Remember the Jetsons? When you think back on it, it’s uncanny how many of the so-called space age technologies that George, Jane, Judy, Elroy (and the inimitable Rosie) had in their 2062-era home exist right now - 40 years ahead of schedule! Video phone calls, mobile devices with video and phone capabilities, flatscreen “televiewers” with scrolling news updates (à la the internet), digital diaries, even robotic cleaners like Roomba: all Jetson gadgetry, and all of it exists as we speak.
The light-speed at which web and mobile applications, or apps, are being developed and launched today means that it’s easy to find yourself pining away for an app that could work a particular sort of futuristic wizardry in your house hunt or home sale - when, in fact, that app already exists! Don’t get stuck in a real estate time warp - instead, tap into this list of 9 futuristic real estate apps that already exist.
1. Trulia.I’m obviously partial, but I’m not the only one that loves the Trulia mobile app suite. Here’s why: wherever you find yourself - at your pal’s baby shower or lost in a strange town - you can pull out your phone or tablet, open the Trulia app and it will instantly detect your location and serve you up everything you’d ever need to know about the homes for sale in that area. How’s that for futuristic?
But there’s more! As the New York Times raved, “Trulia includes a well-designed search feature, where users can find homes for sale or rent according to a specified price and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, or homes that have recently posted price reductions, for instance. Trulia users can also contact a home’s real estate agent from each listing, and scan a list of nearby amenities and institutions, like gas stations or schools." The app also allows you to send listings to your agent and save favorites to the same My Trulia dashboard you can access from your laptop,
desktop, or other device from home or work. Plus, you can use the Trulia Mortgage Calculator app for iPhone and iPad to help see how much you can afford and compare personalized loan quotes.
2. Home Snap. HomeSnap is an augmented reality app that gives you access to all sorts of information about a home, by just taking a photo of the property. In fact, some folks have deemed it the ultimate form of tech-empowered voyeurism, but what’s cool about it is that taking a photo is the key that unlocks the information from public records or listing websites.
Available for iOS. Android version coming soon. Price: Free
3. House Hunter. I have a practice of asking my home buyer clients to track what’s good, bad and ugly about individual properties as we tour them, and to select/rank their top couple from every tour. The House Hunter App represents a high-tech upgrade to that useful, but old-school, exercise of tracking homes’ attributes and comparing properties against each other. Because it’s a digital experience, it’s quicker; it’s easier to share with your co-buyer, your parents or your agent; and it’s simpler to execute, as the app actually provides a list of over 80 property attributes you can choose from to describe any given home you see on tour.
4. Houzz. My friends and colleagues have raved about this app - on iPhone, iPad, Android and on the web - since it first came out a couple of years back. But not until I was actually embarking upon a home remodeling project of my own, could I fully appreciate its value in terms of delivering a seemingly endless number of photos of well-designed rooms, and the ability to favorite and track them to help organize your own redesign plans and, even better, to communicate them vividly to your designer or contractor. What’s more, house hunters can (and should) tap into the app to compile images that depict their stylistic leanings and aesthetic preferences better than they can do verbally, for the purpose of helping their agent understand their vision.
5. Photo Measures and My Measures. If I have one tape measure I have a dozen - yet I never seem to have one handy when I need them the most. Whether you’re the type of house hunter who wants to account for the precise dimensions of an heirloom dining table or a seller who is trying to do as much DIY property preparation as you can, both of these apps equip you with the high-tech capability to simply take a pictue of a wall, room, floor or door and use your fingers to get an accurate measure of any given distance on the image.
Photo Measures available for iOS Price: $4.99 My Measures available for Android Price: $4.99
6. DocuSign Ink. Sign any contract document, disclosure, offer or counteroffer - in a moment’s time - with your mobile device. This app is also integrated with the basic boilerplate contract forms used by agents in most areas. DocuSign Ink is so convenient and makes signing so easy you’ll have to exercise some serious discipline to actually read through things before you sign them.
7. Color Capture/ColorSmart/ColorClix/Wall Painter. All of these paint apps are brought to you by individual paint brands, and they’re all great - I say, use the one that maps to your favorite paint brand. They all empower you to snap a photo of anything in the world around you and find the company’s matching paint color. And for those with futuristic design desires, you can use any of these apps to virtually “paint” the walls of your house and preview the results before you even buy a single bucket of paint, using computer vision and intelligent object detection.
Color Capture available for:iOS and Android Price: Free ColorSmart available for:iOS and Android Price: Free ColorClix available for:iOS and Android Price: Free Wall Painter available for:iOS Price: $.99
8. Airbnb Neighborhoods. With functionality provided by the site NabeWise, the web-based application Airbnb Neighborhoodsis a program that futuristic house hunters can use to power the ultimate decision-making experience: trying a neighborhood on for size, whether for a night, a weekend or a couple of weeks. Though it’s currently limited to major world cities like New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C., Airbnb Neighborhoods allows you to click on a city, click on the area “flavor” you want in your future neighborhood (options include “Nightlife” “Loved by Washtonians” “Stunning Views” and more) and it will not only surface the neighborhoods that have been tagged with these characteristics by the folks who live there, it will also pull up available Airbnb homes you can rent on a very short-term basis in those areas, if you want to give the area a whirl before you launch your house hunt in earnest.
Available for: iOS and Android Price: Free 9. Karl’s Mortgage Calculator. When I think of futuristic gadgetry, I envision things that are simple and uncomplicated, yet flexible and powerful when you put them to use. This is precisely how I’d describe Karl’s Mortgage Calculator. Not only does it calculate payments from a purchase price and interest rate, it also will calculate any one of those items from the other two - uber-helpful for buyers who know how much they can spend, but not how much that will buy them, and for folks who are trying to evaluate the different payment scenarios of loan programs with several different interest rate levels. Karl’s Mortgage Calculator instantly produces very easy-to-understand graphs and charts, and is really helpful for folks considering various scenarios for paying their home loan(s) off early.