tackle important home tasks with easy-to-follow instructions, a personal schedule and helpful reminders.
(iOS, Android, Web)
Prepare to List and Sell
Are you a homeowner who is thinking of selling? If you’re preparing to sell, you know there are a lot of tasks to complete before putting your home on the market. These apps help you manage your to-dos so you can list and sell your home more efficiently with fewer distractions.
Designed for use on the Web and mobile devices, Wunderlist is a well-designed to-do list and task management program that makes it easy to create a list and add tasks, due dates and reminders. Organize your ideas into separate lists or create tasks within one list. You can also email them to whomever you collaborate with, such as a spouse or your real estate agent.
(Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Web)
Using the Homesnap app, you can snap a photo of any home, nationwide, to learn more about it. When you’re ready to sell, snap a few of the homes in your neighborhood to find out their valuation. This app isn’t perfect, which is why you should always consult with a local real estate agent. However, it can give you a general idea of the value of your home compared to others in the neighborhood. I can also answer your home value questions or send you market updates via Homesnap.
(iOS and Android devices)
Real Estate Dictionary (Free)
Not sure what all those industry specific terms mean? Search thousands of words and phrases from real estate, mortgage, and financial dictionaries for clear, in-depth definitions. This is a handy app for anyone who’s buying or selling and wants to learn more about the process.
Find the Perfect Home
When you’re ready to buy or rent, there are several apps that can help you stay on top of the process. Whether you’re browsing online at different neighborhoods and homes and can’t seem to remember where all your saved data and information went, or you want to save an important task or a neighborhood or listing clipped from the Web, these apps help you keep it all straight.
Dwellr is run by the U.S. Census Bureau and provides demographic information about the neighborhoods you are considering moving to. You get a variety of education/school, real estate, transportation, and population statistics to give you an idea of what it would be like living there. If you want to get the feel of a potential neighborhood, then Dwellr may be just the app to help you find the best home.
Using the Homesnap app, you can snap a photo of any home, nationwide, to learn more about it. If you’re ready to buy or rent, snap a few of the homes in a neighborhood you’re interested in to find out their valuation. This app isn’t perfect, which is why you should always consult with a local real estate agent. However, it can give you a general idea of the value of homes in neighborhoods you like. I can also answer your home value questions or send you market updates via Homesnap.
(iOS and Android devices)
If you don’t want to use Homesnap, you can get properties straight from the MLS through the Collaboration Center. The Collaboration Center will automatically send you properties that meet your requirements. You can view them, organize them, mark favorites and save your comments and notes. Contact me if you’d like to set that up. It works on mobile platforms and your desktop.
Looking for homes in a neighborhood and want to know what’s nearby? AroundMe allows you to search for the nearest restaurants, banks, gas stations, and movie schedules close to where you are. Open the app and start learning more about the neighborhood.
(iOS, Android, Windows)
Google Maps (Free)
Google Maps is a must-have for anyone who’s house hunting. When you’re ready to visit a property or check out a neighborhood, you can use Google Maps to give you turn by turn directions to the house. You can use their satellite view to find out how far away important things like schools, parks, shopping, bus stops, and restaurants are. You can also check out the other houses on the street.
(Web, Android, iOS)
Mortgage Calculator (Free)
There are a lot of free mortgage calculators available for download that will help you quickly determine what your monthly payment will be while you’re house hunting. I recommend picking your favorite and using it to help you shop in your price range. These numbers should be used as a guide. Work with your agent and mortgage professional to learn exactly what type and amount of loan you’ll qualify for.
(Web, iOS, Android)
Neighborhoods & Apartments
Built for the on-the-go apartment hunter, this app from Walk Score takes the hassle out of finding your next home or apartment and helps you live near the people and places you love. They collect listings from top rental listing sites. I like them because they share how walkable each address is, determined by access to public transit, things to do, bike trails, shorter commutes, etc.
Organize and Budget
Not ready to move just yet? These apps will help you get organized, save money and prepare your finances for your next move.
Evernote (Free for the Basic version, $34.99 per year for Plus and $69.99 per year for Premium)
Collect ideas, notes and images in one place to access later on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Categorize your notes so you can find them quickly and easily and share them with others in a group notebook. Add the Web Clipper feature to your browser and clip and save articles, blogs and images from the Web. Whether you’re collecting research on a business idea or you’re looking for inspiration for a home renovation, Evernote can help you keep it all together.
(Web, iOS, Android)
Do you know where your money goes each month? Manage your bills, budget and credit score all in one place. Mint is a free app that helps you view your complete financial picture and track your spending. This app is especially useful for anyone who needs to crack down on their spending in order to save for a down payment.
Acorns ($1 a month to start)
Acorns is modernizing the practice of saving loose change with their automated savings tool. The app rounds up your purchases on linked credit or debit cards, then sweeps the change into a computer-managed investment portfolio. Acorns is free for four years for college students. Everyone else pays $1 a month until their account balance hits $5,000, then 0.25% of their account balance per year. This is a useful tool for those who have a hard time saving.
Wally is a personal finance app that helps you compare your income to expenses, so you can understand where your money goes each month, and set and achieve goals. It lets you keep track of the details as you spend money: where, when, what, why, and how much. It is wonderfully simple to set a personalized savings target and scan receipts.
Credit Karma (Free)
If you’re preparing to buy or rent, boosting your credit score is likely a goal you’ve set. Credit Karma is a free app that allows you to safely monitor your score and receive updates on ways you can improve it over time. They provide financial calculators and educational articles to help you better understand what credit is all about. Check your credit as often as you want. It doesn’t hurt your score.
(iOS, Android, Web)
Stay Secure and Private
While these are all great apps, you should always keep an eye on your security and privacy. Many apps will have access to the information you have stored on your phone. This can leave you open to intrusions, malware and theft. Of course, there are apps for that too. So, in addition to making sure the apps on your phone only have access to the information you are comfortable sharing, you might also want to use a privacy or security app. Here are some options.
Ready to move beyond the app?
If you’re thinking of buying or selling your home, or know someone who is, keep me in mind because I’m happy to help!