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Build a Home with the Help of a Smartphone and these 8 Apps

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Build a home with your Smartphone? Well, not exactly, but you can find some useful resources in Smartphone Apps that can help you in the home planning and construction process. This article describes a few Apps that we have found that are great for homeowners or home buyers.

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But here’s a tip…these Apps can be useful for the pros out there too, like all of you real estate agents and homebuilders who work with these potential homeowners and buyers.  Your clients and customers will be impressed when you use technology to find an answer for them, or if you just suggest a helpful new App that they can use in the home buying or building process. We’ll plan to follow up later with a separate article to review some Apps for homebuilding and real estate professionals.

 

So, here are a few Apps for smartphones (and some for tablets) that range in price from Free to about $15. These Apps can simplify some pretty arduous tasks along the planning and construction journey – it’s nice having this powerful technology right at your fingertips.

  1. Taskboard ($0.99, iPad) – You will have lists. The amount of To Do lists, punchlists, closing checklists and other lists that you need when planning, building and buying a new home can be overwhelming. You sometimes need a list of all your lists! Well, Taskboard is an iPad App that can help you organize multiple lists in an easy to use and visual interface. It’s not necessarily a home building App, but you’d be surprised how much easier the process is when you are organized.
  2. Mortgage Calculator by Quicken Loans (Free, Apple & Android) – This App is great for helping a potential home owner, and even the agents and builders that are working with them, do some of the important financial calculations that are part of buying a lot and building a home.
  3. House Plans Volume 1 ($4.99, iPad & iPhone) and House Plans for iPad ($5.99, iPad) – Even if you don’t find your dream home plans in these Apps, at the very least you can peruse their huge databases of stock house plans to get some ideas and inspiration. What better way to get your creative juices flowing when planning the layout or design for your new home?
  4. PadCad ($14.99, Apple & Android) – Create your own blueprints. It’s not a replacement for an architect or full-blown Computer Aided Design (CAD), but PadCad can help you visualize, create and preserve some of your floor plan thoughts on your device when you are trying to consider the design and layout options for your new home. There are a number of similar Apps out there that do not work well, but the paid version of PadCad is fairly sophisticated, allows you to include measurements, save/export files and generally does what it says it will do.
  5. Home Design 3D ($6.99, iPad & iPhone) – Now that you’ve gotten some inspiration about your floor plan, use your device to create 3D renderings of your vision too. You can generate each room in the entire house – windows, doors, furniture, flooring – and see them in 3D. Even includes outdoor spaces.
  6. Home Design DIY Interior Floor Layout Space Planning & House Decorating Too by Mark on Call (up to $4.99, iPad & iPhone) – Really, that’s the name of this App. Despite its unnecessarily long name, this is another App that can be very useful for interior design and layout planning. With this App, you can see a room come to life by laying down flooring, adding furniture and choosing different finish colors and fabrics. You even can create custom finishes and patterns when you use your own photos and incorporate the image as a fabric, color or pattern directly into your plan. This is not a floor plan creation App and it does not include 3D viewing, but the App includes a number of practical budgeting and tracking features that are not found in other interior design Apps.
  7. Houzz Interior Design Ideas (Free, Apple & Android) – This App is beautiful. You can find a wealth of decorating, finishes, furniture, hardware and other interior design ideas in the seemingly unlimited photos of top-quality room décor in the Houzz iPad App.  The Houzz App is perfect for when you are planning your new home, or even redecorating your existing one. It’s the ultimate home decorating resource.
  8. I.D. Wood ($4.99, iPad & iPhone) – I.D. Wood is one of the coolest apps on our list and helps users identify different types of woods from around the world – a great tool for when planning your new home. It presents screen samples with photos, side-by-side comparisons and detailed information for almost 160 different woods.

Have you ever used Apps or unique technology to help build your own or a client’s dream home? Which Apps do you keep handy for planning, buying and building?

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Discussion

  1. says

    Hi Steve,
    I’m going to build a house with some partners and wondered if there’s a better way to share plans, schedule, budgets etc. outside of using google docs?
    Thx
    A.

    • says

      Hi, Albert. Sounds like an exciting venture, and there definitely are some great digital resources out there for helping a group of people collaborate on a home building project like yours. Check out this other blog article we published about Apps that make life easier for Builders, because it includes some different Apps that you might find useful when building a house: http://blog.lotnetwork.com/top-apps-for-builders-developers-build-homes-with-a-smartphone/. In particular, the PlanGrid App can help you and your team share documents, plans, etc.

      You mentioned Google Docs, which is great for sharing files and jointly working on the same document. Another online tool that may be useful is DropBox — your team can share a DropBox folder for your project that includes plans, budgets, status photos, etc.

      Best of luck with your project. Let us know how it goes, and if you find any other good tools to use.

      Steve

  2. Lee Henderson says

    Steve – I’m about to build a house and was thinking of putting a camera on the telephone pole across the street to do two things: monitor the job site and two have progress pictures taken every day. My thought is itd be cool if there was a website/app that allowed a picture to be taken every day then at the end turned into a slide show.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks,
    Lee

    • says

      I’m not aware of a particular App tool that does exactly what you’re describing, Lee. At the same time, if you google “cellular security cameras” or some other similar keywords you’ll find a few security camera systems that use Cloud storage and can be remotely viewed via their related application on your phone or computer. Something like that could address your needs. So, rather than trying to use a separate App, I think you can find a camera system that will have built-in features (maybe even time-lapse tools) that you could use to create a slide show. Good luck!

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