The Top Real Estate Apps for iPhone and Android Devices

In the earliest days of the Internet, some of the original architects of the web pursued real estate as the most obvious market that could widely benefit from independent web sites. Aggregation services for these sites were among the first web lists, which eventually grew into dedicated indexes, then searchable indexes. Eventually the idea was absorbed into more complete services like Craigslist and the earliest iterations of Yahoo.

Although those early sites had some tremendous advantages in that they could be viewed from neighborhoods far from the houses they featured, they weren’t mobile. The ability to find houses nearest a certain address as opposed to houses that match a particular keyword is equally effective and often leads to a better purchase and a happier buyer.

One thing to be aware of is many of the most popular apps are not designed for home buyers. Some of the best apps are built to be utilized by agents, real estate brokers and even residential and commercial developers.

Bigger Pockets

At the top of many app lists is a utility for investors called “BiggerPockets.” While it is primarily a gateway to its namesake’s forums, it is apparently a great tool for people who are out scouting for new investment properties.

Home Mortgage Calculator

For home buyers there is the “Homes Mortgage Calculator” available for both iPad and iPhone. With this app, any buyer can plug in the details of a proposed deal and get an accurate idea of the projected payment amount if they accept the deal and seek a mortgage to finance it.


Since Craigslist seemed to benefit so much from the Internet’s early history, it stands to reason it would find its way on to a list of the most useful mobile apps. When combined with the wide variety of mapping and communications utilities built into most phones, Craigslist can become a powerhouse of buyer and renter options.


For agents and brokers, good photography is crucial in an industry that depends on how a product looks more than nearly any other. Granted, there is no shortage of options for taking pictures in 2015. With a utility like Pro HDR, even amateur photographers will find themselves able to take better pictures and use those pictures more effectively.

MiD Calculator

From the National Association of Realtors comes an app that, like the home mortgage calculator, will allow a buyer or seller to calculate the Mortgage Interest Deduction based on any set of financial details available. This can be a tremendous way to calculate the costs and balances of any home deal before it is negotiated.

IREM Comps App

This utility for iPhone and iPad allows a property owner to combine information from three comparable properties to determine a competitive rent for a subject property. It also gives the user the option to send the information in spreadsheet form to others for analysis.

Real estate apps for all kinds of interested parties are likely to become more popular as the capabilities of mobile phones and tablets continue to improve.

The Power of Real Estate Signs

Over the ages of professional real estate signage has played an important part. Passersby are attracted by signs and people who are looking for the houses can find them easier. People frequently go out on the weekends to look at houses with for sale signs hanging in front of them. While that is happening less and less the real estate sign still holds power and very few companies have changed them over the years.

Coldwell Banker uses a white background sign with a blue logo that is easy to distinguish from most other signs. Over the years little has changed about this sign. A new 3D sign was released not too long ago but only the effect of the design is changed, the core elements remain the same. The only major real estate company that you could confuse a Coldwell Banker sign with is Windermere. Windermere signs also use a white background but the text is also displayed on that white background. What makes it easy to confuse for a Coldwell Banker sign is the blue backgrounded for sale label that runs across the top of the sign.

Sotheby’s sign is relatively close to both Coldwell Banker and Windermere’s sign but just in the fact that it uses white and blue. The Sotheby’s sign is blue with white text. In complete contrast Keller Williams uses an almost completely red background for some of its signs. Depending on the usage of the real estate sign it may also contain a partially white or black background. No other major reality companies use the distinctive red backgrounds but a few smaller ones do.

Century 21 signs have a black background and are the only major real estate company in the United States to do so. The design is finished off with a yellow house logo and white text. A few smaller companies such as Platinum Realty, Reece Nichols, and Semonin Realtors use black signs but they all lack the distinctive yellow house shape.

Each one of these signs you were probably able to recall in your head because chances are you have seen them before. All of these companies have created a brand image that allow someone to instantly identify who is selling a house. Realtors get a sense of authority from their signs, people know who they are and who they work for based off the real estate for sale sign sitting guard in the yard.

5 Key Advantages of Natural Ventilation Systems in Buildings

All buildings, whether residential or commercial,require adequate ventilation in order to protect the health of occupants in regular circumstances as well as in emergency situations such as fires or other contaminations of the air.

