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Property Hunting With a Smartphone

If you have one of these devices, looking for a new home or property has become a lot easier. You can throw away the looseleaf binder, the legal pad or the spreadsheets you might have used in the past, and target your next property with less confusion and hassle.

Most property searches start with realtor.ca, even before you hire an agent. This website allows you to save favourite listings and then compare properties that you are interested in. When you start working with an agent, you can get all the details on the listing and a link to the seller’s Realtor® (CARS) page. Email the listing to yourself, your spouse or your agent. The site also has a mortgage calculator and shows directions to the property and features of the location.

Realtor.ca is available as an app for most smartphones. Click on mobile at the top of your realtor.ca screen to get all the details on how to download the apps and what features will be available on your smartphone. For instance, on an iPhone, you can use the GPS feature to find information on listings in the physical area you are in at any given time. Get photos, directions and upcoming open houses. You can also conduct searches, just as on the main website. 

Google Maps is a handy app for finding your way to a property location. Used on your smartphone, the GPS will show where you are and the location on the map of your destination. You can also use Google streetview to check out the neighborhood before you go so that you don’t waste time and gas on an area that doesn’t look promising or a property that has poor curb appeal.

While you are visiting the property there are a few apps that will help you. The iPhone flashlight app will allow you to peak into dark closets and storage areas. The camera on your smartphone will help you record features that are not shown on the listing, such as close ups of fixtures, window treatments, hallways or other details. Be sure to get permission if you intend to take photographs. On some phones you can also record video and audio as you walk through. The voice recorder will allow you to take verbal notes during your visit that you can email to yourself or others.

A great free program to download to organize all of your notes is Evernote. This program has desktop versions for Windows and Mac and also smartphone app versions. You can organize your notes and information at home or at the office and then sync your files and view on your smartphone. You can add to your notes on the fly and then sync again to make this information available on your phone or desktop. Create and save all kinds of documents from text notes, checklists to web pages and video clips, and the files are searchable.

Dropbox and the new Google Drive are free storage options that you can set up on your desktop and access on your smartphone. If you are still a spreadsheet fanatic, you can upload your files here for easy referencing. Google docs is also a good option, especially if you are sharing information with someone else. Just use your gmail account or create one, and build your spreadsheet or word document within the app. The file will available under the documents tab at the top wherever you log in to gmail.

If a real estate sign includes a QR code – a square with what seems like a random pattern inside – you can scan the QR code with your smartphone and get detailed listing information when you are in front of a property that you noticed driving or walking by.

Hometracker is a paid iphone app that records details of your site visit and will allow you to create a wish list and compare features.

Several lending institutions now have apps that will assist you in your search. A good one is the CIBC Mortgage Advisor for iPhone and BlackBerry. You can fill out a detailed checklist on the property, store photos and share information. You can also get details on the neighborhood and amenities.

Most of these tools will save you a lot of time, mental energy and gas, and help you sort out the myriad of information that can become overwhelming.

And, of course, get our own Century 21 iPhone app at iTunes or click the link below. Happy hunting!

Get the Century 21 iPhone app


 

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