buying a home

7 Mobile Tools to Help Find & Furnish Your New Home

by Shea Homes on August 5, 2015

mobnile home shopping apps & sitesYou’ve probably heard that location, location, location is everything when it comes to real estate, but if you know deep-down that you’re ready to purchase a home to call your own, you should first focus on research, research, research. Making the decision to transition from a renter to a homeowner is a big one. While most of us dream of the time when we can purchase and move into a home where we can create our own memories, the idea of actually deciding to invest such a significant amount of money into a down payment can be overwhelming, which is why being informed of your decision is essential.

If you’re ready to start researching your future home, consider hopping on your tablet or pulling out your mobile phone to use these 7 online tools.

Zillow

Being one of the bigger players in online home searches, you’ve likely heard of Zillow already, and have maybe even used it. But, the at-a-glance map feature makes it easy to do a quick assessment of pricing in your desired area. You can even filter listings to show when they will have open houses, so you can plan your free weekends around home tours.

Zillow helps to find open houses in your area.Trulia

Trulia offers a similar map-style layout to Zillow, however, this site also allows you to layer on a heat map of crime rates in the area you are searching around. The more green found around an area, the fewer crime reports have been compiled on SpotCrime.com and CrimeReports.com, while red or yellow areas indicate locations crimes have been reported. By clicking on the black bubbles, you can see what types of crimes were reported, so you can educate yourself on an area you may have been looking at.
Use Trulia to find crime rates in your area.
Additionally, Trulia offers a robust school zone function. By clicking this option, you can see which schools have been rated by GreatSchools™.

Use Trulia to find schools in your area.

Doorsteps Swipe

If you’re ready to find your home-match, this may be the app for you. Taking cues from mobile dating apps, Doorsteps Swipe™ lets you sit back and left or right swipe listings as you see fit.

Doorsteps Swipe is a mobile app for helping find a home.After you’ve given a “thumbs up” to some homes, the app will give you an overview of the houses you have liked so far. Your “Sale Summary” will help you determine trends in the type of homes you are drawn to, which can direct your future searches or be the perfect information to share with your real estate broker so they can help you find the perfect home.

Doorsteps Swipe is a mobile app for helping find your dream home.Homesnap

Find that your weekends are already filled with driving around your desired neighborhood hunting down “for sale” signs? Then, Homesnap is a must-download. This app allows you to search homes for sale on a map, like both Trulia and Zillow, but it also has a neat photo function. If you happen to drive by a home for sale and all of the flyers have already been snagged, don’t worry, you can still get all of the details – interior images and home prices included – by just snapping a photo of the home’s exterior with Homesnap.

Snap a photo of a home with Homesnap to see its listing information

If you’re itching to start planning your home’s décor before you move in (it can be the most fun part of making your house your home), there are apps, and websites, for that as well!

 

Shea Homes SpaceBuilder

Find a floorplan that you like on SheaHomes.com and use the space planner to help you visualize where your current furniture will fit. Or, if necessary, determine what items you may need to add to your shopping wish list. To access the Shea Homes SpaceBuilder, simply search Shea Homes in the area you are looking to live, enter your budget range, and home size options and then click on the “View Home Floorplan” of the home you like to open the tool.

Shea-homes-floorplanPinterest

You may already have a Pinterest filled with healthy recipe ideas or home accessory “wants,” but consider adding Pinterest boards that are designated design ideas for specific rooms or areas in your home. Pin ideas for your dream kitchen, bedroom or outdoor space so you can return to the ideas when the time comes to update your new house.

Houzz

Along with helping you decide the style of home you like, Houzz is filled with inspiring images that can help you determine how you want to decorate. Much like Pinterest, you can save images you find on the site into a central location called an Ideabook. However, you can also print your completed Ideabooks, allowing for an easily created “shopping guide” or outline you can bring along to a home design studio appointment.

 

 

Have you found a helpful online home search tool? Let us know by leaving us a comment below, or share a photo of your newly found or decorated home on our Facebook or Twitter.

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How Will Rising Interest Rates Impact Homebuyers?

by Meridith Doucette on July 16, 2013

 

Mortgage interest rates are on the rise. We keep hearing this news but without having any real numbers, it can be difficult to determine what a rise in mortgage interest rates really means to you. A recent article by Wayne Faulkner on Star News Online, gives some details on the impact increasing mortgage rates will have on new home buyers.

Last week, Freddie Mac’s weekly survey showed that the national average mortgage interest rate rose from 3.93% in June to to 4.51% in July– an increase of over ½ of a percentage point (.58%).  As explained by Jim Wallace, president of Intracoast Realty, “Every point of interest increases the cost (of a home loan) about 10%.”

Here’s what that looks like:

For the buyer looking to secure a mortgage at $150,000, an increase of one point (or percent) in the interest rate would increase the monthly mortgage payment by $86. On a $400,000 mortgage, an increase of one point in the interest rate would increase the mortgage payment by $230 per month. These increases in monthly payment can make the difference between qualifying for a loan or not, making it more difficult for new home buyers to obtain financing for their new home.

Read the full article here.

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