There are several types of ventilation systems, with the two main ones currently in use being natural ventilation and mechanical ventilation. Each of these is distinctly different in its way of working as well as the advantages and disadvantages it brings to the structure it is integrated into or installed in.

The presence of either of these systems is critical for a number of reasons, including the removal of stale air and toxic gases, the replenishing of fresh and clean air in an environment, the removal of moisture, and the elimination of odours, bacteria and excess heat.

Natural ventilation basically refers to any system that does not require the use of mechanical devices to displace air in the structure, instead using organic airflow and openings to draw stale air and pollutants through and out of the building.

In this lies the first of five major benefits that this type of system offers – potentially reduced installation costs compared to its mechanical counterpart. This only applies in certain circumstances however – if an effective system is designed as part of the structure before construction, then the costs are absorbed into the build.

It should be noted that mechanical systems can still offer better value for money where having the maximum surface area available is important for getting the largest commercial return, for example in car parks, some retail environments and other similar venues.

The second advantage to natural ventilation is also budget-related; mechanical installations can be very costly to operate, not only due to the need for fans, but also because of air conditioning units which can increase energy consumption costs by up to 30% per building according to reports.

On the other hand, more organic ways of optimising air circulation in structures can mean that this cost is practically eliminated, making it a financially-sound long term solution for companies that are looking to economise in all the areas that they can.

It is should also be noted that this type of ventilation is also a great deal greener than mechanical ventilation systems, as it uses significantly less energy to operate efficiently. For this reason, the third advantage of natural ventilation is the fact that it is the far more environmentally-friendly solution out of the two main choices, and is therefore also possibly a real solution for the future.

A fourth benefit that comes with using a more organic and already-integrated ventilation solution in a building is that fact that its rival – the mechanically driven system – requires regular maintenance to make sure that it is doing its job properly and that it meets the relevant healthy and safety requirements.

This is not so true for natural ventilation systems, which do not have as many essential parts that need regular upkeep and replacement on a frequent basis. Although all systems should be regularly inspected to ensure that they are working optimally, costly and lengthy maintenance work is virtually eliminated with this option.

The fifth and final advantage of natural ventilation is that it has been shown to be a popular choice of system with building occupants compared to the mechanical variety. The reason for this is thought to be due to the level of thermal comfort that each choice provides, with many finding that mechanically operated solutions often make a room too cold or too warm.

Conversely, the other option is often able to effectively maintain an ideal temperature, despite the fact that there are no controls apart from simply opening or closing a window.

All types of ventilation systems have their good points and bad points, and the natural solution is no exception. That said, it is an option that brings considerable cost savings, not to mention improvements in occupant comfort and less of a negative impact on the environment, making it a potentially ideal solution for a greener future and a thriving global economy.

Vent Engineering is a leading provider of natural and smoke ventilation systems to business and local authority customers throughout the UK and abroad. With over 25 years in the industry, Vent is well known for its innovation, commitment to customer service, reliability and value. Vent prides itself on being able to take complex problems and make them simple, bringing a straightforward and practical approach to ventilation solutions. Vent’s experienced design and technical team are able to advise, design and deliver standard and bespoke systems depending on customers’ requirements, and the company’s solutions adhere to and even exceed all British Standard and European regulations in the industry.

Before Buying Size Your Residential Real Estate Needs

The largest investments we make in our lives are often the hardest to refund, that’s why it is really important to figure out what you need and then move on with your search. If we talk about the big investments, one thing that people spend their whole life’s hard-earned money is real estate. No matter whether you are extremely rich or a common man saving every penny to buy a home for his family, you can’t afford to make an impulsive decision and turn your moment of joy into remorse by settling down for something you never wanted. It is crucial to know about the options you have before taking a plunge into home buying, for they say half of your search completes when you are sure about what kind of home you are looking for. The list of the options that any average home seeker can look for in the real estate market includes:

Newly Constructed Home

What could be better that designing each and every detail of your dream home yourself? Planning your house yourself give you the leverage of choosing every little thing from layout of the structure to the color of the cabinet, which is one of the most dominant reasons why the culture of newly constructed house is increasing day by day. The major drawback that comes along buying a brand new constructed house is the list of unplanned expenses that occur meanwhile the construction.


