Whether you’re buying or renting, the search for a house in different towns can take a toll on you. Driving and trying to figure out where to go at the same time is enough as it is.
A GPS is a good thing to have with you. Like the one on your Smartphone or tablet, such as an iPad. These devices let you download apps, some of them free, to help you navigate the best route in search of three things: homes for sale or rent and open houses.
Many of these apps feature the ability to pinpoint distances to parks, libraries, train stations, and restaurants from the each location where you end up looking at a property.
We all know these “extras” matter to some extent when deciding to purchase a home. With information gained from these apps, you may decide on a home for reasons that were not evident from the beginning.
Here are a few recommendations, since there are so many apps available.
- If you have a car that has a built in GPS but it is older and difficult to update, you may want to check out Garmin’s GPS App. It is web-based and has the newer roads and housing developments. You can use this any where, not just in your car. The cost is $39.99.
- Route4me.com is a free app that is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. This is a handy tool for making multi-destination trips easier. It gives you the most optimal route if you have to go more than one place. And, of course, it gives you a map. Planning to go to 3 open houses in one day?
- MotionX GPS Drive HD is available for 3G iPads. It won’t work on a Wi-Fi only iPad. The good stuff about this app is its cheap, $2.99, but watch out for fees after 30 days if you use the Live Voice Guidance feature. It also has “smart router” technology which uses several traffic data sources to calculate the best route using real time. You can use the Search feature too while in route to find places of interest, like gas stations, shopping centers, etc.
- If you need to find a specific location, one of the best apps out there is Google Maps. Very easy to use just click the “get directions” link after you fill in the address. This app allows you to keep adding addresses along the way, providing a fast, seamless route. If you find yourself in a large townhome or condominium community and feel like all the buildings look the same, you can use this app to enter all of the addresses you want to visit in the community, then click on the “walking” icon to receive the walking directions from point to point in the most logical order.
No matter how you find your next home, keep in mind it is best to visit the prospective houses at least two times and on different days of the week, including once at night and once during the day. You’ll want to get a sense of the activity level and surroundings on a week day versus and weekend.
About this column:
Every Wednesday at noon, the Scott Loper Team of Re/Max Realty Group in Harleysville offers some sage advice to potential and current homeowners in our area. The Scott Loper Team includes Scott Loper, Lisa Loper and Gina Wherry, Re/Max Realty Group, 439 Main Street, Harleysville, PA 19438, 215-256-1200.