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6 Apps To Help Find Your Next Home

Planning on going the home search in the near future? As you know, the easiest way to find homes in Cleveland is online with 97% on home searches taking place through the internet. What you might not know is the accessibility and ease of using a mobile app to complete your home search.

Real estate firms, listing services, mortgage companies, and more have thousands of free smartphone apps available to help you find your piece of the American Dream.

There are dozens of different apps that show you what houses are for sale. Good house-hunting apps use your smartphone’s global-positioning system to figure out where you are, then provide a wealth of information about nearby listings.

Here’s a look at six free smartphone apps that anyone who’s looking for a new home should definitely check out:

1) KELLER WILLIAMS APP

We recommend the Keller Williams App as your primary resource for finding a new home, calculating your mortgage, saving property, and finding nearby open houses. You can download the Young Team KW app for your phone here.

Key features in this app include:

  • Dynamic mapAdd a pinpoint or draw a perimeter to see nearby homes for sale, open houses, or rental properties.
  • Custom SearchesAdd search filters like price, neighborhood, number of beds, open houses, and more.
  • Get LocalSee what schools and other points of interest are nearby
  • Full screen photo galleryScroll through vivid, full-screen photos of homes.
  • Anytime AccessSave searches and listings, including notes or added property photos, across all your devices.
  • Find an agentConnect with us through the KW app by searching “Ryan Young.” We’ll become your preferred agent with our contact information readily available!
  • Share informationEasily share homes through text, email, Facebook, or Twitter.
  • Be calculatedFree mortgage calculator to estimate home loan and monthly payments.

2) REDFIN

This property-listing app from Web-based real estate firm Redfin is one of the more modern and intuitive home search apps.

Redfin’s app uses your choice of a touchscreen map or a powerful search engine to look up current listings, recent sales or upcoming open houses anywhere in America.

Simply enter a ZIP code or the name of a city or neighborhood you want to check out, or type in “Current Location” to see listings near your present position.

This app has a feature where you can see is homes that are under contract, wheras other apps, you may find a home but quickly find out it’s pending once you inquire about it.

3) ZILLOW

Real estate search giant Zillow shows you details about all area properties for sale or rent. You’ll also get data on houses that have recently sold, as well as estimated values of homes in the foreclosure process but not yet on the market.

The app also includes calculators to help estimate whether you can afford a given house or whether refinancing your existing mortgage makes sense. You can even get rates from Zillow’s mortgage advertisers and initiate contact with a lender if you like what you see.

This app is best known for providing mobile access to website Zillow.com’s popular “Zestimates” — projected current market values for virtually every home in America. Zillow calculates Zestimates using special algorithms that compare each property’s square footage and other characteristics to those of recently sold nearby homes.  Using your smartphone’s GPS, the Zillow app will automatically give you Zestimates for all residences near your current location or any other area you select. (You pick areas other than your present position by plugging a ZIP code or city name into the app, or by simply drawing a circle with your finger on the included map.)

We don’t recommend using Zestimates to determine value in your home. These calculations are based on computer statistics that don’t take into accout the unique features that make your home and community unique. These are key factors in the pricing of your home.

4) HOMESNAP

A relative newcomer among house-hunting apps, HomeSnap is getting rave reviews for its ability to let you take a snapshot of a home using your smartphone’s camera and instantly get information about the property.

You can find out the home’s estimated value, along with whether it’s for sale and how many bedrooms, bathrooms and other amenities it has. Even if the home isn’t available, HomeSnap will show you other nearby listings that are.

That said, the app’s ability to find homes using your smartphone’s camera is something of a gimmick.

While you can store snapshots you take or even share them with friends, HomeSnap doesn’t actually use photo-recognition software to figure out what house you’re looking at. Instead, the app uses your phone’s GPS to determine where you are and what property you’ve just photographed.

5) REALTOR.COM

This app from the National Association of Realtors’ official property-listing site lets you easily find homes that are for sale or rent near your current location. You can also find nearby upcoming open houses, as well as pricing data on properties that have recently changed hands.