Condominiums are the individual flats located in a multi-story building. The condominium building generally has its own recreation centers, parks, shopping hubs and is governed by an association that determines the monthly fee and takes care of the maintenance and improvement of the building. The major drawback of living in a condominium is the lack of privacy and increased depreciation during a housing- market downturn.


Vertically joined in a row with other similar looking houses, townhouses are perfect for the people who are seeking for the privacy of a single family apartment along with the exterior maintenance of a condo. Townhouses are generally located in the vicinity of schools and parks. They are bit cheaper compared to the condominiums and newly built houses but will not be the right choice if you are overly sensitive about noise coming from the adjacent shared wall.

Foreclosure Property

Foreclosure properties are known to be an inexpensive alternative for the people looking for a previously owned home that require minor repairs and modifications. A foreclosure property is also known as Real Estate Owned property and is often owned by the lender as the previous owner defaulted on paying back loan. Foreclosure properties are usually up to 65% below the market and are considered to be best deals on the market.

Second Homes

The second home is a secret hideaway people buy to get away from the standardization of life and spend a week or two into the woods away from the hustle and bustle of town. The second or vacation homes are difficult to maintain as there is no one to look after the repairs and maintenance of the house when you are away.

Now that you have a brief idea about some of the real estate options available for a home buyer, figure out what kind of house you want and plan your search accordingly. Buying real estate is not a small step but with lots of knowledge and right guidance you can make the most out of your investment.

Apartment or House?

Apartment is defined as, a set of rooms which have all the facilities like a house. The major types of apartment are studio apartment, bedroom apartment, duplex, lofts, garden apartment. If I was asked where I would I prefer to live in a traditional house or in a modern apartment building, I think, I would hesitate to answer. This question, from my point of view, is a controversial one. In the following paragraphs I will analyze both these options and present my view.

It’s everyone’s dream to have a comfortable place to live. As the majority of people say, I want to get an attractive house someday, but unluckily it is not so easy to get because it is very costly. But there are several differences between owning a house and renting an apartment. The first difference is the noise. If you are renting an apartment and you are a noisy person, it is very painful for the rest of the people who live with you. For example if you are always playing melodic instruments, listening to loud music and cleaning the house with noisy machines you are really troubling the other people and I’m sure that you wouldn’t want to be in their place. But also, in a lot of cases the noise depends on if the owner permits it or not. In contrast, owning a house is more comfortable if you are a noisy person because you are the owner and responsible for all the things of your house and you don’t have to care of disturbing someone. For example, if you are the owner of the house you are free to even have a noisy party or whatever you want because it is your house. The second and most important difference for me is about the policy. When you live in an apartment, you have to comply with the owner’s policy. For example, you have to ask for him or her if you are free to have visitors, pets, parties, etc. On the other hand, when you rent an apartment, you are not as free as you are when you are the owner of a house to do whatever you want. In contrast, owning a house permits you to be free without caring that someone is dissatisfied with your ideas and decisions about your house. In this case you can paint your house, buy a big tape recorder or do all the things that you want. In conclusion, I prefer owning a house that is better than renting an apartment because I can be free to do whatever I want, without policy and it gives me more sovereignty and relieve.

From the one side, living in a modern apartment building brings many paybacks. First of all, it is cheaper than living in a traditional house and paying different kinds of fees I am not familiar with. For instance, my buddy, who recently bought a new house for his family, told me that it is much easier to live in an apartment and I tend to believe him when I see his bills. So, living in an apartment will definitely help me to save some money. Second of all, since I live alone, I do not need a big house with many rooms. I just need a bedroom and a living room where I can take my guests and have my work place. Another important benefit of living in an apartment is that I will not have to buy much weighty furniture in order to furnish all rooms.

Real Estate Tips For Beginners

Have you always wanted to invest in real estate but don’t know where to start? Here are some of the different areas of the industry that you can invest in:

Areas That You Can Invest In

Residential: these are properties such as townhouses, apartment buildings and vacation houses. Here a person or a family will pay you in order to live in your property. The length of time that an individual lives in your house depends on your rental or lease agreement.

Commercial: commercial real estate consists mainly of office buildings. When you construct office buildings you can rent them to companies and small business owners. Again the length of time that the business owners use your property depends on your agreement.

Industrial: this one consists of car washes, storage units and any other special type of real estate where customers use your facility on a temporary basis.

