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For years, popular apps like Zillow and Redfin have been putting home buying tools in the palm of our hands – making the search for a new home easier with a few swipes of a finger. But recently, we’ve seen several new apps leading the charge in giving buyers the power to visualize their real estate options, and REALTORS® a competitive edge in a challenging market.

We’ve narrowed it down to five that are worth downloading the next time you’re in the App Store:

1. Homesnap

Why buyers love it: Snap an exterior photo of any house, nationwide, and instantly get details about the home. If the house is listed, buyers may be able to see interior photos too. It’s powered by more than 40 MLS real estate databases, property tax records, census data and geographic boundaries.
Why REALTORS® love it: A special feature allows REALTORS® to provide clients with an enhanced level of service through self-branded, customized search results.

2. Mortgage Coach

Why buyers love it: With plenty of illustrative images, this app simplifies the navigation of loan scenarios. It allows buyers to see animated options in a way that engages sight, sound and touch. Their loan advisor can create loan scenarios and present them via the app. Along with the side-by-side illustrations, a loan advisor can include a video of themselves talking directly to their client and explaining each option.
Why REALTORS® love it: The app can be used as a live flyer at open houses. REALTORS® can put out their iPad and let potential buyers use the app to get a sense of how the numbers would work for purchasing the home they’re standing in.

3. Walkscore

walk score screen shotWhy buyers love it: Don’t overlook this app because it can appear to be targeted to renters. Buyers can input the address of a home and search for a walk score to see what’s located in the surrounding area. If real estate is all about location, location, location, this app helps buyers thoroughly evaluate if the home is in a spot that suits their lifestyle. Whether a buyer wants rural seclusion or urban convenience, this app will help sort it out.
Why REALTORS® love it: REALTORS® can utilize the data to educate buyers on their prospective neighborhood with input from locals and information about proximity to entertainment, shopping, schools, outdoor recreation, restaurants, public transit and more.

  1. Homestyler Interior Design

Why buyers love it: Users can snap a picture of a room and envision a life there, paint colors and all. Quickly drop in realistic models of actual branded furniture, rugs, paintings, mirrors and more.
Why REALTORS® love it: Giving their client a peek at life in a new home means a REALTOR® can provide a better buying experience.

  1. GreatSchools Finder

Why buyers love it: This app makes it possible to locate and map elementary, middle and high schools in prospective neighborhoods. Test scores, parent reviews and district info can be browsed and favorite schools saved.
Why REALTORS® love it: REALTORS® like the ability to serve up inside information and insight beyond the standard MLS details.

As REALTORS® and buyers work together to select a home that fits both lifestyle and financial requirements, these five apps deliver a bit of extra power for informed decision making.

By Nicole Conti