Saturday, March 22, 2014

Four Essential Apps for buying Canadian Real Estate - the What, Where, When and How

If you are looking to buy a Canadian house, apartment, acreage or townhouse a few well chosen apps will help you with the task.

This post looks at apps ideally selected to answer the What, Where, When and How of a real estate property purchase.

These choices are as follows:

1.  WHAT - Royal LePage Canada Real Estate Listings -  FREE
2.  WHERE - Google Maps - FREE
3.  WHEN - Buy or Rent? - FREE
4.  HOW -  The CMHC Mobile Kit - FREE

I should mention, as great as these Apple apps are, nothing, beats the services of a local, knowledgeable, seasoned real estate agent. That may seem a little self serving as I am a licensed and working real estate agent in British Columbia but I believe it too be true.

In particular, buyers should look for real estate agents that are bound to a code of conduct either through the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia or as a Realtor ©. 

Let's have some fun - it's app time.

WHAT - Royal LePage Canada Real Estate Listings -  FREE

It is fun looking for a place to buy and this job has been getting easier and easier thanks to Canada's Royal LePage.   You could proceed right to the App Store but I would suggest a visit to Royal LePage  to check out the many benefits of this app.

The new Royal LePage iPhone/iPad app will help you find "what" you are looking for.  This app works coast - to - coast just like the 15,000 real estate agent in Royal LePage.  Does that mean this app will only show Royal LePage listings?  No.  This beauty provides pictures and information on real estate properties from all multiple listing services country wide.

WHERE - Google Maps - FREE

If you are looking to drive by by a property you need to know where it is.  Here the obvious and best choice is Google maps.  It will even give you driving instructions.  The map below shows the Chilliwack, Agassiz and Harrison communities that I am most actively working in - contact me for these areas.

WHEN - Buy or Rent? - FREE

There are a lot of good reasons for buying real estate that are not financial in nature. Nor should they be. Most material goods are bought not expecting a return but real estate unique in that it is a tangible asset that can appreciate in value with time.  (My recommendation is that most buyers should purchase real estate only if they have steady incomes and plan to be in that house for at least 5 years.)  

I found this great app that looks at the Buy or Rent decision called "Buy or Rent?" by AppEngineers Inc.

Couple of things to keep in mind when you use this fairly sophisticated app, if you are buying a property to be your principal Canadian residence:

             A. Capital Gains will not apply on a principal residence, except in special                            circumstances - check with your accountant to be sure
             B. Rents and Housing Prices vary from area to area. 

The Royal LePage tool will certainly help you determine the costs of buying a home but rents will have to be determined elsewhere. I would suggest you scour the local newspaper rental ads or look on Craigslist.

HOW - The CMHC Mobile Kit - FREE

Money, money, money.... if you need a mortgage most likely the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation will be involved with their insurance products.  While their app is designed with the mortgage broker in mind it offers plenty of content and calculators for buyers of real estate.  With these calculators you can calculate how much you can afford and what that cost will be.  Going through this exercise you will need to know what the current mortgage rates are. Such rates are competitive and a good mortgage broker can help find you a great deal.

TIPS:  1.  Mortgage terms can be confusing, TD Canada Trust has an excellent glossary of mortgage lingo online.

If you have an app to suggest drop me a line.

Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.