Retail: it consists of trip malls, shopping malls and any other retail storefronts. When you construct a mall, you can rent it to a person interested in running it or you can run it yourself.

Mixed-use: this is where you combine any of the above categories into one project. For example, you can construct a storied building with offices, malls and residential areas.

Real estate investment trusts (REITs): this is where you invest in real estate trusts. When the mortgages generate profits, you get a share of it.

Tips on How to Be Successful In The Industry

For you to be successful in the real estate business you need to do a number of things:

Involve an attorney: regardless of the area of the industry that you are interested in always involve an attorney. A good attorney will help you in finding the right construction company. The attorney will also help you in writing professional rental contracts.

Neighborhood: the area where you invest in greatly determines the amount of money that you will make from your investment. To be on the safe side always go for a neighborhood that is growing or has the potential of growing.

Run the numbers: many investors assume that when they construct a building they will have a tenant, which is usually wrong. Before you invest in a building you should run the numbers and find out if you will be able to pay the mortgage if the property sits empty. If you find that you can’t be able to repay the mortgage in the event that the property doesn’t have a tenant for a month or two, chances are that you are stretching yourself too thin.

4 Various Types Of Real Estate Contracts

Before going through with a real estate transaction, ask yourself if you know about the different types of contracts that exist in the market. Do you know how they work? If your answer is no, then you should definitely read this article. Below are some of the basic contracts that are usually seen in real estate.

1. Lease Contracts

This is a type of agreement that comes into play when an individual leases out their spare property to earn extra income. In a lease agreement, the landlord specifies the deal that they have agreed upon with the lessee (tenant), which includes the rent and the security deposit agreed upon by both parties.

2. Power Of Attorney

Power Of Attorney is an agreement that you sign when you give complete control of your transactions to a person of choice named in the document. This comes when you are ill or when you on a business trip halfway across the world. Note that, you will not lose the ownership of the property, you are only allowing a close associate act in your absence.

3. Purchase Agreements

Purchase Agreements are the ones you see the most. This is when a buyer/seller comes to an understanding before disposing off of their property and handing it over to the other party. This contract will have details of the buyer and seller along with the price that was agreed upon and the closing date of the deal.

4. Contract Deed

A Contract Deed is the riskiest arrangement of all real estate contracts. This is where you obtain a loan on your property from a local money lender, by offering the original documents as collateral. This is also where the loaner has complete advantage over you as the contract will not be transferred to your name, until the entire amount is repaid with interest. Defaulting on any payments would mean that the lender can foreclose your house and walk away with the documents.

These are the basic contracts that are most used by both veterans and real estate newbies. You can also make a contract template with terms and conditions you agree with, and just use it the next time you buy or sell a house. Overall, a basic knowledge of the real estate market does not account too much when you are handling a real estate transaction as it involves considerable sums of money. Which is why, you should probably hire an agent to represent you.

The Real Estate Professionals in France

In France, the overriding mentality in real estate calls for centralized, efficient and well organized bodies that coordinate the search, buying and selling process and the closing of a deal between vendor and purchaser. Unlike other countries, only a few professionals are involved in the transaction.

Property management and experts

Four main organizations exist in France purely for the provision of expert personnel who can provide assistance to people involved in real estate, whether they are buying, investing or renting accommodation. Of the four operating real estate bodies, the most popular is FNAIM or Fédération Nationale des Agents Immobiliers.


The abbreviation FNAIM can be translated into “the French national real estate federation”.

  • It touts a yellow cube as its logo, coordinates the operations of 8,000 agency branches and employs 37,000 professionals who specialize in offering services ranging from property sales, to consulting. It has very strict work ethics, integrity and professionalism which both management and employees abide by and all employees are licensed professionals.
  • It represents and defends its own professionals and their clients, the consumers by creating a sound relationship with the authorities.
  • It provides expert and updated information on the economy and on legal matters. It issues quarterly business updates especially on the property market and a yearly account of the income from the market. It compiles studies that are based on accurate economic data and its influence reaches as far as the corridors of parliament when real estate issues are being discussed.
  • It is readily accessible via its website portal:

