You may still come across real estate listing books in the grocery store aisle, but these days, you can get the same information from the phone in your pocket.
Your phone or tablet can also assist you in much more of the home buying or building process. Here’s how.
The first part of getting a new home is knowing what’s for sale. Even if you’re not buying an existing structure, you still need to see where the open lots are to find a location for your dream home. Either way, Zillow can help.
The website shows a map of your neighborhood dotted with houses that are available to buy or rent. You can click on any of these to see prices, view photos, and get a feel for what condition the house is in. You can also see more detailed information, such as how the house’s price has fluctuated over time or what school district your kids will attend. Filters help you hone in on just the homes with the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
The Android app retains all of this functionality, and sometimes I actually prefer using it over loading up the site on my laptop.
Download: Zillow Real Estate & Rentals for Android (Free)
Homesnap tries to be fun by letting you pull up the details of a house just by taking a picture.
It then pulls up detailed information, including things such as property lines and estimated values. When you aren’t close enough to snap a photo, you can still search for houses using traditional search and custom filters. There’s also Android Wear support.
Download: Homesnap Real Estate for Android (Free)
FindTheHome is an alternative Android app that provides you with plenty of listings and extensive filter options all while showing off that sweet, sweet material design. If you want a competent app that adheres relatively close to Google’s latest design language, this may be the way to go.
Download: Find The Home & Real Estate for Android (Free)
There are multiple ways to go about acquiring your dream home. Some people like to walk into a potential place and just see how it makes them feel. Others don’t know precisely what they want until they’ve planned it out. Others simply must build it from scratch. While I personally skew towards the first type of person, there are numerous apps in the Play Store that cater to the latter two.
Floor Plan Creator isn’t the most visually impressive of the apps in this category, but it has been around long enough to attract millions of downloads. The free version lets you build structures, add furnishings, and get a feel for a place. But to export your work, you’ll need to unlock a few in-app purchases.
Download: Floor Plan Creator for Android (Free with $0.99 – $5.99 in-app purchases).
Home Design 3D shares the same premise as Floor Plan Creator. It hasn’t gathered as many downloads yet, but that’s only because the app only made it into the Play Store at the end of 2014. The iOS version has been around for much longer, where the app has attracted quite the following for its 3D visuals. If your goal really is to visualize yourself in a space, that can help more than a basic floor plan.
The free version lets you play around, but you’re going to have to pay in order to save anything you create.
Okay, okay, that 3D render doesn’t actually look like a house. Maybe you need something that looks more photorealistic. In that case, check out Homestyler Interior Design. It gives you no shortage of paint colors or wallpaper styles to work with, along with rotatable name brand furniture that you could actually buy if you have that kind of cash lying around. Fortunately, the app itself is free to use.
Homestyler comes from Autodesk, the company behind AutoCAD. In this industry, that’s about as big a name-drop as it gets.
Download: Homestyler for Android (Free)
Now for the not-so-fun part of getting a new house: paying for it. Mortgage math isn’t the same as regular math, so you may want a calculator to help you keep track of down payments, interest rates, taxes, insurance, and each month’s bill.
Since mortgage calculators all largely do the same thing, I’m not going to go in-depth here. There’s one from Zillow, if you’re interested. It looks very similar to the app mentioned at the beginning of this post.
Realtor.com offers its own mortgage calculator app as well, because really, when it comes to buying houses, money exchanging hands is what it’s all about.
How Else Could Android Help You?
Unfortunately your phone can’t print money, nor can it just so happen to find a way to stuff funds into your bank account every month. But it can tell you the average credit scores in the area you’re hoping to move to. And if you really want to think ahead, it can help you keep the new place clean after you get settled in.
At the end of the day, your phone won’t handle most of the responsibilities, but it can streamline some parts of the process. What other roles could you foresee your Android device fulfilling? Chime in if there’s an app that turned out to be essential as you picked out your new home.