As an agent, you can make yourself more valuable by giving your clients tools that will help them during the buying or selling process. The following web and mobile apps allow clients to prepare for homeowner finances, learn about the cost value of energy efficient appliances, and much more. Be sure to send this list to any new clients you’re working with.
Value: Helps clients customize space to imagine it as theirs
It can be hard to imagine a home as yours when you hate the furniture, layout and general look and feel. Clients can use the Homestyler app as they look through homes, adding their preferred style of furniture, light fixtures rugs, mirrors and more. The 3D image will give them a better idea of what the home will look like when they get their items moved in, which is always helpful.
The app version of this tool is available to U.S. residents online only; mobile is not yet available to U.S. users. Send clients to their website Homestyler.com after they’ve taken photos of a few potential properties.
Value: Financial overview
As one of the most popular personal finance apps, this is a great tool for your clients. After using the app for a few weeks, they’ll have a crystal-clear picture of their current financial situation, which is critical during the home buying process.
“I really like tools like Mint.com that aggregate data from all of your financial accounts and summarize it for you,” says Micah Fraim, CPA. He continues, “It gives a nice snapshot of your entire financial situation: how much you’re making vs. how much you’re spending, where your money is going, debt vs. assets, etc. This is a great tool if you’re looking to make any kind of major financial decision, like buying a home.”
As they’re determining cost range, and begin to factor in other fees such as HOA, your clients can turn back to their Mint account to see if the numbers add up for their current financial reality.
Value: Discover places near potential homes
Help clients learn more about their potential new home with the AroundMe app, which is simple and easy to use. Once downloaded, clients simply choose the category they’re curious about—these include: gas stations, movie theaters, parking, pharmacies, super markets, and more—and they’re presented with a list that includes the name of establishment and distance from the home’s location. Knowing what’s nearby can be the difference between making an offer and looking elsewhere.
Energy- and Cost-Savings Calculators for Energy Efficient Products
Value: Uncover the potential value of energy efficiency appliances
Moving into a new home may mean purchasing new appliances. Thanks to the proven value of eco-friendly products—families and businesses in the United States saved $34 billion on utility bills in 2015 alone, according to Energy Star—it’s safe to assume your clients are considering energy-efficient appliances.
The calculators provided by Energy.gov allow clients to find both the annual and life cycle costs and savings for various items like a central air conditioner, gas and water heaters and more. They can use these calculators to decide if the upfront investment will pay off in the end—when making a significant purchase like this, that information is priceless.
Real Estate Dictionary
Value: Have more effective home buying/selling conversations
Clients may struggle with the real estate terminology that comes second nature to you. Instead of dumbing down your conversations to help them understand, suggest they check out the Real Estate Dictionary app. It includes 9,000 images including property diagrams, and thousands of real estate terms from sources they’re familiar with like McGraw-Hill. The best part is they can bookmark terms as you’re talking and return to them later for reference. You can get this app on iOS and Android.
Bonus for First-Time Homeowners: BrightNest
Value: How to be a homeowner
BrightNest helps first-time homeowners get organized and manage their new house with ease. After adding important details about their home, your clients will have access to customized tips and maintenance lists, and they can take quizzes to customize the information that’s shared even further. They can also schedule tasks, set up recurring schedules, and set notifications for completing them. You can get this app on iOS and Android.
Be the most valuable agent you can by directing clients to these apps. They’ll appreciate your help and, as such, may be more likely to refer you to friends and family. In the end, everyone wins.
BIO: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and been in social media and content marketing for five. She’s currently a full-time blogger and has been written for Lifehack, Inman, Reader’s Digest, Homes.com, and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07.