The experts

  • The estate agent – all the agents in France are required by law to be licensed and to be members of a recognized organization. In France there are 4 main real estate organizations:
    • FNAIM or the Fédération Nationale des Agents Immobiliers
    • UNIT or the Union Nationale de l’Immobilier
    • SNPI or the Syndicat National des Professionnels Immobiliers
    • CNAB or the Confédération Nationale des Administrateurs de Biens
  • Notaire – the notaire is a government official similar to a tax collector who is involved in real estate transactions of buying and selling. He is responsible for collecting the various tax payments that are made by the buyer and seller in any transaction.
  • Legal advisor – a qualified lawyer who usually represents one of the parties to deal with the legal aspects of the transaction. Very often, both parties will seek to be represented by a different legal advisor or notaire, in which case, the two professionals will share in the payment for their services.
  • Property search agent.- this agent specializes in the search, mainly on behalf of a potential buyer. His search often leads him to archives and other government repository where records are kept. The information he provides the buyer is valuable and needed for facilitating transactions.
  • Property manager – The property manager usually involves himself in the early stages of negotiations with the buyer. He is able to provide detailed information about the real estate which is the subject of a contemplated sale. He negotiates on behalf of the vendor.

Ten Tips for Moving in the Winter

Moving in winter poses special challenges, whether you’re moving between two high rise condos in the same city or crossing the country. Although the weather is far less conducive to the hard work of moving, it can be cheaper to hire a moving company at this time of year. Whether you’re using a professional outfit or relying on the kindness of friends, following are a few pointers for making the first day in your new home as smooth as possible.

Be Ready

Be sure the new house is ready for the move before you head over with all your belongings. Check that lights and plumbing are working and if the weather’s nippy, consider having the heat on for a few days so it’s warm for the move-in.

Clear the Snow

Slipping on snow and ice can turn a simple move into a disaster. Before you even start, make sure all walkways at both old and new homes are clear; ice or sand if necessary. Keep shovels, salt and sand on-hand.

Parking Considerations

Whether you’re using a moving company or getting help from a gang of friends, be sure there’s adequate parking for the moving truck at both locations. Parking at urban condos can be particularly, and this could mean a bit of negotiating with new neighbors or the landlord if space is tight.

Protect Your Floors

Winter’s snow, ice and salt are notorious for dirtying up or even scratching some kinds of flooring. Protect floors and carpets with big pieces of cardboard or plastic sheeting for the big day. You can use duct tape if the floors can withstand it, and small tacks work well on carpeted areas.

Have a Plan B

With the constant threat of winter storms, there’s always a chance that your move will have to be rescheduled. If you’re using a moving company, call and see what their storm policy is, as some may want to reschedule the move, meaning you can’t move out and new tenants or owners can’t move in. Check with your landlord or real estate agent to see if it would be alright to stay a few more days. If you can’t, you may have to arrange a few days of temporary housing.

Keep an Eye on Mother Nature

If you’re moving a distance, keep an eye on the weather along your travel route, checking with local authorities by phone or on-line if the forecast is ominous. Scout out overnight accommodations in case you need to make an unexpected stop.

Prep Your Car

Be sure your car is serviced and winterized, with brakes and tires checked and fluids topped. If you have chains, be sure you know how to use them, doing a trial run on installation in the garage before you go. Carry salt or kitty litter in case you get stuck, pop a snow shovel and blanket in the car and be sure you have a gas can and roadside assistance membership.

Keep a List

Your winter move emergency contact list should include roadside assistance, highway control and a number for road conditions. Be sure someone who’s not on the moving trip knows the route your taking and schedule a call-in with them to be sure all is fine.

Extra Clothes

Not only do you want to stay warm and dry during the move, you’ll want to be sure your helpers are comfortable. Bring along a bag of gloves, hats, sweaters and socks in case of changing weather or wet clothing.

Feed the Gang

Keep your moving pals warm and well fed by keeping hot drinks and easy cold weather eats like chili and instant soup mixes on hand along with morning donuts and lunchtime sandwiches. Try to have a warm space in the house for enjoying a tea break, and be sure to have mugs and spoons along with paper cups and plates.

Real Estate Lingo in Singapore

For Singapore, it is not difficult to identify the terms used in real estate transactions. All of the terms reflect a widespread use of English in the realm of communicating and this singular usage has resulted in a highly developed real estate lingo which has brought together the four main racial groups into a harmonious whole. This is reflected in the dynamism of the city state’s real estate landscape.

The professionals of real estate

In Singapore, professional names and terms are accorded their proper place in real estate transactions.

