Looking for properties, getting your finances in order, and fixing up both the house you are looking to sell (as well as the one you just purchased) are just a few of the tasks one goes through when moving. The challenge is staying on top of everything as things can get really busy, really fast. Beyond managing task lists and communicating with your realtor, contractors and family members that are going through the journey with you, the following apps can help make the transition between homes a little easier to manage.
Pricing to buy and sell a home
Property Search – Looking for a house in a particular location, whether it is a home you are looking to buy, or similar homes to the one you want to sell in order to set a comparable price, is where it all starts. Realtor.com Real Estate(Free, Universal) is a real estate app that has a cool feature which allows you to encircle a geographic region on a map in order to look up property information. You can also create an online account to keep track of your favorites and even save search criteria. Similar to Realtor.com, Real Estate by Zillow (Free, Universal) also allows you to search for properties in your area by traditional text-based search criteria or by drawing on a region of the map.
Realtor Specific – More of a ‘by invitation only’ sort of service, the advantage that Flex MLS (Free, iPhone) has over services like Realtor.com is that you can see the entire Mutiple Listing Service (MLS) listing. I have also noticed that the photos of the various properties can be different as well. Real estate agencies like RE/MAX, Century 21 and Keller Williams each have their own app that grants access to the MLS. With these apps your buying agent can create custom searches and maintain a list of properties that you rank as your favorites. This makes identifying what sort of home you are looking for much easier.
Financing the purchase price and budgeting payments
iBank – One of the first steps in applying for a loan will be to get all of your finances in order. As you go through this process, it can be helpful to create a means to track your various account balances. iBank ($9.99 iPhone, $19.99 iPad) will allow you to quickly review and update all of your account balances in one place. It can also help you analyze your current spending behavior to see if you can afford the change in mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance and utility bills associated with transitioning living accommodations. iBank allows you to create custom reports to help track where your money is going.
Mortgage Calculators – There is more to calculating the monthly cost of a home than just your mortgage payment. Many mortgage calculators also take property taxes and homeowners insurance into account as well. Zillow Mortgages (Free, Universal adds in homeowners association dues and mortgage insurance in the app’s Payment Calculator advanced settings. If you want even more control over how your loan is structured and want to be able to add more variable to your monthly payments then look towards powerOne Finance Pro Calculator ($4.99, Universal). It comes with a customizable Mortgage Template that can be expanded to accommodate even the most sophisticated payment options.
Spreadsheets – Recently it has come to bear that Google Docs (Free, Universal) is great for collaboration, Microsoft Office (Free* , Universal) excels when it comes to enterprise compatibility, and Apple iWorks (Free*, Universal) is a quick alternative when you want to keep your document on your device. Regardless of which spreadsheet app is your favorite, creating a breakdown of your finances and listing out the various costs associated with your favorite properties can help you decide which home best fits your budget. Not every house you may buy will be a move in ready as you like. Keeping track of how much it will cost you to modify each home after you move in can help you decide which deal is best for your budget.
Managing legal documents and digital signatures
Digital Signatures – The number of documents, contracts and addenda that you will be signing can be overwhelming. Sometimes you may even have deadline in which you need to sign and are not able to get to a convenient location to sign the necessary paperwork in person. Having the ability to digitally review and sign these documents using an app like PDF Pen Pro ($9.99 iPhone, $14.99 iPad) can keep such documents from piling up and ultimately prevent you from missing deadlines. There are even digital e-signing rooms like those provides by Settleware.com that allow multiple parties all sign and review the same document online.
GoodReader – Organizing your documents across multiple online storage sites and even viewing multiple documents simultaneously is what an app like GoodReader ($4.99, Universal) does best. Another good document organizer is Documents 5 (Free, Universal) by Readdle. Many title companies are also making the signed versions of your final paperwork available online in a secure digital locker like the one provided by DigitalDocs.com. This sure can cut down on the amount paperwork you need to carry around with you.
Scanning Documents – Sometimes you do have an actual paper document that you need to sign and send to someone online. There are three really good scanning apps that I keep switching between. JotNot Scanner Pro ($2.99, Universal) and Scanner Pro ($2.99, Universal) are two of my favorites. When it comes to a good scanning app with built-in OCR (a technology that translates a photo of the document into selectable and searchable text) on my iPhone or iPad, I use PDFpen Scan+ ($6.99, Universal).
Fixing up the old and the new
Angie’s List – Selecting a contractor to make repairs on the house you are looking to sell can be time-consuming. Trying to get on the schedule of one of your favorite contractors when you are time constrained can be impossible at times. Using a service like Angie’s List (Free*, Universal) you can expand your list of preferred contractors based on reviews made by others. Plumbers, Painters, Electricians, they are all in there waiting for you to read their reviews and give them a call. That way you can get a few estimates and shop around for someone who can accommodate your hectic schedule, not theirs. It is also a good way to review who in your area will server your needs best for service you do not use very often like finding a good locksmith or a moving and storage company.
Magic Plan – Visualizing how your existing furniture will fit in a room, measuring rooms for new carpet or flooring, or just re-imaging the space by knocking out walls will benefit from accurate measurements. When looking at a property you are interested in buying, you sometimes do not have the time to measure each room. With MagicPlan (Free*, Universal) you can quickly size up a room without having to bring a tape measure. It works by using your camera and taking photos of the room to size up the corners. You will have to pay if you want to export and share your plans with your contractor.
Paint Tester Pro – Sometimes the house you are looking to buy comes with some design decisions that you would rather live without. Thankfully this can for the most part be remedied with a fresh coat of paint. Paint Tester Pro ($1.99, Universal) works by first taking a photo of a room and then selecting the color of the wall. It is recommended that you use a color swatch taped to the wall in order to get the correct color shading that coincides with the natural lighting in the room. This can help you see the property you are looking to buy in a whole different light.