Apps and tools to help you buy a house

These online helpers can help make finding your dream home less of a chore. 

Buying a house can be a time-consuming and complicated process.

If it’s your first time, or your first time in a while, it can be hard to know where to start.

Have these tools to hand to help take some of the hassle out of finding the right place.

Figuring out your finances 

First things first – how much can you spend and how long will it take to pay off your prospective new home?

Most major banks and mortgage outlets offer online calculators that can help make it easier to do these sums.

Those super-quick tools can tell you approximately how much of a deposit you may need and what the overall repayments may be with interest taken into account.

You can figure out approximately what stamp duty you may owe and these tools can give you an indication of how much the bank may allow you to borrow based on your income.

Check out the site of your preferred lender or search online for ‘mortgage calculators’ to get a rough idea of what you could spend before you visit your financial advisor.  

Choosing where to live 

Your decision can be based on a number of factors including affordability, proximity to family, schools, parks, transport and other amenities.

If you want more info about a suburb, these services could tell you some of what you want to know: 

Microburbs

Get a snapshot of the demographics in your desired suburb by checking it out on the Microburbs website.

This handy portal takes information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and gives each suburb scores out of ten for family friendliness, safety and even ‘hipness’.

It also breaks down the details of the area’s average income, population density and house value.

AroundMe

Once it has figured out where you are, the AroundMe app will point you towards the nearest cafes, hospitals, ATMs and even petrol stations.

It is really helpful for getting a feel for the convenience of your soon-to-be home turf.

Download for iOS

Download for Android

Finding a home 

The big kahunas in real estate for Australia are Domain and Realestate.com.au.

Both these sites list a huge number of homes that are publicly available for sale in Australia.

They also let you look up information about some specific properties, including what they have sold for in the past and how much they are estimated to be worth.

You can check out recently purchased properties in the suburb you like best, find an agent, and get tips on many things to do with home ownership.

Plus, both properties have user friendly apps on which you could while away hours when you are on the lookout for somewhere to live.  

Checking out an agent 

Real estate agents are a busy bunch who work in a highly competitive industry.

They rely on word of mouth and repeat business; for them, reputation is everything.

They want to get the best price for the vendor, but they also know that one day you will likely be a vendor – so they’ve got your best interests at heart as well.

Find an agent with good customer feedback by checking out their reviews on sites such as Ratemyagent, Openagent and theagentfinder.

Viewing your property

You’ve sussed out the agent and the value of the property, but what about the home itself?

Sun Seeker 3D

If you visit an open home on a rainy day, it’s hard to figure out how much natural light it receives.

Download this app and it will find your location, telling you where the sun will likely hit the property from morning to night, letting you know if it is recommended for you to invest in sunshades or skylights.

Just be warned: this is not a free app.

Download for iOS

Download for Android

Paint My Place

Not keen on the pastel pink? Have a play around with this app by taking a photo and projecting your preferred shade onto the walls.

You can try hundreds of colours from top selling brands and share them with your other half or family to help them visualise your grand vision for your prospective new pad.

It's a fairly straightforward application, but it should at least give you a rough idea of what direction you might want to go in.

Download for iOS

Crumb Tracks

Like a diary for your housing search, Crumb Tracks lets you jot down what you like and what you don’t like about the open homes you visit.

You can take videos and photos and quickly create a file for each property while you’re on the go.

It also has a handy mortgage calculator so that you can work out if you are likely to be able to afford your dream place.

Download for iOS

Once you have bought a home

Houzz is to homeowners what shoes are to a Kardashian – once you start, you can’t get enough!

This app / site is filled with interiors inspiration from around the world, and lets you sign up for regular ideas for your kitchen, bathroom and more.

You can easily keep track of the claw-foot tub, drapery or bookshelf that you love for when it comes time to renovate. 

Happy house hunting!