There are apps – as in mortgage applications – and then there are apps – as in application software designed to help perform specific tasks. And the real estate space abounds in new apps, the latter kind anyway.
The latest newsmaker is Zillow’s Digs, the site’s new remodeling estimator. The tool allows users to click through thousands of images of remodeled spaces and then provides a ballpark estimate of what it would cost to reproduce the project in their own homes. The photos are taken from the 110-million homes in Zillow’s vast database, while the estimates are generated by contractors and designers.
Outfits like the seven-year-old Zillow, which has three other popular online tools, including one that focuses on the mortgage market, get all the buzz because of their sheer size. But there are many others that, though just as useful, never get any “ink”
Here’s a few that haven’t received much publicity but may prove to be handy. Many were previewed at the recent Real Estate Connect conference in New York:
>> Hubzu – This online residential marketplace makes it easy for consumers, investors and brokers to buy and sell houses. From start to finish – that is, from searching and bidding to financing and closing – the app provides a totally online experience. Hubzu, from Altisource Portfolio Solutions in Atlanta, isn’t entirely new, having replaced the firm’s GoHoming platform more than a year ago.
>> Clipix – The brainchild of New Jersey’s own Oded Berkowitz, a former Wall Street exec, this free online tool allows shoppers to bookmark any link they find on the web to create a single destination for the short list of properties to their liking. The list can be viewed, edited and shared at any time, plus you can ask for price drop alerts to monitor price reductions. Beyond saving web links, Clipix can upload any document, creating a complete paperless real estate organizer.
>> HomeZada – This tool is a Daytimer for the home, tying together everything needed to manage the property. The flexible system runs from basic to complete, including an inventory of all your possessions, plans for home improvement projects, various home-centric spending categories, checklists for home maintenance and news and alerts. If you have more than one property, HomeZada can manage them all.
>> REESIO – With this app, there should be no more piles of paperwork. REESIO takes the pain out of the real estate transaction by simplifying the experience every step of the way. You can upload and save all documents, e-sign those which require a signature, and remind participants of what needs to be done next. The tool also allows agents to schedule showings and transmit offers for the seller’s approval or rejection.
>> Contactuality – This tool automatically and tactically manage the users’ contacts by promoting actions that help you remain relevant and top-of-mind. It will tell you who’s most important on your list of previous contacts and those you haven’t contacted in a specific amount of time. The system will prompt you when to reconnect and, using such clues as social updates and recent conversations, when it matters most to reach out.
>> BlockAvenue – Moving? Search neighborhoods, block by block, to find out what it’s really like to live there. Data will include amenities, wining and dining, schools, transit and crime. Using this neighborhood platform, you also can communicate directly with folks who already live in the area for their assessments, good or bad.
>> Sensopia – No longer the purview of just crime scene investigators and archeologists, this app measures and draws floor plans. Simply snap a shot of the corners of each room and MagicPlan measures walls and doors, identifies the shape of the room and draws a plan for each one. Then you can assembles rooms with your fingers and even add in some furniture for placement purposes.
>> Revestor – Billed as the “new way” to hunt for real estate, this patent-pending, “next generation” search engine allows investors and others to seek properties based on their highest return rates. Enter the location, price range and how you want to search, by either capitalization rate or cash flow.
About The Author
Lew Sichelman has been covering the housing and mortgage markets for more years then he cares to remember, starting as real estate editor at the long defunct Washington Daily News and Washington Star newspapers and finishing with a three-decade stint with National Mortgage News. His weekly column, The Housing Scene, is syndicated to newspapers throughout the country.