On June 29, 2007, Steve Jobs and Apple introduced the very first iPhone and this month marks its 10 year anniversary. Before that other smartphones were available but Apple was able to gain widespread adoption that put the power of the internet in the hands of everyone. In their press release, Steve Jobs described the product launch as a “breakthrough internet communications device.” Just one year after the phone hit the market, Apple launched the App Store in 2008 with 500 apps to choose from. Today the App Store offers 2 million apps and its competitor, Google Play, has over 3.4 million apps for Android. Now, 10 years since the iPhone’s first release, mobile apps have changed how people shop for homes as well as the home loan application process.
The app store is flush with new apps that help home buyers search for and locate the perfect property. While on the go, the convenience that smart devices offer is undeniable and house hunters are able to physically spot a property and research its history in real time. From house hunting to interest rate tracking, mobile apps are speeding up the pace of business.
Real Estate by Zillow: Available for iOS, Android, and Kindle. This mobile app is one of the most popularly downloaded real estate apps out there. Interactive maps and value estimators are offered by the app and users gain access to over 100 million home listings in the Zillow database.
realtor.com Real Estate: Available for iOS, Android, and Windows Tablet. This real estate app is great for young families and it gives users the ability to search for homes by school and district. The house hunting app provides a great user experience and even integrates a “hand-off” functionality that allows a user to seamlessly consume the same content between desktop and mobile devices.
Dwellr: Available for iOS and Android. This mobile app provides users with basic information that should be considered during a home purchase decision. Dwellr provides everything from basic population data to detailed demographic information that helps you better get to know your potential new neighbors.
Doorsteps Swipe: Available for iOS and Android. This one happens to also be owned by the same folks that own realtor.com. Think of this app like the dating app, Tinder, except when you swipe you are basically looking at homes instead of people. The homes that show up will depend on the criteria that you select and when you see something you like, swipe right!
Real Estate by Trulia: Available for iOS and Android. Like Zillow’s app, this one is one of the most widely downloaded apps on the market and it essentially provides a desktop experience to users on a mobile platform. Many mobile experts would advise against this sort of user experience design however this app is so robust that many people love it.
(image credit: Zillow)
It’s not just buyers that are seeing the added benefit (in terms of convenience) from real estate apps. Cloud-based, web, and mobile solutions are enabling virtual experiences on both ends of the market. Business solutions like Capture the Market and Realync are enabling leasing/sales professionals to accelerate their pace of business through streamlined property showing using both live tours and pre-recorded videos and imaging.
To get into the property of your dreams, you have to do more than just look at it. You need to take specific measures to prepare yourself for the transaction including checking your credit, speaking with a mortgage broker, and consulting with a great realtor. While the greater process may feel overwhelming, fortunately mobile apps are helping people shop around for great home loans.
One such app the has been making headlines is a tool called “Rate my Rate,” by eLend (a division of American Financial Resources). According to regulations, as a buyer you are permitted to shop the market for 10 days after being given a loan estimate. The eLend tool will use technology that allows a borrower to input your current loan estimates into a pricing engine. Essentially, the app strives to make the process of comparing mortgages more simply by utilizing information that is given on a Loan Estimate form.
With this app, borrowers are able to ensure that they are getting the best deal based on categories that include:
Understanding how the information in each of these categories may help borrowers have more confidence in their mortgage choice. Mobile applications and new technology continue to speed the pace of home loan processing and the volume of real estate transactions. With the new pace of business, prospective home buyers must be prepared with their financing at the time to ensure that the home is not lost to another buyer. By making yourself aware of home loan choices including FHA and conventional options, mobile technology should make your home purchase process that much easier.