In regards to realty terms used, there is no doubt that ethnic groups do have their own terms in their own different languages, but these have largely failed in establishing a niche so as to become part of the real estate parlance.

The use of English terms in the real estate environment is predominant.

Property Types

Semi-detached – 2 houses that share a common wall, but keep separate gardens.

Linked house – 1 of 2 landed houses joined to the other by a common wall separating their car porches. The common wall is the side wall of the two car porches.

Terrace houses – These are houses that are joined in a row that often have a paved or grassed garden. Larger versions of this type may have a swimming pool, playground or gymnasium.

Corner terrace – This is a landed house located at the end of a row of terrace houses that occupies a larger area of land compared to terrace houses.

Maisonette – The maisonette is a building with a 2-level residential unit within. The adjoining floors are connected by an internal staircase leading from the ground to the upper floor.

Shophouses – A shophouse is a legacy for Singapore’s past that consists of a shop area below and living quarters above. Many have been renovated to enhance original features and tiling. They have small outdoor areas but contain internal courtyards and are found in the central and eastern part of the island.

Detached homes – These homes are essentially bungalow-type buildings that may be single, double or 3 stories high.

Black and whites – Like shophouses, these buildings are a reminiscent of the British colonial era and were used to accommodate air, land and administrative personnel. They range from small terraced homes to palatial residences raised on stilts. Many have huge gardens and servant quarters. They can be let but without air conditioning, fans and linens, which a buyer must purchase from previous tenants.

Cul-de-sac house – A landed house situated at the end of a large dead-end road where a turnaround road has been constructed.

Duplex House – A 2-storey building that contains a residential unit on the first floor and a second residential unit on the second floor. Residents share the same land and an outside stairway connects the first floor residential unit with the unit above it.

Townhouse – A ground-level residential unit joined to a row of 3 or more residential units that have common ownership of theland.

Cluster housing – This type of residential unit is a cross between landed and condominium housing. All the houses are built at ground level and residents share facilities like those found in condominiums. Cluster housings have Strata Titles.

Apartments – An apartment can range from studios to large, 5-bedroom flats that can occupy 1 or 2 floors of a building.

Condominiums – Condominiums are also referred to as condos, which, apart from providing rental accommodation, also provide facilities such as a gym, tennis court, function room, pool and sometimes a small shop.

Penthouses – These are less common rental units that offer private outdoor living with colossal views available. Many have their own “Jacuzzi” whirlpool baths.

Other terminology

Co-broke deal – A situation where more than 1 agent liaises between a landlord or owner and several tenants.

Empty furnished or non-furnished – This highlights a residential unit that is provided without any furnishings except for kitchen space, faucets and light fittings.

Fully furnished – A residential unit or house that is fitted with common furnishings such as a refrigerator, washing machine, television set, furniture, wardrobes, beds, mattresses and similar furnishings and appliances.

Partially furnished – A partly furnished unit or house is fitted with only some and not all the more common furnishing items.

HDB – This is an abbreviation of the Housing Development Board, which is totally responsible for all public (government) housing in Singapore.

HDB flats are units provided by government to house its citizens. They can rent their flats or sublet bedrooms to permanent residents, non-citizens, students or people holding a work permit. There are restrictions and these must be checked out first before any commitment is made.

N-bloc or Enbloc – to the sale of an estate by a majority vote of the owners to give way to a new estate. For development of less than 10 years old, a 90% majority vote is required, but for development of 10 years old and more, only an 80% majority is required.

Strata title – Multi-level apartment units are divided into separate levels, or “strata”.

Top – A “Top” refers to a temporary occupation permit. A unit that has been labeled as a “Top” unit means that the unit is ready to be occupied.

Common room – This term refers to a living room area within the same HDB apartment or house. It is usually shared by other occupants living in the same apartment or house.

Master room – A separate room within the same HDB apartment or house that is available only to the person paying rent. It is usually partly or fully furnished with the full range of amenities and appliances. The quality of the master room is reflected in the rental price charged.

Pax – Commonly used by agents and landlords when referring to tenants living in rental units, the term was originally used by the travel industry, which referred to passengers.

Leasehold – The right to own real estate for 99 years or the right to own property for 999 years, a version of the first leasing type.

Freehold – The right to own land in perpetuity or without any limit to such ownership.