Realtor.com’s app lets you view properties either as a list or on a map that’s centered on your current location. As with Zillow’s app, you can also draw a circle on the map with your finger to define what area you want to check out.

Another useful tool is Realtor.com’s “Area Scout.” This feature shows you a neighborhood’s current average asking price, average available square footage and average price per square foot.

6) TRULIA

Although now gobbled up by Zillow, Trulia is still a major brand in real estate with their app still available. This free app is great to help house-hunters and renters on the go. As with all the apps above, Trulia’s app shows you nearby properties for sale, for rent, have upcoming open houses or have recently sold.

What we like most about Trulia’s app is the single button that automatically shows you just those properties that have had recent price reductions.

8 Home Costs That Surprise First Time Homebuyers

Purchasing your own home can be a great investment opportunity—if you’re prepared. Unlike with a rental, the costs of repairing and maintaining a property fall completely on the homeowner, and too often these additional financial responsibilities catch first-time buyers in Cleveland by surprise. Prepare yourself with these eight often-overlooked costs of owning a home.

  1. UNEXPECTED PROPERTY TAXES

    Adding property taxes into your household budget is something many first time homebuyers may not consider. Budgeting for yearly tax increases can throw homeowners for a loop – even if they are prepared. Don’t forget any additions or improvements you make, for example putting in a bathroom, building a deck, or renovating a kitchen, can also affect or increase your property tax.

  2. OUTDOOR MAINTENANCE EXPENSES

    A picturesque front lawn accented by perfectly trimmed flowers, dark mulch, and a sprinkler system can greatly enhance your curb appeal, but an outdoor retreat doesn’t come cheap. Whether you choose to do the work yourself or hire a landscaper, the tools and materials required in maintaining a beautifully landscaped yard sometimes takes homebuyers by surprise. While lovely landscaping is worth the investment, keep these costs in mind when you’re figuring out your household budget.

  3. INTERIOR CONSIDERATIONS

    With the purchase of a house, you’re normally looking at a lot more square footage and room. But with greater square footage comes more rooms that have to be filled and maintained. While you don’t have to decorate, purchasing new furniture, acquiring accessories, and stocking up on cleaning supplies all at once, will cost a pretty penny. It’s important to remember that setting up and maintaining these additional spaces will require not only money, but your time as well.

  4. ADDITIONAL INSURANCE COVERAGE

    Purchasing homeowner’s insurance may seem like a necessary and standard task when buying a house, but there are a number of different factors that can make the price skyrocket. For example, if you’re buying an older home, the coverage for outdated heating, plumbing, and electrical could start adding up. Always thoroughly research your options to ensure you’re getting the correct policy for your needs.

  5. PREVENTIVE PEST MEASURES

    If you were renting before you own, pests and rodents might be under the landlord’s jurisdiction, but if you find mice, cockroaches, termites, or bed bugs on your property, the cost of eliminating these visitors will now fall on you. While routine maintenance is key to avoiding these unfortunate guests, such preventive measures may cost you a little more than you may have originally bargained for.

  6. HOME REPAIRS

    You may have the majority of your contingencies and inspections taken care of at closing, but many first time homebuyers fail to plan for surprises like drafty doors and leaky that may be discovered after the papers have been signed. Unexpected repairs like these can be costly, so set aside a little extra money to get these taken care of.

  7. INCREASED TIME INVESTMENT

    While first time homebuyers may be fully aware of the financial investment their making, on paper and off, there’s another huge factor that you may not take in account. A house simply requires much more attention than most first-time buyers are used to. Although the time investment can be well worth it over the years, don’t undervalue the effort you’ll have to put in to safeguard your new house from feeling like an old, unkept home.

  8. SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS

    While you may at first be comfortable with the level of security that your house has to offer, you might find yourself wanting to change the locks, add motion-sensor lights, or even install a monitoring or alarm system. Be sure to anticipate the costs associated with a peace of mind, that way you’ll be prepared for the fees.