Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Home buying, decorating made easier

Are you hunting for a new home in the hope of finding one before Canada's new mortgage regulations kick in? From finding a new home to planning how to decorate and furnish it, there's an app for that.

REALTOR.CA, IPHONE, FREE

Canadians are still somewhat underserved compared to the U.S. when it comes to real estate search apps, but the Canadian Real Estate Association's Realtor.ca app is a start. It doesn't replace going to RealtyLink.org on the Web, but for times when you have an MLS number or just want to find open houses nearby, it works.

COMPLETE HOMES, IPHONE, IPOD TOUCH, IPAD, FREE

While the listings aren't as extensive as MLS, the layout and features of this U.S.-based app are good. You'll find a selection of properties, keyed to your GPS-enabled location or the area you want to search in.

CIBC HOME ADVISOR, IPHONE, IPAD, BLACKBERRY, FREE

CIBC's Home Advisor app has a number of tools, starting with affordability and rent-versus-buy calculations, but it also has a section for tracking s the homes you view and the ability to email the information. It has a social media link, letting you log on via Facebook or Twitter and a neighbourhood value map.

OPEN HOME PRO, IPAD

This is an app for real estate professionals, but I always tell realtors who ask that an iPad or other tablet computer would be a useful addition to their sales gear, so I'm including this app for them. It's basically a way to collect information about people visiting open houses with an option to email with a thank-you or followup. Potential buyers may not want to share information and some may already be working with their own real estate agents. However, there is some utility if it's used as a way to focus help for buyers and not just to bombard them with marketing material.

EVERNOTE, IPAD, IPHONE, IPOD TOUCH, BLACKBERRY, ANDROID, FREE

This is a useful app for keeping info online and accessible from whatever device you're using that you may already have it installed. If not, add it for a place to store notes, documents, photos, plans and other material whether you're home shopping or simply collecting ideas at this week's B.C. Home and Garden Show.

CRUMBTRACKS, IPAD, IPHONE, IPOD TOUCH, FREE

Another way to track the homes you view, the 'my listings' feature in this app lets you add photos and other useful details as well as share them by email.

INTAGLIO SKETCHPAD AND INTAGLIO SKETCHPAD LITE, IPAD, FREE TO $14.99 FOR FULL VERSION

It's a drawing app that's helpful if you're renovating or redecorating or trying to remember the floor plan of potential homes on your buying list.

GOOGLE EARTH AND GOOGLE MAPS, IPAD, IPHONE, IPOD TOUCH, BLACKBERRY, ANDROID, FREE

Useful for everything from getting a satellite perspective, to a street view, to figuring out how long a trip will take.

Read Gillian Shaw's blog at www.vancouversun. com/digitallife

 

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