It is interesting to me that in an industry that brings folks to their largest purchase, the amount of technology that has begun to creep its way into the process has really altered the way that things are done. The rub is that this is for the better in most cases. Agents can be more knowledgable and so can their clients because of the sheer amount of information that is at their fingertips. What I love about being able to share information and applications with my clients is that, my clients are informed, and love to learn more about what is going on, not only in the market, but in the hyper-local Northern Virginia markets, and neighborhoods, down to the commutes.
Sindeo does it Right
There is a really great website called Sindeo that put together an amazing list of tech-tools for consumers when looking for homes, and I wanted to share the list. I want to do this, so you can be just as informed as I am. Below is the article they put out in November, and the link is listed above. Check them out. This is a great list.
“Long gone are the days when “for sale” signs and newspaper ads were the only way to track down a house on the market. Today, online tools abound to help homebuyers find the right property in the right neighborhood at the right price. And with the proliferation of smartphones, many of these tools can be accessed on the go with up to the minute information on what’s for sale and where. Here’s a rundown of the best apps and websites to complement the expertise of your real estate agent and Mortgage Advisor:
- Take Me Anywhere, USA: If you’re looking for a change and are flexible about where your next move will take you, the dwellr app from the U.S. Census Bureau is a great place to start. This free tool asks you a few questions – which region of the country you prefer, what work you want to do, how educated your friends are, etc. – to give you a ranked list of locations throughout the country that (seemingly) suit your preferences.
- Safety First: Whether you’re choosing a home for a growing family or just yourself, you want to know about the safety and security of your potential neighborhood. Websites like CrimeReports, Family Watchdog, and NeighborhoodScout compare the types of crimes, number of incidents, and presence of sex offenders across locations.
- School Rules: If you plan on having children while you’re living in your next home, the quality of local schools is an important factor in choosing your neighborhood. Websites like GreatSchools, Locrating and the National Center for Education Statistics provide rankings for area schools, data on test scores, and reviews from parents.
- Getting Around: To help you find a neighborhood that matches your commuting preferences, walkscore can help you assess your options for getting around town and to/from your office as well as how much you can expect the commute to cost you.
- Community Demographics: Whatever matters to you about where you live, there’s probably an app or website that can give you the information you want. HomeFacts provides stats about local home foreclosures, environmental quality, and other vital data about a property or neighborhood. Esri’s BAO app will provide extensive demographic info on your prospective neighbors and identify how a particular area distinguishes itself from others…
- Finding your home: Want to survey what’s on the market in your preferred area without leaving your couch? Trulia, Zillow, Redfin, and Realtor.com all offer websites and apps to help you search local listings and get alerted when a new property that fits your criteria becomes available. These tools also bring together some high-level neighborhood data (like that shared above) to give you a complete picture of each listing and its surroundings. If you’re out and about and spot a house you love, HomeSnap lets you discover information about any property, even one that’s not currently on the market.
While none of these tools can replace a knowledgeable real estate agent, they can make great additions to your homebuying team! We’re making it easy by providing you with a quick reference guide including all of these tools and apps. Get yours today!”