Awesome Real Estate Tools & Apps for Buyers and Sellers

 

Apps

Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash

Savvy buyers often use the internet first when they begin the search for their new home. New tools and apps pop-up frequently. Not all are useful, and not all provide entirely accurate information. Learn more  here about a few popular real estate tools available for today’s technology driven market. Once you’ve located a home you’re interested in, contact your realtor. They have access to even more details about those listings and will help streamline your next steps.

Zillow and Realtor.com

Whether you’re shopping for a home to buy or you’ve shopped online for a rental, no doubt you’ve at least heard of Zillow. The same goes for Realtor.com. Both have some of the most humorous and heartwarming marketing campaigns. Both tools offer benefits for buyers and sellers. For example, each provides estimated home values, sale prices, tax rates, and even a snapshot of the neighborhood, including school ratings. Homeowners who aren’t sure about listing their home can track their home’s estimated value over time. Zillow and Realtor.com offer an app to use on your phone, which is especially handy if you’re driving through a particular part of town and want to see current listings. Not a substitute for a real live realtor, but a good place to begin your home search.

BiggerPockets

Are you an aspiring investor?  Look at BiggerPockets. This real estate tool focuses on helping real estate investors learn about nurturing their investment, doing their own repairs and renovations, and earning the maximum return on their investment. If you’re not sure about joining the world of real estate investing, you’ve come to the right place. Bigger Pockets gives access to a ton of free resources including blog posts, podcasts, eBooks, guides and forums. They also have a paid subscription service, which opens a whole world of investing tools.

Xome

If you crave the thrill of an auction, explore Xome. Like other real estate tools, Xome offers one unique feature – access to auctions. Homes up for auction come from both the MLS and Xome’s proprietary platform. Investors can look for deals on bank-owned properties, foreclosures, and short-sales. Xome also features standard listings. Xome is one tool real estate investors won’t want to miss!

Letgo.com

Think Letgo is just used to sell the kid’s old toys? You’ll be surprised to find out that this free app has grown and is now a great resource for all kinds of services. It’s an excellent on-line garage sale – something that might come in handy when you’re ready to move to your new home. It’s a snap to use. Simply take a photo of the item you’d like to sell and post. Those dishes you’re tired of looking at could be just what someone else is looking for.

Don’t forget – starting your home search online is great but bring your realtor in on the fun as soon as possible. Realtors know how to navigate the sometimes confusing home buying process. They’re able to get you in to see the homes you’ve fallen in love with quickly and an offer on the table before another buyer comes along. They also put you in touch with the other important people who work hard to get you to closing day.

Next month we’ll feature ideas to get your home ready to list. Stay tuned!

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Published in: on September 30, 2018 at 11:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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If you’re a realtor or buyer, it pays to know your title person. Here’s why….

You are a buyer or an agent representing a buyer and you’re out looking at properties to purchase.  There are lots of choices, from bank owned to short sales to traditional sales (yes there really are some of those out there).  Wouldn’t it be nice to know what the seller’s situation is, especially if you aren’t one of the patient buyers who can wait months and months for short sale approval?  Your title person can let you know who owns the property, how many mortgages there are and their original principal balance, if the taxes are current and if there have been any foreclosure notices or sheriff’s sales that have occurred.  This is all of public record and can be helpful in determining how quickly you may be able to close and how motivated the seller may be.  Some title companies may charge, some may not.  We do not charge as long as it is one of the metro counties we can access online through our subscription services, which includes all of the main ones.  We are happy to check for you. Have as much knowledge as possible when you’re ready to write that offer!

Children, no matter how precious, cannot sell real estate!

It’s Friday afternoon and only one more closing to go.  A nice simple one too.  Cash buyer buying from for sale by owner sellers- no payoffs and no title issues.  Great- quickly close it, package it out, and head home for a relaxing weekend.   It is a husband and wife buying from a mom and daughter and and buyers show up first, looking very excited about buying their first home.   We get them settled in and “Ann” the seller that I have been dealing with arrives with a cute little girl who is excitedly looking around for toys and/or cookies.  Wow, Ann is a young looking Grandma.  I ask her when her daughter, “Jane” will be arriving so that we can start the closing  she looks over at the little 6 year old and tells “Jane” to come on in so we can start the closing.   Shocked, I realize that she was not kidding.  She is actually in title with a 6 year old child!  Well, besides the fact that I do not have crayons for signing the deed, I am pretty sure she is a minor.  Buyers are in the closing room, oblivious to what is happening in the lobby.  I explain to “Ann” that her daughter does not have the legal right to sign documents and try to determine how or who would ever have put a child in title.  As it turns out, a few years earlier, her and her ailing husband asked an attorney to add their daughter to title so that if anything happened to them she would get the house.  Apparently the attorney failed to ask them the child’s age, only asked for the name.  She was 3 years old at the time!  Well, needless to say, we could not close that day.

Mom had to go to court to have herself established as legal guardian for her daughter and then have the courts approve the sale of the daughter’s assets.  As it turns out, the court decided that the daughter’s 50% equity that would be received on the sale of the home would need to go into trust for the daughter to receive many years later when she reached legal age.  The roughly $120,000.00 that was to be received at closing and used to purchase another home to leave behind the sad memories of deceased dad/husband would now only be $60,000.00 pricing her out of the home she wanted to buy!  Add to that the 60 day time period to get through the courts as well as the legal fees expended and all does not end well.   I am just glad I wasn’t the one who had to break the news to the buyer that they were going to have to start looking for another home.

Luckily in most cases, real estate agents are involved and would hopefully know that a 6 year old seller is a problem.  In looking at the purchase agreement for the above transaction later, it was determined that the mother had signed for the daughter.  After all she is her mom.  Should I have noticed that the signatures were very similar?  I guess I have a hard time even faulting myself for not catching that…

Well, no closing, no early Friday departure, but a little drama and some additional knowledge never hurts anyone!